10 Things To Know Before You Start A Bullet Journal

Are you interested in being part of the bullet journal community? That is awesome! Welcome! Bullet Journaling is becoming such a well known and well used form of planning.

Bullet journaling can seem overwhelming and very daunting at first. I definitely felt like that when I first wanted to use this method of planning. There is so much information and it can leave you thinking, where do I start? But once you find your feet it is easy and so much fun!

I have compiled a list of 10 things that you should know before you start a bullet journal. As well as shining a light on any misconceptions you may have about bullet journaling.

1. Bullet Journaling is an organisational system

Bullet journaling is not about creating elaborate designs specifically, it is a way of organising and planning your life. Of course, if you want to spend time designing different layouts that is fine too.

But when I first started my bullet journal years ago, I was so wrapped up in designing layouts I saw online, my productivity dwindled. As time has gone on I have been able to design layouts A LOT quicker. It is important at first to know how you want to use the journal, the creative designs can come later if you wish.

2. You can start a bullet journal at any time

I think it is a misconception that you can only start a bullet journal in January, like other yearly planners. But that is not the case at all. The benefit of a planner system like this one means it is customisable to your individual needs and so you can start this method of planning at any time.

My bullet journal last year I started half way through 2019 because I took a break from that method of planning.

march cover page with cherry blossom washi tape

3. It doesn’t have to take up a lot of time

Another misconception including mine when I first thought about starting a bullet journal was will I have time to use this form of planning. I have a lot of people message me on social media saying I would love to use a bullet journal, but I do not have time. This is not the case! Bullet journaling can be a quick and easy system to plan with, using minimalistic layouts if you want to keep it simple. Then if you have more time you can always get more creative!

4. You do not need to spend a fortune on bullet journal supplies

If you haven’t already seen the internet is crammed full of so much stationery supplies that you can use for bullet journaling. I am very guilty of having a substantial stationery collection. But I have seen other bullet journalists’ stationery collection that puts mine to shame. In all honesty all you need to start a bullet journal is a notebook and a good pen. Don’t get sucked into feeling like you need all the supplies, however if you want to experiment the next suggestion will help you.

5. Start with cheaper alternatives

There are so many bullet journal supplies on the market ranging from cheap and affordable to the more expensive. If you want to start bullet journaling, I would definitely recommend starting with cheaper alternatives first. As when you have tried this form of journaling and you find that it isn’t for you, you will not have spent a fortune on supplies. I have shared a comparison of two bullet journals and the cheaper bullet journal for me actually had more benefits.

a stationery island bullet journal and navy blue leuchtturm bullet journal with stickers

6. A bullet journal is a living notebook

This journal is about how it can help to organise your life and so you shouldn’t be worried about making mistakes for example. Throughout your bullet journal journey you will not only make mistakes, but you will find layouts that work well for you and others that you do not find as productive. It is about what works for you at that particular moment.

7. If you feel like you are failing – Do not give up!

Bullet journaling is a very different way of planning. It relies on you to include all information, tasks and ideas being recorded, at first I found it difficult and would sometimes need to remind myself to reach for it. Even if you feel like that, do not give up! One of the reasons could be the format you are using or the techniques you are using to record the information. So experiment with different layouts. All habits take time to become second nature, but it definitely pays off in the end.

8. There is not just one way of bullet journaling

Ryder Carroll created the bullet journal system. He described it as a methodology. It’s best described as a mindfulness practise disguised as a productivity system.  You can head to the official website where he shares how you can use the system in the simplest form. This is perfect if you are looking for something functional and minimalistic. But the beauty of this journal is you can adapt that method and make it your own if you want too. There is no right or wrong way to bullet journal. It is about what works for you!

9. The bullet journal community is awesome

Starting a bullet journal can be so intimidating when you see all the amazing spreads being shared online. When I decided to start bullet journaling it was great to also connect with other stationery and planner fans. I definitely hit the mother lode with all the beautiful designs and minimalistic layouts. They not only inspire me but I have found some like-minded people and now they are my online friends. The community is so supportive and spreads positivity.

a double spread for statistics and mood trackers in a bullet journal, with bumble bee washi tape in orange and yellow

10. Where can I find bullet journal inspiration?

There is so much inspiration gold out there to motivate you with your designs. Pinterest has great layout and design ideas as well as tips and tricks that you can see and read. Instagram is a great way to see other bullet journalists’ spreads. Searching hashtags like #bulletjournal, #bulletjournallove, #bujoideas, #showmeyourplanner and #bujocommunity. These are just some of my favourite hashtags to use and scroll through. You can find me on Instagram and see my bullet journal spreads too.

Just remember that the whole idea for bullet journaling is to help organise your life and enable you to be the most productive. Do not get wrapped up in the need to be artistic, this is not the case at all. I will be soon sharing some minimalistic layouts that are quick and easy, so look out for those.

Do you use creative or minimalistic spreads? Are you thinking about starting a bullet journal? Do you have any questions? I’d love to hear in the comments.

61 thoughts on “10 Things To Know Before You Start A Bullet Journal

  1. You make some really good points here, I just wrote a couple of posts on starting a Bullet Journal and I think it’s so important that people aren’t put off by over the top spreads that take hours and lots of supplies- as they are not what matters! it sounds like me, you started off pretty simply and have got more creative once you got going which is more reliable than going full out design-wise to start with then burning out or even forgetting what the point of a Bullet Journal is!

