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If you are highly into productivity, to do lists and habit tracking and the like, chances are you’ve considered using a bullet journal to help you manage your life.

After all, who doesn’t love being more productive and more organized, right?

But if you’ve been stuck on exactly how to set up your bullet journal, then you’re int he right place.

We get it. After all, starting something new. Something as completely ‘blank’ as a bullet journal may be a little bit intimidating. We’re here to help you go through all the steps you need to get your bullet journal setup easily.

 

What is Bullet Journal?

If you’ve never heard of a bullet journal before, then, believe me, you’re in the minority. You just need to do a quick, Google, Pinterest or Instagram search to get flooded with a huge sea of neatly drawn notebook pages aimed at helping you improve various aspects of your life.

In simple terms, a bullet journal is an analog system of planning created by Ryder Carrol. According to him, It is meant to help you track your past, organize the present and plan for the future.

A Bullet Journal allows you to compile all of your goals, responsibilities, to-dos,  work and daily habits at one place.

As time has progressed, it has become more an more personalized and is now used to do just about anything these days. You can use one to track things-to-do, books-to-read, places- to-go, self-care ideas, projects birthdays and the list goes on an on.

A bullet journal is famous for allowing you to be creative while easily tracking the important things in your life to make you more efficient all at once. 

Why is the bullet journal so popular?

First of all, it is a very easy planning system to use. It is basically just a notebook that you use to plan out your life in the exact way that your mind works.

Unlike traditional planners, there are no premade pages that you have to work within. You and only you are in control of how you will set up your new journal in the way that you see fit and in the way that works best for you.

This is why the bullet journal is so popular. Because it allows you to truly be you.

It is something that you can use to store all of your thoughts, ideas, opinions, to-dos, schedules and so much more in your own creative way. As such, it basically helps you to brain dump and keeps your brain clear so that you can focus on how to execute your plans.

 

How can a BUJO make your life easier?

Because of how a bullet journal is meant to work, it:

  • Allows you to set up and design according to your own thinking patterns which means that you wouldn’t be forced to follow the traditional method of dairy maintaining.
  • Is beneficial because it does not put limits on how you can go about setting your goals, responsibilities, and tasks. It also allows you to craft and write all of your ideas creatively. 
  • Helps to make you feel good. Because it allows for more creativity and uniqueness you can easily be your self in your bullet journal without getting restricted in your new planner.
  • In other words, a bullet journal is symbolic of freedom.

Bullet journal must have supplies

Now that you know what a bullet journal is and why it has become so popular, we’ll take you through the bullet journal supplies you need to set up your bullet journal. Whether this is your first or your tenth journal, the items you need are basically the same.

You’ll need:

 

  • A Notebook – One of the most popular notebooks for the bullet journal community is the medium A5 dotted Leuchtturm1917. It comes with numbered pages a blank table of contents, has acid-free and ink proof paper, an expandable pocket inside the back cover, page marker and elastic closure. You can find it here. You can also use this Lemome bullet journal notebook. It is quickly gaining popularity and is, in fact, my notebook of choice. 
  • Pencil & Eraser – Having a pencil you enjoy using is a good idea when setting up your new journal notebook. You can either go with one you’ve been using for years or find a good option here. Similarly, a good eraser is a must! Be mindful to not use any old eraser that will leave ugly marks on your pages. Instead, you can use one of these Prismacolor 73201 Magic Rub erasers for best results.
  • Black pens – Most of your writing and doodling will be done using a black pen. Therefore, it is important that you find one that you really really like using.  The best way to do this is to try out a handful of black pens out yourself. Since you’re likely about to set up your journal, you can try out some of the most popular choices below:


 


 


  • Markers – These are ideal for brush lettering, journaling, calligraphy and so much more. You can use these dual brush pens for the best results. 
  • Colored Pens – These aren’t really a necessity if you plan on having a more minimalist bullet journal. However, if you plan on using color in your journal you need some good quality colored pens. Here are some . of the most popular choices below:


 


 


 


  • Washi Tape – If you plan on adding decoration to your bullet journal then washi tape is something useful to have. Especially if you’re not great at drawing but you want to add some character to your spreads. Washi tape is also a great way to keep things in your bullet journal very organized


  • Ruler – This is something else that you will need to ensure that the lines in your spreads are straight. 

 

Bullet Journal Setup Guide: The Complete step by step process:

If you’re now eager to learn how to go about setting up the bullet journal, you will need this detailed guide with each and every step you need to easily get your new bullet journal ready for use!

 

Step #1: Purchase a good notebook

 

In order to set up your journal, you need to buy a notebook that you like. Technically, there is no restriction on the size of the notebook, it’s design or even the page texture (although getting high quality does not hurt.)

