Sharing is caring!

Using a bullet journal is a great way to create the perfect planner for your unique needs, personality and situation. Whether you’re new to bullet journaling and wondering how to bullet journal or you’re familiar with using a planner and bullet journal and want to learn more about bullet journal spreads and tips, these tips and ideas will inspire you and get you started.

Pink journal cover with other journals stacked nearby.

Bullet Journal – What You Need to Know

The concepts of bullet journaling have been used for years, but the current bullet journal movement is usually traced back to Ryder Carroll

There are many different types of and approaches to  bullet journals. That’s what I love about bullet journaling – you can design the perfect bullet journal for you and your specific needs. Bullet journals can be:

  • Minimalist – This is the most like the traditional Ryder Carroll bullet journal style.
  • Artistic – These are the gorgeous, works of art bullet journals you see on Pinterest.
  • Productivity Focused – These include many goal setting and To Do List type spreads.
  • Calendar Focused – These focus more on calendars and appointments.
  • Diary Style – These work more as a traditional diary do.
  • Scrapbook Style – These include more areas for memories, photos and other scrapbook style entries. 

What is a Bullet Journal?

The best thing about a bullet journal is that it can be whatever you want it to be.

You can combine any of the following aspects that fit your needs, personality and lifestyle:

  • Calendar
  • Planner
  • To Do List
  • Brainstorming Tool
  • Project Planner
  • Journal
  • Goal Tracker
  • Habit Building Tool
  • Budgeting Tool
  • Sketch Book or artistic outlet
  • And anything else you’d like to use it for

Many of the bullet journals you see on Pinterest and Instagram are decorated with hand-drawn art, stickers, washi tape and more. That’s one style of bullet journal.

But the minimalist bullet journal is another option. It focuses more on function and not on embellishment.

I shared my own minimalist-ish and inexpensive bullet journal in Bullet Journal Ideas for the Minimalist. It was one of the first that I created.

Of course, you can create your own bullet journaling style somewhere in between the minimalist and a decorated styles.

Early on when I began embracing the bullet journal, I wrote Bullet Journal – What Is It? to introduce you to bullet journaling.

floral-pattern teacup sitting on top of pink journal next to gold pen and pink flower.

Why Bullet Journal

A bullet journal allows you to keep track of past and present accomplishments and memories, while also allowing to plan and organize the present and future.

It’s your one-stop resource for everything that is important to you in your personal and professional life.

It allows you to get all those things you need to remember out of your head and down on paper. When you do that, you stop using your brain for remembering and can free it up for creative and problem solving thinking.

Common Bullet Journal Terms

  • BuJo – Short for bullet journal.
  • Bullets – Circles, dots, dashes or boxes to designate a task.
  • Collection – Tasks, lists or information under a certain topic.
  • Daily, Dailies or Daily Spread – The pages used for your daily planning.
  • Dot Grid – Paper with a grid pattern created by light dots. The grid pattern allows you to easily draw vertical or horizontal lines, so that you can create your spreads.
  • Dutch Door – Pages cut in half-so that the top or bottom can be turned independently of the rest of the page.
  • Future Log – Pages where you log dates, appointments and reminders for the future.
  • Index – The table of contents located in the front of your bullet journal.
    Key – A reference list of what symbols and color coding in your journal mean.
  • Log – A page where you track something important to you.
  • Migrating, Migration – The procedure where you move a task, appointment or information forward to the next day, week or month.
  • Monthly or Monthly Spread – The pages used for your monthly planning.
  • Spread – A page, most often 2-pages side by side, in your bullet journal.
  • Trackers or Habit Trackers – A chart used to keep track of information for example, budget tracker, reading tracker or exercise tracker.
  • Weekly or Weeklies – The pages used for your weekly planning.

How to Start a Bullet Journal?

The beauty of a bullet journal is that you can design it exactly the way you want it. You can choose which aspects of bullet journaling you want to you use.

And you can change your mind as many times as you’d like. You’re not locked into one format for an entire year like you are with a traditional planner.

Some of the common bullet journal spreads are:

  • Brain Dump
  • Cleaning Schedule
  • Daily Spread
  • Goals
  • Gratitude Log
  • Future Log
  • Habit Tracker
    • Budget Tracker
    • Exercise
    • Mood Tracker
    • Nutrition/Diet
    • Sleep
    • Water In-take
  • Meal Planner
  • Mind Map
  • Monthly Spread
  • Shopping List
  • Weekly Spread

You should take a look at all the different types of spread, choose the ones you think will work best for you and give them a try. With trial and error, you’ll find the ones that work best for you.

open journal with handwritten title To Do on top of laptop keyboard and desk.

Learn More About Bullet Journaling

Bullet Journal Supplies

It really doesn’t take much to start bullet journaling. A notebook and a pen or pencil and a ruler is really all you need. Of course, it’s fun to be even more creative with additional supplies.

It really is possible to bullet journal on a budget. I’ve done it and it was just as effective as my more expensive bullet journals.

  • Start Bullet Journaling for $1 – Do you want to start bullet journaling to see if it works for you? You should try it out and the benefits of personalizing it for your unique use. Try it out and start bullet journaling for about $1.
  • How to Make a Cheap Bullet Journal Work – Bullet journaling can be inexpensive, but you need to know how to make make a cheap journal work for you when you use it to bullet journal. These tips will help you make an inexpensive journal work for you.
    How to Start a Bullet Journal on a Budget – If you are thinking of starting a bullet journal, you should know that it is possible to start a bullet journal on a budget.

You can find my favorite bullet journal supplies in my Amazon Store.

You can have lots of fun in collecting bullet journal supplies in your favorite colors or themes, too.

  • Pink Bullet Journal Supplies – Here are the best 50+ pink bullet journal (bujo) supplies including journals, pens, stickers, washi tape, clips, accessories and more.
  • Purple Bullet Journal Supplies – Looking for the perfect gift for yourself or someone who loves purple? Here are the best 40+ purple bullet journal supplies including journals, pens, stickers, washi tape, clips, accessories and more.
  • Summer Theme Supplies – The best 50+ summertime bullet journal supplies including in summery themes: fruit, beach, ice cream, flowers and general summer images.
  • DIY Pen Strap – For Bullet Journals & Planners – Keep favorite pens with your journal or planner by making a DIY Pen Strap. Carry 1 pen or as many as you want. Make it in a coordinating or favorite color.

Bullet Journal Printables

I’ve created (drawn) my own bullet journals and they worked great for me. But my life is busy, and I just don’t have the time or energy to create my own bullet journals from scratch each time.

I created bullet journal templates for my own use. They save me lots of time and still provide me the benefits of using a bullet journal. I’m always creating new bullet journal printables, so if you don’t find what you want, let me know in the comments and I’ll put it on my list to create.

Many of these bullet journal printable pdfs are free and a few are available in my shop. They’re all immediately available for download and printing. So, you can get started right away bullet journaling and planning.

Pin for later so you an always find this comprehensive list of resources as you begin your journey with a bullet journal and everything you need to know.

three gold paper clips and two blue journals with title What Is A Bullet Journal.