  2. I wish I’d known all of this before I started my bullet journal! 🙌 But either way I am still going to take note of all you have written as it’s a very helpful post, especially the points about it not having to take a lot of time and to not give up. I took a break from mine this month as I had no inspiration so I didn’t want to force it and end up not enjoying myself so it’s nice to have the motivation to keep on going with it! ✨ Great post 💕

    1. That’s great you are using a bullet journal, I think they are so helpful! It’s great you took a break but didn’t give up with it. Thank you for reading and commenting 😂

  3. That’s definitely true, everybody’s bullet journal journey is unique. I’m a proper stationery horder so I’ve got plenty of notebooks to turn into a bullet journal, I’m just afraid I lack the skill to make something as beautiful and creative that would also be functional like the ones you and so many other people have.

    1. Thank you for reading and commenting. You can never have too many notebooks. I am going to be sharing some minimalistic functional layouts like the original bullet journal method. Can you link your blog so I can read x

  4. It’s taken me a while, but I am finally getting into my bujo groove. Doing what works for you certainly helps.
    I am still working through my washi tape /sticker addiction though! 😂

  5. These tips and points are very helpful! I’ve always wanted to start a bullet journal but never really knew how to tbh so I put it off. But after reading this, it may have to be my next investment! These tips make me feel a lot more prepared to start one now. Great post!x

    1. Thank you lovely! It is easy and if you are a first timer I definitely recommend stationery island bullet journals, great quality and so affordable on amazon. I am currently using that one. Can you link your blog so I can read x

    1. It’s great fun! But also is so function! I am going to share some basic layouts for people who just want to use it for its primary purpose so look out for that too!

  6. I love looking at everyone else’s bullet journals but it’s never been something that I’ve tried to do myself. I think because all the journals I see are so neat I just assume that it would take up too much time to make them! But as you mentioned it doesn’t have to be something that you spend a lot of time on 🙂 x


    1. It doesn’t have too at all. I am going to be sharing some more functional and minimalistic spreads for beginners who people who want it completely functional. Look out for those! Thank you for reading

  7. I love this! I’m just not sure bullet journaling is for me but, I do love seeing what other people can do with them!
    Al x

  8. I’d heard of bullet journaling but didn’t really know what to right. You’ve given us some great ideas here. I were stationary so I really must give it a go xxx

  9. I think this is a really good and reassuring post. I think many of us have the same experience when we start bullet journaling, we see all the amazing designs and feel inadequate if we don’t do the same. Personally I try to simplify my bullet journal as much as possible and mainly just make a cover spread then everything else is simple. It helps me keep organized without being overwhelmed. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Yes! I have just designed my set up for June and it is so simple and monochrome and I actually love it already. Let’s see if I am more productive that way ha ha!😂🙈

  10. I have tried bullet journals just to try and I find it difficult to keep it up and keep it neat. The moment I make mistakes I feel so guilty that I have already ruined my journal. I love to write and also maintain a good handwriting. But you are right it does not matter. I should start another one. I also love the idea of stickers you mentioned on your Instagram. 🙂

    Via | https://glossnglitters.com

    1. Yeah you can use stickers if you aren’t good at doodling but want it to look creative as well as washi tape! Give it a go. Definitely check out stationery island as their journals are great and a cheaper alternative if you want to trial it again x

  11. This is really useful. I’ve found it quite overwhelming, so use the app Daylio to trace my mood and daily habits! I’m a very creative person, so find it hard to not strive for perfection!

    I also looooove your honeycomb theme, and your mood tracker!

  12. We don’t need expensive tools to start bujo! I guess people get intimated seeing beautiful bujo with lots of stickers, expensive leather notebook, gel pens, highlighter etc. on Instagram that people forget bujo can be done just by a pen a simple notebook.

  13. Can you just like…. make a bullet journal for me! xD I love the idea of how organised you can be with them it’s just the arty side I’d suck at! These are great tips for anyone thinking about starting a bullet journal 🙂 xxx

  14. Great post! I think getting your thoughts down on paper can be very helpful so I love this. Thanks for sharing!

  15. I LOVED bullet journaling but seeing all these people with amazing journals demotivated me and I never felt like mine was ‘cute’ enough. This pressure caused me to stop and just take up written journaling.

    1. That’s why next month I am sharing a simple monochrome functional spread. I think the pressure is so real! I feel it too. But sometimes I loose the productivity when I spend so long designing x

  16. I love this piece because of how open it is about the different ways people bullet journal. Admittedly, seeing the beautiful and complicated spreads many journalists can create, but I love what you say about continuing to move forward no matter what.

    You cannot make something yours unless you keep at it and slowly let your creativity shine. 🙂

  17. This was such a great blog post! Very informational and your images were beautiful. I’ve never had a bullet journal but been wanting to try it. This post made it seem a lot easier to get started. Thanks for sharing. 😊

  18. I love journaling. But I honestly don’t have time sometimes. Last time I did it was 4 months ago and I really miss it. I will have to try to go back to it

  19. I love this! I keep putting off starting one because i always though it made more sense to start in January but clearly i’m wrong haha!x

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