Beginner’s Guide to Learn How to Bullet Journal Like a Pro!

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Fascinated by the word bullet journal but unsure how to get started? Today I’m covering the beginner’s guide to learn how to bullet journal like a pro! From essential supplies to amazing spreads. This blog post is broken down into categories to help you follow along.

Long rectangular image, at the top there are colorful school supplies and a cute bike and pink spread on the right side. The words Beginner's guide how to bullet journal like a pro appear in the middle of the image. At the bottom, there are 6 bullet journal spreads.

A bullet journal gives you the freedom to design your own spreads and create works of arts in minutes. If you are learning how to bullet journal struggling to start your bullet journal, I have all the resources you need in one place!

This bullet journal for beginners guide is perfect for college students and


How to Bullet Journal for Beginners

Please use the table of contents below to navigate to different parts of the blog post:


Why I started using a bullet journal?

In my senior year of college, I failed an organic chemistry class and I went into a deep state of depression thinking my dream of becoming a doctor was evaporating in front of my eyes. I decided to look for ways to regain my confidence and happiness back. One night, I sat on my computer and decided to search the word “bullet journal”. I read the word earlier in the day while studying in a coffee shop. I immediately fell in love with the idea of creating your own spreads!

I want you to look at the image below, that was my very first bullet journal setup back in 2016. It was simple and had nothing fancy about it.

Open notebook with checklist items hand drawn in black ink

After I got comfortable with my own style, I started creating spreads with a little bit of more color and drawings. The reason I am sharing the image above is to remind you that everyone starts somewhere. None of the artists you see on Instagram were born knowing how to create those works of art, at one point in their careers they also googled “how to bullet journal for beginners”. I want this blog post to be your guide!

Ready to jump into the magical world of bullet journaling? Keep reading the blog post ♡

Open notebook with a quote on both pages

What is a bullet journal?

A bullet journal also known as Bujo is a blank page where you write down your daily to-do list. It was created by Ryder Carroll to help you organize your thoughts and increase your productivity. 

Open notebook with check lists written in black ink
Photo by isabelplans via Instagram.

How does a bullet journal work?

Open your notebook and write down bullet points of things you need to do. Use those bullet points to create categories, for example: daily log, monthly log, gratitude log, habit tracker, study tracker, etc. Your bullet journal is a way to write down all your thoughts and categorize them.

A bullet journal can be simple bullet points highlighting the things you need to do:

Open notebook with a hand drawn check list and a small calendar on the top-left of the page.
Photo by keletters via Instagram.

Or a complex and elaborate spread that showcases your artistic talent and creativity:

Open notebook with a bike spring theme. On the left page the words "you were born to flourish" appear in Spanish, underneath there is a pink bike hand drawn. On the right page there is a small calendar surrounded by flowers.
Photo by sofidatos via Instagram.

If you choose a complex or simple spread, please make sure to choose one that you feel comfortable keeping up with. Don’t spend hours creating a spread that you know deep down in your heart you will not use or fill out.


What type of notebook do I need?

Any notebook you have at home! It can be new or old. I have several empty notebooks at home that I have collected through the years. You may also find affordable ones on Amazon. The most important thing is to find a notebook with thick pages to prevent pens from bleeding through the pages.

My favorite bullet journal notebooks are extra-large dotted Moleskine and Smart Planner Dotted Journal.

Two notebooks stacked on top of each other. The first notebook is large with a beige cover. On top of the large notebook there is a small notebook with a pink color cover. In the middle of the pink cover there is a tree and the words "the way we think".

What pens do I need?

Any pen you have at home will work, but if you enjoy collecting stationery supplies like I do. I recommend the Pilot G2 gel pens. The ink is rich in color and the pens write smoothly on any type of paper. If you love creating beautiful titles or headers, I highly recommend the Tombow Dual Brush pens.

bullet journal supplies pens and pink pencil case

Check out this blog post for a full list of my favorite bullet journal supplies!



What spreads should I create?

The most popular bullet journal pages are index, future log, cover page, calendar, weekly spread, daily spread, and monthly spread. I listed pictures of them below, that way you could get an idea of what each spread looks like. At the bottom of the image, I added the Instagram handle of each bullet journal artist to give them proper credit for their work and for you to check out their other spreads.

