Setting up a bullet journal is a very personal and unique thing. Everyone has different styles and not everyone can draw. So for me to tell you how to set up a bullet journal is a bit difficult but I can give you some tips that I’ve picked up in the last year or so.
First off, you don’t need to buy the most expensive journal but I will say go for something that has decent pages and doesn’t let ink bleed through. The one I’m currently using is a hot pink lined journal from Primark. All you need is your favourite pen and a ruler. Washi tape and Tombow pens can wait… for now hehe.
The whole idea of bullet journalling is to be able to simply jot something down, use a key to organise the task and essentially be able to find it by using an index system. Whether it be study notes, daily diary entries or even a journal to plan your blog, the bullet journal system can be very helpful.
Bullet Journal Index
Find the first 2 clean pages where you feel comfortable starting. These are going to be your index, just like a chapters page in a book. You will be referring back to this page, so start off simple. In the official bullet journal, the index and page numbers are already set up.
As you can see I went ahead and started back in March, the page numbers where jotted in later. Many people suggest using a Future Log, which to be honest I don’t really use much but still like to add in there just incase. This is basically to scope out the next 6 months in one look. You can add important deadlines, anniversaries and birthdays here.
If you pages aren’t numbered then go ahead and number them, you don’t have to do this all in one go but this is going to help with the main index. I just write them on the bottom corner of the page.
How to Set Up a Bullet Journal
After that I’d go ahead and decorate a nice page for the start of the month.. in this case August. I’m showing you this as I’ve just set up my bullet journal for August and don’t have anything personal written in yet.
You can go as crazy as you like, some people like to keep it very minimalistic. I like to add a quote or doodle to brighten up my page and this month I’ve gone with a Pokémon theme.
Note: Just have fun with this, I know my drawing of Dedenne is not the best, but it was fun to create.
Bullet Journal Monthly Spread
After an arty start to the month, I tend to write out a monthly spread to note down anything like birthdays, holidays, events or appointments for the month. This is currently across 2 pages with room for notes on the right hand side. I also have 3 columns, one for study, one specifically for Spanish studying and the 3rd column is to note how many steps I took that day.
I believe numbers 1-31 will fit on one page in the Leuchtturm journals.
Bullet Journal Daily Pages
Here are my daily pages and you might notice that I don’t use the recommended Bullet Journal Key System. Since forever, I’ve made lists using boxes to tick off tasks when completed. If I don’t finish a task I will use a forward arrow to remind myself to get it done another day. This system just works better for me so I will continue using it this way.
I tend to split my day into 2 columns, one for ‘Life’, the other ‘Net’. The ‘Life’ column is basically everything from bathing the dog, to phoning my Mum and the ‘Net’ column is for any daily tasks related to the internet, from replying to an email, drafting a blog post or updating on social media. I prefer this way than one long list of muddled things to do.
Bullet Journal Tracker
As I am using a lined notebook, I have to make my own bullet journal trackers. These are really simple to make if you have squared paper and are easily stuck in with washi tape. You can make separate trackers for social media posting or even health to track things like migraines and mood. I’m keeping mine simple for now, but will probably add in a few more things as the month progresses.
Bullet Journal Challenges and Book Trackers
Another fun thing to track in your bullet journal are online challenges such as this one by Stacey at Unicorn Fairy. It’s easy to refer to when it’s written out. I also have a page for the month of any books, shows or films that I watch. I prefer to do these monthly so I can look back on it.
Bullet Journal Wishlist
Like I mentioned earlier, you don’t want to spend a lot of money on your first bullet journal. You are going to mess it up and over time you will develop a style. When you feel comfortable with your set up then I would totally invest in a proper bujo. The Leuchtturm 1917 is considered the ultimate bullet journal. You can purchase it with blank, dotted, squared or lined paper in various colours.
The A5 emerald green Leuchtturm is my holy grail right now and I’m hoping to get it in time to set up starting September. This is a great time to start a journal, for me anyway, as I will be going back to school in October and I really love memory keeping in the buildup to Halloween and Winter. I’m hoping this larger sized bullet journal will keep me going for quite a few months as I add study notes, challenges and blog ideas to mine as well as daily to do lists.
Also on my wishlist are these Tombow brush pens which I’ve heard ‘bujo guru’ Boho Berry talk about in her videos. I haven’t dabbled in calligraphy since I was a kid but keeping a bullet journal brings out my creative side and so one of my goals is to learn some calligraphy basics. I have PLENTY of washi tape but if I was going to invest in some more it would be something cute like this set which includes clouds, ice-cream and unicorn washi tape!!
The pen I use consistently is the Pilot V7 Hi-Tecpoint and it’s refillable so cartridges are a must have too. Just like Harry Potter when he visits Ollivanders, once you find your perfect pen you will know.
Do you keep a bullet journal or have any questions about setting up your own? Let’s geek out about it in the comments!
*This post contains Amazon affiliate links because that stationery ain’t going to pay for itself LOL. 😉