Bullet Journaling for Beginners

A bullet journal is the organizational craze that seems to have taken over the Pinterest and Instagram landscapes. You may have come across some artsy photos of impeccable calligraphy and color-coded calendars while perusing through the internet—and we’re here to declare that the hype surrounding bullet journals is very much warranted. These creative organizational tools are ideal for strategically planning and staying on top of your tasks throughout the semester, and you can even utilize them for non-academic needs. When first getting started, it may seem a bit daunting to navigate through your first bullet journal—but because you can easily tailor yours to suit your own unique needs and preferences, the experience can be both easy and enjoyable!

So what exactly is a bullet journal, anyway?

In the simplest of terms, a bullet journal is a way to log, track, and organize your significant tasks, events, and ideas—and do so in a creative, visually-appealing way. If you love setting goals, making to-do lists, and utilizing planners, a bullet journal is for you—but if you struggle with these and have since made it your New Year’s resolution to become more organized, a bullet journal is a superb starting point. It also offers an outlet to get creative and decompress amidst our chaotic college schedules, and you can customize your bullet journal to express your own aesthetic.

What are some tools of the trade?

The visual element of bullet journals is one of its most appealing features—so when starting yours, make the most of colorful pens, markers, Sharpies, and highlighters to grab your attention and reinforce key ideas. Colorful calligraphic titles can help guide you through your journal with ease, and you may want to include a color-coding system for birthdays, school assignments, exams, social outings, and other categorical events. Some people prefer to start theirs out with an index for each category within the journal—but if you’d rather not number out each page, we recommend Post-It flags to tab out each respective section, if you choose to organize it in such a way.

What does a bullet journal entail?

Bullet journals are entirely adaptable on a person-to-person basis, and the best way to start is to figure out a system that makes the most sense for you. Some people prefer monthly calendars, whereas others prefer daily or weekly ones. Of course, bullet journals aren’t limited to just to-do lists and calendars, and you may also want to include other ideas, like these:


A colorful wheel or calendar that includes all of the birthdays for your family members, friends, and roommates will guarantee that you never forget to send birthday wishes their way.


It’s important to recognize the things—both big and small—that make each day great. On the good days, acknowledging what we’re grateful for can reinforce the best moments of the day—and on bad days, finding something to be grateful for helps to emphasize the positive things that surround us. Plus, you’ll be able to look back throughout the year and later be reminded of your highlights and mood-boosters.

Movies to See/Books to Read

If you just received a compelling movie, show, or book recommendation from a friend, log it! This will ensure that you don’t forget the title down the road, and it’ll give you some inspiration for things to do on a lazy weekend.

Habit Tracking

The best way to start a habit is to continually reinforce the behavior each day. Whether you’re setting micro-goals of getting up early or making your bed each day, or larger-scale goals of exercising regularly, it’s easy to track your progress and accomplish your goals by writing them down and checking them off in your journal.

Monthly Budgets

As college students, handling a budget is one of the greatest challenges we’re all bound to face. Including a budget in your bullet journal can help you to monitor and manage your spending, and set aside a designated amount that you’re comfortable spending each month for school expenses, food, gas, and other costs that you’ll inevitably incur.


When you’re first engaging in the bullet journal experience, we recommend starting simple and trying out different layouts and systems that work for you. Play around with different concepts to determine which makes the most sense for your personal objectives—and get creative when doing so! Bullet journaling is so great because there’s no “right” or “wrong” way to go about it; it’s all about organizing your life and ideas in a fluid, manageable, streamlined fashion—and anyone can do it!






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