How To Start A Bullet Journal For The Very First Time

How to Start A Bullet Journal for the First Time!

A Clear Guide for Beginners.

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How To Start A Bullet Journal Today: A Clear Guide For Beginners

The History of the Bullet Journal.

First of all, you might be asking yourself, what is a Bullet Journal?! It is a method started by Ryder Carroll that combines a journal and calendar into one useful notebook. Click here to check out the original Bullet Journal, or Bujo for short, I think you will find it quite fascinating.

Why Do I Choose to Bullet Journal?

Bullet journaling is the secret sauce to how I stay organized in my life, now as a mama more than ever. It is incredibly simple to get started and the options are endless, making it functional for any journaling style!

I can’t even tell you the number of beautiful calendars and journal notebooks I have lying around that I started using for a month or two, only to get lost in the depths of my nightstand or tote bag. Well, that all changed when I discovered the art of Bujo. I’m currently on year three and still going strong!

So let’s get to it! Here are my simple steps on how to start a bullet journal right now!

Bullet Journal Supplies: the Basics.

bullet journal and brush pens

All you really need to get started is a notebook and a few colored pens. That’s it!

I prefer a smaller book so that it can fit in my purse or backpack and not be heavy and cumbersome to take around. I also recommend a grid notebook if you are purchasing a new one as it is much easier to create different layouts. If you already have a lined notebook, don’t worry, you can make that work too! 

You can snag the cork bullet journal I’m currently using on Amazon (pictured above) by clicking here.

How to Set Up a Bullet Journal

Getting Started: the Key.

bullet journal key

Once you have the basic supplies you are ready to get started! The first page of your journal should be a key that you can reference throughout. It can include any variety of symbols that you think you will use in your calendars. Check out the image below for the symbols I personally use. Pinterest can be your best friend for bullet journal ideas and inspiration.

Next, the Index.

bullet journal index

Next, you should keep a couple of pages set aside for your index.

Here you will list your calendars and collections in order that you can quickly look something up down the line. For example, say you added a page on “blog post ideas” on page 47. When you find yourself writing your next post you can quickly reference your index, flip to page 47, and voila, there it is.

This is game-changing. How many times have you jotted down a note in a planner or on sticky pad and could never find it again? Or you spent way too long searching for it. That will be a problem of the past once you start using your Bujo for it all: calendars, journal entries, ideas, brain dumps & whatever else you need a pen and paper for!

A Year in Review.

bullet journal yearly overview

The third section is ideally a yearly overview: a calendar you can use to plan your year and jot down general dates. Here is mine for 2020:

Monthly/Weekly/Daily Spreads.

bullet journal monthly spread
This is the base of 95% of my monthly spreads: 5×5 boxes. It looks clean and it’s quick to put together for a busy mama!

Woohoo! Now you can get started on your Bujo monthly spread.

Again, the options are limitless! You can go incredibly simple and just make a box calendar, or if you are feeling creative you can decorate and doodle to your heart’s content.

Have no fear, I am not a particularly artistic person but I bring my bullet journal to life with colored pens, fun stickers, stencils and washi tape! Many bullet journalers will paint, color and doodle their pages to make them look beautiful. 

Now that you have your month ready to go, you can begin bujo weekly and even daily spreads if you desire. Some weeks I use them if I have a lot going on, and sometimes I forget, and that’s OK! It’s flexible.

Bullet journals evolve with you. Let me tell you, my bullet journal pre baby and my bullet journal now look very different from each other. It’s dynamic. You can have pages for any and all the things going on in your life. A few examples include brainstorm sessions, lists, doodles, research, notes, goals, quotes, etc.

But Can’t I Just Use My Phone?

Yes, it’s true, your phone has a great calendar. But it’s not nearly as pretty and it does not also serve as a journal! I, too, always have my phone on me, but I use a combination of the two to keep myself on track. If I forget my bujo and have a great idea it’s easy enough to use my phone notepad. I save it there and later transfer it to my bullet journal if I want to dedicate a page to it. If you are someone who lives by their phone calendar (and those helpful alerts!), you can copy the main events into your bullet journal monthly spread and use the rest of the bujo more for lists, goals and other journaling.

You Can Start Now!

Have I said it enough? The options are limitless! You can start right now. You don’t have to wait until the new year or the school year. A bullet journal can work for you! Unlike pre-made calendar books where there are tons of pages that never get used, every page in your Bujo will be useful for you because YOU CREATED IT!

Not a lot of supplies are needed to get started. It can be as basic or as extravagant as you are feeling at the moment.

There you have it, my guide on how to start a bullet journal today! Happy journalling friends! Connect with me on Instagram @coffeewithkinzy as I would LOVE to see your Bullet Journals!


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10 thoughts on “How to Start A Bullet Journal for the First Time!”

  1. Wow that’s awesome. Thanks for introducing the concept of a bullet journal. I usually keep a calendar and a journal, but I am going to implement this in the new journal I just bought.i am so excited for this. Thanks so much.

  2. there is something satisfying about writing in a journal instead of using a computer or phone. It’s fun to use different colors. I do this when I need to brain storm or brain map my ideas.

  3. So awesome! I have one but didnt really know what to do with it lol. It’s mainly been a note book with no lines but this is great! Thanks for sharing!

  4. Bullet Journals – I always thought they were hard to implement, so I stayed away from starting one. Your blog really helped me think about actually starting one! I just need some markers and I can do that on my next grocery run! Thanks for sharing!

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