Bullet Journal Set Up - 6 Simple Steps to Get Started

How to Set Up Your Bullet Journal in 6 Simple Steps

Find out how to set up your Bullet Journal so that you can free your mind from trying to remember all of those lists and responsibilities and focus on getting things done!

Bullet Journal Set Up - 6 Simple Steps to Get Started

How to Set Up Your Bullet Journal

If you’ve decided that you want to start your own Bullet Journal to add some order to your life you’re in the right place because today we’re going to walk through the 6 simple steps you need to take to set up your bullet journal.

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Step 1: Number all of your pages

Unless you have a Leuchtturm1917 notebook which comes with it’s pages already numbered you’re going to need to hand write in your own page numbers.

It’s tempting to think you’ll just do it as you go along but since the page numbers are pretty critical to how your Bullet Journal works it’s best to do it up front.

So grab a pen, switch on your favourite TV show and get it done!


Step 2: Set up your index on the first two pages

This is where you are going to list out all of your logs, planners, trackers and collections.

Set aside at least two pages, and then it’s up to you whether you want to have a running list of all items in your BuJo with their associated page numbers, or whether you want to break the index up into sections so your logs are separate from your collections.

Just make sure you remember that every time you start a new page you need to note down the title and page number in your index so you can find it again!

Here are a few examples to inspire you.

Here’s an example of a chronological index.

And this one uses a different column for logs and collections etc.


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Step 3: Set up your future log

This is where you are going to keep track of events coming up over the next year. It could be a dentist appointment, your car service or a friend’s birthday.

Your future log will extend over a number of pages depending on how much space you want to set aside for each month.

The most common practice is to split a page into three sections so that you have a four page spread to cover the whole year.

It’s up to you whether you use horizontal or vertical columns. You can also decide whether to have a dated calendar box incorporated into your future log. Some people choose to have a page with all 12 boxes on so they can see the year at a glance.

Oh and going back to the birthday thing, you might actually decide to set up a birthday spread instead because it can be more fun that way!

Here’s your inspiration…

Here’s a great example of a horizontal monthly log set up.

I love how the calendar squares have been offset to a different side each time and then decorated!

Here’s an example of how you can add some illustrations to your monthly log. Of course you could just skip the pictures and have more space for your entries!

Of course you can break the mould completely and try this future log spread which uses columns to show which event belongs to which month. This is useful if you have recurring events throughout the year because you don’t have to keep writing them out over and over!

You can even fit the whole year on one page doing it this way!

Here’s a creative way to keep all your birthdays on one spread outside of your monthly log.

Step 4: Set up your monthly spread for the upcoming month

Now it’s time to add your monthly spread, which is usually your calendar and to do list for the month ahead.

The quick and dirty way to set this up is to write the numbers 1-31 (or 28 or 30) down the left hand side of the left page so that this becomes you calendar. And then on the facing page write out your tasks in bullet form.

Or you can be more creative with it…

Use more traditional calendar boxes on the left, and then use the right side to track your bucket list for the month, note down highlights and remember what needs cleaning!

Use a calendar grid on the left and then on the right note down important dates, goals and tasks.

Set out the dates in a list but make room for your habit tracker by date too.

Use a two page spread for your box calendar layout.

I love this one! Set out a box calendar on the left, but turn it sideways to make use of the space, and then use the right hand page for habits, goals and a quote!


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Step 5 – Set up your daily log

And now it’s time to set up your first daily log. This is the real meat of your BuJo, the place where you keep track of all of your daily activities as well as ideas and events, and even things you just want to remember.

You can keep it really simple and just have a list of bullets for the first day, then at the end of the day write the following day’s date with bullets for the next day and so on.

Or you can plan out a week at a time so that you have boxes prepared to write in.

Here are some spreads to inspire you…

Here’s an example of an ongoing list, but there’s space on the side for events, and the spread is limited to the current week. Highlighting the dates adds a bit of colour and life to your lists.

Here’s another example of a running daily log with some decorative elements.

These dailies have been planned out in advance so that each day gets the same amount of space on the page.

Here’s another example of how you can set your dailies up a week at a time.

Or you can use a whole page for each day, incorporating your bulleted task lists with some journaling about the day. Oh and keeping track of the weather!

The great thing about your Bullet Journal is that you can try any number of these spreads until you find the one that suits your life best.

Step 6 – Set up your collections

Collections are pages where you keep track of related information all in one place. You might want to track the movies you have watched, books you have read, your weight loss journey, your capsule wardrobe or even your mood.

And your bullet journal is now ready to use!

Bullet Journal Set Up Videos

If you want to watch someone else set up their BuJo before you take the leap into yours check out some of these bullet journal set up videos.

I love how she set up her birthday and special events page. It’s called a spiraldex and they’re super easy to set up with a stencil like this one!

It was also good to see someone mess up while setting up their bullet journal and how they fixed it!

What a genius idea to use washi tape to make sure her design was nice and straight around her annual calendar! I really like how she set up her monthly log with the calendar at the top of each column.

Here’s a neat trick… go through your blank journal and use post its to plan out what you want to track on each page before you start drawing out your spreads!

I love her Trip Down Memory Lane tracker page for noting things she wants to remember throughout the year.

This video isn’t about setting up for 2018, it’s a flip through of her 2017 journal and it’s a really good example of how you can use your BuJo as a “journal” rather than just a task tracker.

I like how she sets up her monthly log using horizontal boxes but offsetting the calendar date box each time.

Check out this video if (like me) you’re a little intimidated by all the creativeness you seen Instagram. This is a minimalistic set up.

Don’t forget to check out our viral collection of bullet journal tracking spreads which has been pinned by more than 70,000 members of our community!

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How to Set Up Your Bullet Journal - Who knew it was so easy to get started with a BuJo! Just 6 simple steps and you're on your way. So grab a notebook and pen and get started today! #BuJo #BulletJournal #Planner