Bullet Journal For Beginners: Step-By-Step Setup

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If you’re looking for resources on Bullet Journaling for beginners, you’re in the right place, and in this post, we’re talking about a step-by-step process of setting up your first journal.

Bullet journaling is an easy and enjoyable system of organization that can help keep track of everything from shopping lists to important events. This step-by-step guide will walk you through setting up your first Bullet Journal so you can join in on this trend and get all the benefits of having a custom planner designed specifically for you and your needs.

Whether you’ve never planned before or if you just want to try a different system, I’ve got you covered with all the information to start right away.

Bullet Journaling has allowed me to take control of my productivity and clear my mind of overwhelming thoughts. It’s a great way to stay organized and keep track of progress in all areas of life, from personal goals to work tasks.

One of the things I love most is the freedom to customize it and make it truly unique to my own needs and preferences. Not only has Bullet Journaling helped me in practical ways, but it’s also become a creative outlet that I truly enjoy.

I know it will change your life as well, so let’s dive in and set up your first BuJo! And be sure to scroll until the end to sign up for a free course for beginners that will help you even further.

What Is A Bullet Journal

A Bullet Journal, or BuJo for short, is a unique, customizable organization system that serves as a planner, diary, to-do list, sketchbook, and more, all in a single notebook. It uses bullet points as its core structure, hence the name.

The beauty of a Bullet Journal lies in its flexibility; you can structure it precisely to suit your needs and lifestyle.

Why is it a game-changer? The Bullet Journal adapts to you, not the other way around.

It’s a fantastic tool for tracking past events, organizing present tasks, and planning for future goals. It’s about living intentionally, becoming more productive, and taking back control of your life.

So say goodbye to scattered post-it notes, lost to-do lists, and forgotten appointments because the Bullet Journal is here to revolutionize your personal organization.

Before Starting A Bullet Journal

Before you get started with your Bullet Journal, I always find that it’s important for you to understand why you’re actually trying out this system.

The why will help you with everything, from finding motivation and keeping up with your BuJo every day to what kind of supplies you’ll be getting for it.

Starting a new hobby and new habit like this one comes with its own difficulties, and understanding what your reasons are will help you to overcome them and create a perfect planning system that works for you!

Habit and Mood Tracker In My Bullet Journal | Masha Plans

For example, let’s say your main goal with Bullet Journaling is to find a creative outlet; you might want to get more creative supplies, a journal with better paper, and try out a more decorative style of journaling.

If you’re a busy working person who just needs something to stay organized, you might want to concentrate on pages on project management and day-to-day planning. You might also want just to get basic supplies and, instead of decorating, work on finding a style that works for you and helps you consume information better.

If you’re starting a Bullet Journal with general well-being in mind, you might want to work on trying different trackers and other pages that help you with mindfulness, self-care, and mental health.

So think about that, and meanwhile, let’s dive into actually setting up a journal.

Bullet Journal For Beginners: Step-By-Step Setup

You’ve done all your thinking and are ready to get started, so let’s go through the process.

This guide will be very basic with the information you need to get started without getting overwhelmed, but if you need more, check out the end of the post for more resources.

This post may contain affiliate links. They will be of no extra expense for you, but I receive a small credit. Please see my Disclosure for more details. Thank you for supporting Masha Plans!

Step 1: Get Your Supplies

One great thing about Bullet Journaling is that you don’t need to buy anything special or expensive. All you need are two simple supplies – a notebook and a pen.

If you want to get really fancy, go ahead and check out some colored pens, stickers, stencils, and the sort. But if all this talk of supplies has your head spinning, don’t worry! Just a notebook and pen will do the job just fine.

But if you want more, here are a few items that I know you’ll love using:

  • Lemome journal – this is a great journal for beginners! It’s affordable enough, so you won’t be too scared to get started, but it has good enough paper for you to enjoy planning and being creative.
  • Pilot Dr. Grip – as a beginner, you’ll probably be spending a lot of time drawing your pages with a pencil, and having one with a comfortable grip is definitely helpful. This pencil has the most comfortable grip I’ve ever tried!
  • Sakura Pigma Micron – a fineliner is the blood of every Bullet Journal page; these are perfect pens to draw your pages and decorate them. The ink is archival, jet black, and they come with different nib sizes to allow you more variety.
  • Crayola Super Tips – these come in many colors and are very affordable, so they are always on my list! Plus, you can actually use them for brush lettering as well.
  • Tombow Fudenosuke Brush Pen – if you want to get a brush pen, this one will be the perfect one to start with! The nib is very comfortable for beginners, and the brush size will allow you many different uses for your journal.

