Bullet Journaling for Beginners

An inspiring and flexible way to organize tasks and to-do lists 

When it comes to keeping track of tasks and to-do lists, there is a seemingly endless array of apps that promise to keep you organized. But there’s still something to be said for an old-fashioned paper journal that allows you the freedom to scribble down thoughts, find inspiration, and declutter your mind. If this idea sounds appealing, you may want to try bullet journaling! 

Ryder Carroll, a Brooklyn-based designer, created bullet journaling as a way to organize schedules, reminders, to-do lists, reflection, and information in a single notebook. 

Ready to get started? Here’s how to create your bullet journal. 

The bullet journal process

A bullet journal, also known as a bujo, contains four main components: an index that helps you keep track of what you have written in your journal and where to find it, a section to write down future tasks and events, a monthly calendar, and a daily task list. 

The first two pages of your bullet journal are the index. The next two pages are a future log, followed by monthly logs. When you enter tasks on days, you’ll use short, bulleted sentences using a dot bullet. An event is denoted with a circle bullet, and notes are identified with a dash bullet. If the task is especially crucial, you’ll add a star next to it. As tasks are completed, you will “X” them out. 

At the end of each month, you’ll scan for open tasks, assess each task and ask yourself: “Is this task still worth my time?” If it’s not, you’ll strike it out. If it is, you’ll copy it into the next monthly log. If the endeavor is due several months in the future, you’ll copy it into the future log. This process is known as migration. The bujo method is designed to help you eliminate distractions and focus on the things that are worth your time.  

Tools for inventive bullet journaling

The beauty of bullet journaling is that the blank pages allow you to fill them any way you want. Many people use the method as a creative outlet, adding drawings and designing imaginative layouts. You can keep it simple and use a blue or black pen to jot down tasks, or you can incorporate colorful drawings, add themes, decorate with colorful brush pens and no bleed markers, or affix mementos from events. Pinterest and other websites have limitless ideas for inventive ideas for bullet journaling. The possibilities are boundless.

A blank journal is the first thing you’ll need to start a bullet journaling practice. When choosing your journal, consider aspects such as paper quality, binding, and page numbers. Ribbon bookmarks are also a useful addition to help you mark your place. 

An assortment of pens and markers is indispensable if you wish to add embellishments.

A high-quality, black fine line pen is a staple for bullet journaling. Premium pens, markers, and highlighters are fast-drying, smudge-proof, and won’t fade. 

Colorful, no-bleed highlighters allow you to emphasize certain tasks, color code by day, or even add an ornamental border. You can choose from marker highlighters or gel highlighters, depending on your preference. Marker highlights perform like traditional felt tip markers, and gel highlighters are twistable pens with a waxy consistency. Because of this texture, they are smudge-proof. 

Calligraphy style brush lettering is another page enhancement that bullet journalers like to use to inscribe inspiring or encouraging words or sayings. Dual tip brush pens, which work like paintbrushes, are an excellent supplement to your bujo tools if you wish to add this type of writing. They also allow you to shade, fill, and create stylized, multi-color blended effects. 

Double-sided tape is a necessity if you want to integrate mementos such as photos, ticket stubs, newspaper clippings, or other additions that don’t already have an adhesive backing. And, as with any by-hand undertaking, mistakes are an inevitability. Correction tape, which takes little time to dry, is a foolproof way to remedy errors. 

Other optional tools include different types of craft paper and craft scissors so you can cut out designs and add texture and rulers and geometry sets to use as guides when creating geometrics designs. Mr. Pen has a wide assortment of high-quality supplies to help you start a bullet journal. For details on these and all of Mr. Pen’s products, visit our Amazon Store!

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