Bullet Journaling

Step-by-Step Guide for Beginners to Start a Bullet Journal in 2023

Beginner's Step-by-Step Guide to bullet journaling

Introduction to Bullet Journaling. Why Start a bullet journal?

Bullet journaling is a creative and customisable system designed to help you organise your life, track your goals, and express yourself artistically. When starting fresh, you may feel overwhelmed by the vast amount of information, ideas, and inspiration available online. 

Don't worry! This comprehensive, step by step guide will walk you through everything you need to know about using a journal. What you will also learn is the types of bullets, ways to set up pages in your journal, the spreads you need and a lot more. So let's jump right in! 


Bullet Journal Supplies: Everything you need to get started as a beginner

Before your creative juices flow, you'll need to gather some essential supplies. While the specific items you choose may vary based on personal preferences, the following list includes basic necessities for starting your bullet journal journey:


  1. Notebook: Choose a notebook that suits your needs and preferences. Popular options include dotted, lined, squared, or blank pages.

  2. Pen: Start with a basic black pen for writing and outlining. As you gain confidence and experience, you can expand your pen collection to include various colors, thicknesses, and types, such as pastel pens, fineliners, or brush pens.

  3. Ruler: A ruler is essential for creating straight lines, grids, and boxes. It's especially helpful if you choose a notebook with dotted or blank pages. It gets easier to make organised to-do lists, build a monthly and daily planner for your notes, or simply write things more precisely. 

  4. Optional: Decorative supplies like washi tape, stickers, and colored pencils can add a personal touch and enhance your journal's visual appeal. However, these are not necessary if you are new and can be added later as you become more comfortable with the process.

  5. Nonetheless, don't hold back if you wish to mark your ideas and thoughts with your flair from the first day. After all, who wants a lifeless page in their first bullet journal, right? 

That's about all the things you need to get started. When you use a bullet journal method, it is intended to enhance the journaling experience. Your personal touch will make it more unique to you. So get as expressive as you can when you get the hang of journaling and have fun while you are at it.


Dingbats* premium product range

Let's flip to the next step and get your "BuJo" setup!


Bullet Journal Setup: Beginner's Step-by-Step Guide to bullet journaling

Now that you have your supplies, let's dive into setting up your bullet journal. Follow this step-by-step bullet journal setup guide to create a functional and personalized bullet journal.


Step 1: Create Your Key or Signifier Page

A key, or signifier, is a set of symbols that represent different tasks, events, or notes within your bujo. 

Start by creating a key page on the first page of your journal to reference as you add entries. Make a list for yourself from the symbols given below or make some unique to you!


Common keys include:

  • Bullet point: Task

  • Circle: Event

  • Dash: Note

  • Star: Priority

  • Exclamation point: Inspiration

  • Eye: Research

Feel free to create your own bullet journal keys or modify existing ones to suit your preferences.


Step 2: Set Up Your Index Page

The index page serves as a table of contents for your bullet journal, allowing you to quickly locate specific entries. To create your index, reserve the first two to four pages of your journal and label them as "Index." As you add new pages and sections, record the page numbers and corresponding content in your index for easy reference.


Step 3: Create Your Future Log

The future log is a place to record events, appointments, and tasks that occur later in the future. Divide a two-page spread into six sections, one for each of the upcoming months. Label each section with the month and year, and record any relevant information in the corresponding section.


Step 4: Set Up Your Monthly Log

Your monthly log provides an overview of the month's events, tasks, and goals. A monthly planner is a great way to stay on top of your tasks and goals for that month. Start by creating a calendar for the current month. List the dates down the left side of the page, leaving space on the right for a monthly task list. Record any appointments, events, or deadlines in the calendar, and use the task list to note important tasks, goals, and reminders. 


Monthly log in a journal


Step 5: Establish Your Weekly Spread

The weekly spread allows you to plan and organize each week in more detail. Having a weekly planner is an easy way to organize your short-term goals and prioritize tasks. To create your weekly spread, divide a two-page spread into seven sections, one for each day of the week. Label each section with the day and date, and leave space for additional notes or trackers if desired. Use this spread to plan your daily tasks, appointments, and events, and refer back to it throughout the week to stay on track.


