How to Start Bullet Journaling (the Basics + Beyond!)

I recently had the honor of being asked to teach a bullet journaling workshop for the Richmond Public Library here in RVA and it was a total BLAST. I had blogged about bullet journaling back in the day when I first really fell in love with the system, and even though it’s not the way I currently journal, there are SO many elements from bullet journals that I use in my normal journal and my agenda and PowerSheets and such! It all ties together.

I didn’t anticipate just how FUN it would be to get together with 25+ creative people at the library and present on bullet journals and then watch them bring their amazing ideas to life in their own new journals, but I had such a blast! If you’re in the RVA area, stay tuned— we will definitely be hosting more workshops like this in the future!

A few pics from the workshop:

For those who came to the class and want all the links and the info I presented, or for anyone else who is curious, here is all the info from my presentation + links to other resources I use and love, and more!

Hope this post can be helpful as you begin (or continue) your BuJo journey!

What is a bullet journal?

  • “It's best described as a mindfulness practice disguised as a productivity system. It's designed to help you organize your what  while you remain aware of your why. The goal of the Bullet Journal is to help its practitioners (bullet journalists) live intentional lives, ones that are productive and meaningful.” (from

  • A catch-all journal for your calendars, lists, trackers, and so much more

  • A tool for staying on track with all the things that matter to you

What do you need for a bullet journal?

  • A journal

    • I personally love these Moleskines with the hard cover and the dot grid for easy drawing/lines/etc

    • These are soft cover and have less pages but are still dotted if you want to start smaller (we used these at the workshop and they’re great!)

  • Writing utensils of your choosing

  • Washi tape

  • A ruler

  • There are even bullet journal stencils if you want to use those for shapes for labels and things!

  • If you want to read more from Ryder Carroll (the creator of the bullet journal), he recently wrote a great book all about it.

What goes in a bullet journal?


  • Index

  • Future log

  • Monthly calendar

  • Daily task calendar


  • Bucket list

  • Goals

  • Vision board

  • Book tracker

  • Habit tracker

  • Budget

  • Daily gratitude

  • Savings plan

  • Birthday calendar

  • Quotes

  • Project calendar

  • Holiday calendar

  • Prayer requests

  • Weight loss tracker

  • Workout plan

  • Movie tracker

  • Favorite things list

  • Mood tracker

  • Income tracker

  • Meal prep / recipe ideas

  • Monthly highlights

  • Meditation tracker

  • Expense reports

  • Chore charts

  • Travel plans/prep

  • Medicine/vitamintracker

  • Etc!

From the creator of the BuJo:

A Key + Signifiers:

•     Use a bullet point for tasks: things you have to do

-     Use a dash fo rnotes: things you don’t want to forget

o     Use an open circle for events: things on your calendar

x     Use an x to cross out tasks that you complete

> <   Use arrows to signify moving tasks to a collection or a future log

*      Use a star to emphasize priorities

!      Use an exclamation point to note inspiration

Also consider using different colors, labels, or washi tape borders as ways of tracking different things throughout your journal!

Things to remember:

  • Function > beauty

  • It’s okay if you aren’t artistic – it’s not about perfection!

  • Make your pages work for you. Include what’s helpful, leave out what isn’t.

  • Simple is best. Don’t overcomplicate things!

  • Use it daily. Update it. Take it with you wherever you go.

  • Don’t be afraid to mess up!

  • You’ll learn more and can change things as you go– this is just getting you started.

Inspo + ideas:

click images for links!

How to get started:

ps — here’s the blog post I wrote when I first started bullet journaling!

  • Make an index on your first spread

  • Create a monthly calendar on the next spread

  • Number your pages, and add them back to your index to track what pages are where in your BuJo

  • Add additional pages or whatever you would like

    • Maybe daily task calendars (all 7 on one page? 2 days per page? 3? Up to you!)

    • Maybe a habit tracker spread, or a bucket list spread

    • Maybe each daily section has a meal tracker, or a habit tracker component

  • Decorate, illustrate, color, collage, and add whatever you want to your pages – simple or colorful or random, let your personality shine!

and here’s the post I wrote when I got back to bullet journaling after a hiatus!

Other options / tools / etc:

From talking with the attendees of my BuJo workshop, a bunch of other amazing tools and resources came up and I wanted to be sure to share them here too!

Here are other resources I love using:

  • PowerSheets from Cultivate What Matters

    • This is my goal planner — I use it every year and it has CHANGED MY LIFE. The prep work pages at the beginning are incredibly helpful and will transform how you think about goals and how you set them for yourself. I would be lost without this tool in my life! Cannot rave enough. (find all my PowerSheets blogs here!)

  • Get to Work Book

    • This is the tool I use at work to help me keep track of projects and to-dos. Super helpful and I love the format!

  • Agendio planner

    • This is a fully customizable agenda and I LOVE IT SO MUCH. It’s the best thing I’ve discovered in the agenda/planner world and I can’t imagine using anything else now.

  • 31 Things lists

    • I created these for myself as a fun sort of mini to-do list/bucket list hybrid to use monthly, and they’ve been a great way of keeping me focused and productive each month.

If you have BuJo faves, share your links below!