For more recommendations, you can always check my post The Best Bullet Journal Supplies For Any Artistic Level.

Step 2: Cover Page

Now that you have your supplies ready, it’s time to start planning!

I know the first page can seem a little intimidating. You’re staring at a blank canvas, and perfection can feel like the only option. But don’t sweat it!

In reality, you don’t have to create a cover page. If the thought of designing one is making you nervous, feel free to skip it.

However, if you’re up for the challenge, creating a cover page can be a ton of fun! It’s a chance to let your creativity flow and truly personalize your Bullet Journal. You can use images, doodles, stickers, or even your favorite inspirational quotes.

The cover page sets the tone for the rest of the journal, and it’s a wonderful way to express yourself. So go ahead, give it a shot, and remember – there’s no such thing as a mistake, only happy little accidents!

To get you started, here are a few tips for designing your cover page:

  • Choose a theme or color palette and stick to it. This will help your design look cohesive and complete.
  • Keep it simple. Too many details can be overwhelming, so go easy on the decorations.
  • Pencil first. This is probably the best trick to make sure your page comes out looking good – pre-design it in pencil first! That way, you can always change things up and fix mistakes before you go permanent with a pen.
  • Have fun with it! This is your chance to express yourself, so don’t be afraid to think outside the box and experiment.

Anything can be a cover page; you can really let your imagination flow and create whatever you feel like.

But if you need an idea to get started, here are a few:

  • The word of the year
  • Quote
  • About me page
  • Journal year
  • Collage

Let your imagination flow!

Step 3: Bullet Journal Key

Your key is where you write down the symbols (or signifiers) that will help you log and structure information quickly.

The three main symbols to use are:

  • for tasks
  • for notes
  • O for events.

In your setup spread, be sure to include them so that you can easily access them when needed.

You may find that as you become more familiar with Bullet Journaling, you want to add other symbols or customize your existing ones – this is completely fine! Just remember not to overcomplicate things, and the goal is always to make life easier, not harder.

Bullet Journal Key Ideas | Masha Plans

Experimentation is part of the fun – so be sure to experiment, try out new symbols and maybe add some color coding as well until you find that perfect mix that works for you.

Step 4: Index

An index page isn’t just for books – setting one up in your Bullet Journal will make it easier to quickly find and refer to a certain journal entry or topic.

This page can help you easily navigate your Bullet Journal and find the information that you’re looking for quickly and efficiently. An index is the secret weapon that allows you to create entries on the first page available but have it all well organized at the same time.

Image credit: @swedishbulletjournal

As you continue to fill out your bullet journal, it’s important to keep your index page up-to-date. Here are some helpful tips for updating your index:

  1. Make a habit of adding any new topics or entries to the list as soon as you create them in your journal – this will ensure that you don’t forget to add something later on!
  2. Every so often, go through your index page and double-check to make sure that all of the topics are still relevant and up-to-date. This will help keep your journal organized and easy to navigate.
  3. Always remember to add any pages from the back of your Bullet Journal to your index – this way you won’t forget to include them when referencing your journal.

By following these simple steps, you can keep your index page up-to-date and organized! With a well-maintained index, you’ll be able to quickly find the information that you need in no time.

Step 5: Future Log

A Bullet Journal future log is an organizational and planning tool that can be used to plan out events, tasks, and goals for the coming months. It helps you stay organized by allowing you to look ahead at upcoming commitments and track important dates.

Basically, everything you have happening in the future and not this month goes to a Future log. So things like birthdays, holidays, vacations, doctor appointments, and so on.

The layout of a future log varies from person to person, but generally, it contains sections for multiple future months so you can get a big-picture view of your commitments.

Write down the names of each month of the year and start filling in important dates and tasks that are coming up for each month under a corresponding header.

I also like to add mini calendars for each month. It is a bit of extra work, but I like having such an overview.

Finally, remember to review your future log regularly. This will help you stay on top of all the important dates and tasks that are coming up in the near future. Regularly reviewing your future log also gives you a chance to adjust any plans or tasks that have come up since the last time you looked.