Step 6: Design Your Daily Log

The daily log is where you'll record and organize your tasks, events, and notes for each day of the month. Start by writing the date at the top of a new page, followed by a list of tasks, a to-do listicle, events, and notes for the day. Use your key to differentiate between these types of entries. As you complete tasks, mark them off using your chosen signifier for completed tasks (e.g., an "X" or a checkmark).


Step 7: Add Trackers, Collections, and Other Pages

One of the best things about bullet journaling is its flexibility and adaptability. You can add trackers, collections, and other custom pages to suit your needs and interests. Some popular options include:


  • Habit trackers: Monitor your progress in building or breaking habits (e.g., exercise, sleep, water intake).

  • Mood trackers: Record your daily mood and reflect on patterns or triggers.

  • Expense trackers: Keep track of your spending and saving habits.

  • Reading or movie lists: Record books or movies you want to read or watch or track your progress.

  • Goals and vision boards: Set and visualize short-term and long-term goals.

  • Gratitude logs: Record daily or weekly moments of gratitude.


Tips for Bullet Journaling Success

As you start your bullet journal journey, keep these tips in mind to ensure a positive and productive experience:

  1. Remember that your bullet journal is personal: There's no right or wrong way to create a bullet journal. It should be a reflection of your unique needs, preferences, and style.

  2. Start simple: Focus on the basic elements before exploring more advanced spreads, trackers, and artistic elements.

  3. Make it a habit: Consistency is the key to success with bullet journaling, like with many areas of your life. Set aside time each day or week to update your journal and review your progress. You can even post about your bullet journal and make your friends savvy of your new obsession. The positive support for your new hobby from your friends will make it easier to build a habit. (Read: How to bullet journal every day? Building a habit to write.)

  4. Don't worry about perfection: Your bullet journal pages are unique to you. It is a work in progress, and it's normal to make mistakes or change your approach as you go. Embrace the process and learn from your experiences.

  5. Use your bullet journal for organizational purposes and mindfulness: The primary purpose of a bullet journal is to help you get organized and be present in your daily life. Use it as a tool to manage your time, set and track goals, and reflect on your experiences.

 A young professional

Bullet Journal Ideas for Different Interests and Goals

Bullet journals can be tailored to specific interests or goals, allowing you to create personalized pages and trackers. Below are some ideas for themed bullet journals and related articles:

  1. Travel Bullet Journal: Track your travel plans, experiences, and memories in a dedicated travel bullet journal. 

  2. Fitness Bullet Journal: Monitor your workouts, fitness goals, and progress in a fitness-focused bullet journal. 

  3. Self-Care Bullet Journal: Prioritize self-care by creating a bullet journal that focuses on mental health, relaxation, and personal growth. 

  4. Books Bullet Journal: Keep track of your reading lists, book reviews, and reading goals in a book-themed bullet journal. 

  5. Movies Bullet Journal: Organize your movie watchlist, reviews, and movie-related memories in a dedicated movies bullet journal. 

  6. Food Bullet Journal: Plan and track your meals, recipes, and food-related goals in a food-focused bullet journal. 

  7. Art Bullet Journal: Combine your love for art and organization in an art-themed bullet journal, showcasing your creativity and artistic goals. 

  8. Music Bullet Journal: Organize your favorite songs, playlists, and concert experiences in a music-focused bullet journal.

  9. Career Bullet Journal: Manage your professional goals, tasks, and accomplishments in a career-themed bullet journal.

  10. Finance Bullet Journal: Track your income, expenses, and financial goals in a dedicated finance bullet journal. 

  11. Habit Bullet Journal: Monitor the progress of your habits and routines in a habit-focused bujo.

  12. Bullet Journal for Students: Stay organized and focused on your academic goals with a student-specific bujo.

  13. Bullet Journal for Beginners: Learn the basics and get started with bujo, through an easy-to-use guide. 


Relaxing with an interesting book

Dingbats* Notebooks: Perfect for Bullet Journaling

Our Dingbats* notebooks are a popular choice among bullet journal enthusiasts, offering a matchless combination of quality, sustainability, and design. With high-quality paper, various layouts, and unique features, they are the ideal choice if you're new to the bullet journal world, want to express freely, prioritise tasks or stay organised as you write down things. 

In this section, we will explore what makes our Dingbats notebooks, the top choice for your journal works.


