5 Tips Every Bullet Journal Beginner Needs
MY FAVORITE BUJO TIPS THAT HAVE MADE JOURNALING EASIER
What is a Bullet Journal?
A Bullet Journal (bujo for short) is a method of personal organization developed by designer, Ryder Carroll. The system organizes scheduling, reminders, to-do lists, brainstorming, and other organizational tasks into a single notebook. I love the idea of this because I am someone who likes to journal, sketch, keep a planner and have various notebooks for each. This way, everything I need can be combined into one book and readily available.
How I got started
I have been journaling my entire life but I didn't become aware of or get interested in bullet journaling until November 2020. I was intrigued after accidentally diving into the word of bullet journaling on Pinterest, where I found tons of inspiration and things I wanted to create for myself. I've had many planners in my life but it was a challenge for me to keep up with them consistently. I needed something more exciting that would keep me interested and motivated to continue using. There are so many ways you can design and keep a bullet journal and I have a youtube video on Bullet journaling for Beginners that explains everything you need to start your own and my 2022 Setup.
My Top 5 Tips for Starting a Bullet Journal
There is nothing wrong with looking for inspiration but your journal should be a representation of you, so your creativity is the most important part. The most appealing feature of a bullet journal is that it is totally adjustable, so be sure to only include what’s important to you. Don’t create your journal to look the same way and include the same topics as someone else's. This will make your journal feel less genuine and authentic to you.
You’ll also find that some journals look like professional pieces of artwork. As fun as it can be to decorate your journal, the content matters more than the looks, and your content is unique to you. I started my first bullet journal in January of 2021 and I am currently on my third one as of March 2022 so here are a few tips that have helped me along the way.
1. Make Journaling a Habit
When we start something new like a hobby or habit we are often very excited about it and give it lots of time and attention but, as time progresses we can feel burnt-out and uninspired.
A common thing you see in successful bullet journal lovers is that they actively use their bullet journals regularly. The key to success in bullet journaling is being consistent, and that's a common theme among all habits. This type of journaling does not require a huge commitment to keep up with once your pages are set up. Take the time to set up your main pages (calendar, trackers, weekly spreads, etc.) then make it a habit to dedicate at least 5 minutes a day to fill them out. Keep your journal in a place you visit often and won't forget. This will prevent you from neglecting your journal or stop bullet journaling entirely. I keep mine in my book bag during the week to journal at work and on my desk in my home office on the weekends. You can write thoughts as they come or set a specific time to do so but, whatever you choose make sure you do it on a daily basis.
2. Think about your BUJO Setup
Bullet Journals are flexible and completely customizable so it would help to take some time and see what kind of setup you would like to have. Now that I am a seasoned bujo girl I have my setup pretty figured out with a few variations. It may seem tedious and unnecessary but believe me, this step is important! Your setup will also help you find the right type of journal for you because they come in all shapes and sizes.
If and when you are first starting your bullet journal it is likely that you may forget to add a page or two. Therefore, the best option is to make a lot of your crucial decisions prior to doing anything else.
A few decisions you'll have to make are:
The type of collections to use
Choosing your most important collections before you set up your journal will help you keep them nice and organized.
Collections just means a group of related data from a particular topic. Every log and entry in your bullet journal is a collection since they are just groups of related things. It could be a list of things you plan to do, places to visit, things to buy, stuff to try, future logs…etc. It could be literally anything!
I have tons of bullet journal collection ideas shared on my Pinterest! You can also find more bullet journal inspiration on my Tiktok.
Since everything in a bullet journal is pretty customizable, you can also have custom collections. These are collections that people make based on their own personal interests and needs. It's basically anything else other than your bullet journal calendar pages.
For example, you could add bullet journal collection such as cleaning tasks, books to read, goals for the year and bucket-list destinations. You could also have collections such as date night ideas, movies to watch collections and home improvement spreads. Your bullet journal collection spreads will be a reflection of what you need or want to track.
You can always add collections pages whenever you need and think of them. If you want to have all the collections in the same place or use some that recur each month, selecting them in advance will help you space everything out evenly and leave enough pages for each topic.
Let's go over some of the important and popular bullet journal setup ideas:
12 Month Calendar
Books to Read/ Books Read
School/ Class Schedule
As you can see, there are tons of ideas and ways to approach your bullet journal. So, think about what you want to track and how much space you'll need to track it.
3. Start simple
If you've ever seen my or anyone else's bullet journal you know there is a lot of effort that goes into creating them and making them look like masterpieces. Although I have experience in art, it does not take a crazy amount of skills or expensive tools and supplies to bring your journal to life. The bullet journal system’s objective is to simplify your life, not to make it harder!
You may be inspired to create the most decorative and aesthetically pleasing bullet journal, but it is best to start off simple. I would recommend starting out with a regular journal if you have never journaled consistently before moving onto bullet journaling. Everyone starts the same way, with a pen and a journal. So, keep it simple until journaling turns into a habit, then start introducing more elements and content slowly. It can be easy to get overwhelmed and quit bullet journaling when first starting out.
I recommend starting with the main sections of a bullet journal: the index, the keys, a future log, the monthly logs, and the daily/weekly logs. Then you can slowly add a couple of collections pages that are important to you such as a mood tracker, habit tracker, brain dumps, etc. A bullet journal can be created entirely in pen with no fancy layouts or styles but once you get the hang of filling it out, then you can add color, washi tape and different doodles if you want.
Pro tip: Concentrate first on the information rather than on the aesthetics, that way you will build the foundation habit of your bullet journal that can also be used when you feel inspired.
4. Get creative with your supplies
When I first started my deep dive into bullet journaling for beginners and seeing tons of inspiration on Pinterest I knew I wanted to add my own creativity to my journal. Even if you are not the artistic type, you can still use a little bit of creativity with craft supplies to your benefit. Getting creative also comes in handy when you make a mistake because you can cover it up with stickers, washi tape, or a printable.
5. Use Sticky Notes for temporary information
Throughout all the different collections you may have in your bullet journal, some of the information will be reoccurring or change every week/month, such as a grocery list, weekly meal plans, habit tracker, bills tracker, etc. You can use sticky notes for temporary reminders or small lists that you need to write down or maybe you have tasks for future monthly logs that you haven’t created yet and don’t know where to write them. Or perhaps for a collection that you’re thinking of adding in the future.
I don’t recommend making new pages or adding irrelevant notes to your current log. Instead, make temporary notes on a sticky note and place it in your bullet journal as a placeholder.
Pro tip: Sticky notes can still be used creatively as placeholders and reminders for temporary tasks or collection items.
If you like to bring your bullet journal with you all the time or even if you forget it sometimes, this little tip here really comes in handy!
Starting a bullet journal should be a fun project that helps you stay focused and organized. If you concentrate on what really drives you to write and create, bullet journaling can become a forever thing in your life.
What are some good bullet journaling tips, tricks and hacks you know that make journaling easier for you? Let's chat in the comments below.
Follow me on Tiktok and Instagram (@thesimonedanielle) for more inspirational bullet journal content!