How to Start a Bullet Journal

Dear Diary,

Do you struggle with keeping your life organized? Or to find a calendar that has everything you want in it? Or do you just LOVE planners and stationary supplies?!

For me….I was stressed because I couldn’t keep a consistent planner. When I started working a full-time job, I found myself with notes ALL OVER my desk.

It was time for a new system…the bullet journal!


When I discovered bullet journals, I was amazed. I always have been obsessed with notebooks,  stationary and school supplies, so it seemed perfect for me!

But could I do it?

I watched Youtube videos and read blogs about bullet journaling and dreamt of having that type of talent.

Then I realized…this journal is for me. Nobody else!

It’s to get my life organized! Why am I so worried about what it looks like or if I could do it?

I had to just try!

What’s a Bullet Journal?

So, what is a bullet journal?!


A bullet journal is a customizable and personal system. It could be whatever you want it to be!

It can be your calendar, to-do lists, family birthday list, diary, exercise tracker and so so much more!

The best part?

You create it. However you want! It’s completely flexible to your needs.

Something I love about bullet journaling is that you fill it in as you go!

Bullet journals were originally created by Ryder Carroll. Here is his youtube video from 2013. It is a quick explanation of the system so many follow to BuJo (bullet journal)!

What Supplies Do I Need?

A common misconception when it comes to bullet journaling : you need expensive notebooks, pens, markers, etc. 

This is completely FALSE!

All you need is a notebook and a pen.

With that said, in the BuJo community, there are many supplies that are used.


When I began journaling, I used a regular old notebook and pen.

Once I got the hang of the system, I graduated to a Moleskin dotted notebook and started experimenting with different pens, markers, colored pencils, stickers, and more!

Before I get into the specific supplies, keep in mind that you DO NOT need these to create a BuJo….they just make it that much more fun! 🙂

The Journal

Traditionally, bullet journals are created with dotted or grid paper books.



The reason most use a dotted or gird book is simply because it makes it easier to draw straight lines in all directions!

A few popular dotted or grid notebooks are The Bullet JournalMoleskinLeuchtturm1917Erin Condren, and Essentials.

The Pen

Everyone has their own idea of the “perfect pen” when it comes to bullet journaling. It depends on how thick you like your lines, the weight of the pen, the journal you are writing in, etc.!


If you are a BuJo beginner, I’d say : keep it simple!

Some of my preferred pens are Sharpie Pen StylosMicron PensPilot G2Paper Mate Flare Felt Pens, Straedtler Triplus Fineliner Pens, and Sakura Gelly Roll Pens.

There are hundreds of other options, but these are all super easy to work with!

Some experts use fountain pens such as Pilot Varsity Fountain Pens, but they take more practice!

The Decorations

There are endless ways to decorate your BuJo! Some common supplies to add color and illustration are markers, colored pencils, washi tape, water colors, stickers, and scrapbook paper.


My personal favorites to decorate with are Crayola Super Tips Markers and Tombow Duel Brush Pens.

What Do I Include In My Journal?

There are a few things that are in almost every bullet journal. These pages keep you organized and ready to journal!


The first thing to include in your BuJo is a key.


This will help you stay consistent with your symbols and color coding throughout your entire BuJo so you are never confused!


Next, you should have an index.

Here, you can write in your topics with page numbers. This way, everything can easily be found.

(This is something I’m really bad at keeping track of…whoops!)

Yearly Spread

The next page to include is your yearly.


A yearly is a quick glance at all the months in the year!

This is where you can fill in future events, appointments, birthdays, etc. that you do not want to forget.

Monthly Spread

Next up, is the monthly!


A monthly helps you organize the current month you are on.

It includes a calendar or list of dates where you write in your events, tasks, etc. for that month.

Though you don’t have to, I love to have a theme for each month! I use the same type of illustrations and color palette throughout the entire month.

Weekly Spread

Finally, the weekly spread!


This organizes, you guessed it, the current week!

This is basically the heart of your BuJo. This is where you can list and cross off your daily to-do lists!

You can have your appointments, notes, and schedules here. You can also make a list of things to buy, track your food or water intake, plan your meals, and anything else important to you!

There are endless ways to set up your weekly spread (check out Pinterest!). You just have to decide what works best for you and your lifestyle! This is definitely a matter of trial and error, or you can set it up different every month!


Now for my favorite part…collections!!!




It would be impossible for me to fully get into the world of collections, but this is where you can keep a running log of things such as birthdays, places to visit, goals, memories, TV shows to watch, books to read, quotes, doodles, favorite songs, packing lists, routines and SO MUCH MORE!


The last piece of the BuJo puzzle I am going to talk about is trackers!



This is where you can track your progress over a given period of time.

Same as collections, there are so many different trackers you can create. Some trackers I love to use are exercise, weight loss, money saving, water intake, mood, habits, and sleep.

Create Yours!

IMG_3357.jpgCongratulations! You made it through the entire post!

As cliché as it sounds, the bullet journal system has changed my life! I am more organized and stress-free since joining the BuJo community. It also calms my nerves to have a creative outlet when I am feeling anxious.

If you are currently stressed when you look at your desk full of sticky notes, fear no more! This is the most adaptable and flexible system just for you!

Now it’s time to grab your favorite journal and pen and start letting your creativity flow!

I’d love to know what bullet journal posts you’d like me to write next! Comment your ideas or questions below!
Also, comment “done!” if you made it through the whole post!!




6 thoughts on “How to Start a Bullet Journal

  1. Pingback: What’s In my Bag?-Teacher Edition – Beth's Not-So-Secret Diary

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