7 Practical Steps to Start Your Bullet Journal Today
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 8 min read


  1. Choose your journal
  2. Gather your supplies
  3. Create an index
  4. Design your future log
  5. Plan your monthly log
  6. Set up your daily log
  7. Start recording and tracking

If you've ever thought about starting a bullet journal but didn't know where to begin, you're in the right place. This simple guide is exactly what you need. Here, we'll walk together through seven practical steps to get your bullet journal up and running today.

Choose Your Journal

Starting a bullet journal begins with one simple step: choosing your journal. Don't rush this step; your journal is going to be your faithful companion, so pick one that speaks to you and fits your needs. Here are a few things to consider when choosing:

  • Size: Bullet journals come in all shapes and sizes. Some are small enough to fit in your pocket, while others are large enough to hold all your wildest dreams. Think about where you'll use your journal. If you're always on the go, a smaller journal might be best. If you plan to keep your journal at home, you might want a larger one.
  • Paper Quality: If you're like me, you'll be using a variety of pens and markers in your journal. Therefore, you'll want to choose a journal with thick, high-quality paper that won't bleed through.
  • Type: Some people prefer dotted journals for their bullet journals, as the dots provide a guide for creating layouts and designs. However, if you like a clean, uncluttered look, a plain journal might be more your style.

Remember, there's no one-size-fits-all when it comes to starting a bullet journal. The best journal for you is the one that you're excited to use every day. So, take your time, explore your options, and choose a journal that makes you smile.

Gather Your Supplies

So, you've chosen your journal? Great! Now, it's time to gather the rest of your supplies. While you don't need a lot of fancy tools to start a bullet journal, having the right supplies can make your journaling experience that much better. Here's what you should consider:

  • Pens: While any pen will do, consider investing in some quality pens for your bullet journal. A good pen can make writing a joy and will make your entries stand out. Some people prefer gel pens for their smooth writing, while others like felt tip pens for their bold lines. Try out a few and see what works best for you.
  • Markers: Markers are fantastic for adding a splash of color to your bullet journal. They're great for highlighting, color-coding, and creating eye-catching headers. Choose markers that won't bleed through your journal's pages.
  • Ruler: A small ruler can be handy for creating straight lines, boxes, and grids in your journal. Trust me, you don't need to be an artist to create a good-looking bullet journal — a ruler and a bit of patience can do wonders!
  • Stickers or Washi Tape: These are completely optional, but they can add a bit of fun and personality to your bullet journal. Use them to decorate pages, mark important dates, or simply to add some flair to your journal.

Remember, starting a bullet journal doesn't have to be expensive. Many of these items you might already have at home. The most important thing is to choose supplies that you enjoy using. After all, the more you enjoy using your bullet journal, the more likely you are to keep up with it.

Create an Index

The next step in starting your bullet journal involves creating an index. Now, don't panic! It's not as complex as it sounds. Essentially, the index is your bullet journal's table of contents. It will help you keep track of all your entries and find things quickly. Here's how you can create one:

  1. Reserve the first few pages: The first thing you need to do is to reserve the first few pages of your journal for the index. How many pages you'll need depends on how detailed you want your index to be. But as a general rule, two to four pages should be plenty.
  2. List your entries: Every time you start a new entry, add it to your index. Write down the title of the entry and the page number. Try to be as specific as possible so you can easily find what you're looking for later on.
  3. Keep it updated: Whenever you add something new to your bullet journal, make sure to update your index. It takes just a few seconds, but it will save you a ton of time in the future.
  4. Organize it your way: There's no right or wrong way to organize your index. Some people like to list their entries chronologically, while others prefer to group them by topic. Choose a method that makes sense to you.

Remember, the goal of starting a bullet journal is to make your life easier, not more complicated. So keep your index simple and straightforward. It's a tool for you, so make it work for you.

