Bullet Journaling: The Bare Essentials

A few people recently asked me…I’m thinking about starting bullet journaling, but what are the minimum requirements?

I probably make bullet journals look INSANE with my bag of pens and my customized folio and my washi tape and stickers. But y’all? You don’t need ANY of that.

All you need is a blank journal and a writing utensil.

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I don’t suggest you start with a Moleskine Hardcover Ruled [Update: I now use the Leuchtturm A5 Dotted Hardcover instead of a Moleskine.] as that journal right there is $18 a pop. I did my first month+ with a $5 journal from Target just to A) Make sure I liked it and B) Get the hang of the basic system.

Once you have your journal and your writing utensil? Watch this video.

Then get going! Just use that video as a guideline. Other than the checkboxes and the index, I don’t use hardly any of his recommendations. When I watch the video now I laugh because he would probably HATE MY BULLET JOURNALS. But that’s the nice thing about this system, you can modify as you go. I fill up a notebook every 3’ish months so I get a clean slate to apply any new or different methods. And every volume so far is different. I change systems constantly to suit my needs, but that’s what I love about this system. It can easily change with you because you’re only framework is a blank notebook.

But seriously. That’s all you need to get started. Don’t be intimidated by my obnoxious personalization of the method nor my compulsion to cover EVERYTHING IN THE WORLD WITH SOMETHING PRETTY AND COLORFUL! Your bullet journal can be just as wonderful sans washi tape and zendoodles. I promise you.

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6 thoughts on “Bullet Journaling: The Bare Essentials

  • December 24, 2014 at 11:22 am
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    Thanks for this. I really have to sit down (when I have a quiet moment) and watch that video. But I think I *do* actually want the stickers and whatnot eventually; for me that’s half the appeal right there.

    For starting out, though, what kind of tabs do you recommend?

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  • December 25, 2014 at 7:20 am
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    Thanks for the post and video. I keep wanting to try it but wasn’t sure how to start it.

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  • December 31, 2014 at 4:41 pm
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    Love your bullet journaling posts and the calendars. I’m printing mine now to get ready for my 2015 journal. I started mine in April and totally LOVE it! For those just starting out – you just have to dive in. It won’t take you long to figure out what works for you and what doesn’t. What I love the most is that is it so flexible.

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  • June 1, 2016 at 1:36 pm
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    I’m fairly new to bullet journaling, though not to journaling itself. I’ve only been doing this since the start of 2016…and in that 6 months, I have found that I really prefer to keep it simple, plain and neat. With that said, I am an artist so my creative energy gets a workout everyday and what I need from my BuJo is streamlined, simply elegant ease. It needs to be where I can turn to what I want to know or remember quickly so Rider’s take is the one I keep going back to. The simplicity and straight lines were what first grabbed me and after several skirmishes with doodling and other artsy things, they confuse my eye when I am looking for something particular and they send me on flights of fancy and I get sidetracked easily enough as it is. So..for me, the plain black and white simple form is the purest and cleanest and helps keep me organized and on track. Hope someone finds that info helpful. Namaste.

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    • September 11, 2016 at 3:42 am
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      Thank you for your comment. Simplicity in format supports my efforts to record essential events (past and prospective) and allows me to focus on critical details when doing daily, weekly and monthly reviews. The Bullet Journal is a tool I use to keep it simple rather than to “complificate” my days. The review process has been a revelation for me. It gives me the information (and the opportunity) to continually reflect on my choices and organize my future choices. I keep a separate journal for narration, reflection, digression, but I believe two journals are max for me. Afterall, I am trying to keep it simple.

      Reply
  • August 7, 2016 at 3:29 am
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    I have also been a planner junkie most of my life. Since I retired, so many of the paper planners have disappeared with the appearance of iPhones, etc. The bullet journal appeals to me but I am a little confused. My main question at the moment is regarding appointments. Where do you enter your appointments? I’ve listened to your intro video several times but did not hear this mentioned.

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