I discovered the bullet journal a few years ago, and I haven’t looked back. It’s the one good habit that I started and have actually maintained, and I can’t tell you enough how much it’s improved my life. I bought a few different (and expensive!) adorable agendas
that everyone was raving about, but I could never keep them going past a few weeks. For some reason, no matter how cool the designs were, I couldn’t get excited about using it long term.
Enter: the bullet journal. Yes — it is overwhelming to stare at a blank book, but I’ve been creating journals now for nearly two years, so I have learned a lot about what works (for me) and what doesn’t. I can help you get a solid foundation so you can create the journal of your dreams.
Let’s get started!
What is a bullet journal?
If you’ve never heard of a bullet journal before, don’t worry. I have everything you need to get started here! You’re going to love it, I promise. You can learn more at the official bullet journal website, and while you’re over there I highly recommend signing up for the newsletter.
Honestly, the bullet journal can be anything you want it to be. For example, I use mine to schedule daily tasks, keep appointments, notes, menus and plans, and see my overall year at a glance. This is different from a traditional pre-made agenda because I get to create each page by hand, giving me the ability to have a fully customized, totally organized agenda. This is a little bit of work up front — not as much as you think, I promise! — but in the end, having a book that’s completely tailored to suit your needs where you can see every important item for your year in seconds is totally worth it.
There are so many different pages you can create with your journal: habit trackers, mood meters, vacation planners, grocery lists, financial goal tracking… the sky is the limit.
Once you commit to putting ink on the page, you’ll find that discovering which spreads work for you is no longer overwhelming, and is even kind of exciting if you’re a total nerd like me.
Supplies to Get Started
• Set of pens
If you’re not sure what kind of notebook you need, I’ve tried both dotted and graph paper so I have opinions. They’re both great, but I really love the dotted kind. Most people in the bullet journal world are loyal to the dotted Medium Size Leuchtturm1917, but I’m going to reiterate that this is all about what you want and what works for you, so get something you love.
The Bullet Journal Basics
I love following bullet journal experts for inspiration (and motivation!), so I’ve found some beautiful examples of some of my tips and I’m sharing them below.
1. The Index
When you get started, you’ll create an index on your first page. This will be where you keep a log of all the pages, so you can easily reference things like menus, trackers and major events at a glance. It’s a very simple list, and will be something like this:
• Key: 7
• To Do Lists: 23, 49-50,
• Vacation Plans: 17, 32
• January: 10-18
• February: 22-32
You get the idea! I actually use this a lot more than I ever thought I would, and it’s become a great reference tool for my journal.
2. The Future Log
Next, you’ll skip a few pages and create your future log. This is your “year-at-a-glance” and it’s super important. This is where you’ll log dates that are several months away but need to stay on your radar.
Creating these pages are what made me realize that keeping this journal was totally doable. Even though you don’t have a full 365-day calendar at the ready, there’s a place to jot down every future appointment without losing it.
3. Month At A Glance
The month-at-a-glance pages are sort of like the first page of that month’s “chapter.” It can be as simple as numbering the page from 1- the number of days that month, and filling it in when appointments come up, or you can take this opportunity to get creative. I don’t always have time to go full Martha Stewart, but I have found that when I take a little time to add colors or interesting things, I’m more excited to reach for it every day. It’s the little things!
4. Weekly Spreads
I’ve never felt like I needed to dedicate a full page to one day, so I only use weekly spreads. But, if your days are more scheduled than mine are, you can do full or half pages dedicated to each day of the week. The great thing about customizing and agenda just for you, is that you know exactly what you need, and it might change every week. I love having the ability to switch things up when my schedule adjusts.
Sometimes I like to leave two pages between each weekly spread so I can have a place to jot down notes that are relevant to that week. This is a great place for menus and grocery lists, longer notes, and to-dos that you’d like to keep track of over several days.
This should be a good foundation to get you started if you’re interested in jumping into the bullet journal world. I’d love to answer any questions if you have them! Just leave them in the comments below. Happy journaling!
*Okay, I’m a more organized person.
**Totally spelled Sanibel wrong, don’t judge me too much!