How To Start A Bullet Journal
This post may contain affiliate links.
I have a million favorite planners, but none that I’ve ever been able to stick with. I’m constantly on the search for a planner or system that I’ll use for more than a week before ditching it for good. Enter the bullet journal. I’ve been obsessed with bullet journals since they started showing up on Pinterest a couple of years ago. If you look at my Pinterest, you’ll see that I’ve pinned countless bullet journal spreads, hacks, and ideas. I’ve even bought the supplies to start one. Despite all of that, I’ve never actually tried starting one.
Why haven’t I started one? Well, I’m not very creative and I’m legitimately the worst at drawing. When I see bullet journals with intricate doodles or designs, I know I’ll never be able to do something like that. I’m also a total perfectionist, so the idea of messing up an entire page makes me anxious. Combine those together and I basically have concluded that bullet journals just aren’t for me.
That being said, bullet journals are really popular for a reason. Once I started reading posts about bullet journals, I saw people with pages that weren’t covered in beautiful drawings. I saw people with pages that had mistakes. Most importantly, I saw that those people kept on bullet journaling and enjoying it. So I decided that I could start one without being super creative and I could at least try to let go of the need for perfection.
I finally started my bullet journal after reading fifteen “How To Bullet Journal” posts and piecing a lot of things together. Even after reading all of those posts, I still had a lot of questions. But I jumped in and worked through my questions my own way and I’ve been loving my bullet journal already!
If you’re wanting to start a bullet journal, here’s everything you need to know.
Bullet Journal Supplies
The very first step is to get your bullet journal supplies. As simple as it can get, you need a blank notebook and a pen. That being said, there are some specific notebooks and pens that can make your bullet journaling experience easier and a bit more fun. Here are my core supplies:
Nearly every person with a bullet journal recommends a notebook that has gridlines or dots. I chose a dotted notebook and I’m really glad I did. It helps me keep my lines straight and even, whether they’re vertical, horizontal, or diagonal. My favorite notebook brand is Moleskine, so I went with one of their extra-large dotted notebooks with a soft cover.
You can use any pens for your bullet journal but having a lot of color and size options is really nice. I already had all of the pens that I wanted to use because I use them for a lot of other things also.
My must haves are Sharpie pens, Straedtler Triplus Fineliner pens, and Crayola Super Tip markers. I use my black Sharpie pen for all of my core lines and writing in my bullet journal. The Straedtler Triplus Fineliner pens are used for when I want thin lines/writing in color. Then I use the Crayola Super Tip markers for my headings.
There are a lot of other miscellaneous supplies that you can use to spruce up your bullet journal. I have some washi tape that I’ve used, and I have some stickers that I plan to use eventually also.
Once you have your supplies, it’s time to start your first pages. The very first page in my bullet journal is just a title page with a key.
After that, I have two index pages. An index page (or two) is a must have because the order of your journal is going to get all mixed up as you go along. The index will help you find pages that you want to reference or update once you have 50+ pages.
After your index pages, you’ll want to figure out what pages you want to have in your journal. There are SO MANY ideas for bullet journal pages, so I started with some of the basics that I knew I would use.
First is a 2018 Year At A Glance or annual calendar. I kept this right at the front for easy reference.
The next two pages are a Future Log or a month overview. These are to jot down anything that I know is happening later in the year.
After my Future Log pages, I have some of the “brain dump” and “tracking” pages that I’ve desperately been needing.
First is my Blog Ideas page and then I have my Blog Notes page. These pages have already been lifesavers for me!
After that, I created an Emergency Fund tracking page. A lot of people have savings trackers, but I wanted something specific to our emergency fund because that’s our primary focus right now.
After my Emergency Fund tracking page, I have a Gratitude page. I’m a little embarrassed that I haven’t added anything to this yet. I promise I am actually a very thankful person! I just haven’t figured out how I want this page set up yet.
After all of those customized pages, I wanted to jump into calendar pages. I started with a monthly overview. Once the day is over, I add a short quote to fill it in. I like having little pieces of inspiration, and it’s fun watching it fill up as the month goes on.
After my month overview page, I have my daily log pages. I don’t add a header for a day until the end of the previous day, so the spacing depends on how much I have going on each day. My daily log also has my water tracker, and yes, I know I’m not great at drinking water…
The best part of bullet journals is how personalized they are. After you get the foundation of your bullet journal started, the possibilities for the rest of it are endless. I’ve already added more pages after a few of my daily logs. I started a Health Tracker page and a Habit Tracker page and I plan to start a Debt Tracker page also.
I don’t like that even non-bleed pens can be seen through the pages, so I chose to only use one side of the pages for my actual bullet journal. The backside of all of the pages has become a spot for me to add pictures and mementos, which is actually really fun!
Remember to keep your bullet journal fun and personalized, and you’re sure to love it!
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission if you click a link and purchase something that I have recommended, at no additional cost to you. I value your trust and only recommend brands and products that I truly love! Read my full disclosure policy here.