1. Lindsey says

    Bullet journals are so cute! But I also have chicken scratch for handwriting, so there’s that. I’d love to start one just for fun and put reminders and such in there!

    • Kalyn Brooke says

      There are many people who use bullet journals as a creative outlet, but there are equally as many who love them just because they are a great way to organize your thoughts! The best part is no one cares about penmanship when it comes to getting organized. 🙂

        • Kalyn Brooke says

          Haha! You don’t have to be an artist to do a bullet journal! Sure, you can make them prettier with scrollies, fancy fonts, and scribbles, but that’s not what a bullet journal is all about. At least for me. It’s primary purpose to to be an organizational tool! You can organize your life by just drawing boxes and writing in your to-do’s and schedule. It’s amazing how much it helps me accomplish my tasks each day.

        • Alena says

          Just find some Bullet Journal Stencil Painting Shapes Letter Journaling Set On Amazon for us without graphics skills 😉

    • Jennifer says

      Dont let your handwriting hold you back. I let my awful handwriting and limited art skills stop me for awhile, but im sp glad i finally decided to just try it. My journal isnt as pretty as the pictures you see, but its so useful.

    • The Confused Girl says

      I am too scared that I will rip out pages and get angry at myself if I make a bullet journal mistake. Any tips?

      • Kalyn Brooke says


        That is a GREAT question. I struggle with the same thing, and even though I’ve been doing my bullet journal for a long time now, I still find myself occasionally ripping out a page that I’m not happy with. Keep your eyes open for a product that I’m launching in just a couple of weeks that has a section devoted to this very topic! I’ll give you a sneak peek tip though. 😉 One of the keys to bullet journaling is focusing on function over form. In otherwords, free yourself from the perfection of having an “Instagram worthy” spread and focus on making the journal “work” for you. Then, if you want, once you start getting the hang of the functionality you can start working on making it look prettier.

        A couple ideas if you do make a mistake though, is to use washi tape or a fun sticker to cover it up. I’ve done this multiple times and love the look even more than if it was perfect.

        That’s just a tiny sample of what’s to come though!! Stay tuned!

        • The Confused Girl says

          Thank you Kalyn! Still a bit nervous. Also, what is the best notebook to use?
          Thanks Kalyn.

          • Kalyn Brooke says

            If you’re looking for a budget friendly option, the Essentials grid-lined notebook ( is a quality notebook and a great place to start! If you have a little bit more you can spend, no one has ever regretted the Leuchtturm 1917. ( The pages are super smooth and are numbered, which means you don’t have to number them yourself. 🙂

      • nutbrownrose says

        I just had to write this in my bullet journal as a reminder to myself– “Pinterest is pretty, but they’re PAID to be pretty, so try for practical instead.”
        Unless you’re planning to start a BuJo blog and pinterest page, it doesn’t have to be this pretty. It’s for you and you alone, so as long as you can read it and enjoy using it, who cares what it looks like?

      • Cathy says

        Yeah… it out, get angry, get over it and start over, but like the sneaker guys say…..just do it! You will never know or get good until you try.
        Sorry, don’t mean to be brash (?) here, but I can’t tell you how many knit/crochet projects I ‘ripped’ out and started over. Mistakes are part of the process. You got this!!!

        • Kalyn Brooke says

          Sometimes the “Get Angry” part comes before the “rip it out” part. 😉

          Another super important thing is learning to give yourself permission for a page to not be “perfect.” This is especially true when you are trying out new layouts. Sometimes you think something was a mistake, and then throughout the day or week you may find a part of that “mistake” that is actually a good system, or gives you more ideas of things to try.

      • Jennifer says

        I use a small 3 ring binder I found at staples (5×7), they also had paper and dividers to fit it. That way I can move list pages around/redo so they make more sense to my brain and not worry about I-might-have-rip-it-out syndrome! Another HUGE bonus is that I (finally!!!) found a weekly planner page that suits me very well so I just print those out, hole punch them, pop in my binder, and fill them in. If I had to ‘draw’ my planner page every week I’d get so behind! Loving my system, it’s doable, pretty, easy to set up, and easy-peasy to keep up! 😊

        • Kalyn Brooke says

          That’s awesome, Jennifer! It’s all about creating the system that works the same way your brain does. 🙂

        • Robin Michaels says

          I did something similar by printing out pages from Outlook (including birthdays and anniversaries prefilled on the appropriate days of the year so I didn’ have to rewrite them every year), and then created computer forms for things I wanted to track. my problem is that it ends up being a little bulky to always be carrying around ….

