It is nearly the start of a brand new year and is a clean slate for your mindset. You have the ultimate chance to re-evaluate what you want from your life in 2022, what you want to achieve and what areas you want to focus on. The past couple of years have been difficult with COVID ad although there are some uncertain times ahead, 2022 is a fresh start for you to re-focus and start the year on as positive a note as you can.
It can be so motivating when you have a new planner or bullet journal; you have fresh pages that you can start utilising to plan and set new goals and targets. Bullet journals can help you be super organised and more productive with your time. If you are new to bullet journaling and 2022 will be your first year, you may be a little overwhelmed; so, this ultimate guide will help you to set up your bullet journal.
What Is A Bullet Journal?
A bullet journal is a planner system that uses the bullet journal method created by Ryder Carroll. The system organises you with the use of to-do lists, brainstorming reminders and trackers. The name ‘bullet journal’ cones comes from the use of abbreviated bullet points to log information as well as the dotted journals, which are gridded using dots rather than lines.
Let’s Get Started!
You can set up a basic bullet journal in 10 – 15 minutes; you can always add more creative designs later, or just in each monthly spread. The ultimate guide will help you lay out your first pages: Index, Key, Future Log, Monthly Log and then Daily Logs such as habit and mood trackers.
Step 1 – Get Your Bullet Journal Supplies
Do not let the internet and social media fool you… You do not need a huge collection of bullet journal essentials and stationery. All you really need is a notebook and pen. If you want to upgrade, you can just use a dotted journal, but you can use an old notebook or even a notepad.
With designing your bullet journal, you need writing utensils; fine liners are the best and the most popular e.g. Micron, Muji or Staedtler pens. Using these particular pens is great because they are fine and have a clean line quality, making your designs look sharp.
My Recommendations For Bullet Journal Supplies:
Dingbats Notebooks – This is one of my favourite notebook brands because the paper is high quality that avoids bleeding and ghosting. They are also a sustainable company that offer different layouts – I prefer the dotted journal. This notebook is a great dupe for archer and olive notebooks.
Leuchtturm Notebooks – This is one of the most popular bullet journal notebooks. They even have a notebook that they created in collaboration with Bullet Journal. It can be helpful because the Index pages are already set up and the pages are numbered, so it can save you time.
Stationery Island – This brand is super affordable for bullet journals and has a great page gsm which makes it a great dupe for archer and olive or even the Dingbats notebooks.
Micron pens – I have a set that has varying tip sizes that can be beneficial drawing as they create smooth consistent lines. These pens can also make writing into small boxes or designs for trackers easier. These pens and the Muji pens are my favourite.
You can also use washi tape, stickers and stamps to add depth, colour and a creative flare to your posts. Now you have your affordable bullet journal supplies, you can design your journal.
Step 2 – Create An Index
Your index pages are the core of the bullet journal system to keep organised. Having the index is a quick and simple way to organise the contents of your journal.
The index pages are where you list the names of pages in your bullet journal and the corresponding page numbers. Every time you create a new page in your journal, give it a corresponding name and page number and record it in your index pages. Using index pages makes it easier to find older pages in your bullet journal.
If your journal doesn’t have index or contents pages and page numbers, you will have to manually number all your pages and then set aside 2 or 3 pages where you can record your page name and the corresponding page number. The ages you will want to include in your index are monthly spreads and collection pages – you don’t need to include daily logs.
Step 3 – Create A Key
If you get a Leuchtturm notebook that was part of the collaboration with Bullet Journal, it actually comes with a pre-printed key and space for you to create your own unique key as well. If not, you can use a page in your journal to use the bullet journal key, or you can come up with your unique symbols for your planner.
Here are the symbols used for the bullet journal system:
- A bullet point means a task and that it is incomplete
- A bullet point with a cross through it means you have completed the task
- A bullet point with and arrow head facing right, over the top, means that the task has been migrated into your weekly or daily log for another day
- A bullet point with and arrow head facing left, over the top, means that the task has been scheduled into your future log
- An open circle bullet symbolises an event
- A dash represented notes – this can be facts, ideas, thoughts or observations. This is information you don’t want to forget
- You can use signifiers which are symbols that will give your events additional context. You should out them to the left of the bullets, so that they stick out.
- A * means a priority; these are the most important tasks on your list.
- A ! means inspiration; this can be good ideas or even personal mantras
You can use a mix of the above to keep your journal organised.
