When I first came across bullet journals on Pinterest, I thought to myself, “that seems like a LOT of work when I can just buy a planner from the store”, but something still intrigued me about them. Fast forward to my next snow day, and I was hooked!
It really is an addicting way to stay organized or track an aspect of your life. So, how exactly do you get started on a bullet journal? Keep reading my bullet journal guide to find out!
Why Bullet Journal?
Bullet Journalling might be right for you, if:
- You like to write things down, rather than type them out or record them.
- Do you prefer to start out with a blank slate? Bullet journals are a great option if you like blank pages rather than a template.
- You are looking for a new hobby that is also productive.
- You’re searching for a new creative outlet!
- You’re intrigued by the beautiful planners you see on Pinterest and really just want to try it out.
Bullet Journal Supplies
So when I first started bullet journalling, I went out and bought a journal, some pens, and came home and got to work. And I messed it up. Why? Probably because I was using a magazine as a ruler and was half paying attention to what I was doing! After a little trial and error, I found that these tools have worked the best for me.
- A blank journal.
- A ruler.
- Markers. I bought several different kinds of markers:
- Stencils. This set is great because it also includes a ruler, and several different kinds of stencil templates.
P.s., if you’re looking for even more bullet journal supplies, check out my supply round up post here! There’s a great selection of supplies you’ll love for your bullet journal!
Bullet Journal Guide: Getting Started
Plan it out first! Decide which pages you want to use in your journal, and use an index card or post-it note to figure out which pages you want where. Make sure you use a pencil if you’re a perfectionist like me!
For pages that require tracking or everyday attention, make sure they are pages you’ll actually use. When I first began mine, I made every page that looked fun that I found on Pinterest, without any actual organization or intent to use them (unsure what I was thinking making a 28k jumping jack challenge, LOL).
Depending on how you set yours up, try to give yourself a few trackers per month. This way, you won’t get lost in trying to track how much you’ve spent, what the weather was, how you’re feeing, whether you’ve drank enough water, all at once!! Especially if it’s throughout layers and layers of pages (more on that later).
Bullet Journal Guide: Set-Up
Most people use a bullet journal as a planner and then add in extra pages (challenges, trackers, designs/doodles, quotes, etc) throughout the journal itself. Figure out how you want to create your planner:
My bullet journal is set up by month. I’ve only been doing it for two months, so I’m still experimenting how I want my planner to look.
When I began in January, I didn’t really know where to go with it, so I broke it down by category (fitness, finance, self care, etc). While my pages looked nice, I didn’t leave much room for actually planning my weeks out! So for March, I’m setting it up monthly, and then breaking down each week.
If you’re looking for some ideas for your layouts, check out my weekly spreads post! It’s got a ton of great ideas for your weekly pages.
I’ve been getting ahead of myself with it, and I’ve already started designing my layout for April!! Not the best idea, but what I’ve already noticed is that my pages are getting better!
This hobby takes a little bit of practice, and yours will improve too! Make sure you check out my post on how to fix your bullet journal, just in case you make a mistake. **On that note, make sure if you do this you leave yourself a few pages in between each month!!**
Bullet Journal Inspiration
I’ve broken this section into three parts, including a couple examples from my personal journal:
- Page Ideas: inspiration for what pages you want to include within your monthly, weekly, or daily spreads.
- Tracker Ideas: creative ways to count or track something (see below examples)
- Challenge Ideas: challenge yourself to do more of something (or less!) and is usually involved with fitness, but can be done with anything!
Page Ideas by Category:
- Year in Pixels (I recommend this page at the beginning so it’s easiest to find.)
- Year Roadmap
*UPDATE 2/3/2019: This page is from my 2019 Bullet Journal Set Up Guide! If you’re looking to set your journal up to help you achieve some of your 2019 resolutions, check it out!
I can’t wait to write my post on how I improved my journal. I look back on some of my old posts and cringe, but I leave up the good and the bad to show how ANYONE can improve!
(Also, can we talk about how much better my blog photos are?! That’s still a work in progress for me, but my pictures have come a long way!)
- Self Care
- To-Do List
- Personal Goals
- Bucket List
- To-Buy List
BLOG: (I’ll post a separate page on how I’ve been using only my bullet journal to plan my blog!):
- Blog To-Do
- Post Ideas
- Page Views
- Post Plans
- Blog Goals
- Social Media Growth
- Weight loss
- Step Count
- Water intake
- Mile time
- Master Grocery List
- Meal Planner
- Spring cleaning
- Chore List (try yearly, monthly, weekly, and daily cleaning routines!)
- Home To-Do
- New Bullet Journal Page Ideas
- Important Dates (start of seasons, holidays, etc.)
- Passwords for social media, bank accounts, etc.
Tracking pages are also popular in bullet journals. It’s a way to keep track of your activities or progress in your bullet journal. I’ve personally used a ton of trackers in my bullet journal and I’ve found that visually seeing yourself make progress is really motivating!
This stainless steel circle stencil is great for habit tracking!
- Weight Loss Tracker: Trying to reach a goal weight? Keep track of your progress by mapping out how much weight you have lost.
- Steps Per Day: How much are you moving today? Improve your step count by tracking how many steps you’re taking.
- Water Intake Tracker
- Mile Time
- Debt Tracker: Counting down the dollars until you are debt free, this is a great page to include in the beginning of your bullet journal as well, since we all (unfortunately!) pay bills month by month.
- Daily Spending Tracker: Where is your money REALLY going? Keeping track of your spending habits can show you where you think you should be cutting down
- Habit Tracker: Keep track of your daily habits.
- Mood Tracker
- Bill Tracker: Keep a running tracker on what bills you’ve paid for each month so that you don’t miss any!
Another page from my 2019 Bullet Journal Set Up. It’s also a perfect example of how much my bullet journal has improved over the past year!
- Savings Challenge: I found a great savings challenge that doesn’t require you to add a ton of money each day. It can really add up to something at the end of the year! *This is another page that you can add to the front of your journal.
- No-Spend Challenge: Weekly or daily
- 30 Day Challenges:
- Fitness: Find a ton of great 30 day challenges online for workouts. You can do a 30 day workout challenge that is specific to a certain body part: abs, butt, legs, arms, etc.
- No Alcohol: Taking a break from your daily wine/beer fix? Challenge yourself and track your progress
My favorite thing about having a bullet journal is that the possibilities are endless, and it really helps focus all aspects of life into one place. I hope this bullet journal guide gave you a little inspiration to start your own journal! Comment below and let me know what you came up with!