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Bullet journals have been all the rage the last couple of years, and no wonder! They’re the perfect thing for literally everyone because they are literally designed to your personal needs and wants. I’ve seen all sort of bullet journals, from super minimalistic to over-the-top colourful, sticker filled ones. Learn how to start a Bullet Journal for Beginners right here!
As someone who loves art, but also being on top of everything, I absolutely love my bullet journal. I cannot live with it at this point because I use it for everything. I use it for planning, but also for financial tracking, keeping up with and being accountable in my health journey, I used it to plan out my wedding, and so much more.
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Since starting my own bullet journal, I’ve had a lot of people ask me, “How do you start a bullet journal?” I completely understand why they’re asking; it seems like such a daunting task to start. A planner that you have to completely keep up with and design yourself? That idea alone almost turned me away from starting my own bullet journal.
No worries though, think of this post as your starting-a-bullet-journal cheat sheet. I’m going to break down how to start a bullet journal into a few easy steps and soon you too will be wondering why you didn’t start one sooner.
PIN FOR LATER:
Overview: How to Start a Bullet Journal for Beginners
- Get all of your supplies
- Decide Your Purpose
- Create a Key and Index
- Design and Draw Your Page
- Decorate page
- Use and enjoy
- About the Author
Get All Of Your Supplies
You don’t have to use anything super expensive or fancy, but you will need some basics to get you started. Such as:
- dotted journal
If you’re a bit more artsy and creative and want to add some fun and color to your bullet journal, I also recommend:
- washi tape
- colored book tabs
Decide Your Purpose
What are you starting a bullet journal for? Are you using it for habits and health tracking? Are you trying to make your own planner? Are you using it for financial and business purposes? All of the above? How you answer that question will tell you what kind of bullet journal pages you’ll need to draw.
If you’re looking for a habit and health tracker, you’re going to want bullet journal pages like weekly meal planning, workout schedule, grocery list, etc. If you want a planner or a bullet journal to help you keep up with your everyday life, you’re going to want calendar spreads, important event pages, reflection pages, to do lists, etc. For financial and business purposes, you’ll want money trackers (both savings and spendings), expense logs, budgets, etc.
Once you decide what you what purpose you want your bullet journal to have, I always like to write out what order I want the pages in to make designing and creating each page easier.
Create a Key and Index
These are both pretty important for a bullet journal. Create a key by assigning items, places, and tasks different indicators in the front of your journal that you can reference back to whenever you read through your journal. I personally like to have a color coded key, but you can do symbols or short hand or stickers. Up to you.
For an index, you’ll mostly update this as you create your journal, but it’s always good to have a designated page in the front of your journal already mapped out. Most dotted journals don’t come with page numbers in them already so you’ll want to go through your entire bullet journal and write them in.
Design and Draw Your Page
You’ve got your layout, purpose, key, and index; it’s time to break out the art supplies and get drawing. First thing, figure out how you want your page to look. Are you going for a minimalistic look? A collage? Are you following a theme? I personally use Pinterest for this step because there are so many bullet journal page ideas and designs on there that can inspire you when creating your own pages.
Now that we’ve picked a design, we’re going to go ahead and sketch it out in pencil. I like to use my ruler to ensure that all of my boxes and lines are even and clean. It’s important to start with pencil because it makes it easier to change your mind if you don’t end up liking the design or if you make a mistake, it’s easier to fix.
Once you finish sketching out your page design in pencil and you’re happy with the final product, break out the pens and trace over your pencil design. Be extra careful during this step and continue to use the ruler when drawing those lines. Take it from me, there is nothing more frustrating in bullet journaling than messing up in pen.
Important step: Let the ink dry for about five minutes before erasing any visible pencil design. If you do it too quickly after tracing in pen, you’ll smudge the ink and end up with a bunch of ink streaks across your page.
Finally! The fun part! Now that you’ve completed the initial page design, decorate your page however you’d like. You can use cut outs from magazines or old cards for pictures or scrapbooking paper as fun patterned backgrounds. Markers and highlighters can be used to draw attention to certain places on the page or also to fill in shapes and spaces you want a pop of color. Washi tape is great to use for headers or important reminders. This part is completely up to you so use as many, or as little, supplies as you’d like!
Use and Enjoy!
This step is pretty self-explanatory. Once you’ve finished all the pages you need -I typically do about a month’s worth at a time- all that’s left to do is use it! I like to attach a black pen and a pencil to my bullet journal for when I take it with me wherever I go. I do this so that I’m still able to pencil things in if need be.
There you have it! Now go create your own amazing bullet journal!
Take a shot for the many hours put into my bullet journals and toast to how satisfying and beautiful they are to use,
About the Author
Kristaleagh Walthall is the author of Millennial Whiskey, a blog dedicated to helping millennials connect with one another over shared interests and struggles. She works full time as a bartender in Central Virginia where she lives with her husband Ryan of eight months and their two cats, Dobey and Ember. In her spare time, you can find her in the kitchen trying out new cocktail or food recipes, journaling, watching cooking competition shows on Hulu, and snuggling up with the kitties on the couch.
Find and follow her on Social Media!
- Facebook: Millennial Whiskey
- Instagram: @millennialwhiskey
- Pinterest: Millennial Whiskey
- Twitter: @millennialwhsky
I really want to spend more time doing this! I have bought one and the bits I need but with a full time job and volunteering, I’m just not getting the time! Thanks for sharing!
I understand the value of daily journaling, so I have a productivity planner. But you have to control yourself to keep consistent, because only then you’ll see the positive impact 😉
Lisa M. Alioto says
I’ve always wanted to do this but just have never gotten around to it. This is the perfect holiday project for me to start up
Jaya Avendel says
I love looking at the creative spreads and daily pages of bullet journalers. While I love the beauty of it, I have never been motivated to start my own bullet journal. For me, writing in my journal and doodling in the margins is what works for me. 🙂
Lauren Roskilly says
Love this! Very useful as just beginning journaling myself, thank you!
This was such a helpful post, I really want to start a bullet journal and I think your post might have just convinced me to start one!
Megan Charlie says
I loveeee the look of bullet journals. I’ve always found the task to be a bit a bit daunting but would love to give it a go at some point.