Bullet Journal Beginners
3 of 5: How to Make a Bullet Journal
What You Need To Buy (Not A Lot!)
Welcome to part 3 of my Bullet Journaling For Beginners series! If you’ve read ‘What is a Bullet Journal?‘ and ‘What is a Bullet Journal for?’ , then you may now be wondering how to make a bullet journal.
Well, it can actually be pretty easy. If you do a bit of research online you’ll find lots of gorgeous artistic examples of how to make a bullet journal, and some quite complex planning methodologies! It may well be that you’re going to want to do something similar yourself, but I found it easier to start off really simple and take it from there, rather than jump in at the deep end. Aside from the fact that you may save yourself a few headaches, it’s fun to learn as you go along, and if you’re feeling comfortable with what you’re doing then you’re more likely to be able to see how you can adapt things to make them work for you.
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Similarly, if you’re wondering what tools you’ll need, the answer is not a lot! I’ve created a post to share some of my favourite supplies, but it’s often better to start off with a simple inexpensive notebook, a pen, pencil and ruler. Or even just a notebook and pen if you can’t lay your hands on the other two for now! If you want to compromise with a notebook that’s really pretty but also inexpensive, check out the stationery section in Target, or see what stock they currently have in on-line here.
Now, that all said, let’s move on to how to make a bullet journal!…
How To Make a Bullet Journal
I’ve put together some suggestions for the most simple initial format for your new bullet journal to get you started…
This is the first step before the first step!! – Grab some scrap paper or a really cheap notebook to make a rough plan of how you’re going to do this and how you might tweak it to make it work for you. Although it’s important to put aside any perfectionist tendencies when bullet journaling, you probably don’t want to mess everything up right at the start of your nice new journal! Then, when you’ve got a rough idea of how you want to create your journal, go through all the steps again with the notebook you plan on using for your bullet journal.
Now for the actual first step – the index. You don’t have to do this if you don’t want to (obviously!), but an index can be really helpful once you start to fill out your bullet journal and can’t remember where you made that list for your holiday packing or whatever! If you’re using a regular notebook, just make your own two-column index over the first three pages, and remember to number your pages as you go (or go through and number a big section in advance if you find that easier). Alternatively, look for a notebook with a pre-printed index and numbered pages. You can’t go wrong with the Leuchtturm 1917 notebook, a favourite within the bullet journaling community. But again, don’t feel like you have to buy yourself a lot of fancy new stuff when you’re just starting out (unless of course you fancy treating yourself, in which case go for it!).
Straight after your index, you may want to reserve a page for a ‘key’, to fill out later with some of the symbols you might use in your journal – more about that when we talk about your ‘spreads’!
Future Log (AKA Calendar!)
Next step is what’s referred to as a ‘future log’, but don’t let that confuse you – this is a basically just a calendar so that you can see your year at a glance (or at least over two or three pages!). You fill it in with all your major upcoming dates and appointments. Then, when you start making each monthly section of your journal (which you do as you go along rather than in advance), you’ll flip back to your future log to see what you have coming up that month. Remember – don’t feel any pressure to make it pretty like this one, unless you feel like doing so!
Important Events/ Birthdays and Anniversaries
You can just use your future log to record birthdays, but many people find it helpful to create another page dedicated to friend’s and family’s birthdays and anniversaries. If you’re a student you might find it helpful to have something similar for term times too. Here’s a nice example of a log for birthdays by belovedart on Instagram, and you’ll find tons of other ideas over on Pinterest.
Next, it’s a good idea to include one or two pages with the heading ‘Notes & Reminders’ (for completely random stuff like your regular Thai order, if you can never remember off the top of your head, or what size clothes and underwear you take in different shops!!), and one for ‘2019 Dates for Diary’ (or of course whatever the next year happens to be, I’m writing this in 2018!) so that you have somewhere to record dates beyond December.
This is where it starts to get fun if you love making lists! What is a bullet journal collection? Well, the subject of collections can cover a lot of ground, so there’s a separate post on it (which you should go to next), but for now let’s just say that your ‘collections’ are pages of lists and musings that you want to refer back to, keep track of, or just create because you feel like it!
A lot of people like to start off with a page for goals. After that you can include a ‘big list’. This is a list of jobs/projects to do which are on-going – and may in fact never get done due to lack of time! They are therefore not your priorities, it’s just stuff that you really want to do, but might not manage to get around to for a long time. When you do eventually manage to tick off one of these jobs, you’ll get a real feeling of satisfaction.
After that you can move on to other collections, including books you’d like to read, your favourite sites and blogs, favourite quotes, places to go, and your Christmas card list! There’s another post with more detail on collections, so check that out when you’re ready, and yet another post with some of my favorite collection ideas!
Monthly/ Weekly/ Daily Spreads
Now it’s time to move on to your ‘spreads’. This too can cover a lot of ground, so once you’ve read all about collections, click here to read all about spreads! The general concept is straightforward – your spreads will be your monthly, weekly and daily overviews of important dates and ‘to do’s’. They can also include goals and habit trackers, and will make up the main part of your bullet journal.
Once you’ve got a handle of the basic idea with spreads, you might like to check out some of my favorite weekly spreads!
So that’s it, hopefully you now understand how to make a bullet journal! It’s quite a lot to think about initially, but in actual fact it’s really simple to get started. Remember – if you want to, you can make this a very inexpensive project, and you can make it as simple or as artsy as you like! If you do want to treat yourself to some fancy new stationery for your bullet journal project, you’ll find a list of my favourite supplies here (or if you’re in the UK click here).
Finally, try not to compare your own bullet journal to others, but do make the most of the bullet journaling community to get lots of ideas and inspiration. There are several great sites around, and you might like to check out my round up of some of the top bullet journal bloggers around. Have fun getting started with your bullet journal! I’d love to know how you’re getting on, and if you have any questions or ideas!!…
5 Part Bullet Journaling For Beginners Series
Next go to Post 4: ‘What Is A Bullet Journal Collection?‘
Then go to ‘What Is A Bullet Journal Spread?’
Other bullet journal posts you might want to check out:
Bullet Journal Supplies – Bullet Journal Tracker Ideas – Supplies Organization – Bullet Journal Hacks, 14 Genius Ideas To Steal – Bullet Journal Collection Ideas – Bullet Journal Weekly Spread Ideas – Bullet Journal Bloggers
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