          • Jennifer says

            Great idea for birthdays and anniversaries Robin! I find myself taking out my 2 weekly pages and tucking them in my purse to take along to work, it’s not ideal if you care that your pages get a little crumpled 😜 but those get tossed after every week anyway, another reason I love the 3 ring binder, my weekly appointments/to-do’s don’t need to be kept once the week is over. I simply transfer my week’s habits onto a monthly habit tracker page, and move over any not-yet-done to-do’s onto the new weekly page before tossing the finished one. The pages go back in the binder when I’m home. I don’t feel the need to carry a whole binder/journal in my purse, it’s just too bulky, but being able to bring along 2 small pages is convenient and easy! 😊

  2. Lauren @ The Thinking Closet says

    I can’t tell you how many times of watched and re-watched this video. It’s so inspiring, Kalyn! Thanks for being the first person to introduce me to bullet journaling and for giving us this glimpse into your pages. Just added a project planner tonight…plus a task list for my first project breakdown. I know this is going to be such a helpful tool for me as I tackle some big projects this fall. Your pages are simple, beautiful, and so well thought-out. Thanks for taking the guesswork out of layout for us!

    • Kalyn Brooke says

      Aww. You’re too kind, Lauren! I honestly don’t know how I lived without my bullet journal, and especially the two spreads you mentioned. I can’t wait to see what you do with yours!!

  3. Amanda says

    Hi! Love your post. I had a quick question though. When you start another bullet journal after filling out the first one what do you do about all your lists? Do you copy them all over?

    Thanks for the great content,


    • Kalyn Brooke says

      Hi Amanda!

      When I switched over to my 2nd bullet journal, I only transferred a handful of lists that I needed to reference long-term. It actually was a good exercise to do, because there were different ways I wanted to set up my lists after I had been journaling for a while. And like I said, I didn’t need to transfer all of them.

      Also, you can reference lists in your index from previous bullet journals if you don’t need to access them all the time. Just make a note that it’s in Bullet Journal #1, Page 21 or something like that.

      Hope that helps!

  4. Gina says

    Bullet Journaling is new to me. In the last week, I saw a YouTube video and heard it mentioned and watched that person’s video. I’m not artistic by any means, but I LOVE to plan and write things down. I just started using the Living Well Spending Less planner, but still use a separate notebook to jot things down, plan, etc.
    You are definitely piquing my interest!
    PS – I’m only worried about being OCD with it ; )

    • Kalyn Brooke says

      Hi Gina!

      Think of your first {and maybe second and third 😉 } bullet journal as a practice journal. That should keep you from getting too wrapped up into the details. Experiment with new layouts and try out ideas that you’ve seen online. I actually just tried out a new layout this week – but I don’t think I’ll ever use it one again. That’s really what I just love about them, I’m never “stuck” with something that I don’t like.

  5. Georgina says

    Thank you! I was meaning to begin a bullet journal a long time ago. But I was exploring different option and they all seemed to be so complicated! I just came to your blog through Pinterest and I loved how easy you make it look. Watched your video and I liked the simplicity of your explanation and also how well organized is. I’m starting mine as of today ^_^

    • Kalyn Brooke says

      Good luck, Georgina! I’m just finishing up my weekly spread right now. I’m even experimenting with a couple of new layouts this week. 🙂

  6. Lizza says

    Thank you for sharing this. I have a quick question, I guess two questions :). So before each month do you set up your monthly and weekly page first? Then set up your daily as you go along each day? Where do you insert your trackers? You must put them at the beginning of the book since you are tracking them at the beginning of the year. But if somewhere in the middle of the a month you decide to track something, do you just flip to the next page and insert a tracker page?

  7. Pauline von Dahl says

    Wow, thank you so much for this post! I’ve been keeping bullet journal for two months now, but it’s still a bit of a mess 😀 But thanks to your tips I can see where I went wrong.

