Beginner’s Guide to Starting a Bullet Journal

What is a Bullet Journal?

A bullet journal is an organisation system that can cover an unlimited range of things! The basic system works as a list of bullets – split into tasks, events and notes. You can customise this how ever is most useful to you, but the key is using it to enable productivity –¬†a good bullet journal does not have to be pretty!


Your bullet journal’s main purpose will most likely be as a to-do list, with a list of tasks for each day. Tasks are traditionally¬†noted as a dot and once the task is done you turn it into a cross. Alternatively, you can mitigate the task to another day using an arrow. The system I use for tasks is a little different – I have a box next to each task that I fill in when the task is done.


An event is the scheduling part of your bullet journal. Here you can list your commitments for the day. These are traditionally a circle bullet that can be filled in when the event is completed, but I just use a dash for both.


Notes can add extra information, act as a diary, or do just about anything! I generally have a separate notes section on each page, but you can include it in the day. This is generally done with a dash.


It might not be a priority to make your journal pretty, but either way you need something to write in. Here is my list of recommended purchases – you don’t need to use all of them.

My new Bullet Journal stationery for 2018!


  • Leuchtturm softcover dotted notebook: I find dotted notebooks are the best for bullet journals as they provide you with a grid but don’t fill up the page with lines. Leuchtturm do great quality softcover notebooks, the paper is lovely. They also have a notebook pre-designed for bullet journals here, but it’s more expensive.
  • Moleskine dotted notebook: The other notebook giant is Moleskine. However, I find that the covers aren’t as nice as Leuchtturm. If you are looking for something a bit more sleek however, Moleskine may be perfect.
  • There are many cheaper, paper-bound alternatives available online, like this gorgeous one. While the paper quality may not be as good, it will still function well!


  • I personally prefer gel pens as they have a much richer colour. My current favourites are the Muji 0.5mm Gel Pens. However, if you’re planning on highlighting then watch out as gel pens bleed.
  • Fineliners are great for decoration! I love the Stabilo ones as no matter which way you bend the nib from using the pen a lot, you will still get a nice application.
  • If you want to do brush lettering, the best pens are the Tombow Dual Brush Pens. I love these pastel ones!


  • Washi tape: This decorative paper tape can be used to add more colour and decoration. You can buy seasonal ones in lots of stationery shops but it’s often best to start with some basic colours like these.
  • Highlighters: When writing titles I love to make them bolder with highlighters. My current favourites are the Zebra Mildliners and the Stabilo pastel highlighters.
The start of my bullet journal for the year

I hope this guide helped – I’ll be posting regular photos of my bullet journal on my Instagram so keep an eye out!

Astrud x

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.

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