How To Start A Bullet Journal | Otto’s Journal


Starting a bullet journaling system is an exciting and creative way to organize your life, keep track of important tasks, plan for the future and document memorable moments. In this blog post, you will learn the basics of bullet journaling and how to create a highly personalized system that works for you.


What is a bullet journal?

Bullet journals are an analog form of organization that combines the use of lists, simple drawings, and notes to keep track of tasks, ideas, events, and thoughts. It is designed to be flexible, allowing you to customize it as your needs change.

You can use a bullet journal for virtually anything, from tracking bills and expenses to planning out future projects or recording meaningful moments in life. The bullet journal method can be used to organize any part of your life and is an excellent way to stay organized.





How to set up a bullet journal


What you need.

  • To get started with bullet journaling, you will need a few supplies:
  • A notebook: The most popular type of notebook used for bullet journaling is the dotted grid or dot grid. You can also use any other blank notebook, such as lined or blank paper. A high quality paper is best so that the pages don’t warp or tear after lots of use.
  • Pen(s): Any pen that provides easy writing and that you feel comfortable using will work for your bullet journal. Fine liner pen offers a smooth writing experience and the ink is less likely to smudge or bleed through the pages than other types of pens.
  • Optional items: Depending on how creative you want to be, you may also want to invest in some additional supplies like colored pens or stickers.
  • Washi tape: Washi tape is a decorative, adhesive paper tape that comes in all sorts of colors and patterns. It can be used to decorate your bullet journal pages, create dividers or boxes, or even add color coding to your lists.


Get the right supplies:

Start by gathering the right materials for your bullet journal journey. You will need some type of notebook, either  blank pages one or a lined one, as well as pens and other writing utensils that you enjoy using. If you want to add a bit more creativity to your bullet journal, consider adding highlighters, stickers, and other fun embellishments.


Create an index:

Every bullet journal should have an index page at the front or back of the notebook. This allows you to quickly reference specific pages within your journal by listing out page numbers and corresponding topics for each page. When you add new content to your journal, make sure to update your index page so you can easily locate it later.

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Set up collections:

Collections are the building blocks of your bullet journal and consist of any lists, notes, or drawings that you want to include in your system.

When creating collections, think about what topics or items you need to track regularly and how they might be organized best. You can also incorporate more creative collections, such as a bucket list or a vision board.


Add daily logs:

A daily log is the most common type of entry used in bullet journals and helps you stay on top of your day-to-day tasks. Each day, create a new page in your journal and list out any tasks, events, or notes that need to be completed. You can also use this space to write down any thoughts or ideas you might have throughout the day.


Review and update:

Once you’ve been bullet journaling for a while, take some time to review what’s been working and what hasn’t. Maybe your daily logs are becoming too cluttered or you need to add some additional collections. Use this time to tweak and adjust your system so that it best meets your needs.


Weekly logs:

Weekly logs are a great way to create actionable plans for the upcoming week. On each page, list out any tasks that need to be completed and add notes of things you want to remember or focus on. This can help you stay organized and make sure you’re prioritizing what needs to get done without forgetting important items.


Monthly logs:

Monthly log pages provide an overview of your bullet journal and allow you to easily reference back to events or notes from earlier in the month.

You can use this page to review what has been accomplished, plan for upcoming tasks, and track any progress made throughout the month.

A monthly calendar is also a great way to keep track of your upcoming events, tasks, and other important dates.


Future logs:

Future log pages are a great way to plan for upcoming months or even years. On the next blank page, write down any events or tasks that need to be completed in the future, and make sure to reference back to it as needed. This will help you stay organized and on top of your long-term goals.





Bullet journal ideas for beginners


To-Do Lists:

A to-Do list is an essential part of any bullet journal system. Create a page in your journal that you can use to list out tasks that need to be completed each day. You can also add a checkbox next to each item so you can easily track your progress and stay motivated.

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Habit Trackers:

Habit trackers are an excellent way to keep track of habits or goals you want to accomplish in the upcoming month. Set up a grid that you can track your progress on each day.

This will help remind you of your goals and also give you a sense of accomplishment as you see your habits improve over time.


Mood trackers:

Mood trackers are a great way to monitor and reflect on your emotional well-being over time. Create a chart in your bullet journal that allows you to rate your mood each day on a scale of 1-5. This can help you identify patterns in your behavior or areas where you might need to focus some extra attention.


Gratitude log:

A gratitude log is a great way to practice appreciation and positivity in your journaling. Each day, list out at least three things that you’re grateful for and reflect on why those items are meaningful to you.


Lifestyle topics:

A lifestyle topic page can be used to track any topics or goals that are important to you. This could include anything from budgeting, career goals, creative projects, or health and fitness.

Use this page to brainstorm ideas, set actionable plans, track progress over time, and monitor how you’re doing in those areas.


Benefits of bullet journaling.

  • Writing things in a bullet journal can help people focus on their goals.
  • It can improve your mental health and well-being.
  • It’s a great way to practice mindfulness and stay present at the moment.
  • Bullet journaling is a good housekeeping tool and can help you stay organized.
  • It allows you to track progress on goals and habits over time.
  • Rapid logging can be a brain dump for ideas, thoughts, and customizable planner.
  • Creative journaling can boost creative thinking and help you stay productive.
  • You can make the journal your own by adding your creative expression to it.
  • A bullet journal is a planning system that can also be an easy way to keep a diary or personal logbook.
  • A bullet journal can improve time management skills.
  • Use a bullet journal to develop better planning skills and prioritize tasks.
  • Starting your own page with bullet points can be an easy reference to look back on.
  • Bullet journaling is a great way to help stay motivated and inspired by tracking progress.
  • The lined pages in a bull journal can also be used for freehand drawing and art.
  • Creating a list of to-do’s on a specific page can help you easily stay on track with your goals.
  • Numbered pages in a bullet journal can help you quickly find what you’re looking for.
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What goes first in a bullet journal?

The first thing you should do when setting up a bullet journal is to create an index. This will help you quickly refer back to different pages and collections within your journal.

The next step is to set up a future log, which should include any important upcoming events or tasks that need to be completed shortly.

After that, you can start creating your daily or weekly spreads, which will be the main pages of your journal.

Finally, you can add any additional collections, such as habit trackers, goals, and note pages that you want to include in your bullet journal.


What are the rules of a bullet journal?

The main rules of a bullet journal are to keep it simple, be flexible, and make it your own. Bullet journals should be tailored to you and your needs, so don’t feel like you have to follow any strict guidelines.

Additionally, use different symbols or color-coding if it helps you stay organized and makes the process easier.

Finally, after you start bullet journaling, try to keep up with your bullet journal regularly by writing in it as often as possible. This will help you stay organized and make the most out of your journaling experience.


Bottom line:

Bullet journaling is a great way to stay organized and motivated in your life. It can help improve mental health, boost creativity, improve time management skills, and keep track of goals and habits.

When setting up a bullet journal, start with an index page and then add future log pages, daily or weekly spreads, and any additional collections that you want to include.

The main rules of bullet journaling are to keep it simple, be flexible, and make it your own. Ryder Carroll’s inspiration started the bullet journal method, so give it a try and see how you like it. You can use a dot grid notebook or digital bullet journal to start your own bullet journal.



  • Ben

    I'm Ben, a data engineer who adores journaling. My passion for recording life experiences inspired me to develop Otto's Journal, an online diary app. Join me as I blend data and storytelling in the ever-changing tech world, making journaling more accessible and exciting.

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