Design Your Future Log

Once you've set up your index, it's time to design your future log. The future log is a place where you can jot down events, goals, and appointments that are happening in the future. Think of it like a long-term planner. Here's a simple step-by-step guide to get you started:

  1. Dedicate a few pages: Reserve the next few pages of your bullet journal for your future log. The number of pages you'll need depends on how many months you want to plan for. Some people like to plan a full year in advance, while others prefer to stick to six months.
  2. Divide each page into sections: If you're planning for a full year, divide each page into three sections, one for each month. For a six-month plan, you can divide each page into two sections. Label each section with the name of the month.
  3. Fill in your events and tasks: Now it's time to fill in your events, appointments, and tasks for each month. Try to keep each entry brief and to the point. This isn't the place for detailed notes—that's what your daily log is for!
  4. Use symbols to differentiate between entries: Consider using different symbols for different types of entries. For example, you could use a star for important events, a dot for tasks, and a circle for appointments. This will make it easier to quickly scan your future log and find what you need.

Designing your future log is a crucial step in starting a bullet journal. It allows you to keep track of your long-term plans and ensures you never miss an important date. So take your time and make it work for you.

Plan Your Monthly Log

After designing your future log, the next step in starting a bullet journal is planning your monthly log. This is where you'll get a bird's-eye view of your month. It’s meant to help you plan and organize your time. Here’s a simple way to set it up:

  1. Choose a page: Flip to the next blank page in your journal. This will be the start of your monthly log.
  2. Create a calendar: At the top of the page, write the name of the month. Underneath, list the dates of the month down the left-hand side of the page. Next to each date, write the corresponding day of the week. Voila! You've got a simple, straightforward calendar for the month.
  3. Fill in your entries: Next, fill in your entries for the month. These could be events, appointments, or tasks that you need to complete. Like with your future log, keep each entry short and sweet. You can use the same symbols you used in your future log to differentiate between different types of entries.
  4. Leave some space for notes: At the bottom of the page, leave some space for notes. This can be a place to jot down reminders, thoughts, or anything else you want to remember during the month.

And there you have it! Your monthly log is ready to go. By keeping a monthly log, you’re not just starting a bullet journal—you’re creating a tool that will help you manage your time more effectively. Remember, the beauty of the bullet journal system is that it’s flexible. Feel free to tweak your monthly log to make it work best for you.

Set up Your Daily Log

The daily log is the heart of your bullet journal. It's your day-to-day companion, where you jot down tasks, events, and notes as they happen. Getting it right can be the difference between a bullet journal that works for you and one that doesn't. Here's how to set up your daily log:

  1. Pick a page: Your daily log will start on the next blank page after your monthly log. Date the top of the page, and you're ready to start.
  2. List your tasks: On your daily log, list down all the tasks you aim to complete on that specific day. It might be a work assignment, buying groceries, or calling a friend. You can use a simple bullet point for each task.
  3. Record events: Next, record any events that are happening that day. This could be meetings, birthdays, or appointments. You can use a circle to denote events and differentiate them from tasks.
  4. Take notes: Finally, leave some space for notes. Notes are anything you want to remember but aren't tasks or events. It could be something you learned, an idea that popped into your head, or even a quote you liked.

Just like that, you've set up your daily log. Starting a bullet journal is about creating a custom system that fits your life. Your daily log is a key piece of that system, helping you stay organized and focused every day.

Start Recording and Tracking

Now that you have your bullet journal set up, it's time to put it to work. This is the stage where you start recording and tracking—where the magic really happens. Follow these steps:

  1. Use your daily log: Every day, jot down your tasks, events, and notes in your daily log as they occur. This will keep your day organized and help you remember important details.
  2. Check off completed tasks: There's something incredibly satisfying about checking off completed tasks. As you finish each task, put a checkmark next to it or cross it out. This visually shows your progress and gives a sense of accomplishment.
  3. Track your habits: A bullet journal is not just about tasks and to-dos. It can also be a powerful tool for habit tracking. Whether you're trying to drink more water, exercise regularly or read every day, you can create a habit tracker in your journal. Simply dedicate a page where you mark each day you complete your habit. Over time, you'll see patterns and understand your habits better.
  4. Reflect and review: At the end of the day, take a few minutes to review your journal. Reflect on what you accomplished and what you didn’t. This will help you plan better for the next day.

Starting a bullet journal isn't a one-time task, it's a continuous process. By recording and tracking your daily life, you're creating a personalized tool that evolves with you. It's an exciting journey of self-discovery and organization, so enjoy the ride!

If you're excited to start your bullet journal journey and want to explore more creative ways to visually express yourself, check out the workshop 'Visual Diaries: Let's Get Started!' by Ruby Elliot. This workshop will teach you various techniques and methods to make your bullet journal unique and visually appealing.