How to Start a Bullet Journal (Beginner’s Guide 2021)

the bullet journal method
How to Start a Bullet Journal (Beginner’s Guide 2021)

What is Bullet Journal Method?

Bullet journal method is a system of journaling developed by Ryder Carroll.

The main aim of bullet journal method is for a person not to feel overwhelmed with all their task on hand.

The method involves tracking the past, organize the present and plan the future.

The creator of this method Ryder Carroll was diagnosed with ADHD.

Growing up, he did not have the tools and resources for planning that are available which is why he decided to design his own method of organizing and sorting his thoughts.

Bullet journal is a systematic way to organize your thoughts so that it cannot get overwhelmed.

This method will help you be more productive with a little effort.

It is a mixture of daily planner, diary and written meditation that enables you to organize all the chaos in your thoughts.

This method will be incorporated in your life to help you achieve your long-term goal.

bullet journal

How Does Bullet Journal work?

How bullet journal work is to track your short-term and long-term goals. Your whole bullet journal will be customized to your life. The journal is divided into sections by month, week, and year.

The idea of bullet journal is to avoid getting so overwhelmed with all the things that you need to do.

Sometimes, there are so many things that you need to finish or plan that you can be overwhelmed and end up not doing anything at all.

From there, you can track all the things that needs to be done. You could also track all the significant milestones and events that happened in your life.

Starting a bullet journal can be difficult at first because it will partly change how you work with things.

However, once you get the hang of it, you will find that bullet journal method can be a great way to stay organized.

how to bullet journal

How to Structure Bullet Journal?

Your bullet journal should always depend on what works for you. It shall be customized according to your lifestyle.

As the creator of the method Ryder Carroll said, “The only thing that the bullet journal needs to be is effective and how it can best serve its author is entirely up to them.”

You can customize your bullet journal by selecting all the symbols that are easy for you to understand. Create all your sections that are aligned with your short – and long – term goals.

Depending on your goals, this sections or collections should reflect in your bullet journal so that it will be easier for you to track your progress within your goal.

The structure of your bullet journal will always depend on how you want it to look like. It can be sloppy or beautiful, it doesn’t matter.

As long as it will be effective to you.

How to get started?

The most important thing when you are starting with bullet journals is to figure out what are your challenges.

Always ask yourself, what do you want this bullet journal to do for you.

However, if you are having difficulty with creating without a structure, it is suggested for you to start with monthly log.

Start putting your goals for that month and then tracking your progress from there.

For every bullet journal, there should all of these sections or collections.

  • Index that serves as the table of contents and includes symbols that you use in your journal.
  • Future log which is a year-at-a-glance with future events, goals and long-term tasks.
  • Monthly log which has the birds-eye view of your task or things you want to tackle for the whole month.
  • Daily log which is your daily to-do list.
how to bullet journal

Step-by-Step Guide to Start a Bullet Journal

  1. Pick a notebook. It doesn’t have to be fancy because the main point of bullet journal is to organize the notebook itself. You can personalize your notebook in how many ways possible. Get the best-looking notebook for you.
  2. Create your index. This should be on the first 2 pages of your notebook. This is the table of contents of your bullet journal. Your index will be updated along the way.
  3. On the next page after index, write in your future log. Future log will give you and overview of the task that you need to finish within 6 months.
  4. To do this, you can create 6 boxes in the pages and mark it according to month. That is where you will put your goals and tasks for the next 6 months.
  5. Create a monthly log. Monthly log is the overview of the whole month. Here you can put the important task of the day for that particular month. For example, payment of bills, complete a project.
  6. After putting in all the items, you can update your index with the items and correct page number.
  7. Start your weekly log. Weekly log is where you will put your important task for each day of the week. Like doing the laundry, pick up the dry cleaning.
  8. Then finally, proceed with your daily log. This is the page where you will put all the things you need to do or finish that day. You could also put a milestone that particular day. Each day must be in a different page.

Bullet journal must be brief and easy to understand.

Use short and simple sentences when putting in an entry in your logs. It doesn’t have to be in paragraph.

The important thing is that you understood what your log meant.


How to Organize Your Bullet Journal

Now that you know what are the basic things that you should put in your bullet journal, this is the time to start personalizing your bullet journal.

  1. Assign your symbol and signs. The signs and symbols that you will use on your journal will depend on you. Put this in the index portion of your bullet journal as well as the meaning for each symbol so that it will be easier for you to remind which symbol are for what.
  2. Organize your monthly goals into categories. Categorize your goal according to your liking. It can be by due dates, or by effect, as long as it is organized per category.
  3. At the back of your journal, put in your broad goals for the whole year. For example, you put in a section for listing all the books you want to read or all of the movies you want to watch by the end of the year.
  4. In your daily log, put in significant events that matter to you. These events should be related on the goals you want to achieve and why you are creating a bullet journal in the first place.

The most important thing is that always use your bullet journal. Make it a habit to update all the entries in the journal.

This might be difficult to maintain at first but you will eventually see the benefits of it once you realized all the advantages and benefits of this bullet journal.

bullet journaling

Best Supplies for Bullet Journal

As mentioned earlier, you don’t have to have a fancy notebook to start your bullet journal journey.

You can start with the simplest notebook that you can find and get creative so that your journal can fit your lifestyle.

However, according to, these are the brands that can supply you with the best journals that you can use for your bullet journal journey.

