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How To Start A Bullet Journal

Knowing where to start can be overwhelming if you are new to Bullet Journaling.

The good news is that you only need to know a few basics to begin Bullet Journaling and as you get used to using your Bullet Journal, you can add more collections and pages as you go.

Want some even better news?

You don’t need any fancy supplies either. Just a notebook and pen.

We aren’t going to lie…. we love a great pen and some gorgeous washi tape. But these are things you can add once you have the basics down pat.

Not only does this save you time, effort, and money but it will help keep Bullet Journaling super simple for you as you start, helping you gain confidence and keep up your journaling momentum. And it is these things that are going to make Bullet Journaling work for you rather than all the fancy spreads you may see on social media.

So, let’s get started!

The Bullet Journal Method

Created by Ryder Carroll, the Bullet Journal is a special type of journal that splits up life into different journaling sections. This helps you keep track of all parts of your life in one journal.

It is also set out a little differently from usual journals. Instead of full entries, a Bullet Journal uses summarized points and symbols. This makes it easier and quicker to use than a traditional journal or diary.

We will show you how this works below so you can set up your own Bullet Journal.

The Journal

The first thing to do is find a notebook you want to use as your journal.

Traditionally this is an A5 dot journal but it really is up to you. If you prefer squared or lined journals then that is okay too.

Next, you need a pen.

Although you can start with any pen you have at home, we think it is nice to splash out a little to get a great pen that writes smoothly and you love to use. Be sure to save this special pen just for your journaling.

Next, you need to choose your collections.


Some terms used in Bullet Journaling can seem confusing but they are really very simple. For example, a Bullet Journal collection is just an entry, page, or group of pages with a related subject. Anything you add to your journal is actually a collection.

Making a rough plan of what collections you want and need in your journal can be really useful as a beginner. We suggest doing this on a separate piece of paper rather than in your journal so you can edit and then organize them well when you add them to your journal.

Collections are very personal. It is important to think about what parts of your life you want to get organized and what sort of things you need to record in your journal. This will help you decide what collections to have in your journal.

Some collections that feature in most people’s journals are; Calendar pages (such as weekly or monthly spreads), Lists, Goals, Logs (for recording things like gratitude or future events), and Trackers (Habit, sleep, fitness, etc.).

Once you know what collections you need you can work on an organization order in your journal that makes sense to you. If you need help with ideas, you can check out this huge Bullet Journal Collections ideas list

It is a great idea to do your Index and Key before you start adding the collections you have chosen to your journal. Find out more about these terms next.


The first two pages in your journal are the best place to add an Index. This is kind of like the contents page of your journal.

Here you will add a list of the collections you have and if you have a page-numbered journal you can add the page number of each journal too. This will help you find collections quickly when you need them.

The Key

Just after the Index is a great place to add your Key.

Here you create symbols that will be a kind of shorthand for showing appointments,
events, and lots more.

You can use the same symbols as others or create some that are uniquely your own.
There is no right or wrong here.

By having the key at the front of your journal you have an easy reference to what the
symbols mean.

You then use these symbols through your collections so you can quickly and efficiently
add information.

Start Using Your Journal Daily

For your journal to start making a difference in your life you need to use it daily. This is a new habit you need to cultivate.

You could set an alarm on your phone to make sure you journal every day or have your journal with you so you get into the habit of glancing at it regularly.

It is also great practice to look through your journal first thing in the morning to see what tasks need to be done that day.

At night you can then look through your journal, see what tasks were completed, any tasks that need to be moved to another day as you didn’t get round to them, and so on. This is a great way to become more aware of your organization and time management skills. We are sure that if you develop these habits you will start to become better at planning your days, knowing what tasks are realistic for time periods, and lots more.

Happy journaling!

Hi, we are Thass and Kirs,

In the past 3 years, we’ve helped thousands of people get started with their bullet journals so we know exactly where people get stuck.

After creating our own Bullet Journal’s, we learned all the amazing benefits and knew we wanted to share them with others. This is how Diary Of A Journal Planner began.

For lots more on Bullet Journal for beginners head over to Diary Of A Journal Planner

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