Index
Open notebook with a hand drawn index. On the top-left the word "index" appear in black ink. Below the word there are page numbers. Towards the right of the page numbers, there are titles for each page.
Photo by lifeofajugglingmom via instagram
Future Log

An index allows you to see where to find specific information on the planner. A future log allows you to see all the important dates of the month in one place. I have a blog post that shares 50 different ways to draw a future log spread. Make sure to check it out!

Open bullet journal with a future log drawn on both pages

Photo by biggerdreamsco via Instagram.

Cover Page

A cover page sets the tone for the month’s theme. A cover page is the ending of a month and the beginning of a new one. Take a look at the image below, journalwithni‘s theme for the month of May is flowers.

Some people write “Goodbye, April” on the left page and “Hello May” on the right page. Similar to journalwithni, I love starting a new month with a powerful quote.

Open notebook with a colorful flowery bullet journal spread. On the left page the words "let your power shine" appear with a mixture of script fonts. On the right page there are orange, blue, and pink flowers surrounding the word "May". Outside the notebook there three pens with pink, green, and blue ink caps.
Photo by journalwithni via Instagram.

Look at the images below, and notice how the habit tracker, mood tracker, and weekly spreads have the same theme as the cover page above. That’s what I was trying to explain. Your cover page can be anything you want, it helps you set the tone for the rest of the spreads.

9 squares have a flowery bullet journal spread. The flowers have dark blue, red, and orange colors.
Photo by journalwithni via Instagram.

Now, do you need every single spread to have a functional bujo? No. There is no right or wrong way to bullet journal as a beginner. Create as many or as few spreads as you need, but only create the spreads you are actually going to use.

Weekly Spreads

A weekly spread is a personalized layout that helps you organize and plan your week. Create a weekly spread by dividing a page into sections for each day of the week. Include a space for tasks, events, and any other important information for each day.

Open notebook with black hand drawn horizontal rectangles. Inside the rectangles there are checklists written in black ink. At the top of the pages there is a glued light brown paper with purple flower drawn. On the top-right there is a small calendar.
Photo by journalwithkate via Instagram.

I typically use a combination of a calendar layout and a to-do list format. I assign each day its own section with enough space to jot down appointments, deadlines, and tasks. In the task section, I create a list of things I want to accomplish during the week. I use symbols, such as dots for tasks and circles for events, to denote different types of entries.

Open notebook with a purple bullet journal weekly spread. At the top of the image there are butterflies painted in purple shades. The weekly spread is made of long vertical rectangles. Inside the squares there are words written in black ink.
Photo by productivedoodling via Instagram.

Additionally, you may include a space for birthdays, notes, goals, or a habit tracker in my weekly spread. This layout allows you to have a comprehensive overview of my week at a glance and helps me stay organized and focused on priorities. The beauty of a bullet journal is its flexibility, allowing you to tailor the weekly spread to my specific needs and preferences.

Need inspiration to create stunning weekly spreads? Check out these 40 creative weekly spreads!

Several open notebooks are displayed. Each notebook has colorful weekly spread layouts for the 7 days of the week.

Digital or Paper Bullet Journal?

Three years ago I embarked on the world of digital planning and never looked back. I use my digital planner to take college notes during my lectures. I use a separate digital planner for my bullet journal spreads.

A digital planner is the digital version of a paper planner inside your iPad. A digital planner gives you some advantages over a traditional planner:

  • The ability to undo mistakes.
  • Easily move images or drawings around the page unlike a physical paper
  • Add any fonts to the planner
  • Syncs between iPhone, Mac, and iPad
  • Depending on the app you use, you can record your college lecture to review your notes later

The are some cons regarding digital planning:

  • Items in the Apple or Google calendar don’t automatically synch on your digital planner
digital bullet journal weekly spread

Here are a couple of digital bullet journal spreads from other amazing artists:


Where do I find ideas for my bullet journal?

Instagram is my go-to place for bullet journal inspiration. In the search bar type “bullet journal weekly spread” or “bujo spread” and a lot of great images with show up.

several weekly spread images from a search on instagram

Google images is my second favorite place to look for bullet journal ideas. I also type on the search bar for a specific term and browser through the images.

Pinterest is another great source to find bullet journal tutorials and ideas.

I hope this how to bullet journal for beginners guide gave you an idea to learn how to start your own planner. If you have any questions leave them in the comment section.

If you want to learn about digital planners and bullet journaling join my Facebook group! Readers from all over the world share their bullet journal and digital planner spreads. It’s amazing to learn from other people that share a common interest.

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