Bullet Journaling Basics

For a lot of people working or studying from home can be difficult for many reasons but if one of the reasons for you is simply planning and time management this article is for you. First bullet journaling is not a way of taking notes which is a common misconception. Bullet journaling is a way to keep track of your schedule in a space that you design. Think of it as creating your own planner. Another common misconception is that your bullet journal has to be beautiful or it has to be super time-consuming. This is absolutely false your bullet journal is yours and only yours it can be simple, messy, complex, beautiful, and anything else in between as long as it serves its purpose it’s a bullet journal. 

Now that we know what a bullet journal is let’s get started on how to make your own. The only supplies you need for a bullet journal is; pens, pencils, a notebook (I personally prefer a dot grid bound journal), and a straight edge of some sort. There are several other things you can add to make your journal more fun such as; washi tapes, stencils, stickers, and colorful pens/markers. Although to begin I recommend using as few supplies as possible. This is because when you first start your bullet journal there will be a lot of trial and error as you figure out a format that you find more effective.

blank notebook with pencil

Now that you have all your supplies the real process can begin. When I first started my bullet journal I looked up several ways to format mine online but a few things that they all had in common that I adopted are; a key/ legend, a mood tracker, and a future log. These all go on the first pages of your bullet journal and all have unique functions. First, the key/legend will help you plan which symbols will mean what in your journal (I found mine online and added or tweaked them slightly to fit my taste). Next will be the future log and the easiest way to do this is to take up 4 pages. Divide each page into 3 even sections with your straight edge then write the month in the corner you can also draw out a small calendar of the month to know how many days it is. Now that your future log is set up whenever you make plans far out in advance enough that you have not done that month in your journal you can place it there to remember in the future. Finally is a mood tracker which is a grid with a square for every day of the year that you will slowly color in as the year goes by. This is a great way to see how your mental health is going or has been going throughout the year. You can put as many different moods as you want to make it fit you and also make it super colorful. You can add more unique pages to the front as well for example in my 2020 bullet journal I have pages for auditions, monthly goals, monthly gratitude, a wish list, and recommendations for things to check out.

The Lalagirl Writing In Notebook

After those 3 sections or more are done it’s time to move into the months. In my bullet journal, all of my months begin with a spread that includes a quote on the left page and the month in a visual on the right. Again this is completely optional but if you are an artist this can be a really fun part of creating your journal. After those pages, I will create a monthly calendar and any big events outlined on the next page so that any important dates are in the forefront. These pages can be followed by some more personal pages such as a habit tracker, an ideas page, or even a doodle page or 2. Finally, after those pages are done comes the weekly planner section which can be done in several different ways but as long as you have Monday through Sunday you’re golden. You can also add a general to-do list to this spread or a song of the week to remind you of your interests throughout the year. Like I said this is yours as long as you know what everything means that is all that matters.

There are a ton of ideas and inspirations out there for how to format your journal and mine are just what has worked for me so if this doesn’t work that’s fine don’t be afraid to branch out and try other ways. I hope this was helpful and happy journaling!