High-Quality Paper

One of the key features of Dingbats* notebooks is our high-quality paper. We are loved for our 100gsm and 160gsm (Pro collection) coated cream paper, which provides a smooth writing experience, resists ink bleed-through, and minimizes ghosting. This ensures that your bullet journal entries will look crisp and clean, even when using various pens and markers.


Eco-Friendly and Sustainable

We at Dingbats* take pride in our commitment to sustainability, using environmentally-friendly materials in our products. The paper we source comes from sustainable forests and is Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified. We make sure that our products are vegan, using a biodegradable faux leather cover and water-based ink for printing.


Layout Options

Our notebooks offer a variety of layout options to suit different preferences and needs. They have dotted, grid, lined, and plain pages available, making it easy to find the perfect layout for your bullet journal. The dotted layout, in particular, is popular among bullet journalers, as it provides a subtle guide for writing and drawing without being too obtrusive.


Bullet journal page close up


Unique Features

Dingbats* notebooks include some unique features that make them stand out among other premium options. Each comes with an elastic closure, an expandable inner pocket for storing loose notes, and a pen holder. Additionally, they have a built-in index page and numbered pages, making it easy to organize and reference your bullet journal entries.


Discover our range of products and start a new journal today!

Finding the right journal for your needs is an essential step.

Especially when you journal for the first time and want to create a habit of journaling every day. A planner that offers a writing experience without smudging, and has high-quality paper to accommodate beginners' mistakes would make an ideal choice. Choosing an aesthetically pleasing notebook will help you stay motivated to use it.

Dingbats* Wildlife Collection

Dingbats* Wildlife Collection

A great place to start is our Dingbats* Wildlife Collection

The notebooks come in vibrant colours and quirky animal debossing on the vegan leather cover.

This is to help you keep your ideas secure and tethered to nature. 


Like the animals on each cover, this collection embodies free-spirited creativity. From elephants and ducks to whales and tigers, the entire collection comes debossed with your animal of choice on the front cover.


Each notebook features contour stitching and 192 micro-perforated pages, as well as:


  • A bookmark

  • Footprint patterned endpapers

  • Pen holder

  • Elastic closure

  • Expandable pocket


Premium Dingbats* Notebooks Collection

Dingbats* Earth Collection


If you're looking for an immersive option to make a bullet journal, check out our Dingbats* Earth Collection

With dotted pages and faux leather pearlescent covers which are 100% vegan certified, these notebooks open flat for effortless writing.


With this book, you get:


  • 184 numbered pages

  • Last 16 pages micro-perforated

  • 3 index pages

  • 2 key pages

  • Future log

  • Location infographic spread

  • Pen holder

  • Elastic closure

  • Expandable pocket


Dingbats* Pro Collection

A premium bullet journal made for when you seek a luxurious experience. is our Dingbats* Pro Collection

Each writing journal features a textile cover made from 100% renewable resources and is designed to open flat for a premium writing experience.


Inside our Pro Collection you’ll find:


  • 128 pages

  • 160gsm natural white paper

  • Gold finished endpapers

  • Pen holder

  • Elastic closure

  • Expandable pocket


A note for the eco-conscious

For every notebook you own, we contribute 2% of your order in support of wildlife preservation and environmental conservation undertaken by WWF-UK. The water used to produce our vanguard paper mix is returned to the environment cleaner than before. Every resource used in manufacturing is broken down to its ultimate form before it's discarded. 

 Travel bucket list journal


Now you know how to start a journal and have an enriching experience. You can now turn your empty journal into a creative art piece, a safe haven for all your thoughts and an organizational planner which helps you execute what you want to accomplish.

Among the best things about the bullet journaling habit are that it offers an easy way to organize your life, track goals, and express your creativity. 

In addition, it is one of the most therapeutic escapes from the mundane. By following this step-by-step guide and following our tips, you'll be well on your way to creating a functional and personalized bullet journal that supports your personal growth and success in 2023 and beyond.


Take Action: Make a Bullet Journal Now!

It's time to take action! Get your hands on a notebook and put our tips to the test and have fun while you are at it. You'll soon find that you have discovered an effective way of organizing your life, along with an enjoyable creative outlet.

You'll be surprised at how much you can accomplish with a simple notebook. Let's get started!

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