How To Start Using a Bullet Journal

Lately I’ve been getting some questions about bullet journaling, so I thought I’d write a post on it. I’ve been using a bullet journal for about two years now and I absolutely love it! It helps me be more productive whilst being more creative. In this blogpost you will find out how a bullet journal can benefit you and how you can get started. You will also find a lot of inspiration for page/spread ideas!

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What I use my bullet journal for

My bullet journal is pretty much my bible. Everything I need and want to remember is in there: my planning, my appointments, trackers for challenges I’m doing, my life, yearly and monthly goals, checklists, packing lists… everything! Needless to say, I’d panic a bit if I were to lose it.

Benefits

Keeping a bullet journal has helped me be more productive and more on top of things. It’s the first thing I check in the morning and the last thing I check in the evening (okay, maybe except for some messages on my phone, you caught me). Now you could do that with a regular planner too, but the real benefit of the bullet journal is its flexibility. You literally have empty pages that you can fill exactly how you want and need. Each person’s planning is different and we all have different needs when it comes to our planner. For example, I like to have a space for monthly goals and a habit tracker/30 day challenge tracker in mine. It’s pretty hard to find a planner that has all that. So, I create my own.

Creativity

I like making things look pretty and I love creative lettering. 1+1=2. Bullet journaling is perfect for me. At first it was somewhat of a daunting task to create all these beautiful looking pages and I would scream internally if I messed up a spread. However, after a while you just accept that that’s part of creativity: sometimes things don’t go as planned. Not even in a planner…

For me, bullet journaling has the same effect as those coloring books for adults. It’s relaxing and offers a little moment of self-care without having to feel “guilty” (please, never ever feel guilty for self-care) because you’re still being productive. It helps me deal with stress.

But doesn’t it take a lot of time?

Yes, no, well, it can. Depending on how “big” you want to make your spreads, it can take anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours to create. If you’re very busy, go with a simple design and if you have some time to kill: go crazy. 😉

Here’s an example of a very simple spread I made in less than a minute:

Let’s get cracking!

So, how do you actually start a bullet journal? Well, first of all, you will need a journal (shocker!). There are hundreds, maybe even thousands of different bullet journals. My personal favorites are from MUS and Leuchtturm1917. MUS is a Dutch brand and has a more creative look. Leuchtturm1917 is available on Amazon and is a bit more classy and elegant. They both come in a lot of different colors. I recommend that if you’re serious about starting a bullet journal, you invest in a good quality one. Nothing grinds my gears more than creating a beautiful spread only to find out it has ruined the next page.  

Pens

Disclaimer: when you get started with a bullet journal, you’re most likely going to develop a serious stationary addiction. My house is now cluttered with cute books, stickers and pens. You’ve been warned.

I use fineliners for most of my spreads. I love this set from Stabilo. It has so many different colors: it’s just perfect. I keep them in a nice, practical container and they last. I’ve been using this set for three years and I only had to replace the black one.

Highlighters

Since starting my bullet journal, I developed a whole new appreciation for highlighters. They really brighten up your journal. I personally love these pastel ones from Stabilo.

Inspiration/Ideas

Okay, now you have everything to get started. All you need is some inspiration. Next to your planner, you can put whatever you want in your bullet journal. That’s the good part. I love looking at Pinterest for inspiration. I have a board dedicated to bullet journal inspiration on the My Passion Projects Pinterest page. Here’s a list of page ideas:

  1. Key/Legend with your symbols/icons
  2. Compliment page (record compliments you want to remember)
  3. Watchlist
  4. Reading list
  5. Quotes
  6. Period Tracker
  7. Habit Tracker
  8. 30 Day challenge tracker
  9. Morning routine
  10. Evening routine
  11. Cleaning schedule
  12. Packing lists
  13. Wishlists
  14. Life Goals
  15. Yearly goals
  16. Monthly goals
  17. Weight loss tracker
  18. Fitness tracker
  19. Fitness routine
  20. Checklists
  21. Skills you want to master
  22. Notes
  23. Shopping lists
  24. Gratitude
  25. Affirmations
  26. Bucket list
  27. Things that make me happy
  28. Things that help me relax
  29. Self-care ideas
  30. Playlists
  31. Accomplishments you’re proud of
  32. Mood tracker
  33. Spending Log
  34. Budgeting/saving goals
  35. Travel destinations
  36. Sleep log
  37. Study tracker
  38. Blog post ideas
  39. Accounts & Passwords
  40. What to do when bored list

I hope this post motivated you to get started with your very own bullet journal. I’d love to see pictures. So shoot me a message or show me on Twitter or Instagram!

With much love,
Maud