    • Kalyn Brooke says

      That’s actually one of the things I love about a bullet journal, it’s constantly evolving to my needs and I keep getting more efficient with it as I go. I’m so glad you found the post helpful!

  8. Evon Robinson says

    Good Day Kalyn!!

    So Super Awesome to come across your blog/video, today!

    I’m a fellow BUJO Smashbooker (started in January 2016 and LOVIN it!) <3 I'm always looking for creative inspiration for my closed FB group, Barefoot Journaling Chronicles! Your post here will be a HIT esp for my new members wanting to give bullet journaling a try. Happy to showcase your ideas!! Will be starting my own blog soon. Been building my group since April 21, 2015 to a hefty 426 as of today from a charter membership of 5…humble beginnings.

    Would love for anyone reading this or You to join us if you'd like…be happy to have you with us. 🙂

    AWESOME post!! Will be snagging some of your cool ideas!!


    ~Evon Robinson
    Barefoot Journaling Chronicles

  9. Maria says

    Hi Kalyn! (English is not my native language so I am sorry for my grammar and not only grammar mistakes)
    I saw your journal few months ago, and I was really inspired, so now I have my own BJ, and now I’m surfing the Net for some new ideas for it. And I understood that your journal is the most convenient and elegant(for me, it’s the best) I’ve ever seen. And I do really say it from all my heart, thank you very much for inspiring new and new people:) really want to hug you

    • Kalyn Brooke says

      Awww. Thank you so much Maria. You are too kind! I really hope you get a lot of enjoyment out of your bullet journal!

  10. Jen says

    Hi Kalyn,

    I’m loving the idea of bullet journaling, but my only concern is the time it takes to manage. Can you tell how much time you invest in managing it, and do you think it will work for individuals that have never really been a planner person?

    I’m definitely intrigued!
    Thanks so much!

    • Kalyn Brooke says

      It does take some time to manage, but not as much as you would think. Each night I spend about 10 minutes planning out the next day, and then on Sunday night I spend 30 minutes or so planning out the next week. Sometimes I spend more time, but that’s just if I’m having fun with trying out fancy fonts, which isn’t a requirement for bullet journals. 🙂

      As far as for the “non-planner person” it’s definitely a better option because you don’t feel constrained to boxes and layouts that you won’t use. Also, if you skip a few days because life gets in the way, you can just pick up where you left off without wasting any paper. I can say that my husband, who easily fits into that category, is starting to convert over to it. We’ll see if it sticks!

      If it still feels overwhelming to you, just start by making daily and weekly to-do lists. This will help you figure out whether or not you want to take it further.

  11. Maggie S. says

    This is a great starter article. I have over – researched and am having “drinkofwaterfromafirehydrant” syndrome. You helped me re-focus. This is my first time here from pinterest. I’ll be back.

    • Kalyn Brooke says

      Oh I am so familiar with that syndrome! I think it’s a common one to have in the internet age. I’m so glad some of my experiences from bullet journaling was helpful!

  12. Lizett Garcia says

    Awesome! I’m excited. I’m inspired. I love my Erin Condren Life planner BUT I think a bullet journal will be really productive instead of JUST cute. Thanks.

  13. Teresa says

    I loved you video and ideas for bullet journal. I have been doing a bullet journal for about a year and getting ready to start a new one. I will definitely be trying some of your ideas.
    Thank you

  14. Leslie says

    I’m very excited to start this but I feel I will make it too complicated and not stick too it. I’m currently on Mat leave. But I also have a toddler. I’m a teacher, but am considering starting a home daycare. I have notes all over the house and on my phone. I like writing and making notes, this seems like a great idea for me. But how do I not overwhelm myself. and where do u find the time??

    • Kalyn Brooke says

      Hi Leslie,

      Just like any planner, it’s about setting up a routine. I spend a few minutes each night making my to-do list for the next day. Then on either Saturday or Sunday night I spend a bit more time doing the Weekly Spread and any other special Spreads. I’ve found I can often do this while watching a show with my husband, although sometimes I just do it on it’s own. It does take a little time, but I’m sure having an organized to-do list and not searching around for where I put sticky notes has actually saved me time in the long run!

