Bullet journaling needn’t be an over-the-top, super cutesy, creative process. Finding a method that works for you is easier than you think and just might be the thing that saves your sanity.
When I first heard about bullet journaling, I did what all curious wonderers do – and headed straight to Pinterest to find images of bullet journaling.
I was immediately overwhelmed and shut my browser.
Oh my word.
Not even gonna happen.
Who even has time for such intricately detailed, time intensive stuff? Not this girl. I needed something basic, something easy, and something that wouldn’t stress me out with it’s high expectations of color coordinated, perfectly-fonted everything.
And then I met Edie. OK, I didn’t actually “meet” her, but I found her online. Facebook, actually. And she was talking about her version of bullet journaling. You can find her method here.
As I watched her explain, I knew I’d found my thing. I could do this! I’ve made a few tweaks along the way – so it serves me better. And I encourage you to do the same. Try it. See how it feels for you. Tweak as necessary until it serves you well.
As a simple starting-off point, I’m going to show you how mine is set up and what has worked well for me the past year. It’s nothing fancy, and certainly not “cute”, but it works and does what I need it to do.
*This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. See full disclosure here.
My Bullet Journaling Set Up
First things first: Please, oh please, don’t feel like you need to go out and buy and fancy schmancy journal. I grab a wide ruled (yes, I like wide ruled) composition notebook from my local Target. They’re cheap and work like a charm. (Plus, I can trim down the width of the notebook to fit into my journal cover.)
I do admit that I wanted a pretty cover for mine since I knew I needed pockets and a closure tab to keep everything in it’s rightful place. So I bought this canvas and leather journal cover from the Hearth and Home line at Target. I love it because it looks nice, and I can just replace the cheap composition notebook inside as needed. There are pretty options here, too.
But it’s optional. Your bullet journal will work just as well without it. 😉
The Biggest Thing to Remember as You Start
The one main thing you’ll want to remember is to put a Table of Contents on the very first several pages.
This will save you so much time and angst. It’s super frustrating when you need to find something in your bullet journal, only to spend far too long paging through, looking for that elusive schedule/book list/important note you took. I give myself at least the first 5 full pages for my Table of Contents.
Then, after your TOC, I start numbering the pages in the bottom corners. No need to got through and number them all right now. Just do it as you go. Flip a page? Number at the bottom.
What do I put in my bullet journal?
Everything. I put everything in here. On one 2-page spread, I’ll have my Menu Plan and “Weeklies” – the stuff that I have going on and things I need to remember.
*Confession: these are not by any means my favorite sticky note colors, and I almost ran out to buy prettier ones, but restrained myself. 😉
Here’s an example of how I have mine set up. Days in the top left where I write the day’s initial and what’s on the dinner menu for that night. Remember to factor in any sports games or evening commitments your family has and plan dinner accordingly. And leave space for a large sticky note for your grocery list.
The sticky note is ideal because you can grab it right out of your bullet journal and take with you shopping, instead of hauling your whole journal with you.
Then, I flip the page and start my daily journaling. Nothing complicated – super simple and it works for me.
My version of “One Line a Day” mixed with Bullet Journaling
Lisa, my sweet friend from The Purple Hydrangea, was the one who gave me the idea of
- a daily verse
- the “I am…” and
- the “Today I’m thankful for…” lists.
*Note: if you’re not a Bible verse person, you could insert a positive daily affirmation in this space instead.
I recently saw the One Line a Day journal and loved the idea. But honestly, I didn’t need another journal to keep track of, so I started incorporating the One Line a Day idea into my daily journal.
A close up of my Daily Journal example page…
The “I am…” part? This is where you will list positive things you currently Are – or Are Becoming. Things you’re working on. The qualities you want to see in yourself as you grow. List them and claim them. Words are powerful – speak life and truth over yourself.
When you come across a great quote in a book you want to remember; you have to make note of something, or you need to brainstorm ideas? (anything!) Just flip to the very next page, number the bottom corner, and start writing. When you’re done with the page, don’t forget to flip back and record the page number and what is on the page in your Table of Contents.
That’s it! That’s how I’ve currently got my bullet journal set up and it’s been serving me well. I hope these ideas will give you a jumping off point for your own bullet journal. A simple system to help you take control of your schedule and make the most of your days.