Ray Amaari

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How To Start A Bullet Journal: Beginners Guide

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As a lifestyle blogger, I am surprised at myself I didn’t write this post on starting a bullet journal any sooner. Still never too late at all as 2020 is right around the corner.


Not too early to start organizing your life right now in preparation for the upcoming year.


I am a lover of cute stationery and a very artistic person. The combination of these two should have got me into bullet journaling a lot quicker.


Well, let me tell you this; once you start journaling, you won’t stop. You know why? Not only is it very addictive but also highly functional oh-em-gee.


Before we get any deeper into the benefits of having a bullet journal,  I must tell you exactly what it is.


What is a Bullet Journal?

The Bullet Journal is an analog system invented by Ryder Carroll, a NewYork-based designer. To quote him, he says, the Bullet Journal is meant “to help you track the past, organize the present, and plan for the future.”


To simplify that, it basically means organizing your life in a notebook that allows you to stay on top of everything. 


I know you are thinking along the line of… “I don’t need to write anything down, I’ve got a great memory” “My life is handled okay!” or simply, “Aint nobody got time for that!”


Well, granted. Some of that may be true and yes why would you want to start a bullet journal if you feel that way.


Let me tell you some reasons why you should despite all that and if you can’t find any benefits then I guess you read this post instead. My readers loved it over 20,000 times.


Who Is A Bullet Journal For?

  • People who have a million little to-do lists floating around
  • People who like pen and paper to-do lists
  • People who are into goal-setting and achievements
  • People who like stationery, journaling, scrapbooking, beautiful pens, etc.
  • People who want to be more organized and detailed in their lives
  • People who would really like to keep a journal/diary but are having trouble sticking with the habit


Boy oh boy.. the list goes on but hope I got through to you. However, if I have managed to fail, please refer to this post instead. You won’t leave my blog the same way you came.


The rest of you darlings, keep reading.


Supplies You Need For Your First Bujo

Click here to learn how to put your bullet journal together with less than $25.


Starting A Bullet Journal


The bullet journal system uses a lot of elaborate languages that makes it appear a lot more complex to grasp. I was confused at the beginning but I will simplify them for you. Here’s what those terms actually mean:


Glossary Of A Bullet Journal

Bullet journal: a method of journaling and note-taking that uses bullet points as the core structure

Index: a table of contents that you update as you go

Daily Log: everything you did and/or need to do today 

Monthly Log: traditional month calendar detailing things  you need to do that month 

Rapid Logging: symbols & signs that help you get stuff done quickly

Future Log: year-at-a-glance calendar where you can put events, goals, and long-term plans  


The functionality of a bullet journal revolves around jotting down short sentences and to-dos instead of writing lengthy sentences. This process is called rapid logging which may sound complex but it means listing down quick notes on any number of things and then marking those notes with simple symbols to easily categorize and track them.


An example of this… 


You can see that in this journal, simple short tasks have been jotted down. You do however need keys, to categorize these tasks in terms of completion or any details you may want to add to them. 


Image from Buzzfeed

This user has clearly marked each task with symbols on the left of each task to easily distinguish each task and learn details about them. You mustn’t use the same symbols as this user, some people use colors, other signs, and even stickers to do this depending on how fancy you want your journal to look.


A group of these signs and symbols you use will have to be written down in your journal titles ‘keys’ so you can remember what each one represents. You will get used to them later and refer to the list less and less often. 


How To Structure Your Bullet Journal

Start by numbering the bottom of all your pages. This is a really important step for proper indexing. 

Once you’ve done that, go on your first page and write down a list of topics you want to journal on and have them under the title of index. You want to make all pages first before numbering your index.

Beside each topic, write the corresponding page number you can find that topic on for easy reference.

Your future log comes after the index and it takes the next four pages. 

Mark the top the current year and draw 2 equal horizontal lines on all four pages making 3 segments on each page.

Once you do that, label each segment on the first page January, February, and March. Repeat this process on the other segments left till you get to December. 



This calendar is for things like birthdays, travel, or even goals you want to revisit later in the year. Again, you don’t have to fill it out in detail right away; you just need to set up the pages for it, and then you’ll add to it as needed later.


Once you do this, you can create Modules to track specific big things you want to work on.  Like a list of books, sports, classes to take, etc.




And if you decide you want to add more modules later on, you can just create them wherever you want. Just add the page number to your index so you can easily find them later on.


There are tons of cool layouts for these pages on Pinterest, but the simplest way to do the monthly calendar is to just list all the dates down the left side of the page. Then you can write in the bigger stuff — travel, birthday, important meetings, etc.


That’s it. This is all you need to know for starting a bullet journal in a nutshell. This post might seem lengthy but the actual process of decorating your bullet journal is extremely simple and can be quick. How much time you spend on it depends on how much you love to decorate. 



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