All · Bullet Journaling

Bullet Journal Basics – Where I Began

Bullet journaling with a blank book can seem scary or daunting. Back when I first decided I wanted to give the bujo life a try, I wanted to test out bullet journaling for one month to see if it was really something I wanted to do, I would be accountable with and liked doing rather than feeling burdened with something else to do. Here’s what I did and how I set it up:

First off, I wanted to make sure that I liked the set up – there’s a big question that I still waiver on and that’s: graph or dotted squares.

I decided that I liked the structure of the graph, so I decided to use a small journal with only 20 graph pages. This would allow me to set up my key, index, monthly layout, and try my weekly/daily journaling to see what worked for me and what I would get rid of when I moved to a real book.

Here’s An Idea of What I did:

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I start out with the journal open to the first page. This is when I like to count the dimensions of the grid so that I can easily divide the number of sections, columns or rows that I’ll have on a given page to make it fit more nicely.
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My next step, to know where I am in my book is to number my pages.
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I took the blank inside cover and made a small section to highlight my key. This is where I know what each of my shorthand marks means in my system. It’s unique to me but very similar to others in the general scheme.
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My next step on the first page is to make my Index. I have a love/hate relationship with an index because I’m not using my journal for a reference book, but rather I enjoy turning through the pages to find what I want.
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Then I outlined my monthly spread. I started this month with Monday so that my workweek and weekend are separated by the two halves of the paper. I like this look, but it also highlights the idea of only looking forward to the weekend, so I trade off this view and a Sunday through Saturday view.
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Next comes color! After this, is just adding holidays, important events, appointments and notes.
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After my monthly spread, I have my two monthly trackers. The tracker on the left is for my personal habits to see where I’m at at the end of the month. The Finance tracker has a mason jar with quarters in it. I color in the quarters for every 25 dollars I spend and add up my expenses on the lines so I can see where my money goes.
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Now that my monthly trackers and spreads are done, I use the next two page spread to look at the first week of the month. I vary the look of my weekly layouts, from having a lot of writing room, to just doing a free form date with as much space as I need then the next date written below. This is how my first week went.
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Following my week, I leave a space for a daily journal entry. This is where I reflect on the day or need more space than the todo, event and notes from the weekly spread.
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After my week has finished and I have the daily entries, brain dumps, and whatever else I’d like in that moment, I add the next week. This week has a highlight section – today had a thunderstorm!
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Once I’ve finished with my page, I add it to the Index. You can see all the information and spreads thus far are highlighted in the Index. The 8 is left justified because I’ll have many daily spreads, but the weeks are right justified because there will only be one spread for each.

How do you set up your bullet journal? Let me know!


6 thoughts on “Bullet Journal Basics – Where I Began

  1. I loved how you explained each step and had the pictures to go along. Our bullet journal looks really nice! You have beautiful handwriting and drawing skills💕 I haven’t started my bullet journal yet


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