Step 6: Monthly Log

A monthly log is a log that allows you to track and review events, tasks, or goals accomplished in the month. It helps you stay organized and focused on your goal for future months.

It’s basically a monthly overview, and it often comes together with a monthly to-do list so you can offload your monthly tasks in one place before organizing them.

Calendar monthly log in my August 2022 Bullet Journal setup - Masha Plans

Using a monthly log can help you stay on track and achieve your goals more effectively. By organizing all of your tasks and goals in one place, it’s easier to prioritize what needs to be done and when. Plus, having an easy-to-follow calendar will help you plan out exactly how you’ll reach each milestone throughout the month.

Step 7: Weekly / Daily Log

Weekly and daily spreads are important components of a Bullet Journal. By using both, you can create an organized system that makes it easy to keep track of your tasks, events, and notes.

A weekly spread is a layout for mapping out your weekly tasks and goals. It’s typically designed so that you can see the entire week at a glance.

You can customize your weekly spread by setting up columns for different categories, such as tasks, events, and notes. This allows you to easily organize your information and decide which tasks or events need attention that week.

A daily spread is a layout that helps you plan out your day in more detail than a weekly spread. It provides more space for you to write down tasks, events, and notes that need to be completed in a single day.

You can also organize your daily spread using columns or categories, just like with the weekly spread.

Credit: @bonjournal_

Creating spreads doesn’t have to be complicated – it’s all about finding a style that works for you.

Experiment with different layouts and systems until you find one that works well for you. You might even discover new ways to stay organized and productive!

Step 8: Collections And Trackers

Bullet Journal collections and trackers are a great way to organize your life, reflect on the past, and plan for the future. There are tons of collections that you can create in a Bullet Journal to help keep you organized and productive, but also just to make journaling more fun.

Popular collections include habit trackers, gratitude logs, reading lists, goal-setting pages, meal-planning pages, budgeting trackers, and so much more!

The amount of page ideas you can create in your journal is limited by your own imagination!

You can customize your own collections and trackers to fit your specific needs and lifestyle. Think about what you need help tracking and organizing, then brainstorm ways that the Bullet Journal could help you do just that.

The best part about Bullet Journal collections and trackers is that you can be as creative as you’d like. Feel free to experiment with different layouts and designs that work for you.

With a bit of practice and experimentation, you’re sure to find the perfect collections to help keep your life organized and productive.

Just be sure not to overdo it! If you try to use as many pages as possible for each month, you’ll end up turning planning into a chore, so start slowly and modify your pages each month once you see how it worked for you and if it was helpful.

Step 9: Review And Reflect

Reflecting on your experiences is an important part of the Bullet Journaling process. By reflecting on your journal entries, you can get a better understanding of what has gone well and what areas need improvement.

It’s also a great way to celebrate your successes and learn from any mistakes that may have occurred.

Take some time each week to go through your entries and reflect on what has been written and how your Bullet Journal helped. You can also do it on a monthly basis so you get a better idea if monthly pages were helpful and how you can create your next monthly setup better.

Be honest with yourself about any areas that need improvement, and consider how you can make changes in the future. Both in your life and with the way you use your Bullet Journal.

This is an important process in growing and achieving your goals, but also in making sure that your Bullet Journal grows and changes with you and that you really get the most out of it.

And just like that, following these steps, you’ll have an amazing journal that can help you with pretty much anything you need help with.

Taking some time to plan out your days and thoughts helps keep you focused and motivated. Not only can your Bullet Journal give you a sense of structure and purpose throughout the day, but it also allows you space for creative expression.

It’s honestly one of the most useful tools you can have in your arsenal for conquering everyday tasks in an efficient manner and as you can see, it’s not as complicated as it might seem.

Free Bullet Journal Course For Beginners

Want to get some more information and get help walking you through each of these steps? I’ve got you covered!

I know how overwhelming it can be starting a first Bullet Journal, so I’ve created a free course to help you easily create a custom-designed planner that would work for you.

Simply sign up in the form below, and once you confirm your subscription, all the details will be sent directly to your inbox.

More Resources

Meanwhile, here are a few more blog posts for beginners that I think you’ll enjoy.

Read these next:

Hope this post was interesting. 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!

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