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Bullet journaling for beginners: everything you need to know to get started

Bullet journaling is the perfect craft to pick up in 2022. This mindful yet practical craft will allow your imagination to run wild with all the creative possibilities of a blank notebook. Our guide to bullet journaling for beginners will tell you everything you need to know about starting your own bullet journal. We’ll talk you through the must-have supplies, as well as top tips and advice from the awesome Temi at Livingletterplans.

What is bullet journaling? 

Bullet journaling was originally created by Ryder Carroll as a simple method of staying organized. It can help you record your daily tasks, set goals and track your progress. You can create layouts for whatever theme, topic or goal you wish! Here are just a few of the page spreads you might choose to include in your own bujo aka bullet journal: 

  • Goal planning
  • Bucket lists
  • Habit trackers
  • Weekly planners
  • Daily affirmations
  • Monthly overviews
  • Wish lists
  • Meal planning
  • Budgeting

Pro Tip

Keep things simple and adjust as you go. By all means look for inspiration, but don't be intimidated by all the different spreads out there. Find what works for you, and make changes as you go. You might create a spread you never use, or see a spread you want to try, you can always change your layout each month. - Temi @Livingletterplans

The benefits of bullet journaling

Over the years, bullet journaling has evolved from being a minimalist way of organizing schedules, to an incredibly popular craft among makers. It has become an excellent mindful exercise that allows us to slow down, set intentions and take time to plan the day-to-day.

For me, bullet journaling is an all-in-one aid to my wellbeing and lifestyle. I find it so helpful logging, reflecting, getting my thoughts down on paper, and tracking my mental health and habits. On top of that, it allows me to be completely expressive in my creativity, and enjoy crafting and stationery.” - Temi @Livingletterplans

Must-have bullet journal supplies to have in your stash

No two bullet journals are the same! With the right supplies, you’ll design one-of-a-kind layouts that will let your creativity shine! To get you started, here are some of the essentials that bullet journalists love: 

How to start your bullet journal

The key principle is to keep things simple and that's why bullet journalists use the method of rapid logging. This allows you to write more concise, shorthand actions. Once you have the basics, you can start creating a whole book filled with fun and beautiful layouts!

Create your bullet journal key

Your bullet journal key is how you keep track of the different types of tasks as well as your progress. You can create this key to fit you and your bullet journaling needs. To get you started, here are a few ideas:

• Tasks

◦ Events

* Priority

! Ideas

< Task moved

X Task completed

We love using bullet points for tasks as it means they can be easily transformed to show the status of the task!

Bullet journal index

To make it easy to find the pages and spreads you need, your index is there as your table of contents. List each page you've created, its purpose and the number of the page you can find it on. As you build out your bullet journal with more pages, be sure to keep this updated.

Future log

Your future log is a great place to begin your bujo journey at the start of the year. Have all your big events like vacations and birthdays documented in one place, so you can see your whole year in a glance. This simple layout below from American Crafts is a great choice to get you started.

Bullet journal monthly spreads

Your monthly spread is there to give you an overview of your month. You can personalize this with the blocks you find most helpful. This could be a whole calendar layout like this one from @dutch_dots or a listicle layout of your month. You could include blocks for your monthly goals, reading trackers, mood logs and more. Check out our bullet journal ideas for monthly spread inspiration.

Weekly and daily spreads

From months to weeks, you can start to plan more of the day-to-day with your weekly spreads. You can start to use your bullet journal key to breakdown your tasks for the week as well as the events and projects you have planned.

If you're someone with a lot of tasks who likes a little more detail to their entries, you could swap your weekly spreads for a day per page. Take the time to find which works best for you! For daily spread inspiration, this video from We R Memory Keepers shows you a simple layout to try.

About the author

Sarah Jones profile picture

Sarah Jones

Sarah Jones is Content Manager at LoveCrafts. Lover of chunky yarns and colourful paper crafts, Sarah works with the in-house team and a whole load of talented content creators to keep makers informed and inspired!