HOW TO BULLET JOURNAL FOR BEGINNERS! Simple Step-by Step Guide
In this article, I am sharing my first bullet journal set up. This article is great if you are looking for bullet journaling for beginner.
I have been told that this is a great way to stay organised, focused and track milestones, achievements and habits. I have been all over the place lately, so I feel so excited to see if this will change. If you are new to bullet journaling, so am I. This means you are in the right place as we can start the process together.
I wanted to get organised and start using a dotted journal for a while. I have so many things that I want to do and I feel that they all are just ideas scattered in my mind. It would be nice to have a place for them. I love writing and I do write ideas and thoughts on note pads or pieces of paper or even on my phone that end up being in random places. Most of the time they end up in rubbish bins or forgotten on my phone though as I get overwhelmed with the pile of paper that I end up creating. And trust me I tried pretty much everything, even organisational apps but I could never keep up with them as I like writing. Writing is a meditative process and always makes me feel better.
So, you see why I got excited about journaling!
Before deciding which journal to choose I did actually do a lot of research in order to identify the structure that would work for me. I have seen so many beautiful journal setups but some of them are unrealistic for me. I wanted to create something beautiful but also something practical. I want to create an organised version of me.
I knew that I wanted to test journaling for 6-months, as 12 months seemed too long of a time right now. If I get into it, I will definitely look into a bigger sized journal but for now a journal with 150 to 160 pages should be more than enough for me.
I also used Pinterest and Youtube to draw ideas on how I can potentially structure my journal. I knew that I wanted to leave creative spaces sparingly so I can doodle, sketch or write down my thoughts. I am also forgetful so an event calendar would potentially work for me. Some bullet journals had bucket lists for 6 months or a year and that is great to truck achievements. The biggest challenge for me was to find great ways for me to record my daily tasks and my habits.
FINDING THE PERFECT DOTTED JOURNAL
So after identifying my requirements, finding a dot grid notebook that inspires the process of planning, organising and reflecting is important. I consider myself lucky as I managed to come across an eco-friendly brand with biodegradable dotted journals. ZenART Supplies, is not only an art journal supplies but an art supplies that was founded off the back of the creator being frustrated with not finding what she needed in the market. Their B5 journal is ideal for me. It is a perfect size to fit my daily needs and fit in my bag. I love the Japanese patterns which are different for each journal and they come in various colours. I chose the one that would inspire me and that is the one in turquoise color. These journals are faux leather bound, soft and quite flexible. I love the feeling of the paper inside. Pages are numbered which is great. This means I do not have to number them.
First page is where I probably will write my name and a quote if I feel like. The first 4 pages are index pages which I thought is fantastic as I can create an index of my journal content. At the back of the journal, there is a pouch with some information on how to register the product, there is also a message from the owner of ZenART Supplies, and finally some stickers in case they are needed.
ZenART Supplies Bullet Journals
BULLET JOURNALING TOOLS
Besides this dot grid notebook, I am also using a pencil and an eraser that I will use to create the structure and then I will go over the structure with a black pen. I have seen a lot of people using colorful pens and markers. I brought them with me, not sure if I am going to use them but good to have just in case. I am also using a ruler to connect the dots with straight lines when needed. I also have my laptop next to me for help when I need inspiration.
STARTING BULLET JOURNALING
Now that we have everything, let’s start creating our bullet journal structure!
I have done some pre-work in advance using a pencil to save some time.
Let’s start by stating whose journal this belongs to. You can add a quote or something that represents you. I will just write my name for now and add the bells and whistles later as I am journaling.
I will skip the index pages and will go to the one of the first dotted pages. Here I will number my dots, so I know how many are horizontally and how many are vertically. This will help me split the pages in equal sections, and trust me when I was creating my structure they came in handy a few times.
DOTTED JOURNAL KEY SECTION
I have copied the key section from a template I saw on Pinterest. I found creating some key symbols to indicate the nature of the tasks or the stage of the tasks to be quite clever and helpful!
I like geometrical shapes and so you will find that I use boxes many times to capture sections. This is my KEY section. Within the key section I have included:
A circle that symbolises a task I have to do
A circle half filled that symbolised a task in progress
A black filled circle that symbolised a task completed
A circle with a line means that the task is cancelled
A triangle symbolises an appointment or an event
A star symbolizes something important, and
An arrow to the right symbolizes that the task has been moved (I added this as a last minute option otherwise it would have been under the cancel symbol).
BULLET JOURNAL CREATIVE SPACE
My next section is called creative space. It is basically a place where I will unleash my creativity, a place where I will doodle or sketch or write anything that comes to my mind. Quite excited about this space and similar spaces that I will create throughout this journal.
DOTTED JOURNAL CALENDAR
Following the creative space is a 6-month calendar and important events sections. Now, you may like to start your journey from 1st of January or cut it half way and start on 1st of July but I was never able to keep up with my new year's resolutions. However, I did notice that if I made a decision or started a habit on a random day of the year, I would keep up with it. I guess because the pressure of new year’s resolutions was not part of the decision anymore. So, for the last 5 years, any resolutions I put in place, they are put on a random day of the year and so starting journaling in August instead of January or July made more sense to me. You can do whatever works for you.
For me it was very important to know the number of weeks for the 6 months I am journaling so I ensure that I have enough pages and I do not run out of space.