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Introduction to Bullet Journaling

I have never managed to keep a journal for more than a couple months at at a time. I was just never able to commit myself to writing down my life daily. But bullet journaling is an entirely different story. I started bullet journaling late last year and I haven’t stopped since.

For me, bullet journaling is as much a creative outlet as a way to organize my day. It’s like a scrapbook, sketchbook, journal and planner all wrapped into one. It is so much fun! 

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holiday spread
Christmas Planning Spread

The Bare Bones of Bullet Journaling

Let me first start by explaining the bullet journal method. There are three main types of bullets for you to use in a bullet journal (or BuJo): Tasks, Events, and Notes. When you finished any of these, you check it off. If you didn’t finish it that day and will do it in the future, you can migrate the task, meaning you will for example put it in your planning for the next day or week depending on your schedule. 

bullet journal method
bullet journal method

That’s bullet journaling in a nutshell, the bare bones. Some people prefer to bullet journal this way. They like it for the functionality. It is certainly a great system. This system is also flexible in that you can really do what you want in terms of the symbols you use. For tasks, I make a little box instead of a bullet like above and I also use a triangle to list appointments I have. I check off items when they’re completed, I don’t use X’s.

However, there is so much more to bullet journaling! Just go on Pinterest and type in bullet journal and you’ll see what I mean. 

intro to bullet journaling
Vacation Planning Spread

Bullet Journaling Expanded

You can also do way more than just keep track of your daily tasks and events. With a bullet journal, you can record pretty much anything: habits, exercise, sleep, birthdays, meals, budget, bucket lists, lists upon lists upon lists! The possibilities are endless, so it is all up to what you want to record in your life and how you want to do it.

I do bucket list pages for the beginning of a new year and for the seasons. Some of the habits I record each month are yoga, meditation, exercise, no sugar eaten that day, and no spending. I keep gratitude and achievement logs. Also, instead of writing out my whole day, I keep a calendar each month where I write in a couple of short sentences of how my day went.  

BuJos are for the super organized, but they are also for the super creative! If you want to be creative and include artwork, doodling, or collage in your journal, you can do themes for each month. My theme for this month is Ice-Cream! Or just go wild and do whatever doodling you want. 

Finding a Bullet Journal

Most die hard BuJo enthusiasts use dotted journals, but you could use whatever journal you have on hand if you’re a beginner. Why spend the money if you’re not sure you’ll continue? I started with a regular lined journal I had lying around the house and it’s worked fine for me all these months. 

If you want an official one, I usually buy journals from these websites:

self care spread
Self-Care Spread

Getting Started and Finding Inspiration

So now that you’ve heard the wonders of bullet journaling and the endless options you have, where do you even start? Start by finding a notebook that you would like to use and a pencil. Then maybe jot down the few things you would like to track to get started. I highly suggest checking Pinterest or doing further research online to get some inspiration to see the different ways you can layout your spreads. I have my own bullet journaling Pinterest board that I keep to look at for inspiration. Once you are able to nail down a plan, you can start working on creating your spreads. 

If you really don’t know how to start, just start by making a nice title page. Some people reserve 4 pages after the title page for an index, kind of like a glossary in a book so it’s easier for you to find everything. Here are a few typical spreads you can get started with:

Monthly BuJo Spread

This is where you can keep track of everything going on in the month in one space. I usually list out the days so I can see all my events in one place and I make space for a general to-do list and work to-do list. People also create title pages for each month too with an illustration in line with the theme. 

november monthly
Harry Potter Theme Monthly Spread

Daily BuJo Spread

december weekly
December Dailies

These are going to be your day by day lists of activities and events. I’ve changed the way I layout my dailies a few times now and I might change it again next month. You can go day by day with this or plan out your dailies for the week in one shot. 

Habit Tracker

You can track habits like sleep, exercise, water intake, how much tv you watch, etc. Lately I have been doing a weekly habit tracker that I put next to my dailies. I also track what I eat everyday. You can do a monthly or yearly habit tracker if you choose too.

november habit tracker
Harry Potter Theme Habit Tracker

Mood Tracker

june mood tracker
Ice-Cream Theme Mood Tracker

Track your mood for each day using color coding or a number scale. People really think out of the box with spreads for this tracker.

Gratitude BuJo Spread

I write down two or three things I am grateful for every night when I go through my journal before bed. You can a spread like this with gratitude, kindness, positivity, or achievements. 

My Gratitude Log

These spreads should be able to get you started with your bullet journal. Then you can start hoarding felt pens, highlighters, gel pens, and sticky notes and that’s where the real fun begins! 

I will be making some more posts in the future about this lovely hobby of mine. I’ll share more ideas on spreads you can do and sources I go to inspiration between other blogs and social media. I also recently started a separate bullet journal solely devoted to baking. Once I get some spreads done, I plan on sharing it with you all. Happy Journaling! 

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