You can simply buy any type of notebook you like but before making the decision, you should consider the fact that this notebook is going to be your best friend for next few months, therefore, you need to pick the one which is also very durable. 

A notebook like the Lemome is a very popular, affordable and durable choice. It has a thick hardcover for durability.

It also has thick pages that will make writing and drawing a breeze and a lot less messy than other notebooks.

The Lemome is also medium-sized which can be convenient for you if you like taking your notebook out. It can easily fit in your purse or bag. 

 

Step #2: Number all the Pages

The second step might sound a little boring but you can surely make it an interesting one. Use different colors or color combinations for labeling all the pages.

 

Step #3: Create a Customized Index on First Page

On the first to the second page of the notebook, you should make a customized index.

A bullet journal index is a log that is useful in helping you find an entry in your bullet journal easily and quickly. It is basically where you organize your entries and collections.

Typically, you should choose to index the things that are important to you.

It works in that, each time you add a new piece of content to your journal, you will write down the title of that page and the page number on the index page.

Here is an index page example below:

 

bullet journal setup

Image credit: MochiBujo

Please note: If you haven’t planned out the entries and collections you plan to add to your index as yet, then you should leave some space free so that you can utilize it later for your index. About 1 – 2 pages will be fine. 

 

Step #4: Create your future log or yearly calendar on the next four pages

After setting up your index, the next thing to set up is your future log or yearly calendar. You should use up to 4 to 5 pages for this.

The future log is where you will be listing all the major events which you might need to focus on throughout the year.

Here are two examples of future logs:

 

This is a vertical future log. 

Via @annebujo

This second future log example is similar to Ryder’s horizontal bullet journal future log. which is very minimalist. These are usually set up with as a two-page spread, each side divided into three sections, with space for 6 months to log. Here is a great example from @ _mirija  with a little color.

Via @_mirija

Via @bullet_journal_kate

 

Step #5: Time to set up your monthly spread

After setting up your future log, you now need to set up your monthly spread. To do this, you will need to use the next two pages.

Your monthlies,  as they’re commonly called is where you will keep track of what’s happening in your life for the month, next to the date that you want to get these things done.

Monthly spreads or monthly calendars can be plain or you can spice them up.

Here are some examples of how you can design your own monthly spread:

 

 

 

Via @studymonarch

Step #6: Create your daily log 

After setting up the entire calendar and defining the schedule for the entire month, now it’s time to set up the different log for all the major tasks which you might need to perform each day.

A daily log is a place meant for planning out and recording your tasks, appointments, events, ideas, to do lists, and other notes as they occur throughout the course of the day.

Here is an example:

Via @journal_junkies

 

Step #7: Create your collection pages

Now that all this is done, it is time to set up collections to help you keep track of various things that are important to you. These collections will be based entirely on what goals you have for your self for the next few months. 

For example, if you want to lose weight and be healthier, you may have collections such as fitness trackers, food logs, meal planning spreads, and other health-related spreads. So, your next few pages may look something like this:

Via @bulletwithchristine

 

 

 

 

And, if your focus is on money and improving your finances then your next few pages will look something like this:
Of course, these are just examples of collections you can include in your bullet journal This step requires you to consider what you want to track and improve this year and add spreads that will help you track your progress and keep account f how you are going. If you need ideas for collection ideas, here are some:

Personal Goals
1. My Bucket List
2. Gratitude List
3. Places to Visit
4. Skills to learn
5. My 1-Year Plan & Goal Tracker

Gratitude
1. “Flaws” I am grateful for & why
2. People I’m grateful for
3. Trials I am grateful for

Home & Family
1. Important Addresses/Phone Numbers
2. Birthdays
3. Gift Ideas List
4. Family Activities
5. Thing The Kids Say
6. Family Health Appointment Tracker
7. Cleaning Schedule
8. Vehicle maintenance & registration tracker

 
Completing a bullet journal setup isn’t hard. In fact, in these 7 simple steps, you can be on your way to enjoying your very own bujo in no time!
Use it to express your creativity, increase your productivity and organization and in general, design your life in the way you like. 

As you can see you can easily create your own highly customized BUJO to make it suit your exact needs. 

The best part is, there are a hundred and one ways you can use your new bujo to help you achieve your unique goals. 

Once you’ve done this, focus heavily on making it a habit. This is how you’re going to benefit the most from using a bullet journal. So, try using it at least once a day until you get yourself fully used to it. Then you’ll be on your way being more creative, more productive and more organized with something as simple and easy to use as a bullet journal!

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