How to Start a Bullet Journal: Theme, Supplies, Order, and Format
I received a request to post something on how to make a bullet journal. Honestly, how I learned was Pinterest. Since I was used to pre-formatted planners, I knew I need a space for each day of the week along with a notes section. In reference to my last blog post, I think it’s important to decide if you want to make a task journal, a diary-form journal, or a combination of both.
If you’re doing this for the first time, I would first find an old empty notebook and roughly practice layouts. How do you want your month to look like? What do you want to include? Why are you journaling? Here’s why I journal!
Whether you want to have a theme to your month or week is up to you. I tend to have a lot on my weekly spreads, so I do less intricate designs and more minimalist ones. I used to have a different design for each week, then I would keep the same design for the month, and now each month is a different color.
For starting out, definitely use a pencil, especially to trace, but as you do it more you’ll be using pen frequently. I use the .35 Muji pens and a thicker felt pen for headers and such. I see that a lot of people use Midliner markers, but I use Tombow because I really like that they have double ends.
I started my bullet journal with an outline of my college classes, what I’ve taken, what my grades are, and how many credits I’ve accumulated. Then I made a future log, where I have every day of every month lined up. Here, I write birthdays, important events, trips, etc.
In my bullet journal, each month has in this order:
- A title page. I usually include a mini calendar somewhere in the design.
- An overview where I list however many days are in the month, just like the future log, but this is usually more detailed.
- A to-do list for the month. This includes things to think about, goals, and plans for the month.
- A daily habit tracker. I like to change this up a little bit every month in terms of what I want to start doing every day. I have a daily section and a sort of other section. The daily section is pretty chronological; it starts with “wake up before 8:30” and ends with my nighttime routine. This “other” section is mostly for when I want to know the last time I did something, like laundry or a face mask.
- The weekly layouts. I started adding my homework in here as well so I didn’t have two planners. I also recently added an overview section for the week that’s mostly for tasks and not an overview of my day. You can choose your own symbols for notes vs tasks vs events. I’ve changed mine up! Whether you want a bullet list or a dash or a checkbox, a circle, a diamond, it’s totally up to you. This is your journal, and if you change your mind, so what? To get started though, this is why I would recommend getting a blank notebook and practicing. You can see in the photos below that I changed a homework section to a calendar and an exercise chart.
- A notes/best memories section. I added this after journaling for a while because I felt that I should at least include things like fun times and weird stories that happened over the month that I can’t really put in my journal otherwise. This is so nice to reflect on!
I also would highly recommend a future log. Mine looks like this:
I may post a more intricate guide if anyone needs it. I highly recommend looking at Pinterest for inspiration (here is my Pinterest board for bullet journaling). You can start from anywhere and you can always change your journal. Don’t be afraid to mess up, rip a page out, tape two pages together, or use some white-out. The more you do it, the better you’ll get. I hope this helps!