Picture this, you’re counting down to bring in the new year, the new decade: ’10…9..’ and suddenly you freeze. ‘What have I done with my life in this decade? How can I pull my life together for the ‘roaring 20s?’ This is the year that will change all. Yes we say that every year but this year you have a life changer on your side. You have a bullet journal. You’ve heard of a bullet journal, Pam next door has one and the studious student lives by hers. You are so intrigued and would like to start one but with all of the elaborate bullet journals you see now a days you do not know even how to start a bullet journal. Don’t worry, I am bringing you the ultimate guide on how to start a bullet journal in time for 2020. I am going to be stripping it back to the basics giving you the cores of a bullet journal to give you the foundations to start a bullet journal and make it your own.
What really is a bullet journal?
With all the pretty pictures you’ve probably already seen of people’s bullet journals, in fact maybe the very ones who inspired you to create one, you can see that a bullet journal comprises of lists. Lots of lists. Essentially, to put it sweet and short, a bullet journal is your ultimate friend for when it comes to getting and staying organised. By making manageable, daily/ weekly/ monthly lists to achieve your goals, the bullet journal is perfect for those who want to get on top and stay on top of things.
Want to take a peak into my very own bullet journal? Here’s my 2019 set up!
First we need to establish some of the basic things you will need to start your journal. Here are a few things to have a look at:
- Notebooks: Leuchtturm, Scribbles That Matter, Dingbats, Amazon (Other)
- Pens: Staedtler Fine Liners, Tombow Dual Brush Pens, Arteza Brush Pens, Zebra Mildliners, Sakura Gelly Roll Pens, Crayola Supertips
- Pencils: Faber Castell, Studio Series
- Washie Tape: Assorted here, here and here (this one!).
- Other: Stencils– these are amazing for beginners!, Watercolour paints and brushes, watercolour brush pens, stickers – here and here (for those of us who cba to doodle!)
- BULLET JOURNAL KITS: here and here
I have linked an Amazon* widget below where you can click on popular bullet journal items. For those of you in the US, the top widget are more affordable and the second widget are for items upwards of £20/$20.
The KEY to Bullet Journal Basics
The bullet journal was created, at first, as a very simple list making concept to help people stay on top of things. Ofcourse, as humans we had to overcomplicate things. Ryder Carol, the creator of the bullet journal method, established a key which many people still use when making their lists and when they are marking things off. I for one do not use this key, only because I do not want to learn a whole key method when really what I will do is make up my own as I go along. This is the beauty of the journal, it will evolve as you do as you are the maker of your journal. Here is an example:
Indexes are used for you to pin point where certain pages are in your bullet journal (it’s basically a table of contents.) I personally do not use an index, I tried in my first and second bullet journals but it quickly became apparent, both times, that I would rather flip through my pages than look at the index. Many bullet journal notebooks such as, STM, lemome and leuchtturm all have indexes prior to the key. However with moleskin you will have to make your own index and also number the pages.
2020 at a Glance / Future Log
Every new bullet journal I create I make sure to add a year at a glance. This is a very simple calendar spread where you show a brief view of the year. This is so handy to have to flip to when making new spreads and planning ahead. The most popular utensils (?) used to create spreads like this are highlighters such as, Zebra Mildliners (my personal faves) and Tombow brush pens as well as some fineliners (i just use a regular pen though tbh!) In regards to the Tombows though, you can find cheaper alternatives here, which i recently bought.
Future logs are used to plan ahead key dates you already have. This could be holidays/ events and birthdays, although some people do a separate spread on that.
Post index and key, most people, myself included do not jump straight into making the traditional to-do list. Instead we make collections. Collections are a great way to track things throughout the period of your bullet journal. Some popular collections includes tracking moods, tv shows you have watched, your spending and even that time of the month for us ladies. Some of my personal favourites include a gym tracker, books I’ve read and movies I have watched that year. During university, I even had a master shopping list and meal ideas.
You can make your collections as simple or as elaborate as you want. As you can see my gym tracker spread is pretty simple, just colouring in some boxes; yet this master shopping list required a bunch of doodles. With spreads like this you can go as crazy as you want! I love using coloured pens such as my Staedtler Triplus Fineliners, inexpensive Crayola Supertips and some Faber Castell Pencils.
Monthlies, Weeklies and Dailies
Most bullet journallers like to separate their months from each other, like in a traditional planner. Here most people get excited with watercolours BUT if you are like me and are a bit hopeless all that, your fineliners and washie tape along with some stickers will do just fine. The most popular format is as followed:
Monthly Title Page
These pages are used to show a lovely transition from month to month. I have included a few for you to view below.
Month at A Glance
This is the perfect spread to have the whole month right infront of you. This is essentially your monthly dashboard where you include key dates, appintments, goals etc.
Following… habit trackers and monthly collections
Before I get into my weeklies, I LOVE including monthly habit trackers and collections. These include gym trackers, tbrs and books read. I am not one to track my habits (anymore) so I don’t use those. When going on holiday I even include a packing list!
These little sections within the month are totally dependent on your preference so I do recommend dabbling and trying both. For those of you who have tonnes to do on a daily basis try dailies. Dailies are when you dedicate one day to a page. Weeklies, which I use, is when you dedicate a whole two page spread to a week. In both dailies and weeklies you can have goals, trackers and even meal plans.
But I don’t want to do weeklies or dailies!
Not wanting weeklies or dailies is perfectly okay to! During the summer months when I was at school and not working i would just make a master to do list for the month!
Well there you have it. Once you find what you like, you will never go back! Bullet journalling, journalling in general, is so therapeutic you will love it.
If you would like to see more bullet journal posts, please let me know!
Want some more bullet journal content? Click here.