If you’ve been on Pinterest lately, you’ve probably seen a range of bullet journaling ideas for beginners, artists, type-A organizers, and bujo (bullet journal) experts. Bullet journaling has grown in popularity since the concept was invented and introduced by Ryder Carroll in 2013. It’s a method of journaling that starts with blank pages. Depending on an individual’s goals or needs from your bullet journal, you design your own daily pages, monthly layouts, and other helpful bullet journal pages.
You don’t have to be an artistic person to create your own bullet journal spread. There are tons of great ideas online that can help you get bullet journal inspiration. But it can be overwhelming to figure out what bullet journal supplies and notebooks you need before you can even start thinking about your weekly or monthly spread. If this is your first bullet journal, we have some helpful tips and ideas for you!
What is bullet journaling and how do I start one?
Before we dive into the nitty gritty of bullet journal page ideas, it’s helpful to understand the bullet journal method. Bujo or bullet journals are intentionally blank to start. You’re not confined by a notebook’s predesigned page layouts. Many people start bullet journaling for this very reason!
With a bullet journal, you buy a blank or dotted page journal (acting as a faint guide for drawing lines and connecting shapes). You can then start planning what important things you want to use your bujo to track. Whether that’s habit tracking, meal planning, daily habits, sleep log, daily pages for to-do lists, cover page with quotes and positive affirmations, gratitude log, important dates list, mood tracker, brain dump page, shopping list, rapid logging, mental health and wellness monthly spread, new year’s resolutions, financial goals, monthly goals… the list goes on and on.
Once you’ve dialed in the purpose of your bullet journal system, then you can start designing your first page. And so on and so forth.
What’s the best notebook for a bullet journal?
Since bullet journaling is meant to be a no-limits, fun way to keep track of your life, the first step is to pick a new journal you like. There aren’t a lot of rules when it comes to the right bullet journal notebook. Many bullet journalers like notebooks that have a dotted grid. This is the original design of the first bujo. But you can also use notebooks with blank pages or even graph paper pages if you want to.
A free sheet of dot grid paper to try for bullet journaling.
If this is your first bullet journal and you aren’t sure what you want, you can download our FREE printable dot grid paper for bullet journaling. That way you can try sketching out a few daily page layouts before you buy a whole notebook of dot pages.
If you’re ready to take the leap, then you can start by buying a physical journal for basic bullet journaling. You can also buy some bullet journal accessories like different colors of pens and a stencil for your lines and doodle drawing. A few of the best bullet journal notebooks on the market that we highly recommend include:
If you’re still wanting more journal accessory inspiration, check out our gift guide for journal lovers. We have some of the best bullet journal ideas for pens and accessories there.
What are bullet journal ideas for beginners?
A lot of “easy” bullet journal ideas aren’t as easy as they seem. And if you’re not the most artistic person OR if this is your first bullet journal, some of the best tips for page layouts are simple things.
We’ve put together the best bullet journal page ideas specifically for beginners - these are quick tips and techniques that you can refer back to when creating your page spreads.
Idea #1 - Leave space for a cover page
A cover page is the first page of a new section in your bullet journal. And creating a cover spread is a perfect place to include monthly goals, a monthly log, calendar view, or anything else you want to track. Another great idea for a bullet journal beginner is to just write a simple section title, like the month name. It’s also a key page for syncing with your index page. So, even if you don’t have time to design it when you start planning, leave space for a cover page and go back to it later.
Idea #2 - Reference a calendar for monthly spreads
This may seem like a no-brainer, but trust us, it’s important! Before you get out your ruler to design a calendar grid on your monthly spread, we highly recommend you take a look at a real calendar. Make sure you know which days the month begins and ends. And decide how you want to list your days of the week along the top accordingly. A quick glance at a calendar may change how you design your bullet journal page.
Idea #3 - Use sticky notes instead of drawing boxes
You don’t have to draw every single box or grid in your bullet journal. An easy bullet journal idea that gets overlooked sometimes is the use of sticky notes. Especially if you want to start bullet journaling but don’t want to spend hours designing your pages on a daily basis, use sticky notes as “pre-designed” boxes that you can add to pages. Check out our gift list for journalers to see which sticky notes we like best for bullet journaling.
Idea #4 - Make an index and page numbers
Depending on how many pages you want in your bullet journal, an index and page numbers may be a helpful bullet journal system. Planning mindfully at the start of a new journal can save you lots of headache long term. An index serves as a type of bullet journal future log - don’t feel like you have to fill it up with planned sections now. Create a blank template and fill it in over time.
Idea #5 - Draw checkboxes for lists
This is a fun way to reward your progress with any habit tracker type pages. Any type of daily habits lists (bad habits and good habits alike!), shopping lists, or lists you use to stay organized... create open checkboxes for you to fill in as you complete tasks. And they don’t have to be boxes, by the way, try hearts, circles, clouds. Get creative!
Idea #6 - Use highlighted lines for structure
Similar to the sticky note idea, you don’t have to spend tedious hours with a ruler designing your pages. Especially if this is your first bullet journal, overcommitting to a page design is a great way to burnout on bullet journaling. Use a highlighter to create line dividers, columns, rows, and other structural elements on your pages. The eye naturally is drawn to color, so use that to your advantage.
Idea #7 - Add big margins and extra space
One of the best tips we think for bullet journal beginners is to leave more space on the page than you think you need. Especially if you’re new to bullet journaling, you don’t know how you might utilize certain pages or spaces. So, by adding big margins and leaving lots of space in your weekly spreads especially is a great insurance policy against cramming and overflow.
Idea #8 - Leave left pages blank
Sometimes blank pages work best. What we mean by that is, it’s tempting to want to fill every page of a journal. But, part of the goal of a bullet journal is to help us stay organized. So, leaving left pages blank is one way to reduce visual clutter and leave open space. Sometimes one page is better than two pages for certain bullet journal spreads.
Idea #9 - Use washi tape for headers and dividers
Washi tape is a great material to add to your bullet journal accessories collection. If you haven’t used it before, washi tape is a great, thin adhesive tape that comes in lots of different colors and decorative patterns. It can add a punch of color and artistic flare to a page without much effort. And it's a great way to visually divide up a monthly spread or weekly spread as well as a page header.
Idea #10 - Try flipping page orientation
One of the best bullet journal page ideas we’ve heard, especially for beginners trying to figure out what works best for them, is to rotate your journal sideways. In other words, think outside the box. By flipping the page orientation, you may have more space for certain elements that you otherwise wouldn’t.
Sometimes “less is more” for bullet journal beginners
Sometimes the best bullet journaling ideas for beginners or minimalists isn’t filling pages with different colors, hand lettering or mixed materials. It’s leaving much space on the page for your bullet journaling system to take shape. A great idea especially for basic bullet journal spreads is summed up by “less is more.” The last thing you want to do is overdesign and get overwhelmed.
So, start with a minimalist bullet journal mindset, and try our bullet journal ideas for beginners in your new journal. And let us know how they worked for you in the comments section below. For more bujo tips, check out the Silk+Sonder blog!
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