How To Start A Bullet Journal

Falling down the rabbit hole of the online bullet journal community can be overwhelming. I got lost amongst all the beautiful layouts and creative ideas, that I ended up thinking, oh no, where do I start my new bullet journal? I’ve forgotten how I begun!

You start one page at a time, and this is my list of pages to do in order:

  1. If lost, please send to…
    A message in case you misplace your precious notebook. (I have lost one notebook before and a stranger kindly emailed me for my postal address. He posted it to me and said he didn’t want the postage cost and instead I should pay it forward by doing a good deed for someone else.
  2. Index page.
    I start mine at the back so I don’t have to worry about how many pages to allot to this and my index can grow as I add to it
  3. Key / Legend.
    List all the symbols you’ll be using and mark this page for easy reference until the symbols become second nature for you. 
  4. 2015 Timeline.
    I saw this beautiful timeline by thefridaystudio that I want to do to reflect and capture all the amazing things that happened in my previous year
  5.  2015 Review
    Review of the previous year
  6. 2016 Level 10 Life and Goals
    Reflective exercise as shown by Boho Berry. You can get the worksheets here
  7. 2016 Year calendar
    An overview of the whole year’s dates, maybe things I want to track for the year too
  8. Future Log
    I haven’t decided yet whether to do 3, 6 or 12 months 
  9. How to use Bujo
    Until this becomes second nature, this will list my routines for BuJo, e.g. checking in the morning and evening, how to set up each month and review each day and the questions to ask myself 
  10. My morning routine
    Inspired by Hal Elrod’s Miracle Morning SAVERS
  11. Financial / Savings Goals and Tracker

Then I will start my monthlies and these will be set up every month:

  1. Month doodle page
  2. Monthly Log, Tasks and Goals
  3. Monthly Tracker to track habits and mood, cleaning and anything else I want to track
  4. Expense tracker
  5. Gratitude log
  6. Start Dailies

Once these are set up then I can start Collections from here. Some ideas for Collections are:

  1. Wishlist
  2. Gift Ideas for others
  3. Read, Watch, Listen List
  4. Life / Bucket List
  5. Ideas list
  6. Travel Wishlist
  7. Happy File
  8. Love / Marriage / Date Ideas
  9. Accomplishments
  10. Favourite website / bloggers
  11. Ways to relax
  12. Password list (?)
  13. List of things I’ve done for the first time

If you want more list ideas, check out Artjournalists 101 List Ideas or for a more career-oriented one The Muse Career-Boosting Lists

[Top Image by Cea]

The bullet journal community

The first thing I did when I found out about bullet journaling was devour everything related to it online. And I found a beautiful, massive online community. If you’re starting out, I recommend joining up a few in whichever social media you hang out at, but be careful not to get overwhelmed. Practice with the basic bullet journal system and once you have got the hang of it add other elements that inspire you. You can find the communities here:


Use the hashtag everywhere:

Facebook Groups


What is a bullet journal

I randomly came across the concept of a bullet journal on 7th December 2015. I know the date because I have emails from that date telling all my friends, family and colleagues about it because I thought it was so amazing I had to share immediately. I was so excited I think everyone should know about this concept and implemented it immediately in my existing notebooks.

The bullet journal is a way of organising your notebook so that your diarising, note taking and to do lists are effective. You can start immediately with pen and paper.

The reason I love bullet journaling is because it is simple and adaptable to whatever your needs happen to be and it is fluid enough to change along with your needs. What attracted me to it was seeing how personalised the system could be through the bullet journal sharing community and how creative (or not) you can be. And I love being creative and pen and paper!

The next few posts of mine will be dedicated to bullet journaling as I learn about it and want to share this learning to others who may also come across it and become otherwise overwhelmed.

But first, visit the original bullet journal website to learn about the original basic bullet journal system. But to summarise, you start with creating the following pages in your notebook:

  1. Index page: to list the contents of your notebook pages, so you can always find your information easily
  2. Key page: set of symbols signifying what is a task, completed task, event, appointment, notes etc.
  3. Future Log: note down dates and actions/appointment in the future
  4. Monthly Log: list down your tasks and actions for the month
  5. Weekly Log: tasks for the week
  6. Daily Log: tasks for the specific day
  7. Collections: dedicated pages to particular topics e.g. Wishlist, Reading List, Class Notes

The key to the bullet system is you review it at the end of each day, and migrate incomplete tasks to the next day.

The Two Things To Make Life Awesome

I’ve learned from most of my favourite bloggers that the best way to improve your life is:

  1. Be grateful for what you have
  2. Make the choice to enjoy where you are

They both go hand in hand. Recently, Tonya Leigh posted “How To Bloom Where You Are”, which to me reminded me that I have to appreciate where I am and make the most of it.

I’ve been decorating my room with things I like; whenever I see something that is slightly on the expensive side, my childhood upbringing and broke-student days would hesitate until I reminded myself I am now a working woman with decent income and I want this and, yes, it’s not necessary but it is beautiful and will make my room, my sanctuary, a much happier, more pleasant place to be in. So I go for it now.

Yesterday I had my tooth extracted. It took longer than expected and I was sure the dentist would break my lower jaw with the force he was holding against it for leverage to pull out my broken back tooth. To not focus on the pain (despite local anaesthetic) I focused on instead thanking that tooth, the many years of service it had given me despite being crippled by an infection 14 years ago, and bid it goodbye.

The more I read about personal development from insightful people that I admire, the more those themes are recurring – from Danielle La Porte whose core desired feelings is centred around choosing to feel good no matter what task you’re doing, the scientific research backed up by Happier Human and Eric Barker and of course Tonya’s elegant posts.

And so I remind myself to keep practicing those two things.