Step 4 – Set Up Your Future Log
A future log is a collection of all your upcoming events. You can use it in a simple form of a calendar. There are many different layouts for this page idea. You can use this collection to record upcoming birthdays, holidays, important appointments – whatever you feel is important. You can use it for reference when you are planning out your weekly and monthly logs. These logs are helpful to organise your time and avoid double-booking yourself, or missing an important deadline.
You can spread the future log in a list form over 2 pages or a smaller design with no calendar, just the names of the months with a list of your tasks or birthday reminders.
Step 5 – Set Up Your January Monthly Log
Your monthly log is a spread hat consists of a calendar and a task page. You can have your calendar in a simple list form or in boxes to make it look more like a calendar – it is completely u to you with how you want your journal to look or how much time you have to set it up.
The idea of the monthly log is to provide you with a bird’s eye view of the whole month. You can use this calendar to schedule events and tasks, recording your reference when planning your days and weeks. Having the monthly log alongside a monthly task list is so beneficial. Wiring down all the tasks and priorities you have for the month helps you to keep deadlines. Remember… you should leave some pace on the left margin if you want to use signifiers!
Step 6 – Set Up Your January Collections
Habit trackers are a tool to remind you of existing as well as new habits. You can track habits in a list form or in other creative designs. The notion of checking off tasks whether it is a habit or a work task, it can give you a sense of achievement and productivity. Keeping a habit tracker is a great way to hold you accountable for certain actions and works as a great reminder.
Mood trackers are a great way to highlight patterns in your physical and mental health. You can use a creative design with a similar theme, or you could just write it in a list form. If like me you live with a chronic illness or chronic pain, it can help to relay information to your doctor if needed.
Sleep logs are where you track the amount of sleep that you have each night. Again, it highlights any sleeping patterns or habits that may be useful to your doctor.
Step 7 – Set Up Your Daily Log
A daily log is for your day-to-day use. If you want a basic layout that is just about planning and organisation, you just record the date at the top of your page and then just rapid log your tasks, events and any notes. If you do not fill a complete page, you can just add the next date wherever you left off and ready to continue your planning. Unless you are aware of how many daily tasks you will have each day, it is best to not create the daily logs too ahead of time, so you don’t run out of space. You can use a weekly log where you can separate the spread into days – you have to use the layout that will best suit your planning and organisation needs.
There are so many benefits from using a bullet journal as your main planner for your organisation. Here are 3 reasons why you should consider bullet journaling:
- You can tailor your bullet journal to exactly what you need. Whether that is space for tasks or to add features that you cannot get in regular planners.
- If you love being creative, using a bullet journal is definitely a way to channel organisation and creativity.
- The use of trackers and daily/weekly log boosts your productivity levels.
If you are looking for more information about bullet journaling, these are some blog posts that you need to check out:
- Bullet journal myths that are not true
- Pros and cons to bullet journaling
- 10 Bullet journal spreads to help you be a more organised blogger
- 9 ways to be seriously organised using a bullet journal
I love the idea of a habit tracker – it’s a great way of developing new healthy habits! Thanks for sharing :))
It really is helpful when you want to start a new habit. Thank you for reading and commenting!
I always love reading your posts on bullet journals and every single time I get inspired to restart mine! This is no exception. I love how much you can pack into a bullet journal, I always underestimate them. Great post!
Aww thank you so much! Do you think you are going to start in 2022? Thank you for very sharing!
I’d like to think I will – just need to find a version that works for me!
this is very useful. I’ve always thought about using a bullet journeling but was unsure where to start. thanks for the tips
Fransic verso says
Awesome way to set it up. I think I will try it for the first time. Thank you for sharing!
I am going to try (for the third year in a row) to bullet journal. Thanks for the inspiration!
Good luck with journaling!
I really like these guidelines I should definetely put them into practice on my daily journal for 2022
I hope you have a great 2022!
Emily M says
I’m currently planning my bullet journal layout for 2022 and thinking about what pages I’d like to include so this post has been really helpful for me, thank you so much for sharing ❤️
I am glad this has been really helpful. Good luck with setting up your bullet journal.
The Blog Social says
I haven’t kept it in a journal in so many years! I do plan and write down my goals and thoughts using digital tools.
You have to do what is best for you. Thank you for reading and commenting.
I love bullet journals! Unfortunately, they take too much time for me to do myself, but I love seeing people’s spreads. Have you heard of a Hobonichi planner? It’s what I’m using this year and it’s a great hybrid of a regular planner and a bullet journal. Thank you for sharing!