  • 1917 Dotted Notebook by Leuchtturm. This is probably one of the most popular journal notebook in the market. The best feature of this notebook is its back pocket where you can put all other trinkets that you need for your bullet journal.
  • Dotted Grid Notebook by Poluma. This is the less expensive option compared to other journals available. This is a good option for you if you are just starting with your bullet journal journey.
  • The Set of Dot Journaling. This is the best package for starters. This whole package includes all the things needed for bullet journaling as well as step-by-step guide on how you can start your bullet journal.
  • Dot Grid A5 notebook. This is the most generic notebook that you can find. This is just a normal spiral notebook with dotted lines.
  • Classic Dotted Notebook by Moleskine. A Moleskine notebook screams sophistication.

All of the mentioned notebooks above are available in Amazon that delivers in many parts of the world.

You could also source out from your local bookstore or office supply shop to check what are the brands available for journals.

You can gather many ideas for your bullet journal through the internet.

One source of bullet journal ideas is on Instagram as there is a whole community there that do bullet journals.

You can check your Instagram and search for inspiration there.

You could also check with Pinterest if there are inspirations for bullet journal out there.

You can check below for ideas for collections that you can put in your bullet journal:

  • Date night ideas
  • Movies you want to watch
  • Favorite places to hike
  • Craft projects
  • TV shows to binge
  • Favorite songs and artists
  • Favorite quotes
  • Prayer list
  • Inspiration from Instagram

For productivity bullet journal, you could use the following:

  • To-do lists
  • Task tracker
  • Homework assignment
  • Job search
  • Open projects
  • Business plan
  • Project management
  • Goals

Bullet journal method is a method for us to organize our chaotic thoughts.

The main goal is to have a clear picture of what you need to do and what are your priorities.

What is the timeline for a particular project and your creative ways on how to resolve it.

What is good about this method is that it enables you to be creative while prioritizing all your task that needs to be done.

bujo bullet journal

Final Thoughts

Bullet Journal is good for people who are getting overwhelmed with all the things that they need to do.

This is a good practice so that all our thoughts are organized.

With organized thought, we can easily work and do our tasks efficiently.

This might take time but eventually, once it is already in your system, you will never realize how it affects your daily lives.

Remember that bullet journal will only be effective if the author will commit to do it religiously.

You have to update it daily and consistently.

All the tasks that have not been finished needs to be transferred, all the goals that has not been achieved needs to be there until you reached it.

Start on your bullet journal journey and see the difference when your thoughts are organized.

Because commitment always led you to the place where you wanted to be, come what may.

Bullet Journal Frequently Asked Questions

Are bullet journals a waste of time?

No, bullet journaling is never a waste of time. For me, it’s one of the best ways to get the stress out of your system. Bullet journaling has help me to layout my short-term and long-term goals, it also kept me on track of the things that matter to me, for example, health tracking and sleep tracking.

Most people would consider this as a waste of time because they are more likely drawn to making the best bullet journal. They ended up doing excessive designs which basically is not the goal of having a bullet journal.

Bullet journaling is geared towards establishing and making your goals into a reality, and design is optional.

Can I use a sketchbook for a bullet journal?

Yes, you can also use a sketchbook for your bullet journal. When using a sketchbook for your bullet journaling, make sure you get the right size of the sketchbook.

Some sketchbook sizes ranges from A5 to A3 but choose the right size that fits to your liking and how much of it do you need most.

Can you bullet journal with a lined notebook?

Yes, bullet journaling on a lined notebook also works too. You can choose a variety of lined notebooks in the store, whether it is on bind or spring. It is up to you on how to use your lined notebook as an alternative to an actual journal.

Can you bullet journal on an iPad?

Yes, you can certainly bullet journal on your iPad. There are productivity apps and note-taking apps available on the App Store that will help you manage your own schedule, make use of your own time, and be more productive – even on an iPad.

Can you start a bullet journal in the middle of the year?

Yes, you can start bullet journaling anytime of the year! Many people start making their bullet journal at the beginning of the year or right before the year ends. It is up to you when you should start your bullet journaling journey. The good thing is, there are no rules for you to follow.

How many pages do you need for a bullet journal?

365 pages if you’re making a daily tracker, 53 if you want to have a weekly spread, 12 pages for monthly spread, and one page for your yearly goals. But most of the times, it all depends on your usage. If you’re tracking a lot of things, then you need many pages in your journal to cover those.

What should be included in a bullet journal?

If you’re wondering what you should include in your bullet journal, here are the things you might be interested to include:

  • Achievement Tracker
  • Baby Name List
  • Birthday Tracker
  • Books to Read
  • Bucket List
  • Chore List
  • Daily Spread
  • Doodle Page
  • Exercise Tracker
  • Fitness Tracker
  • Hydration Tracker
  • Kids Milestone Tracker
  • Labor Bag List
  • Language Tracker
  • Mental Health Log
  • Monthly Spread
  • Movie List
  • No Buy List
  • Page Views Tracker
  • Places to Travel
  • Relationship Goals List
  • Restaurants to Try
  • School Supplies List
  • Shopping List
  • Sleep Tracker
  • Social Media Log
  • Timeline of Your Life
  • Water Tracker
  • Weight Loss Tracker
  • Wish List
  • Yearly Goals

Read also: How to Take Aesthetic Notes Neatly