The first month of any year is a time when everyone wants to get organized. It’s kind of like the first day of school, am I right? Well, as an avid bullet journal user myself, it’s also the time of year I get a lot of questions about how to start one! So I thought I’d jot down a few thoughts in case you are in the same boat. Now the really wonderful thing about a bullet journal is that you can make it what you need it, and there’s no hard and fast rule that says you have to start in January. So, in case you feel like you missed the boat, I’m sharing a few of my tips on how to start a bullet journal!
First things first, you want to make sure you set yourself up for success! The first time I tried to start a bullet journal, I bought the wrong kind of notebook and it made it a bit more difficult! I’d also recommend you take your time. It’s so tempting to just dive right in and start drawing on all your pages, but the first time you start a bullet journal, it’ll take a little time to find your rhythm.
– a notebook: I’m currently using a dotted notebook from Papier. I definitely prefer dotted pages, but I’ve also used gridded ones in the past, so go for that if you prefer!
– pencil and eraser: when I’m starting new pages, I always prefer to use pencil first while I figure out the format. Or if I do a little doodling, I always use pencil first and then ink it in later.
I’d also recommend having a little ruler and maybe even some fun washi tapes to add a bit of flair! How I create different pages depends so much on what I’m using it for, but having lots of different options means I can be as creative as I want to be!
And now a few tips for how to start your bullet journal!
Tip #1: Don’t forget the Index!
Before you do anything, make an index on the very first page of your notebook. This is where you’ll keep track of where things are. Without it, you will be lost, I guarantee it! Because you have the index, you never have to worry about saving or skipping pages. It’s really easy to keep track of everything! My index is before any of my title pages or anything at all!
Tip #2: Figure out your main use before you start drawing!
There are so many ways to use a bullet journal, so much so that it can be a little overwhelming. The thing that helped me was working out the main purpose for my bullet journal. I use it to keep track of my diary, and as a catch all for lists. I love lists. This means I can focus a bit more on making sure I actually use it. Make it work for you! I love making lists, and while these look different based on the content, the use is essentially the same! At the moment, I have a packing list for Antigua, a list of books I want to read, and a list of ideas for my #GhenetsThreeWays series all on the go!
Tip #3: Take It Slow
When I decided to start a bullet journal for the first time, I dove face first into Pinterest, and recreated lots of spreads. It looked great, but it actually ended up being a waste. Because they didn’t align with my needs, I ended up not using them. These days I take it slower and only create spreads as I need them. The desire can definitely be there to go all in, but I would definitely recommend taking your time, especially if this is your very first bullet journal!
Tip #4: Learn to pivot
When I started using a bullet journal, I decided to adopt the same diary format I was used to using. I would draw out weeks over several pages, but it ended up just being wasted space. So over time, I’ve tried different set ups to view my month, until I found something that worked. That’s the great thing about using a bullet journal. Just because you tried one thing, doesn’t mean you’re stuck with it! If something isn’t working, pivot!
When I first started bullet journalling, I found it a little overwhelming. There’s so much out there, and where the heck are you supposed to start? So I thought by sharing a few of the things I’ve learned, it might help you! Once you’ve gotten started, a bullet journal can be so useful!
Plus, I find it pretty mindful when I’m drawing in new spreads and such. Bonus points for helping me stay organized too!
Once you get started, you can have a look on Pinterest (bearing in mind tip #2, so you don’t get overwhelmed) and I’ve even got a board of things I like and want to try at some point! If you do have any other questions, please feel free to get in touch, as I know sometimes it helps to have a sounding board!