How to Start a Bullet Journal

When you start a bullet journal (or a planner), the inspiration is endless. Instagram and Pinterest are full of amazing creators that maintain accounts focused on creating beautiful, useful spreads.

From elegantly simple to garishly fun, you can find a community of accounts to match your aesthetic.

How to Start a Bullet Journal

If you’ve been thinking about starting a journal but, feel a little lost, don’t be intimidated. It’s actually quite easy.

Step 1: Buy a dot journal in a convenient size

Personally, I like to use a smaller-size journal (around 6 x9). But, there are a lot of choices on the market. Ideally, you’ll use it throughout the day and carry it with you. So, you’ll need something that fits in your bag.

Just make sure it’s not so small that you can’t do anything fun on the pages.

Step 2: Pick pens that work on the paper

Most people test pens on the back pages of their journal. Some products come with recommendations on pairing pens and journals. Just make sure you have a pen that won’t bleed through before you start laying out the first page.

Step 3: Create a template for your daily log

A daily log is the crux of keeping a journal. To stay consistent at the beginning, create a template that you can easily create week after week.

On pinterest and instagram you can find a lot of examples. Look for something that leaves a lot of room for notes and has clear sections. This will encourage you to keep up with your daily checkmarks at the beginning.

Also, give some thought to how you will mark things complete. Some people don’t like crossing out items because it junks up the spread. If you are looking for something clean, try check marks, filling in dots, or putting X in boxes.

Step 4: Select Areas for your weekly spread

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Sometimes, all you need is a pattern across the top of your spreads to make it really pop!⁠ ⁠ This weekly by @everydayronnie is simply stunning. ⁠ ⁠ Want to be featured? Be sure to tag us in your best spreads! ⁠ 😘⁠ Looking for Bujo supplies? We're Australasia's only store focused entirely on Bullet Journalling! Proud to be based in Christchurch, New Zealand. ⁠ 🇳🇿⁠ (Free shipping to NZ, AUS and USA on orders over $100NZD!)⁠ .⁠ #Journaljunkies #bulletjournal #bujo #showmeyourplanner #bulletjournalcatalog ⁠ #weeklylog #weeklyplanner #weeklylayout #bulletjournalweeklylog #bulletjournalweekly #bulletjournalweeklyspread ⁠ #bujoweekly #bujoweeklyspread #weeklyspread#bujoweeklylayout #weeklydecoration ⁠ #planner #planningaddict #planwithme #showmeyourplanner #plannerlove #plannerlife #plannerjunkie #plannergeek #plannercommunity #plannerobsessed #plannerspread #plannerlover #planneraddicts #plannerpeace

A post shared by Bullet Journal Inspo Daily (@journal_junkies) on

Most weekly spreads have a few areas in addition to the daily log. Some people keep a master list of appointments or reminders. Some add miniature trackers.

I often add a word or quote that gives some focus.

Think about that extra space and find a way to work that into your format.

If you feel a little lost, look at examples of other weekly spreads at a similar size to your journal.

Step 5: Create a habit of daily updates

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Journaling is a huge part of my mental health.

A post shared by Danielle Verderame (@verderamade) on

Once you have your spread created, pick a time when you will look at your list each day. Ideally, it will leave you time to complete the items.

Also, think about how you will decide to move tasks to the next day.

Step 6: Embellish the process

Now that you’re comfortable using your journal, you can look at ways to embellish the process. It’s fun to customize the pages to your aesthetic and personality.

Personally, I enjoy keeping lists in the back and the log in the front. In between my weeks, I’ll keep notes as well as anything that inspires me. Sometimes it’s just a small watercolor palette and a lovely image.

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If you’re looking for inspiration, check out what other people in the bullet journal community are doing. You’ll find a lot of ideas to keep you busy.

How did you start using a bullet journal?

I’d like to hear about why you started using a bullet journal. Were you obsessed with trackers on Pinterest? Did you decide it was time to get organized?

Tell me your story in the comments or join me on Instagram.

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