      I’d encourage you to start small and focus on function over creativity. You could even skip the weekly spread and just start with a daily page. Put your to-do list on it the night before, and then jot any notes down on it throughout the day. As you get more comfortable start seeing if the weekly spreads and habit trackers work for you too. One of the best parts is that if you miss a day or two, you just pick up where you left off, leaving you with no wasted pages like a pre-done planner.

  15. Vinessa says

    I was so excited to get home from work today because I knew that my bullet Journal supplies were waiting for me from Amazon. I just discovered bullet journaling a couple weeks ago and I can’t wait to get started. thank you for your input

    • Kalyn Brooke says

      That’s so exciting! There’s almost nothing better than having something from Amazon sitting at your door. 🙂 It’s kind of like Christmas, where you know what the gift is ahead of time but you can’t wait to open it anyway!!

  16. Gloria says

    Thanks for this detailed post. I just purchased a journal today and I’m about attempt bullet journaling for the first time!

  17. Sandra says

    You certainly make it seem a lot easier – think I was think too far ahead certainly going to try your way

    • Kalyn Brooke says

      Thank you, Sandra. I can fall into that trap of getting too far ahead of myself too. To help keep that from happening, if I have a big project {that is going to take a long time and has several steps} I create a specific project page with all the steps and due dates broken down. Then when I’m doing my daily pages I reference any project pages I have and make sure to add any of the broken down steps to that day’s to-do list.

      I hope that helps! I’m going to be putting some more BuJo content up here soon, so be sure to come back. 🙂

  18. Caterina says

    Hi! I’m trying to get my bullet journal together and having a hard time just making an order of things which stops me from working on it. Where do you put your lists – as in important ones – ones that may follow over to the next bullet journal for example: wish list, travel bucket list, favorite movies, favorite products to remember, etc things like that. Do they go between month layouts? Week layouts? Thanks

    • Kalyn Brooke says

      Even though it feels unorganized, I put all my lists and collections on the next blank page. In other words, I never leave blank pages as I progress through the journal. However, {and this is the key} I always keep my index in the front of the journal up to date so that I can always find a list when I need it.

      For instance: my TV show, list that keeps track of what episodes I’m on, is on page 12 right after a weekly page. I never have any trouble finding it though because it’s indexed.

      I know this may feel unorganized at first, it really did to me too, but now that I’ve gotten used to the system I really don’t ever see myself going back to a traditional planner.

  19. Sara says

    Hi, Kayln!
    Thank you SO much for sharing this video of your bullet journal! I don’t know how many hours I have spent recently on Pinterest searching for the right simple layouts to use to start mine. I FINALLY found this post with your video. It gave me the confidence and tools to start bullet journaling simply, which is what I was looking for. I do love doodling and adding fun graphics and such to my work, but I wanted to start out with something that I could do easily and quickly until I get the hang of what exactly works for me. I am going to be doing a Beginners Bullet Journaling Mini Course on my blog soon, as there seems to be a huge interest in bullet journaling, and I can see why! Would you mind if I mention this post and link it to my post/course? I’d love to know what you think of my blog if you have a moment to stop by. Thanks again and blessings!

    • Kalyn Brooke says

      Hi Sarah,

      By all means you can link to my post. I’m so glad you found it helpful.

  20. Linda says

    Hi Kalyn, I started a bullet journal and I can appreciate the beauty of your journal. :o) This is testing my crafting skills. A couple of questions: 1) The page headers Index, Projects, etc., are these done with a stencil or freehand? If stencil, which one? 2) In coloring in some letting the markers I used bled thru to the back of the page. Is there a specific marker that should be used so they don’t bleed or use color pencils? Thank you.


    • Kalyn Brooke says

      Hi Linda,

      The black pen I use is the Faber-Castell PITT Artist Pen. You can get it from Amazon, or if you don’t want to wait for it, of have a coupon, you can pick it up at Micheals.

      The highlighters are a bit harder to find because it’s a Japanese brand – Mildliner. Thankfully they are available on Amazon!

      The cool thing about the Mildliners is that not only do they not bleed through like most markers, they have a bold tip, and then on the other side of the same pen they have a fine tip too.