Yeah I have heard of this planner. It is good you have the best of both worlds! Thank you for reading and commenting. Happy New Year!
Simona ~ The Grumpy Olive says
I love love love the look you are giving your bujo this coming year, Lauren! I always look forward to these posts!
Love this! I’ve always wanted to start a bullet journal but never got around to it…. Maybe 2022 will be the year! really love the idea of a key, that seems like so much fun to set up. The content planner and monthly stats pages seem super helpful too. Thanks for sharing x
You should definitely give it a go!
Some great advice on setting up your 2022 bullet journal, I love the ideas you have thought of here! x
Lucy | http://www.lucymary.co.uk
Thank you for reading and commenting. Happy New Year x
Melissa Alvarado says
Good ideas about planning everything for the new year. Thank you for sharing.
Thank you for reading and commenting!
A Capone Connection says
I see your inspirational posts and I love your journals, but I haven’t made the effort to do it for myself. This year I’m going to do it. I have a friend who is going to start journaling with me and we got each other journals to start off with the new year. Hopefully I can be consistent like you!!
Thank you for your kind comments. Good luck with your journaling journey!
I love reading your bullet journal posts! I wish I could keep up with journalling but it’s something I’ve tried and failed many times haha.
Oh no! It is not for everyone. What planner system do you use? X
Lisa Jones says
This is perfect!! I’ve been looking for bullet journal ideas online as I’m doing my first ever one for 2022. I can’t wait to use some of these ideas in mine!
That’s awesome. I hope you love bullet journaling. Good luck on your first bullet journal journey! Looking forward to you sharing your advertisers
Spreads not advertisers 😂🙈
Thank you for sharing this post, I think this will really help people in 2022 who want to be a bit more productive x
Aww thank you so much! Happy New Year. Thank you for reading and commenting.
Molly @ Transatlantic Notes says
This is so creative — I love it! I have yet to get into bullet journaling but I think it would be great to do in 2022. Thanks for the info and advice!
Definitely give it a go and see what you think. Happy New Year!
I love this, and love bullet journals, though I never keep one myself, because I´m hard on myself with how it looks. This is a helpful though, maybe for 2023 ha.
I thought that at first but actually even when spreads don’t go to plan you learn. You also learn what different methods and styles work for you. Because the original bullet journal method is simple and “bullet point style” you don’t need the artistic and creative side unless you want to. Thank you for reading and commenting. Happy New Year!
I have decided to start a bullet journal for 2022. I am currently planning what I want to put in it. Thank you for the tips and sharing this post.
I’ve got another Hobonichi Techo this year… I just need to set it up before 1st January! 😀
I hope you had a wonderful Christmas. All the best for the new year!
I haven’t tried one of those planners before. Good luck with your planning. I hope 2022 is a good year for you and your family. Happy New Year. Thank you for reading and commenting!
Heidi Bruaw says
I have always wanted to start a bullet journal! When I do, I will have to come back to this post because I love how you have yours set up. Thank you for sharing!
Thank you for reading and commenting. You should give it a try. A new year is the perfect time. Happy New Year. Can you link your blog if you have one!
Always look forward to see how you set a new month on your bullet journal and how many things you manage to add into it! The habit tracker is my favourite! X
Aww thank you so much. That is so kind. I love sharing my bullet journal. Thank you for reading and commenting.
Mummy Conquering Anxiety says
Such a great step by step on how to set up a bullet journal. I never knew there were symbols to indicate which tasks were remaining. It’s a great system.
I am glad it is informative for you. Thank you for reading and commenting.
Jenny in Neverland says
I love these posts. I don’t have a bullet journal but I love these ideas and seeing how organized you are!
Aww thank you so much Jenny. Happy New Year. I hope 2022 is good to you!
S.S. Mitchell says
I really like this bullet journal concept. I make bullet lists which I find really helpful but you’re opening up a new concept for me here with the ongoing lists and checking off tasks with certain codes etc. I love it!
Thank you for reading and commenting. Can you link your blog so I can read it?
I also love seeing which themes you have chosen for each month! I gotta remember to make a content planner next month x
Thank you for reading and commenting!
Love these ideas! I’m going to do a bullet journal this year and this has definitely helped me know where to begin! Thank you for sharing this!
Good luck with setting up your 2022 bullet journal.
Basic With Life says
I always find it difficult to find the perfect journal including layout. This is a brilliant idea, perfect. Thank you so much for sharing
Thank you for reading and commenting.