Whether you’re thinking of setting up your very first Bullet Journal or just moving to a new notebook – this post is for you.
As part of my Bullet Journaling for beginners series, I’ll share with you a little cheat sheet that will help you with your setup and to make fewer mistakes when you do it as well.
Today we will walk through some major steps of setting up your Bullet Journal, and I’ll share with you a cheat sheet (including a printable one!) that will help you make it an easier and more pleasant experience.
I truly believe with a bit of planning everything becomes easy (or at least easier) and I want to share with you some simple ways to apply the same logic to your Bullet Journal setup.
If you’re brand new to the Bullet Journal method and don’t know where to start – check my Ultimate Guide To Start A Bullet Journal.
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Why Do You Need A Cheat Sheet
This cheat sheet is a reference guide that can help you with your journal setup.
It can help you add structure to your setups and accumulate ideas on how to actually bring your journal to the next level.
Here are a few ways a cheat sheet can help you:
- Fewer mistakes. It often happened to me and I’m not sure I’m not the only one – I forgot to add some pages I wanted to, or worse – added pages in the wrong order and it doesn’t make sense. With a cheat sheet, you’ll know how to set things up so there is no chance of silly errors like these.
- Reduce anxiety. I know every time you open a new journal it’s easy to get anxious, scared of ruining it, and things not being perfect. Having a mapped-out plan in a cheat sheet will help you to reduce anxiety.
- Be more organized. With unlimited possibilities of the Bullet Journal system, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and not use it to its’ full potential. A cheat sheet will help you with tweaking your journal to fit you better.
- Coherent structure. A cheat sheet helps to structure the journal better, so it flows more naturally and therefore works better.
What To Include
What exactly do you need in your Bullet Journal? What do you need in your cheat sheet?
When possibilities are endless, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and find yourself now doing anything at all.
I got you covered though with a few things to consider when you sit down to think about that. Answer these questions and you’ll know what to do!
- What do you need help within your life? Answer this, and you’ll have tons of ideas on what pages can help you improve your life.
- What are some pages and elements you’ve never used? It might be a fun idea to give them a try and see how it works for you.
- What motivates you? Building a journaling habit is no easy task, so think of how you can keep yourself motivated and maybe include these elements in your BuJo. For example, I like adding powerful quotes.
Bullet Journal Cheat Sheet
You can create your own cheat sheet, or you can get one from the Resources Vault (scroll down to get more details on how to join Planning Mashers and get access to all the freebies).
Here let’s go through some main points and pages.
I’ll also be linking to all the articles that talk more about each step of the Bullet Journal setup, so be sure to click those if you’re interested in something particular.
Bullet Journal Basics
The basic Bullet Journal setup is pretty straightforward.
Before we look into it, I just want to mention that even though these pages are considered the basic ones, you don’t HAVE TO use them all.
Your journal means your rules, so check and see what works well for you and what you don’t really need. This comes with practice.
With that being said, I’m a huge fan of basic pages – they are called that way for a reason, I find them all extremely beneficial (well, maybe except for the Index Page that didn’t work for me).
Anyways, let’s dive in!
A place to decode your journal entries. Each entry gets assigned a symbol and here is where you plan them out.
Basically a table of content to your journal, a great help in navigating it.
READ MORE: How To Create A Perfect Index Page
- Future Log
One of my favorite plages, it helps you to see your year at a glance as well as plan ahead.
- Monthly Log
The place to plan out your month.
READ MORE: What Is A Monthly Log And Inspirations
- Weekly \ Daily Log
Depending on what you find more fitting, these are the pages you use to plan your day-to-day activities.
READ MORE: Weekly VS Daily Log – What’s Best For You
- Review + Migration
Once you’re done with your journal, it’s time to review.
Think of things that worked, things that didn’t. Try to figure out how you can make your journal better.
After that – create a plan and just go for it – migrate to a new journal!
READ MORE: How To Migrate To A New Bullet Journal
Bullet Journal Pages Cheat Sheet
We walked through some of the basic pages, but let me also give you some pointers on what you can include in these and generally in your pages.
Bullet Journal Spread Setup
Let’s start with a basic spread setup. Here are some elements and things you should remember when you sit down to create a new page in your journal.
- Title. It’s like giving a name to your page and also making sure you know how exactly you’ll be using it.
- Page number. In case you’re using the index system, and your notebook doesn’t have pre-made page numbers – be sure to add numbers to your pages as you go.
- Add it to your index. Again if you use an index – be sure you add every new page to it, so you never lose any of your entries.
- Threading. Threading is connecting pages. Let’s say you start a list of books on page 4, but then you run out of space, so you continue your list at the first blank page, let’s say it’s number 15. Threading means that on page 4 you’ll have text: continue on page 15. And on page 15 you’ll have text: started at page 4.
Bullet Journal Key
There are many things you can add here, but I always advise you to start from the basics.
The signifiers below are from the original key, and it might be enough for you for now.
Of course, if you want more signifier ideas, be sure to check my post about Bullet Journal Key, which also includes tons of inspirations and some fun key page hacks.
This is where you add the information and page number for each of your entries.
You can do it in any way you like – add every page, or maybe just month by month.
Planning your future and getting a great overview of the year to come.
Here are some ideas on what to include on this page:
- Bill deadlines
- National holidays
- Doctor appointments
- Planned vacations
- TV | Movie premieres
- Sports events
- Important college dates (exams, assignment deadlines)
- Expiration dates for credit cards, car insurance, and such
- Pet vaccination dates
- Community activities
- Yearly sales dates
- Business meetings
Everyone’s monthly log is different, depending on what you need it for. There are many different ways to set it up as well.
But while you’re figuring out what works best for you, here are some ideas to get you started:
- Doctor visits
- Friend’s meetups
- Habit tracker
- Monthly goals
- Best of
- Next month
Be sure to check my post Bullet Journal Calendar Spreads for more inspirations on a monthly log.
Weeklies are usually even more personalized. I have very different weekly setups each week, depending on what I need from a certain week.
Here are a few ideas you might want to start with:
- Weekly habit tracker
- Weekly water tracker
- Weekly review
- Meal plan
- Calendar for the month
- Number of the week
- Weekly to-do list
- House chores list
- Plans for next week
If weekly is not your jam – you can always plan day by day.
Here are a few ideas of extra information you might want to add to your daily spread:
- Plans for tomorrow
- Daily menu
- Groceries list
- Daily chores
- Daily review
- Health goals
- Motivational word of the day
- Time tracker
- Daily challenges (a doodle a day, a line a day, and so on)
Bullet Journal Cheat Sheet: Free Download
You can make your own customed cheat sheet with the things you need and usually add to your journal, but I also prepared a PDF cheat sheet for you to get you started.
The PDF is already up in the Resources Vault, under “miscellaneous”.
If you’re not part of Planning Mashers and don’t yet have access to the Resources Vault – simply sign up in the form below.
Hope this post was useful; if you find it so, please share! If you enjoy my content and want to show your appreciation, please consider supporting me with a cup of coffee.
And remember: Keep Bullet Journaling, and Don’t Be A Blob.