January is the month to get your life and affairs in order. The air smells of organisation and I’m ready to start this new chapter of my life off successfully. If you don’t know what bullet journaling is, bullet journaling is a customisable and forgiving organisation system. It can be your to-do list, sketchbook, notebook, and diary, but most likely, it will be all of the above.
I prefer bullet journaling to regular journaling because some weeks I might not be doing much, and that’s okay, I don’t need to create a layout for that week. You don’t need expensive planners, pens or accessories to start bullet journaling, all you need is a journal and a pen. So let’s get started on this bullet journal journey!
Equipment You’ll Need To Start Your Bullet Journal
- A journal – Bullet Journal recommend a dotted notepad – this way the pages look blank, but you still have a layout for straight lines if that’s what you want. I don’t use a dotted notepad, because I don’t feel like it’s necessary, so I use this plain notepad, but anyone will do!
- Pens – Now, you can start off with any pen you find comfortable to write with. I use pens by Faber-Castell, they come in various thicknesses and are easy and comfortable to write with. They create a beautiful line and look gorgeous in any journal.
- Pencils – Now, there’s no fancy pencils out there that will do any different from a cheaper pencil. Pencils are amazing for those of us who don’t want to mess up in our journals. If in doubt, use pencil first and then go over again in pen!
- Calligraphy pens – You don’t NEED these specific items to create beautiful and instagrammable calligraphy in your Bullet Journals. There are ways to create it with pens, sharpies, Crayola pens and basically any writing implement you have to hand. If you have looking for some pens for calligraphy specifically, these are the ones I use are by Tombow, and I also use my Faber-Castell brush pens as well (they come in the same pack as the normal writing pens).
- Templates – If you’re like me and you can’t draw a stickman, get yourself some templates. If you’re interested in Bullet Journaling you’ve probably scanned all the beautiful styles on Pinterest and Instagram like me, and you’ve been in awe at the cute doodles and pictures they’ve drawn all over their pages. I recommend this starting collection of templates, but their are loads out there and you can even make them yourself! It’s a cheat way of creating those cute doodles you’ve always dreamed of.
Setting Up Your Bullet Journal
Starting a bullet journal can be a little bit daunting, but if you’ve done your research and you’re certain this is something you want to do, you should be ready! All basic bullet journals start off the same way: an index, future log and in my case a birthday/holiday tracker. Indexes are a great way to keep an eye on what you’re doing, and I recommend leaving at least 4 pages empty for your index. A future log is exactly what it says: it logs your future. I’ve created a four page spread for my future log, with every month, a mini calendar and space for me to write important dates, events and meetings for that year! After my future log, I have a double page spread for birthdays/holidays tracker. This is a 12 month circle (see image) where I can keep track of public holidays, vacations I’ve booked and birthdays coming up – it’s a great way to make sure you don’t forget anything!
Setting Up Your First Month
Now you’re ready to get started on your first month! My bullet journal started in January, but you can start yours whenever you decide it’s time for you, with bullet journaling you’re not forced to start in the New Year like with other journals, come and go to it as you please, that’s what makes it so unique. At the start of each month I create another page for that month, with dates, days, and then another page for important events and appointments I need to remember which is my monthly log & events.
Monthly Log & Events
After my monthly log I have a page specifically for my monthly trackers. This is where I put all of the habits I want to monitor over the month, just so at the end of the month I am able to see exactly how good and bad I have been. These include: hydration, workouts, whether I moisturise. Since I didn’t start using my habit tracker until the 17th of January, you’ll see the first half of the month is crossed out (whoopsy) – I don’t mind having a messy bullet journal as you may be able to tell.
After my habit tracker, I also create pages for a reading list and a what I’ve watched list, so that I can keep track of everything I’ve seen/read, and this also gives me a chance to rate it out of 10! This is a new system I’m using in 2018 because I want to start reviewing more films/books here on my blog!
Movies & TV
After these monthly trackers, I start my week-by-week layouts! Like I’ve said before, not every week I’ll have things to do, so my bullet journal tends to roll day-by-day. If I know I won’t be doing anything important that week, then I won’t put it in, this isn’t your bog-standard journal, so you can do with it as you please. For the first week of January I dd have a full week, because I was on a work placement at a PR agency – I included all of the tasks I had to do, and whether I needed to forward them on, or whether I completed them that week.
The final thing to remember when bullet journaling is that it doesn’t have to be perfect. If it works for you, and you’re happy with the way you’ve set it out and how it’s working, it is perfect. Over time you’ll find layouts that work for you and trackers that you need/don’t need. My bullet journaling has changed a lot from when I first started out in 2016, and that’s okay! It’s all part of this beautifully creative journey.