Everything You Need to Know About Starting a Bullet Journal

Everything You Need to Know About Starting a Bullet Journal

As many of you will know, especially if you follow me on Instagram, I am obsessed with bullet journalling. I started my first “official” bullet journal at the start of 2016 but I have been using the system for longer than that. I’ve always been one of those people that needs to use pen and paper to keep track of their life, however, whenever I use a diary I give up with it half way through the year. A bullet journal is like your own personal diary as well as a notebook, you design it just how you want it to look and you make it work for you. My bullet journal has been my saving grace on more than one occasion in the last year or so.

Before we get into this post, you should watch this video. It explains the whole systems better than I ever could.

So now you know the basics of how the bullet journalling system works you’ll want to personalise it and make it work for you. When I first mentioned bullet journalling you probably imagined those gorgeous books you see on Instagram and Pinterest. The one in the video doesn’t look like that but that is no reason you can’t make yours look pretty.

Here are my top Instgrammers for inspiration for my bullet journal

Happy weekend!✨✨✨ And if you haven’t yet, check out my new YT channel ? (Link in bio)

A post shared by Yu | Bullet Journal, Studygram (@bluelahe) on

Last week’s spread in my bujo is teaching me that my water intake is shit. ?

A post shared by @writingbravely on

Now that you know what the system is all about and you are inspired with how to set everything out, it’s time to talk about what to include.

What notebook to start your bullet journal in

The most popular book for bullet journalling is the Leuchtturm 1917 dotted grid pages, this is the one I have this year and it comes in a whole range of colours. Leuchtturm also do a specific bullet journal book now which is set up specifically for the original system.

For the first year of bullet journalling I used a book that looked similar from Ryman in A4 size – in hindsight that was way too big and the pages were a little on the thin side. This book also had ruled pages which at times was a blessing and other times a right pain in the backside!

The other book I highly recommend is the buffalo journal from Typo, when I lived in Australia (before I started bullet journalling) I was obsessed with this notebook. They come in rule lines and blank pages.

Pages in your bullet journal

Overview – pages I have at the beginning of my journal

Index – Everyone uses the index differently, some people index every page while others only index some. You’ll have to figure out what works best for you. This page is something the Leuchtturm books come with.

The next page in my journal is a year calendar, I started mine at the beginning of the year so liked the idea of having a whole year over view but in reality I use it to check how many days are in each month and nothing else. So probably not the most important page. I also have a goals spread as I set this up at the beginning of the year.

Future Log – The next recommended page is a future log, this is somewhere you can store key dates and information for future moths of the year. Something that is key if you are using it in place of a dairy. I have 3-4 months displayed in my future log pages and colour code them to help me read this information quickly.

My year in Pixels – This is a mood tracking page and I have it right at the beginning of my journal as it covers the whole year. I have a colour coded systems for my mood and fill it in at the end of each day. I have since seen far more detailed ones of these but I like the simplicity of this one.

Savings tracker – The final page before jumping in to each month is a savings tracker. This helps me to see how much I had at the beginning of the year and how much I have saved over the year. I didn’t think my spread through because if I take money out I have no way of recording this. So probably not an essential page.

Monthly Setup

Monthly calendar – I have changed the way I’ve set this up multiple times but the bare bones have stayed the same. I use a box for each day of the month and then colour code the events for each day – this also corresponds to my iPhone calendar to make my life easier.

Habit tracker – For this spread I write out each date in the month and note the day of the week that date is. I then write down all of the things I want to track that month. I try to leave space at the bottom in case I want to add anything as the month goes by.

Spendings – I like to write down everything I spend in a month so I have a simple table spread to do this. I use to colour coordinate all of my spendings but have since stopped doing this.

One line a day – I use this page to write something about my day that I probably couldn’t have written at the beginning of the day. It follows the idea of the Happiness Planner – where you write one line a day for five years. Another popular Bujo spread is a gratitude log where you write one thing you are grateful for each day.

Weekly spread – I like to write an overview of my week at the start of each week to save me checking back to my monthly spread everyday and to allow me to write in any new events that I missed at the beginning of the month. I also write a meal plan for the week, track what I eat and write a general to do list for the week.

Daily spread – I then have a daily spread for each day of the week I require one for. I tend to write down any appointments I have again because I like to be able to tick things off as I go each day. I also write down any to dos for the day – I do not use the bullet journal key system for this but my own system that works for me.


The other thing I used my bullet journal for is lists and plans. This could be a list of the assignment work I need to get down for uni and a plan for how to get it all done or just a list of blog post ideas. I tend to keep collection pages blank at the bottom in case I want to go back and add more to them at a later date. I also find sometimes I have to rewrite these pages again otherwise they get lost in a previous month and aren’t as useful as they could be.

These are just the pages I use in my own bullet journal. There are many other pages and spreads that you can include but you need to work out what is important for you to keep track of and write down. I’ve also used my bullet journal to write down my university schedule, journal about trips I’ve taken, plan blog content and more. How you set up and use your bullet journal will depend on what you want from it and your priorities.

To help make sure you create a bullet journal that works for you, it may be useful to plan out what is important for you and the spreads you will use for each of these points.

Another useful video, Boho Berry has been my biggest go to for anything bujo related!

As if there wasn’t enough to already take in, I’m gonna add one more thing to the mix, stationary!


When I began my journal, I started with just a normal biro and some felt tips but have since progressed to slightly better pens. I find, as a stationary geek, that having the pens I like makes me take more pride in the design of my journal. I love the creative feels that designing each page of my bullet journal gives me. However, not everyone will be the same and if you want to keep yours minimal in black and white, that is totally fine too!

I use…

Stabilo Pen 68 1mm thick – In as many assorted colours as possible

Stabilo Point 88 – In as many assorted colours as possible


And black ‘write away’ pens from Typo but they seem to have been discontinued

On my wishlist…

Faber-Castell Pens in different sizes

Tombow Dual Brushpens in pastel colour

Stabilo Highlighters in Pastel colour

There is so much out there that it can become over-whelming and you think it has to be this ‘perfect’ journal. But really a bullet journal needs to be something that works for you. All of the above is just inspiration to help you get started.

At the end of the day, the bullet journal is a system that you have to make work for you.


I hope you found this post helpful, I’m thinking of doing a whole series of posts on the bullet journal so if there is anything you’d like to know, just ask!

Jodie x


  1. 15th May 2017 / 1:29 pm

    I’ve seen loads of people using this system on social media, so it’s really interesting to see how it works Jodie. Also, how pretty are everyone’s journals?! One question I have is, does is take a long time to create all of the pages, or is that just part of the joy of it? x

    • Jodie Louise
      19th May 2017 / 12:55 pm

      They are so pretty right?! I tend to vary between minimalistic pages and really creative ones. Although a lot of the joy of it is creating beautiful pages sometimes you need it to be quick and easy too! x

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