Bullet Journal Basics

Starting a new Bullet Journal can be both exciting, and intimidating. Especially if you are brand new to the Bullet Journaling community. Ryder Carol, the creator of the Bullet Journal, does a great job of explaining the basics over at www.bulletjournal.com. I highly recommend starting here to build a foundational knowledge of the system.

This particular blog post is more so directed at those who have a very basic understanding of the Bullet Journal and are looking for some ideas, direction, structure and inspiration. I will cover a few things in this post:

  1. The purpose of a Bullet Journal
  2. Recommended Supplies
  3. Basic components to include
  4. Ways to make it your own
  5. Places to look for inspiration

So, are you ready to take your first steps into the Bullet Journal world? Great! Let’s get started….

1. The Purpose of a Bullet Journal

The purpose of a Bullet Journal will  change from person to person. It is an ever-changing analog system that is designed by you, for you, for your needs. For some people, it’s a creative outlet. For others, it’s a system for tracking projects and to-do lists. Others use it more as a journal and logging book. Some have separate Bullet Journals for work, finances, health and fitness. It is truly the most flexible and forgiving system I’ve ever seen. I’ve been Bullet Journaling for a few years now, and my Bullet Journals are always changing. For me, I use mine as some-what of a catch-all. I track my personal and business goals, progress, weight loss, work to-do lists, important contacts, collections, and so much more. My Bullet Journal also provides me with a creative outlet when I need one. Some days I want straight forward and simple, other days I want to doodle, draw and create. That’s the beauty of the system.

2. Recommended Supplies

The supplies you will use will depend heavily on personal preference. I will recommend some of my favourites, along with some of the community favourites. Just keep in mind, all you truly need is any notebook of your choice, and a pen or pencil. That’s it, that’s all.

Notebook: For me personally, I use a Leuchtturm1917 A5 Dot Grid. I originally starting in a Moleskine Medium Squared notebook, and I still think this is a great notebook for beginners. I later moved into a Leuchtturm1917 A5 Grid, as the Leuchtturm1917 is a community favourite. I’ve always enjoyed the structure of having a grid layout, and my current Bullet Journal is my first time using a dot grid layout. Part of me misses the structure of having the grid, but I’m really enjoying the freedom that a dot grid provides in terms of being able to be creative. Others in the community also really enjoy to Rhodia notebooks as these have a heavier paper (90g) and they handle fountain pens much better. Again, this is 100% personal preference, and really any notebook will do.

Pens: There are a wide variety of pens that are used and recommend within the Bullet Journal community. However, the ones that stand out the most are: Staedtler FinelinersFaber-Castell Pitt Artist Pens, Pigma Micron Pens. I would recommend starting with whatever you have, or even pick up a cheap FriXion Erasable Pen to start with. Because you are bound to make mistakes, and it’s nice to be able to erase things if you mess up.

Markers & Highlighters: This is where things really start to get fun, and again, there’s such a variety of tools you could use. My personal favourites are: Prismacolor Premier Brush Pens, Staedtler Fineliners, and Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Brush Pens. Other community favourites are: Tombow Dual Brush Pens and Zebra Midliner Double-Sided Highlighters.

Other Supplies: These generally include things like rulers, pro-tractors, sticky notes, page flags, stickers, etc. Adding these things to your Bullet Journal are by no means necessary, it’s just something some people find fun, and it’s a nice way to add personality to your Bullet Journal.

3. Basic Components to Include

Again, Ryder Caroll does a great job to explain the basics of the Bullet Journal. But to reiterate, it’s important to include an index, a key, future planning of some sort (yearly overview, 6 month spread) and then whatever else is important for you. In my Bullet Journal Flip Through video, you can see some of the spreads that I use frequently, and how I use them to give you an idea of what you might want to include in your Bullet Journal.


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