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Bullet Journal Basics

A few months ago, I was at brunch with my friend Nancy when she showed me her new bullet journal.  I’d seen plenty of ornate “bujos” between Pinterest, Instagram, and Tumblr, so I was familiar with the concept, but eternally deterred by my own lack of artistic ability.  These were gorgeous and filled with watercolours and calligraphy—I may love planners and lists, but how could I ever create something like these masterpieces?  Nancy proved me wrong with her simple, but oh-so-perfect bullet journal.  In case you’re like me and you’re terrified to start for fear of it not being pretty enough or that ever-present perfectionism (guilty!), consider this your foolproof introduction to bullet journaling.

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This post is in no way affiliated with the official Bullet Journal brand.


To start bullet journaling, you (rather obviously) need a bullet journal.

I fell completely in love with this notebook (no longer available, much to my dismay!), so I cannot recommend it enough to my UK friends.  I’m still trying to figure out how to get a replacement while I’m here in the States (let me know if you have any ideas—I’ll love you forever!)!

If you’re like me and can’t get to WH Smith, some highly recommended brands in the States are Leuchtturm*, Moleskine*, or even the official Bullet Journal notebook.  Really, though, you just need a notebook that you like and that will hold up to frequent use. For my blogging bullet journal (blogju, if you will), I simply use a spiral-bound notebook*!

You’ll also need some pens.  Technically, any pen you happen to have on hand works perfectly well!  However, I’m a stationery addict, so I’m always up for new pens!

For my bujo, I use a combination of these:

Check out my updated list of bullet journal supplies!


Fineliners (these* and a pack I got at Paperchase, as well as an eight-pack I got at Poundland!)


Gel pen*

Now, you can technically start with just this and be perfectly fine.  In fact, I recommend it, until you’re sure you’d like to stick with it!  But, if you’d like to add some additional fun, here are some of my recommendations for add-on goodies:

Washi tape*





Paper clips*

Getting Started

Before you dive in (I know, I know, you want to get started!), you should do some research.  Check out for an introduction (and some helpful videos!) for bujo basics.

Then, the best place to go is Pinterest.  You can check out our board here to get you started!  Find some spreads you like, find some lists you might want to make, and some doodles you want to try for yourself.  It’s your journal—include whatever you like!

Personally, I find daily task lists to be the most useful, but I’m testing out monthly and weekly for those to-dos that don’t have an assigned day.

Want to add some outside sources to your new Pinterest board?  Check out some of these sites for more ideas:

Productive & Pretty (currently unavailable)

Tiny Ray of Sunshine

Boho Berry

Little Coffee Fox

Life By Whitney

Here are some of my favourite pages, in case you need a little more inspiration:

101 in 1,001 List

Package Tracker

Fruit and Veggie Storage (Reference)

Bucket List

School Supply List

Book and Movie Trackers

Habit Tracker

I also keep a separate notebook for lists and pages pertaining specifically to the blog!  I use it to keep track of my editorial calendar, to-do lists, and expenses.  If you’re a fellow blogger or business owner, try adding some pages to your journal, or start a separate one specifically for your store or site!

Got your inspiration?  It’s time to get started!!

Like Ryder says in the videos, the index is the perfect place to start.  Don’t be like me:  leave several pages for the index!  It worked out;  I started a second and third index when the first filled up, then added that index as the last entry in the former.

Then, take the plunge!

The most important piece of advice I can give you in starting your own bullet journal is to let go of perfectionism.  You’ll see amazing, beautiful, supermegafoxyawesomehot images all over the internet.  If that’s your sort of thing, go for it!  If not, don’t stress:  your bujo doesn’t need to look like that!  What’s important is that you like it and that it works for you.  It that involves detailed diagrams and watercolour ombre, good!  If that involves a simple task list written with a pen you got at a job fair, good!

Have you started your bullet journal? Let us know your favourite tips and tricks!

Bullet Journal Basics


12 Replies to “Bullet Journal Basics”

    1. I had the same issue at first–I’d seen the Pinterest-perfect versions of bullet journals for so long that it absolutely terrified me! If you could see some of my worst doodles now though…I’d say that the perfectionism definitely improves with time!

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