      • Michal says

        Hello, those tips are amazing. I have tried several times to find a palnner that would suit me. Also my downside is I am not artist, so everything I am trying to create looks so basic. The crucial point of creating my own diary is the fact I have a problem to keep up as you need to create the layouts and continue adding them. I have to say you tips are amazing and I trully like the way you make your journal/diary. You boost my interst and I will try work on it. Thank you for great tips.

  21. Delana says

    Kalyn – thanks for your post about your bullet journal. It was thorough yet concise and left me much less overwhelmed by the idea of expanding my little red notebook.

    • Kalyn Brooke says

      Hi Delana, I’m so glad you found my post helpful! When you see all the options a bullet journal provides it really can feel like too much! Just tackle one layout or tracker at a time until you have perfected the system that works best for you!

  22. Maarit says

    This was so inspirational and very good explanation of what bullet journaling is. I am gonna go your way BIG thank you of this video!!
    Regards from Finland,

  23. Mary @ Coffee and Moxie says

    Hi Kayln!

    Thanks for such a great overview of bullet journaling! It looks like something I’d love to try! I currently use the Living Well Spending Less planner and love it, but this method looks intriguing! I just might have to try it out! 🙂

    • Kalyn Brooke says

      What I really love about bullet journals is if a particular layout isn’t working for me, I can change it! Whenever I have a planner I end up with so many wasted pages where I find out a month or two into the year that part of the system just doesn’t work for me. You should absolutely try it. The worst thing that can happen is you don’t like it and go back to planners. 🙂

  24. Kim J says

    What are the colored pens you use? Do they smudge? Do you use color only after you use the black pens, and do you have any problems with the pens bleeding through? Thanks so much, I love this idea.

  25. Priscilla says

    Are you sure you weren’t organised before? I love your bujo and it’s kind of overwhelming how organised it is haha, thanks for the video and the article they helped.

    • Kalyn Brooke says

      I really try to stay organized. 🙂 To be honest though, it’s just as easy for my life to get messy and disorganized as anyone else!

      My strategy with my BuJo is function over form. I try really hard to find the system that works well…then I’m free to doodle. 🙂 {And, I’m constantly tweaking the system each week as I discover parts of layouts that work for my brain and throw out others that just don’t.}

  26. Dawn Bahm says

    I keep looking into bullet journal because I like the customization options, however, I still need an appointment book for daily appointments and for planning throughout the year. Making the daily page every day won’t work, I need to be able to schedule some things months in advance. Any tips on how to merge an appointment book with bullet journaling without writing up an entire year of pages at once?

    • Kalyn Brooke says

      I completely understand your concern! Future planning takes some getting used in the bullet journal. However, there are a few options you can try:
      1. Create a Future Log. This is a two-page layout where you can list out your months and jot down appointments and events under each month. Then when you create your Monthly Logs, you just look back at your Future Log and transfer those appointments over to your Monthly. You can see different examples of these if you search “Future Log” on Pinterest.
      2. Use a calendar app to keep track of all your upcoming events and appointments, and let your bullet journal support your day-to-day as well as become the catch-all for your lists, notes, and ideas.
      3. Combine the bullet journaling system with a paper planner. Disc-bound planners like The Happy Planner offer removable pages and often have a pre-designed calendar already included. Then you can add your bullet journal pages in between each monthly page and have the best of both worlds.
      I hope that helps!

  27. Ola says

    Thank you so much for sharing your ideas…ive been doing bullet journaling for about15 years, and i didnt know it had a name…i like how u have the index , ive been trying to figure how to retreive or find infos i write which can be frustrating…again thank u.

    • Kalyn Brooke says

      You are so welcome, Ola! Now that you know it has a name – there is a whole new world of information out there if you search for it. 🙂

  28. Renee says

    I have had a bullet journal for a while, in conjunction with a LifePlanner. I love the system. So this year, I decided to get my 4 children and husband to try the system. Three of my children and my husband have ADHD and rely heavily on me to keep them organised, To start for my 3 ADHD children I set up bullet posters for school organisation to get them used to writing everything down, Then, I will help them migrate it to their journals. its a slow process changing their habits. My husband has been using his and has seen the benefits of what he calls his brain dump allowing him to concentrate on what needs to be done, He feels more confident at work and more organised. I had them all watch your video, I could see their brains going into overdrive with ideas:) SO, thank you for making the explanation easier for them to understand.

