Bullet Journaling 101: Getting Started

Hey you guys and welcome to the second post in my Bullet Journaling 101 series! Today, we’re finally going to get started on actually setting up our bullet journal and start creating our first spreads! And yes, I will explain what spreads are in a second – don’t you worry! ๐Ÿ™‚

Before we actually start creating our first few pages and spreads of our bullet journal, how about we talk about some of the terminologies before? If you are familiar with bullet journaling, you probably know what all of these things mean but just in case there are beginners among those of you guys reading this, I thought it would be great to cover this first. So, let’s get started!

  • Index – the first page you either create or have set up in your journal where you catalog your pages, so it’s easy to find them later on
  • Year At A Glance – a page of a yearly overview to help set up any future monthly and/or weekly spreads
  • Future Log – a spread to write down any future appointments, set after the month you start your journal in
  • A Spread – this can include as many as a single or multiple pages, usually dedicated to a certain thing (see: Future Log)
  • Key – a list of symbols that helps you differentiate between different tasks and their progress

For the beginning, this is pretty much all we really need to know as far as definitions are concerned. We’ll be talking about more in upcoming posts, especially once we get more into creating reading/book relating spreads. But one thing at a time, right?

I hope you guys have all those materials at the ready so we can get this started!

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The very first page we are going to be setting up today is our index page, which is going to come in really handy once we’ve filled our bullet journals up and are looking for that one specific list or collection we made weeks ago! However, you might already have an index in your journal, to begin with – if that’s the case, you can skip this step altogether. ๐Ÿ™‚

But everyone else (including myself) will just have to spend a couple of minutes to set up an index page, which really only includes adding a title to your page and drawing a few lines – this is really the quickest page we’ll be setting up. And all your index needs is a column to add a page number and a second column for the title of your future pages, so make sure you measure your columns accordingly. Here’s what mine looks like at the moment:

Up next, to avoid the mistake I made (which was easy to fix though), we’ll create our key for our bullet journal. And don’t worry – you can always add more to it as time goes on and you work out your system. I actually ended up creating my key on a little piece of paper that I glued to my journal’s inside flap of the front cover because I only realized I had forgotten about it a couple of pages in, but that’s okay! This way, I can always refer back to my key no matter where in my journal I’m writing something down. Here’s what it looks like for me:

Once those two things are set up, you’ll want to set up your Year At A Glance spread. If we’re being honest, I was too lazy to write it down when I set up the journal I will be using to show you guys how spreads can look like for reference, so I’ll just add an example here:

year at a glance

If you click on the image above, you’ll be directed right to Amanda’s Instagram account which I absolutely adore and I love her style in bullet journaling too – if you need any inspiration, definitely check her out!

As you can see, Amanda also added a quick and rather simple title page before her Year At A Glance page which is something I will do from time to time too, it really just depends on my mood. So if you want to get a little bit more creative and add a title page – go ahead and do that! ๐Ÿ™‚

Up next, we’ll be setting up our Future Log which is going to help us keep all of our appointments, tasks, book releases, blog posts and everything else nicely organized! There are different ways to create a future log and it might take a bit of trial and error to find out what works best for you. Since I am mostly going to be tracking upcoming book releases, I created a vertical layout with a small monthly calendar at the top and then any upcoming releases I’m excited about listed chronologically underneath. This way, I can make sure I don’t miss out on any books coming out in the next couple of months! Here’s what my Future Log looks like right now:

The last spread we are going to set up for today is going to be our Month At A Glance which is where we’ll be organizing our current month in. Unfortunately, I can’t give you any dimensions as to how big or small anything needs to be as this will depend on the size of the journal you are using so you’ll have to count and sketch things out before you set them in stone with a black pen! As with some of the other spreads you’ll create, this one is probably going to change and evolve over time too. You’ll learn how much space it is you really need – maybe a single page is enough. Maybe you’ll need to use two pages. I’ve tried both in the past and am currently using a single page to display my month:

Again, I am mainly going to use this bullet journal to track any and all things bookish and blog related, so I don’t need as much space to write down appointments or deadlines – these things may be different for you.

The next thing we’ll be setting up in our journals are some fun spreads to track reading related things but since your hand is probably already hurting from all of that writing and drawing, I figured we’d leave that for the next post in the series. That way, we’ll have various spread ideas all in one place rather than them being spread over multiple posts!

So, you guys get on setting up those pages, give your hand some rest and then come back next week to set up some fun reading/book related spreads that are hopefully going to make your life a little bit more organized! ๐Ÿ˜‰

lets chat 1

Phew, okay. My hand actually hurts just from typing out this post??? How are you guys’ hands doing? Are you regretting your decision to join me on this project already? Did that Year At A Glance set up mess with your hand? I hope not!

Are there any kinds of spreads you guys would like to see? Or things you would like to be able to track that you want me to discuss in any upcoming posts? Let me know in the comments below! ๐Ÿ™‚

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15 thoughts on “Bullet Journaling 101: Getting Started

  1. What a wonderful post! I personally didnโ€™t put an index or key in my bullet journal because I already know that I will never use it or refer back to it lol. I already know where everything in my journal is (I mean, I set it up) and Iโ€™m pretty sure Iโ€™d just abandon the index after a day XD

    I am so in love with Amanda Rach Lee and sheโ€™s probably the main reason why I started my bullet journal! Her spreads are always sooooo pretty and I used her as inspiration for my future log, at a glance and January spreads! Iโ€™ve been having so much fun so far and I honestly canโ€™t wait to keep going! I feel like I got A LOT more done since starting my bullet journal because now I donโ€™t have like 20+ different to-do lists making a mess on my desk ๐Ÿ˜‚

    I canโ€™t wait for your future posts about bullet journaling โค And so sorry for spamming your WordPress notifications lol I just felt like catching up on your posts because I read most of them but hadnโ€™t commented yet! ๐Ÿ˜‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Same here, to be honest. I don’t think I’ve referred back to my index in my bullet journal I use all the time in ages? Mostly because I don’t really set up any kind of collections that I would want to get back to quickly and everything else, I’ll just flip through my journal to find it.

      Hahaha, I just wish I had her artistic skills! But yeah, I love watching people who are great at these kinds of things because they really do inspire me to try a bit more to be more creative, etc!

      Never apologize for spamming my notifications, I really appreciate the fact that you make sure to comment on all of my posts! โค

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahahaha, that CONSTANTLY happens to me too, Juliana! If I did a flip through of my actual journal, you’d see how often months pass before I actually continue using it! But I’m hoping that since I’m sharing posts on bullet journaling on the blog, I’ll be more motivated to keep at it too!

      BUT you should totally pick it back up and try getting into it again! I’d love to see what you come up with! ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh I absolutely love this new Series ๐Ÿ˜ I haven’t gotten into bullet journaling, because I have been a bit overwhelmed with all the pretty aesthetics I have seen on Tumblr and so many fancy tutorials. Therefore, I love your post because it’s not as overwhelming and instead a slow and steady approach that I may use for my personal journal ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

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