How to Get Started with Bullet Journaling

Written and Photographed by April Fojas

I have always been an overthinker and my mind’s always a-clutter. I am the type that always has to be reminded of tasks or I’d just completely forget about it. This is why growing up I learned to be dependent on planners and journals because they were literally some of the few things keeping me sane.

So when bullet journaling became a trend, I was quick to join in on it because it was perfect for me. I’ve been bullet journaling for almost a year now and it has been very helpful!

What exactly is a bullet journal? It’s a personal way of organizing introduced by designer Ryder Caroll where you can arrange your schedule, reminders, write your thoughts, to-do lists, etc. Why use a bullet journal? Why not just buy a planner? Personally, I find bullet journaling so much more therapeutic. There’s something about creating your own layout, being able to design it yourself, and the effort that you put into it that gives me a sense of fulfillment. So, if you’re like me and are curious about bullet journals, let me teach you how to get started and hopefully, it’ll also help you get your life in order.bullet journal

To start a bullet journal, you’ll need a couple of materials. Obviously, the first thing you’ll need is a journal. The journal I have is an actual bullet journal, it is “bulleted”, it has tiny bullets on the pages used to help guide you when you write. Your journal doesn’t have to be bulleted; you could use any notebook. It’s just preferred by more people to use journals that are either bulleted, graphed, or completely blank. But any notebook would do. Then you’d obviously need a pen and maybe a pencil if you’re a little O.C. like me. The last thing you need is a ruler, or in this case a protractor, basically, anything that can help you draw a straight line (even an I.D. would do).

bullet journal

Bullet Journal


Pens and pencils

The reason I use pencils is that it allows me to fix and edit my layout or “spreads” while making the least amount of mistakes possible. After I’ve finished laying out my spread I’ll go over the pencil with either a pen or a marker.



These are just the basic and most essential materials that you’ll need for bullet journaling, but if you’re obsessed with stationery as well you’d probably end up using literally anything you can just to make your bullet journal a little more interesting.

CHECK OUT 3 Fun Tools that Can Make Bullet Journaling More Fun

For every bullet journal entry that I create there are three types of spreads: yearly spreads, monthly spreads, and weekly spreads. A “spread” is another term for a layout. Here are examples of each:

bullet journal

Yearly Spread #1: Yearly Calendar

For every new year, I like to create a yearly calendar, this is usually the first thing you’ll see in my bullet journal. It just allows me to have an overview of the year.

bullet journal

Yearly Spread #2: Calendar and Important Events

This yearly spread is more useful in my opinion because aside from the calendar there is a space on the side that allows you to keep track of important events you have all throughout the year.

Monthly Spread: Calendar and notes

Every month, I always create this kind of spread. This spread will never go missing because it allows me to have an overview of the upcoming events that I have for the month.

bullet journal

Weekly Spread: To-do list and notes

The weekly spread is another essential for a bullet journal. This allows me to place my to-do list and other reminders for the week. I even included a key at the bottom to guide myself. I also leave a blank page on the side for more notes.

ALSO READ Here’s How You Can Prettify and Organize your Journals

These spreads are the most essential and basic parts of the bullet journal. Sometimes you don’t even need a yearly or monthly spread, a weekly spread would do. However, I like to do all three so that I don’t miss anything. I made the design as minimalistic as possible so that it isn’t hard to follow. You can also grab more inspiration from Youtube and Instagram. I often take inspiration for my bullet journals on these social media platforms. Your bullet journals should be your own personal creation, it can be as complex or as simple as you want it to be. Whichever style suits you. That’s the great thing about bullet journals, you get to style it however way you want and lay things out in the most efficient and effective way for you.

Ready to start your own bullet journal?  Let us know how it turns out!


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