    • Kalyn Brooke says

      That is so awesome, Renee! It’s so exciting to see the people around you catch on to the benefits of Bullet Journaling. My husband got out of the habit last fall, but he picked it up on his own again just this last week and is tailoring it to some very specific goals that he wants to accomplish. I’ve got my fingers crossed for your family, and for Joseph that these will be life changing for them all! 🙂

  29. Danielle says

    I have one question, what if you want your bullet journal to be as nice as yours, but you don’t know how to draw like that?

    • Kalyn Brooke says

      Hi Danielle,

      Well, first I always encourage people to use a bullet journal for function before form. Make it work for you before you worry about making it look good.

      But, for when you want to make it look good, that’s all up to you. Personally I don’t do too much, I add a few doodles, but when you compare it to those who make an art project out of their pages, mine are pretty simple. I’ve discovered that a few little doodles can go a long way.

      If you purchase the Brainbook starter package, I include a doodle guide called Doable Designs that shows you simple techniques to easy doodles!

      For all my boxes, I just use a ruler. 🙂 Keeps everything nice and straight.

  30. Lanie says

    I’m working on starting a bullet journal but ironically, I’m so scatter-brained that I’m finding it difficult to recall everything that I would benefit from having included in it. I feel like my problem is that I’m so concerned with forgetting something that I’m trying to get too much set up at once.

    • Kalyn Brooke says

      Hi Lanie,

      Just make sure to do two things.

      1. Start small. Pick just a few things to work on. You are right, it can be really overwhelming to try to change a whole lot all at once.
      2. Make sure to keep an index page. That will help you remember where things are.

      You can do this! In time your bullet journal should really help you remember what you need to do and when you need to do it. The big benefit is that it should take away some of the anxiety of forgetting something important.

  31. Eva says

    I watched your video and your enthusiasm is infectious.
    Your life is much busier than mine and I had a hard time in relating your journaling examples. I’m using your step by step suggestions for my journal
    Thank you for your sharing with me

    • Kalyn Brooke says

      Hi Eva,

      I hope that the step by step guide is helping you out. Everyone’s schedules and lives are so different, which is actually one of the things that makes bullet journaling such a good tool.

  32. Anna says

    Does the paper in the Essentials Grid-Line Notebook allow ink feather, bleed, or ghost? I’m trying to find the perfect (inexpensive!) notebook.

    • Kalyn Brooke says

      Hi Anna,

      It’s very thick paper and is the best notebook I’ve worked with {so far}. While I don’t think I can say it’s completely perfect, Paper Mate Flares and Fabre Castell pens worked really well with no ghosting. I haven’t tried a fountain pen on it.

  33. New bullet journaler says

    I recently started a bullet journal and all I have done is number the pages, make the index, and my bullet key I’m not sure which page I should do next and I’m afraid I’ll mess up and rip it out and then feel like the journal is ruined

    • Kalyn Brooke says

      Hi There,

      Don’t worry about perfection (I know…that’s so easy to say and so hard to do – because I have to work super hard at releasing myself from that standard every day.)

      You can always cross something out or even rip a page out. As you move forward in your bullet journal adventure one thing I would encourage you to do is not number a page until you use it. This will keep you from that worry. 🙂 I’ve ripped out more pages than you would probably think. Also – white out tape is your friend!


  1. […] Bullet Journaling 101: How to Start a Bullet Journal. Wondering how to start a Bullet Journal? This customizable planner has skyrocketed my own productivity and will radically change how you approach your days! This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure policy here. A few months ago, I started a crazy new hobby called, Bullet Journaling. Have you heard of it? It's basically a planner, to-do list, journal, and note-taking system…ALL IN ONE. All you need to get started is a blank notebook and a pen. Here are a few reasons WHY I tried it: 1. 2. Let's be honest though—while bullet journals can be downright gorgeous, you are literally customizing a planner from scratch. I was oh-so-wrong. In fact, I'm way more organized and productive than I've ever been before. Don't believe me? Another perk? So without further ado, here's a peek at what my bullet journal looks like today. […]

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