If you don’t know what a bullet journal is, I have one question for you: do you live under a rock?
I feel like everywhere I look (well on the internet), there is somebody talking about bullet journaling. This is with good reason because bullet journals are an incredible tool to organize your mind, life, work, hobbies, and even your mental and physical health.
But, like I said, it can be overwhelming. That’s why I’m going to give you a step-by-step, quick and easy guide to bullet journaling for beginners, so that you can start to reap the benefits of this awesome tool as soon as possible!
Step 1: Figure out what you want to include in your bullet journal
First of all, you should decide if you want your bullet journal to be mainly professional, personal/hobby related, or health and wellness related. It could definitely be all 3, but sometimes it is nice to maybe have two bullet journals.
For example, you could have your health and wellness journal next to your bed, so you can use it in the morning and at night. Then you could have your professional one at your desk/at work.
There are endless amounts of topics; I have narrowed down a few in the following image. Again, this part might be a bit overwhelming but I would start by focusing on 3 main topics that you would like to include/track in your journal.
Step 2: Decide on your date format.
A problem that I have always found with store-bought planners is that they never have the format I want. Personally, I like to have a monthly view right next to my weekly views for that month. Also, sometimes it’s nice to have a yearly view somewhere, just to give a high-level overview. And when you are tracking your food or exercise for example, it’s nice to have daily pages for that.
A bonus of having a bullet journal is that you can change it as you figure out what works for you, so you can just start out with a weekly view + some daily views, but you can change it later if you find that you don’t use the daily views as much.
Step 3: Add your index page
This was something that I was missing for a while, and before I used one, I found that my bullet journal was a bit scattered and I was worried about messing it up or adding certain pages where they didn’t quite fit.
All these problems go away when you have an index page! An index page allows you to put pages in wherever you please, because you can just refer back to your index page!
This brings up part 2; it is a good idea to number your pages. It is slightly tedious, but it will definitely pay off in the end.
This also solves a common issue that may come up, which is when you fill up an ideas page, for example, that you want to continue it on another page that is further down in your journal. Well, you can just add that second page number into your index, and if you want, you can even add that to the original ideas page itself, so that you can remind yourself of it.
Step 4: Adding the bells and whistles
There are a lot of cool extras that you can add to your bullet journal to really spice it up. But again, the amount of options can be extremely overwhelming.
These extra bells and whistles I’m talking about are the fancy designs, creative mood trackers, a cover page (if you dare!), and signifiers (what does that even mean?! Don’t worry; I’ll get to it in a second).
There are probably a lot of other fancy things you can add, but I think it’s all a little too much. You can totally do them and get as creative as you want, but I want this to be more for the sake of functionality. So for now I’ll just stick to the points I mentioned and how you can make the most of them.
This one is self-explanatory, but it is something that can be a bit intimidating when you look at the amazing works of art that are on the internet. I would just say, that you should do what will please you – maybe do some flowers in the corners of your pages or add a page dedicated just to doodling! Make it what you want and don’t get caught up trying to make it perfect!
This is another very intimidating part of starting any journal, especially in a notebook that you love and don’t want to ruin! I’d say to either leave the first page blank, or just write something simple. Mine just says “Sagesse’s Productivity Bullet Journal”. Simple, but effective.
Creative Mood Trackers
Mood trackers are a great way to analyze your mental wellbeing – which is so important! And, if you are tracking other things you are doing each day, you can see how your day-to-day activities impact your mood and mental health.
Using mood trackers is an INCREDIBLE way to start optimizing your wellbeing and productivity, and you can just start by writing your mood of the day in your monthly planner. You can also get more creative and have little drawings that correspond to a day of the month and then colour code them according to your mood, to gt a visual representation of your mood throughout the month!
Now what are these?! I don’t know if these are universally called signifiers, but they are basically little symbols that you can use to sort out the information that you put into your
(Take my own pictures for these posts)
Step 5: Pick your journal and use it!
There are so many journals to choose from, but I have a few suggestions for types of journals to buy.
Grid paper: The journal I currently use has grid lines on it, which I really like because it helps me space out everything nicely. It’s also great if you are going to draw boxes, weekly/monthly calendars, etc.
Blank journal: This is great if you are more artistic. You have a blank canvas and you can make your journal into whatever you’d like it to be!
Regular ol’ lined journal: Uhhh boring! Just kidding, this is just the classic journal, but I actually find that the lines are a bit too restricting for my taste. I like to be free or at least have the grid to compensate for my less than perfect ability to draw straight lines and boxes!
I like the journals from MUJI (that’s where I got mine), a lot of them are made from recycled material which is really nice. They’re all very simple and you can stock up on multiple for when you start on your next bullet journal.
As for the cuter, more fun journals, I would suggest chapters or indigo. They always have cute journals and they frequently have good sales on older journals!
Here are some other journals that you can easily order from amazon!
You’re not going to gain anything from your journal if you don’t use it consistently – so make it a habit to start using it. Keep it next to your bed or on your desk and use it when you get up or as soon as you get to work. Or use it at the end of the day as a reflection tool!
Happy bullet journaling!
If you want some extra help with organizing your life, you should check out my Dream Life Goal Planner. It has journal prompts to help you figure out what you truly want and it has goal planning tips and templates to help you get on your way to living your best and most authentic life!
Sagesse ("Say Jess")
Owner of Mindaya