Bullet Journal - how to get started

Bullet Journal – An Effective Passion

In all my life there’s always something I’ve never been… organized. I lack the ability to focus for long intervals of time, enough to become a messy person in my personal life. If it was my job, that’s a whole different story – I am a business analyst and virtual assistant to at least 50 people in the US… what a hellhole would be if I was not organized or had my inbox properly categorized. But, again, when it comes to my personal life I’m a mess.
I suffer from depression and with that comes my overweight, insomnia, and anxiety problems. To add, I have PCOS which makes it pretty difficult to lose weight. With all these items, and with little to no help and support, one can imagine how it easily became a messy life with unhealthy food and little to no will to do or follow through things. To this, I was extremely grateful I came across the Bullet Journal system.
Recently, I posted about how I met the Bullet Journal system. Most of you have heard about bullet journals, but I rarely see it being used to keep my mental illness tracked, PCOS symptoms, and mood tracker to keep an eye on depression. I will make this post to cover all the basic on how to start a bullet journal and include how I use it to track everything that I need to track giving the fact that I’ve been using it for the past few months
I hope this post is informative as it’s intended and without further ado, let’s dive into Bullet Journaling in depth.
How to start a bullet journal

First things first, a more in-depth explanation on:

What is a bullet journal?

I explained this in my initial post on bullet journal, but it was a fairly quick explanation as well as the original explanation: “It’s an organizational system which can be customized and it’s so forgiving that you can use it as you see fit; a To-Do list, Sketchbook, Diary, Notebook, it really can become whatever you need it to be.”
Simple explanation: Bullet Journal it’s a method to keep track of whatever you need. It’s kind of a DIY planner that is forgiving enough to work with your style, regardless of what style you’re inclined, and helps to keep your things organized.
Personally, for me, it works because I can change it to fit my needs, my style, the colors I want, to try new things, to review what worked, what could be changed, endless possibilities with so many different creative or simple ideas. It’s simple yet more fun than a conventional planner, which tends to be very boring. For stationery fans, this is the ultimate heaven in a notebook! I mean, literally, could you imagine the amount of printable, colors, designs, stationery products that can be used in it? I LOVE IT! hahaha, I absolutely adore the bullet journal since I lay eyes on it. Given, I keep mine fairly simple, but with everything I want to accomplish and the little time to fill it I have, it can hardly be anything more elaborated. I do have so many templates that, if given the time, I’d use them.
Alright, now that we have the explanation out of the way, let’s move into starting one :3

Things you need to start a bullet journal

To be completely honest and fair with you, I spent a little over $50 starting my own. Again, I love stationery and saw the opportunity to binge shop on new things “I needed”. However, a friend of mine started one out of a regular notebook with a Bic black pen and a few colors that she already has. It works just the same. When I saw that, then I stopped purchasing things haha
Please, do not worry thinking that you need to purchase anything fancy or anything at all. I mean, admittedly, we all have spent, at some point, an expensive planner and 3 sets of 200 different pen colors to use and so many stickers for the planner to later ditch them a few months after purchase, not even lasting a year or even 6 months. This was me, with GREAT effort I left that past *coff coff* or so I hope haha.
Now that you know that these are the items you REALLY need to start a bullet journal:
  • Notebook
  • Pen or pencil

Let’s begin. Please keep in mind that if you want to have an artistic bullet journal like the ones you see in Pinterest and Instagram you’re welcome to give it a shot and I have the “starter” pack for that, a how to start one in this Metting the Bullet Journal System post. & always remember that the bullet journal is to lessen the worries on that head of yours and keep your them in check, not add more burden to your brain. So don’t worry about making it perfect the first time around, it’ll never be perfect or finished and that’s okay!

Starting a Bullet Journal 101

claps hands Time to start your first bullet journal ever! (maybe not first ever haha)

I have 2, an A5 bullet journal to keep in my bag and an A4 that I keep at home as it contains business ideas, house budget and it’s too big to carry everywhere anyway (:

Either way, practicality at first will be more efficient than 600 colors. Only in the beginning, once you get the hang of it, you’ll have free reign over your bullet journal! (not that you don’t have it right now).

It’ll take more time in the beginning and also, some getting used to it. At times the blank pages are intimidating when starting something new, which I can totally relate, this is why I’m showing you the very first thing you need to do and my pretty obvious attempts at something pretty and failing miserably haha You’ll see, I’ll show you (:

We’ll start with the basic, most basic information, and pages needed to start. You can choose to ignore or add them to fit your needs. In the end, that it’s exactly the beauty of a customizable planner, the endless possibilities inside a bullet journal.

1. Index

Defined as: an alphabetical list of names, subjects, etc., with references to the places where they occur, typically found at the end of a book.

For the purpose of the bullet journal, it serves as a table of content you will list the page number along with the title of the page. It’s easier to find indexed information and track your entries as your bullet journal grows instead of having it there, laying in your memory.

For the index to work, your pages have to be numbered and this can be done as you go. I did it on the first go, though. You can do it in one go, or as you go.


2. Key

Defined as: a thing that provides a means of gaining access to or understanding something.
For the purpose of bullet journal, a key is a page that contains the explanation of bullets. It helps organize notes, entries into categories and as anything bullet journal-wise, you can use basic or change them as you like. You can start being creative as of this point, but as mentioned before… practicality at the beginning will prove to be more efficient.

3. Year At A Glance | Future Log

LogDefined as: an official record of events during the voyage of a ship or aircraft.
For the purpose of bullet journal, a future log is a small record of events, meetings or tasks that will be carried on that month specifically. The same goes for a “Year @ at Glance”, serves as a calendar to check on which dates are important and write them in a future log (including birthdays). This is useful if you forget commitments that are months apart, like a wedding or a travel. You can always refer back to the future log when you’re planning your month, to check if there was anything important.

4.  Collections

Defined as: a group of things or people.

For the purpose of bullet journal, it’s a group or list of things. It can be anything and most popular examples include: books, series, movies, weight loss tracker, habit tracker, mood tracker and challenges, be it yearly or monthly. Collections can be before, after, in the middle, or anywhere in the bullet journal, no specific space.

This part is my personal favorite. I took MORE time planning what I wanted to include (which I have yet to complete) vs anything else. Here are some of my examples:

5. Monthly, Weekly, Daily Log.

LogDefined as: an official record of events during the voyage of a ship or aircraft.
For the purpose of bullet journal,  the monthly log is keeping track of a single and it can a calendar and events or just the calendar and a space to make notations. It can be placed weekly and daily, which is basically the same. Logging events, tasks, appointments, etc. Anything that needs to be done during that week or on a specific date and this is like a “conventional” planner. I don’t advise planning too ahead of time, either months or weeks, not even days. At the end, it’s better to plan daily or weekly to make sure you’re taking advantage of the space and it helps remind you what needs to be fulfilled.
Aside from this, I believe we’ve covered the essentials. Now, onto the list of stationery supplies and printable templates and you can download a starter pack of printables below 🙂

Bullet Journal Supplies

Supplies List:

Happy journaling!

Bullet Journal A4
Oh, and one more thing… If you liked this post, please share and please leave a comment on the post to provide feedback. love, hate, anything. I’m still growing and would love to hear your opinion ♥

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