Bullet Journal: How Do I Start A Bullet Journal?

Bullet journals are all the rage right now, but what exactly are they? Find all your bullet journal ideas and inspiration here...

The bullet journal trend is taking the internet by storm right now. If you’re one of those people who a) loves to doodle and b) find regular diaries or weekly planners aren’t formatted the way you want them to be, then you will definitely want to start a bullet journal.

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If you’re new to the world of bullet journals, this article is a good place to start. You’ll find everything from how to start your first BuJo (yep, that’s the shortened name) to creating a bullet journal key, bullet journal ideas and inspiration as well as cool bullet journal fonts.

What is a bullet journal?

A bullet journal is basically a diary/journal/weekly planner all rolled into one notebook. Instead of getting frustrated with rigidly formatted diaries from the shops, a bullet journal allows you to design your own.

Digital product designer Ryder Carroll devised the bullet journal method in Brooklyn, New York City (where else?). You can write down everything from weekly tasks to yearly goals in one place – and make it creative as your multi-coloured pen collection allows. To start your own BuJo, you need four key sections:


Just like in any book, an index is where you note down the page numbers and what’s on them. It keeps some order to what is otherwise a chaotic collection of notes and scribbles.

Future log

This section is a quick overview of the next six months of your life. Any major events – like weddings, adventure holidays or Winter Olympics – can go in here.

Monthly log

Just like it says on the tin, the monthly log is your To-Do list for the month. It consists of a calendar and your monthly task list. All those things you’ll forget if you don’t note them down somewhere.

Daily log

Everything you need to do that day – from appointments to ‘buy dog food’. You can make these super basic lists (à la Ryder Carroll) or create a beautifully intricate design with calligraphy and watercolour paints, depending on how much time you have.

From there, it’s pretty much up to you! Collections are notes or tasks that relate to a specific purpose. For example, ‘Christmas Gift Lists’ or ‘Books I Need To Read In 2018’.

Bullet journal key

A bullet journal key is one of the most crucial elements of creating your first BuJo. It’s basically the symbols that you use in your journal to distinguish between events, appointments, tasks, notes, birthdays etc.

Here’s my bullet journal key…

Below is what Ryder Carroll himself uses (plus a few of my own additions). Feel free to make up your own symbols that mean something to you. I’ve drawn a mini present for birthdays and an arrow for a flight.

Confused? Watch this YouTube video from Ryder Carroll himself who explains it all in a super clear way.

What is the difference between ‘migration’ and ‘scheduled’ in the bullet journal?

Good question!

Migration happens at the end of each month. When you look back on the Monthly Log tasks you didn’t manage to complete, you can migrate it to the next Monthly Log tasks. This means putting a ‘>’ sign instead of a ‘●’ and you can move it to your Tasks list for the following month.

Scheduled means moving your task to a specific day/time, not just the next month. So you can put a ‘<’ sign instead of a ‘●’ and move it to a specific day in your Daily Log.

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Bullet journal fonts

Making your bullet journal look pretty is a huge part of the BuJo phenomenon. One easy method to do this is through pretty fonts. It takes practice to master the art of calligraphy but there are some great bullet journal YouTube videos you can watch.

Check out this video on how to draw 50 great titles and this one on hand-lettering your BuJo.

To create beautiful fonts in your BuJo, you’re also going to need to some bullet journal pens. Obviously you can just use any old pens lying around in your house, but there are some key favourites that journalers use to create such beautiful designs.

We recommend the Faber-Castell Manga Pitt pens – they are black and come with four sizes to choose from. For a splash of colour, Tombow Dual Brush pens are double-ended for fine detail and sweeping calligraphy.

Need some bullet journal inspiration?

There is tonnes of bullet journal inspiration on Instagram. Just search #bulletjournal and get inspired by all the beautiful fonts and collections.

Here are a few of our favourites…

Bullet journal inspiration right here… Photos from top-left clockwise: @wolkenmeere via. @bulletjournal; @boho.berry;; @plananotherday

Ryder Carroll

@bulletjournal You’ve got to follow the inventor himself…. He reposts some seriously awesome designs on here.

Boho Berry

@boho.berry Kara has some great ideas and beautiful handwriting. Get inspired by her bullet journals.

The Journal Life Get travel inspired with this British journaller’s creative pages.

Plan Another Day

@plananotherday Cindy from Plan Another Day has a super minimalist bullet journal with rad illustrations.

How do I start a bullet journal?

1. Buy a notepad

The number one favourite is the Leuchtturm1917 Medium dotted notebook. It’s got numbered pages, a sturdy cover, smooth 80g paper…. The dream. Alternatively, go for the Moleskine Classic Large notebook with dotted pages. It’s roughly the same size and comes with a lovely soft cover.

2. Start your logs

Write out your index, key, future log, monthly log and daily log.

3. Add a collection

Do you want to track how much you meditate this month? Maybe you’ve got a bucket list of surf spots or skiing packing list. If so, write it in here.

And that’s pretty much it! You can fill the rest of your BuJo with sketches, photographs, musings… Anything you like. So what are you waiting for? Get started today!

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