I have never been a very organized person, and it’s always been difficult for me to maintain a structured life, especially during college. I kept trying different techniques and bought many planners, but nothing seemed to work out for me.
One day, I stumbled upon a YouTube video of a girl explaining the concept of bullet journaling and how to set it up. I was instantly fascinated and so intrigued that I immediately ordered a journal on Amazon Prime.
Bullet journaling works with a customizable planner that helps you coordinate your life based on your specific needs, helping you to focus on the things you most care about (or most need reminding). It was the perfect way for me to organize myself while practicing my creative skills and talents. I have been practicing bullet journaling for the past year-and-a-half and it has changed my life. I have become more productive and motivated to do my work and fulfill my goals. Here’s my step-by-step guide for how to begin bullet journaling.
- Brainstorm what you want your journal to be about
You can use your bullet journal for many different aspects of your life, such as school, college, self-reflection, or work. By identifying the purpose of your journal, you know what spreadsheets to make.
- Find a journal
A lot of people say that you need a dotted bullet journal, but you can use a lined journal as well. It all depends on what works out for you and your personal tastes. However, dotted journals help you draw straight lines and divide your page easier. Since there are so many different journals to search from, here’s a link of different options for bullet journaling. Personally, I use the Leuchtturm 1917 dotted A5, because of its hard cover, page quality, and amount of pages.
- Buy your materials
Some supplies you’re gonna need are pens, colored-pencils or markers, pencils, a ruler, and an eraser. You don’t need to buy specific pens or markers for bullet journaling, but it’s important that the pens don’t bleed through the page. Some materials that I use are the Muji pens, Sakura Micron 05 pens, Crayola markers, and the Zebra Mildliners.
- Create your basic sections
The first and most important part of a bullet journal is the key. These are the symbols that help you keep track of your tasks. Some bullet journals include an index, but if yours doesn’t have one, you can definitely write your own. This is completely optional. Personally, I don’t use indexes, because I have a marker that helps me find my pages. Next, you’re gonna make an at-a-glance spread, so you can see a yearly calendar.
- Make your monthly spread
When a new month begins, you’re going to draw your opener, which is basically the name of the month you’re entering. In this page you can be as creative as you want and establish your theme of the month. After you finish drawing your opener, start to make your monthly calendar, so you can write down all of the most important events.
- Add your weekly spread and trackers
The weekly spread is a more specific breakdown of different events, notes, and things to do for each day of the week. It’s very important to have as much space as possible.
Another element people tend to add to their bullet journals are trackers. The most popular trackers are the habit tracker and mood tracker. They help you see how you’re feeling emotionally each day and see what habits you want to strengthen and practice more. You can definitely alternate the order of the spreads.
Here are some examples of different mood and habit trackers.
- Add your collections
Collections are spreads that fit into other categories. Some examples are doodles, a list of places you’ve visited, a brain dump page, movies to watch, books to read, a gratitude log, and the playlist of the month. It all depends on what you want to keep track of and the things you want to achieve.
My favorite part about bullet journaling is the creative aspect― it gives you the liberty to make it your own. There are no rules or barriers to bullet journaling and you don’t have to be an artist to do it. It motivates you to complete your goals and to-do lists, and helps organize your life.
Once you finish your bullet journal, you can look back on it and reflect on the memories, and then you can start a new one. You can find design inspiration on Pinterest or follow bullet journalers on YouTube, like AmandaRachLee.
Try it out and see what works out for you, and share your designs with friends. Happy journaling!