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starting a bullet journal, a guide by studypetals

hey everyone! it’s rhianne, or studypetals. i’ve gotten a lot of questions and concerns about how to start a bullet journal, so i decided to start a new one myself to show you how i set mine up!

GENERAL INFORMATION:

so what’s a bullet journal?
well, it’s not an actual journal, per se, but rather a system of journaling! the “bullet” word comes from “bullet points,” the way tasks/events are jotted down in this journaling system. (source)

what is a bullet journal used for?
a bullet journal can be used as a simple planner system, but it can also be a creative way to plan your daily/weekly tasks! some people even use it as a half-scrapbook/half-planner (like me!)

what’s the difference between a planner and a bullet journal?
this is a great question i’ve gotten before. a planner already has the dates/decorated pages/etc. all you have to input into a planner is tasks and events. a bullet journal is a book of blank pages, so it allows more creative freedom than a planner does. if you aren’t patient enough for free-handing everything, stick to a regular planner. if you like having a unique journal/planner and like customizing your spreads, look into starting a bullet journal!

MY SETUP:

picture 1: material starter pack
here’s what i use for my bullet journal (aside from the decorative things like washi tape, magazine cutouts, etc.)

  • moleskine notebook, regular, squared, soft cover
  • zebra mildliners
  • pilot g-2 pens
  • muji 0.35mm pens

picture 2: cover page
i just have a cover page to catalogue what this journal has in it. you can always put anything you want on the cover page, like:

  • the semester you’re using it in
  • your name
  • “bullet journal” or “planner”
  • a simple quote
  • etc.

picture 3: index
so for my first journal, i didn’t even use an index. it’s up to you whether you want to include one or not. if you use an index, remember to number the rest of the pages after it! you can either catalogue every page after you’re done with it, or only the pages you really want to reference.

picture 4 (left): legend
this is super important, especially for a bullet journaling system! so in this particular system of journaling, each task has a bullet point next to it. the most regular one i’ve seen is a square, so that’s what i use. what the legend does is keep track of what each symbol means. of course, if you just want to fill the squares in after you complete a task, then you don’t need this. however, if you want more organization, then make up whatever symbols you need to for this part! there isn’t one concrete symbol system, so do what works for you!

picture 4 (right): testing stationery page
i like seeing what each pen/highlighter writes like before i really use it, so why not make a page for testing them! what i do is write what type of stationery it is with the actual pen/highlighter so i don’t forget which stroke is which.

picture 5 (left): favorite washi page
ahhhh one of my favorite pages. you can put your washi collection on this page, or just strips of the ones you like a lot! they can be as long or short as you want them to be.

picture 5 (right): youtube ideas! (or other filler pages)
this isn’t for everyone, of course, but it’s one that i added! i just showed it to you guys since i wanted to show the washi tape page. anyways, there are a lot of cool pages you can add throughout your bullet journal, such as:

  • books to read/movies to watch/etc.
  • life goals
  • expenses
  • favorite quotes
  • moodboards
  • class schedule/information
  • recipes
  • AU ideas (for writers!)
  • favorite art pieces
  • favorite lyrics
  • etc.

picture 6: weekly spreads
the big one! so this is what i primarily use my bullet journal for. step-by-step, this is how mine are created (but you can always make yours unique):

  1. make the title (“week #,” or something)
  2. write the days
  3. write the dates
  4. write down the tasks for each day
  5. make a section for something you have to do each day (the “essentials”)
  6. write down the extra sections (goals, important dates, quote of the week, habit trackers, etc.)
  7. decorate with washi tape, doodles, printed pictures, magazine cutouts, leaves, flowers, movie tickets, etc.

extra resources from me to you:

some bullet journal examples and blogs:

WHEW. that’s all i have for this topic (for now.) i hope any or all of this helps you guys out there wanting to start a bullet journal. if you want to make one, we’re gonna be in this together! have fun and remember the most important thing: it doesn’t have to be perfect. not all the pages are gonna be great, you’re gonna make mistakes, and some pages are just not gonna be what you wanted them to be, but that is 100% okay. just remember to have fun with it, and just.. start!

-rhianne (5.30.16+6:48pm)