How to Start a Bullet Journal
Are you someone who struggles to stay on top of things? Is your schedule all over the place, and does it stress you out? I used to be like that. In fact, most of my life was spent in a state of confusion and frustration because I couldn’t plan to save my life. No planning system ever worked for me, and it left me in a heap of sticky notes and half-used journals. The thing that finally turned me around is the bullet journal system. In this post, I’ll show you what the bullet journal is, how to start a bullet journal, and why it’s the solution you’ve need to get organized. Yes, this is real! Are you ready to have your socks knocked off?
What is a Bullet Journal?
Okay, so first things first – what is a bullet journal? In a nutshell, it’s this awesome note taking/list making/groundbreaking technique that is completely customizable and flexible to your needs. Take a quick minute and watch this video to hear how to start a bullet journal straight from the mouth of the genius creator of the system, Ryder Carroll. You can also check out this huge ultimate guide about everything bullet journal!
How To Bullet Journal
If you are anything like me, you have a bunch of ideas, doodles, notes, lists, and other nonsense tucked away in all kinds of places. You might use a notebook, your phone’s calendar, Post-It notes (paper ones and digital desktop ones), and task-oriented apps on your phone to try to keep all of these things sorted. Perhaps these systems work a bit, but they just don’t really do the whole job. You need something that can keep track of everything in the past, present, and future – not five systems to cover all your bases.
My crutch? Journals. I love journals. I used to be guilty of buying all kinds of notebooks, journals, and sketchbooks to hoard on my shelves. I would do one of two things – use ten pages before I moved on to the next thing, or never write in them at all because I was terrified of ruining the beautiful blank pages. Even when I tried to use a blank journal for a planner or note stash, I just couldn’t make it work. It always felt like a temporary patch.
When I discovered the bullet journal, my heart skipped a best. I knew that moment that the bullet journal was going to be exactly what I needed. But then I had to wonder – how to start a bullet journal and make it work for me?
How to Start a Bullet Journal
If you watched Carroll’s video, then you know the most wonderful truth – you don’t need much to get started. In fact, you only need a pen and a notebook.
This notebook doesn’t have to be new, nice, or fancy in any way. Any old journal or notebook will do the trick. The bullet journal might even be the perfect way to use those half-used journals that I’m sure you have sitting around. That can help take the pressure off you to make your bullet journal perfect so you can focus on making the system work for you.
If you do want to buy a new journal to help you get in the mindset of planning, then there are a ton of journal brands that you can choose from. I personally prefer the ever popular Leuchtturm1917. You might also like to check out Moleskine or Rhodia journals – both of which I have tried and enjoyed. You can check out the My Supplies page to see a bigger list of supplies that I love if you want to look around! However, I just want to remind you that you don’t need to buy an expensive new journal. Literally, any notebook will do, but here are a few of my favorites!
There are a million options when it comes to pens. Everyone has their own preferences when it comes to weight, ink, color, brand, etc. So in essence, this is totally up to you. I’m just going to suggest some of my favorite pens to get your creative juices flowing!
To start your bullet journal, I would recommend that you keep things pretty simple. Find one good pen or set of pens that you can write with every single day comfortably. One great option for that is the Pilot G2 series of pens, which are extremely affordable and easy to find in stores. If you want something with a larger color range, perhaps you want to consider the Staedtler Triplus Fineliners or Paper Mate Felt Tip Pens. Both are easy to write with and come in a wide variety of fun colors.
Another alternative is a fountain pen. I used to think fountain pens were for the ultra-fancy, but there are plenty of options that are cheap and extremely fun to write with. Seriously, you’ll be itching to write in your bullet journal every day with a fountain pen. If you’ve never used a fountain pen before, the Pilot Varsity set is just what you need. Or if you want something a bit fancier without a huge price tag, then you’ll love the Pilot Metropolitan fountain pen!
- Pilot's sleek Metropolitan Collection signature pens
- Finest quality at a mid-range price
- Medium nib
Bullet Journal Basics
There are a few things you need in your bullet journal to get started. Let’s cover some of your bases so you can get started in no time flat!
Bullet Journal Key
The first thing you want to consider is a key for what symbols you want to use in your bullet journal. Carroll suggested some symbols that you might want to use, or you can create your own! Whatever the case may be, you want to make sure you remain consistent so you don’t confuse yourself with unclear notes.
Another addition to your bullet journal is the monthly entry. Your monthlies serve as a wide-view lens as you plan your life. Some typical things that you can find in a monthly is some kind of calendar or list of dates, along with a place to write your monthly goals. This is one that I personally enjoy jazzing up with watercolors, hand lettering, and all kinds of artwork. You don’t need to go all out like this, but if it’s fun for you and helps you come back to using your bullet journal, then please be my guest!
Dailies and Weeklies
Something that you need to keep in your bullet journal is a place to write down all your daily to-do lists. This can take place in the form of a daily or a weekly. Basically, it’s the ground level of your bullet journal. All your regular day-to-day notes, scheduling, and task management happens here. There are a million ways to set up these entries, so it’s a matter of trial and error to find the one that fits you the best. I started out with dailies and worked my way up to weeklies when I realized that I preferred that layout. It’s totally up to you!
Bullet Journal Collections
Once you’ve set up your monthly and daily spreads, then it’s time to start exploring the wonderful world of collections! I can’t possibly get into it all here. There’s so many to talk about! Instead, I’d suggest you head over to my ultimate bullet journal guide, which has more detail on my favorite collections.
Start Your Bullet Journal Today
This system was a lifesaver for me. It helped me develop from a stressed student into a full-time blogger and creative maven. If it weren’t for the amazing bullet journal system, I’m certain that I would still be a flailing, frustrated mess today. So if you’ve been searching for the right organization system for you, then look no further. You have found the perfectly flexible, adaptable, and fun system to take care of all your needs. Grab your journal and start your bullet journal today to start working toward your goals with productivity and purpose!
If you want tons of planner printables, tutorials, and worksheets to help you get set up, click the image below or head here to sign up for the Fox Den Resource Library!
Last update on 2019-12-12 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API / Prices shown represent Amazon prices only, and do not represent the current price from any other source.