Hi, I’m Mim! I’m a planning-obsessed, Award-Winning Online Business Owner, Author and 5-Star Planner Sticker Seller.
I help new sticker makers create planner stickers from scratch that stand out and sell … even if you’ve never made a sticker before!

Bullet Journal 101: Bullet Journaling for Beginners!

In this in-depth dive into bullet journal 101, you’ll discover bullet journaling for beginners so you’re never short of bullet journal ideas!

Are you brand new to bullet journaling (using a bujo) or a seasoned pro?

If this is our first foray into using a bullet journal then you’re in the right place. I know using a new journal of any kind can be quite daunting.

Where to start? What’s the best bullet journal? What bullet journal tools and techniques should you try first?

How about if you make a mistake? Don’t worry – this post will give you a great head start!

We’re going to cover how to start using a bullet journal, choosing the best bullet journal for you, and the many ways a bullet journal habit will improve your life.

Fall Themed Bullet Journal 101 Idea
A beautiful fall-themed bullet journal

Bullet Journal 101: what is a Bullet Journal?

Let’s start with the basics before we move on to how to set up a bullet journal. A bullet journal is a book you’ll use to plan and track your life, habits, and more. It’s completely customizable and appeals to everyone from artists to kids up to grandmothers and more.

The concept of bullet journalling dates back to Ryder Carroll who, according to this post, was looking for a simple method of personal organization in college in the late 1990s. He’s been diagnosed with ADD as a child and wanted a system to help him “move past his learning disabilities.” By the time he graduated from college, he had devised the bullet journal method.

When setting up a bullet journal, you can use symbols to organize events, appointments, tasks, habits, and notes in a way that makes sense to you. These bullet journal icons can be super simple or super creative – you get to choose!

May bullet journal idea
May bullet journal idea

How to Choose a Bullet Journal

Before you set up bullet journal, you need to choose the best bullet journal for you. There are a few considerations to make to help ensure you pick the perfect journal for your needs.

Some helpful questions include:

  • How big or small should the journal be?
  • What format will suit you best?
  • Will it remain at home or will you take it on the go?
  • Are you a doodler, list-maker, or writer, or prefer another format?
  • Do you prefer plain pages, lined or a grid?
  • Is a soft or hard bullet journal cover best?
  • How else can you narrow down the vast bullet journal choices?

Brain dump bullet journal ideas until you start to become more clear on the kind that might be best for you.

Next, it’s time to take a trip to the stationery store and check out your options!

Popular bullet journals:

Here are some of the best books for bullet journal fans I’ve seen:

Moleskine Notebook for Bullet Journaling
Moleskine Notebook for Bullet Journaling
Leuchtturm1917 Notebook
Leuchtturm1917 Notebook
AOU Bullet Journals
AOU Bullet Journals
Offigift Bullet Journal Kit
Offigift Bullet Journal Kit
Paperage Notebook
Paperage Notebook

10 Ways to Use a Bullet Journal

So now you know why a bullet journal is a great idea for you and how to narrow down the best one. Now it’s time to put it to work!

Here are some popular ways that bullet journalers get the most out of theirs:

Create To-Do Lists

I’m a die-hard list-maker, are you? Making lists in your journal is super popular and the kind of lists you create are endless. I wrote a whole post on fun lists to make here.

If you’re using your bullet journal for work, you could create project task lists. Or how about creating a bucket list bullet journal to list all of the things you want to accomplish in your life? A bible bullet journal to celebrate your faith?

Of course, your lists could be as simple as your daily to-dos.

Track your Habits

You might be starting a new habit or looking for a method to stay on track with your current ones. Perhaps you can set goals or track milestones when it comes to your habits.

Here are 117 bullet journal habits and ideas to track! You can create boxes to color in or check off or a habits table with a checkbox for each day.

Habits bullet journal idea
Habits bullet journal idea

Brainstorm Ideas

Create a bullet journal brain dump or space to write down all of your ideas so you never forget them. This is a wonderful way to clear your mind, as well as have a space to refer back to next time you need a new idea to develop.

Plan your Meals

Need help with grocery shopping and meal planning? Your bullet journal is a great place to plan your meals, whether it’s for the day, week, or month. Create a table with columns for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks and check off or doodle in the meals you eat!

Be Grateful

If you’re starting a gratitude practice, your journal is a wonderful place to record thankful thoughts each day. You could even decorate a page with your face affirmations or motivational quotes that inspire you.

Keep a Reading Log

Book lover? Me too! Track the books you’ve read or listened to – or keep a list of the books you want to read in the future.

Make a note of the title, author, and date you read it and you could even give the book a star rating out 5.

Track your Budget

A budgeting bullet journal is a great place to track the money you have coming in and your expenses each month. In your budget bullet journal, you could draw a table or chat and have separate columns for income, daily expenses, any savings, and your running balance.

Get Creative

One of my fave things about planning and journaling is the creative outlet it gives me every week – sometimes every day! A bullet journal can track the things that are important for you in a lovely, creative way. You can draw, doodle, use fonts and images, scrapbook materials, and more.

My preference would be to make DIY stickers!

