If you want to learn more about what a bullet journal is before learning tips on how to start a bullet journal, check this article out.

1. Set pages up ahead of time

Caitlin Mahoney

When you have the time, binge prep your bujo. I do this when I have time, and draw out the framework of the next few weeks, but wait to decorate them until I get to that week. Having these, as well as monthly spreads, allows you to write in future events/tasks. For when I don't have time to do this, I like to have a “next week” box to write in, and on my monthly spreads a “next month” box. This makes it so I won’t forget something if those pages are not yet set up.

2. Use Pinterest and other sites to find inspiration (especially for doodling ideas), cautiously

Posts like these are a great way to get new ideas for your bujo, but don’t become so self-conscious about your own journal. You are looking at pictures of journals that people have probably had for a while now, and you are just starting out! It does not have to look perfect. Your bullet journal should be making your life easier, not stressing you out. If it is, look into these other journaling methods to see if something else may work for you.

3. Use stickers instead of drawing

Caitlin Mahoney

I am guilty of hoarding planner stickers because I buy them every single time I have coupons and they are on sale at the craft store. A lot of people say they can’t keep a bujo because they don’t know how to draw/don’t have the time to make it cute like they want, so this is an easy fix for that! I like these Create 365 stickers, especially the seasons pack. I usually find them for about $10 for a pad that includes a couple thousand stickers. (Side tip: I like cutting stickers in half to hang off the sides of pages and get double use out of them.)

4. Don’t be afraid to experiment with layouts

It’s okay if every single week the way you set up your bullet journal changes. It took me about a month to figure out what works best for me, and even now there are still some things I change up every once in a while.

5. Use clips and sticky notes

Caitlin Mahoney

It can be frustrating to have to flip around to different pages all the time. Every night, I fill out trackers at the beginning of my bujo that are set up to include the whole year, ones in the middle that are for the current month, and ones on my current week. I use clips/post-it notes to keep track of all this, and it helps a lot.

6. Customize

Caitlin Mahoney

One of the best things about a bullet journal is the fact that it’s blank, and you make it into whatever you want, perfectly suited towards your needs. Just because some people have a table of contents in their bullet journal, or track certain things, does not mean you need to as well. Set up your bujo and include things in it in a way that matter to you!

7. You can start today

A lot of times people (myself included) feel like they have to wait until it’s a new year, month, or even week to start their bullet journal, so they can have a “fresh start.” This is not true! I started my bullet journal in the middle of September a few weeks after the semester already started, and it worked perfectly okay. Don’t let the day of the week or time of the year stop you from starting.

8. Use what you have

Caitlin Mahoney

This kind of goes along with #2. It is super easy to look at bujo inspiration online and feel like you need to have that special brand of highlighter, pens, or notebook that is most popular. For example, Moleskin notebooks are extremely popular for bujos, but in my opinion, they aren’t worth it. They are up to $20, and I use a dotted grid notebook from Muji that was less than $5. I like mine better because it has more pages, I can cleanly tear pages out when I need to, plus am able to customize the cover page.