Advice Popular Work Life

How to Start a Bullet Journal the Easy Way

How do you even start a Bullet Journal?! I first heard of this concept over a year or ago, and when I looked it up, it seemed too complex to try. I saw SO MANY pictures of highly creative, colorful, insanely detailed notebooks that I was completely turned off and never gave it another thought. Anything that requires a ruler is definitely a no go!

Fast forward a few months to where I felt super lost in life and decided I wanted to find a fun DIY project that was also functional. Enter the Bullet Journal!

Still though, for me, it had to be…
* dead simple
* functional
* enjoyable to maintain 

So I did a couple hours of research and cracked open an old but empty notebook and got to work! My first Bullet Journal was even more simple than the one I’m about to show you (my most current one). Since that version, I’ve added a few extra details I found I needed which is how it got to be what it is today.

The Tools:
1.) I use a Leuchtturm 1917 Notebook but any sturdy one will do. These are about 14 euros here in France and this will last me an entire year. But in the US these cost like $30 sometimes (!!!), so a Moleskine is a good option too!

2.) Uh, just get a pen! I use a Pilot because I like the inky-ness of it. And I thought I was buying a pack of black Stabilo pens and but accidentally got a set of colored ones. The ONLY reason I ended up using colors in my Bullet Journal is because I didn’t want to waste the colored ones. But literally any ONE single pen that is functional is all you need!

My Bullet Journal Layout:
Step 1: Crack open your notebook & make an index. 

This will be page 1 and is literally just so you know how you mark your “bullets.” I’ve never referred back to this page until now, FYI. It’s sort of useless if it’s your own notebook, right? These are the markings I use. (Note: You can sort of see through this page, and the next page is just where I note what pages were for which months in case I need to reference them. But right behind that we have Step 2…)

Step 2: Jump right in! 
Let’s say that the very first real page of your Journal happens to be the beginning of a new month. For me, at the beginning of every month I have a goal tracker. I make a list of things I need/want to do daily or several times a week and each day that I’m successful, I color in a little block. I number the top with each day of the month and that’s it. I keep my goals realistic and only set ones I’m serious about keeping. But some people also use this for chores. Like, take out the trash– check! Brush teeth– check! You can customize it to whatever you want.

Step 3: Turn the page and start your daily/weekly tracker.
This is what my weekly layout looks like. I don’t lay out the month or do anything else. I go straight from my goal tracker to my daily/weekly one like you see below. Blue tasks are business to-do’s. Black tasks are personal to-do’s. Red “!” are urgent business tasks that require physical execution like filming, editing, or writing. Pink boxes are where I keep some social media post ideas. (Note: anything that requires collaboration with the Bad Yogi Team also gets put into a shared iCalendar so we’re not working on different timelines.)

And just for reference, this is what a week looks like before I schedule it… it’s.dead.simple. No rulers, no weird tools or stickers or fancy sh*t.

Voila! And that’s where the magic happens 🙂 My workspace is super simple, organization is KEY, and this system fits everything I need.

Over to you! Do you use a Bullet Journal? Do they intimidate you? Do you have any secrets of productivity you want to share? The more life-changing, the better! 😉

6 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Olivia

    March 4, 2017 at 10:06 pm

    I use one! I love any book with a grid or dots like yours. I also picked up an old but unused notebook and started. Keeing it simple is key! I also set aside time each week to plan my week (except I’ve been a *little* bad about that lately. We’re allowed sometimes!)

    1. Avatar

      Erin Motz

      March 5, 2017 at 4:01 am

      same here! i usually sit down for 15 minutes on sunday and map out the week ahead. sort of meditative! 🙂

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    Isa

    March 5, 2017 at 6:35 am

    Actually this is the easiest way! Thank you so much ? Because all the bullet journal I saw on YouTube or blog seem so complicated ! Since I am now in freelance, I have just started to organize myself. For example I have a list with all the things I have to do, my projets, my dreams also. And I have a weekly schedule with the goals of the week. So every week, my projects are moving forward. And it helps to keep myself motivated ? Have a good day!

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    Tines

    March 6, 2017 at 3:49 pm

    This is basically an oldie but goodie To-do checklist. The difference is, you have a goal tracker to keep you focus as opposed to just checking off an item in your list. I started journaling in December 2016. I have 3 notebooks that I have yet to reconcile. I know it’s bad but basically I have – 1 for venting/ self-inventory/find your soul exercises that I just freelance, 1 for listing happiness (because I bought the book first before) or whatever I’m thankful for and 1 for goal tracker. 🙂 Am I the only one with different journal notebooks going on at the same time?

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    Brittany

    March 7, 2017 at 11:49 am

    The best part of the original system is the simplicity of it – and it’s flexibility. It has definitely been taken over by super-creative types, and their way works for them. There’s one bullet journal IG poster (@minimaljournal) whose bio is “It’s about getting crap done, not making your crap look good.” Needless to say, I’m drawn to his style. ?

    I’ve been using it since last August, and it has completely changed how much I get done each week. I use the original future log, monthly log, and daily logs but have added in a weekly log that I fill in every Sunday that helps me to get an overview of the upcoming week and what I can reasonably expect to get accomplished. An added bonus is finally having a system for remembering friends’ birthdays before they’re long past!

    The best part for me is that I can try different things week to week, and just let them drop if they don’t work for me.

  5. Avatar

    Nicole

    October 10, 2017 at 1:06 am

    Thanks for sharing. Love that Roosevelt quote!

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