Bullet journal doodling
Bullet journal doodling!

Plan your Trips

Regularly traveler? Or do you have a special trip coming up? Create a space to plan your itinerary, your budget needs, what you need to pack, and more. While you’re away, use your journal to record memories and special places.

Set Goals … and stick to them!

Finally, set daily, weekly, or monthly bullet journal goals so you can see them at a glance, check off your progress, and stay on track.

At the end of each week, month, quarter, or year, review those goals to celebrate your successes before you move to the next time slot.

Accessories for Bullet Journaling

Ok, so now we’ve looked at books bullet journal fans love and what you’ll be using them for. What else do you need?

FriXion Pens


The best bullet journal pens I’ve found are colorful and erasable – but that’s just my personal preference. Make sure to check out FriXion pens as the best pens for bullet journal users.

A great pen is easy and comfortable to hold and use whether you’re writing, drawing or doodling. Staedtler Triplus Fineliner is another beautiful choice and wonderful for color coding.

Staedtler Triplus Fineliner
Staedtler Triplus Fineliner are great for color coding!


Rulers are a must for many as they make creating straight lines and grids simple, neat, and stress-free. in your bullet journal. Clear plastic rulers with a grid or metric markings will help you to measure up accurately.

Washi Tape

There’s no such thing as too much washi, right?! It adds a pop of color and unique design and you can use washi for everything from borders and headers to dividers and stickers.

Washi Tape Stacks
There’s no such thing as too much washi tape in your stash!


Some bullet journalers love to use pre-cut stencils rather than creating lines and shapes by hand – and that’s all fine! They come in so many different shapes and sizes these days. Check out this bullet journal stencil.


I’m a fan of the FriXion Highlighters as they can be erased if you change plans … or make a mistake!

Highlighters are wonderful for highlighting important info creating colored lines and color coding.

5 Huge Benefits of Using a Bullet Journal

By now I bet you’re so excited to start bujo-ing! There are many benefits to it, such as:

  • It’s Flexible: You can customize a bujo in so many ways to plan your life, family, health, work, and more. Pick a bullet journal day to get started!
  • Be Creative: Release your inner creativity and find a new outlet to express yourself and have fun! It could be an art bullet journal or a regular one.
  • Get Productive: When you start using a bullet journal, your productivity can skyrocket as you check off your to-do lists and stay focused on your goals.
  • Be Mindful: This is a beautiful way for you to connect with yourself and be present in your thoughts, goals, and achievements.
  • Stay on Track: When you use a journal to set goals, track your progress, and celebrate wins, you’ll be more motivated to keep up the momentum!

Bullet Journal Mistakes to Avoid

If you’re still on the fence about using a bullet journal, I want to put your mind at rest about these myths that some people believe:

Release perfectionism

Nothing needs to be perfect! Your bullet journal is your space and it doesn’t matter if it looks like anyone else’s or is perfect. In fact, it’s better to have fun and experiment to really define your personal style over time.

It won’t take long

If you’re worried that you don’t have enough time, don’t worry as you can fit your bujo into your schedule easily. As you have fun trying out new techniques, you’ll settle into a faster routine too over time.

Don’t assume it’s only for artists!

If you’ve ever thought using a bujo isn’t for you because you’re not good at art, you’re not alone. But it’s a myth! Journaling can be a super creative outlet even if you can’t draw or paint yourself. You could even try a stencil, as I shared above.

Mim Jenkinson holding up a planner

Bullet Journal 101: Bullet Journal Tips for Beginners

It’s time to get started and I wanted to leave you with these easy tips for bullet journalers:

Start simple at first

Don’t feel that you need to rush to create elaborate pages. Maybe you can start with a simple list, table, or chart, or even a color-coded task list with simple bullet points. As you get more comfortable with your journal, you can experiment even more with new layouts and page designs.

Stick at it

When it comes to starting any new routine or habit, it’s important to keep going and stay consistent every day or week. Before you know it, you’ll be a full-fledged bullet journaler!

Look for inspiration

If you’re short of ideas, check out what other bullet journalers are doing online for inspo! You can also ask questions or post your own bullet journal layouts in this group!

Well done for getting this far – I hope you’re full of bullet journal inspiration!

Read next:

Now you have bullet journal 101 you’re ready to get started with bullet journaling for beginners!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

I hope you enjoy learning how to make planner stickers or how to start a sticker business!

I’ve been making and selling stickers for journals and planners since 2016 and it’s become a wonderful and creative way to turn my hobby into a side hustle, then full-time online business.

Whether you want to make Cricut stickers, Silhouette stickers or you’re starting from complete scratch, you’re in the right place. Making planner stickers can be for you, or to start an Etsy sticker shop and sell stickers online and you don’t need any previous experience to get started.

Want to make planner stickers from home? Check out my sticker making courses, eBooks and other products here!

I acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the land I work and live on, the Awabakal peoples, and pay my respects to Elders past and present.
I thank them wholeheartedly and express my love and gratitude for the privilege to live and work in such a beautiful part of the world and for the opportunity for my family to be part of this vibrant and supportive community.