Bullet Journal 101 – Introduction

Ever since I started sharing my Bullet Journal journey a little over a year ago, I’ve been asked repeatedly to do a “Getting Started” post or video. I’ve been hesitant to do it for a couple of reasons:

  1. I never really considered myself a “Bullet Journal Expert”.
    Yes, I realize how silly that sounds since SO many people look up to me as a source of inspiration in the Bullet Journal community. However, the honest truth is that I wanted to have a little more experience under my belt before I started doling out advice for fresh new beginners.
  2. I truly believe that the best way to start is at the source.
    If you are one of the hundreds of people who have asked me how to get started with your own Bullet Journal, chances are I told you to head straight on over to www.bulletjournal.com. It’s SO important to start with a solid foundation, and there really is no better way to do that than from the creator himself, Ryder Carroll.

All of that being said, I still keep getting requests day in and day out to create a guide for beginners. So, I decided to go for it! While trying to organize my thoughts into a single post/video though, I quickly realized that it was way too much information to cover in one sitting.

And so, the idea for Bullet Journal 101 was born.

Let’s start with a little backstory, shall we?

How the Bullet Journal Changed My Life

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always had an intense love for pens, stationery, office supplies… you name it.

But… I used to be a complete mess! There. I said it.

I was scatter-brained. I had stacks of notebooks, random pieces of paper, and sticky notes strewn about my house. I was always on the search for the next planner system, the next app that would somehow get all of my thoughts, appointments, and tasks organized.

^^^ This is the generic planner that I used briefly before turning to the Bullet Journal ^^^
Can we also marvel at my photo skills in those early days? ;)

For years I hopped around from system to system… Franklin Covey, Erin Condren, random planners from the local office supply store. I was constantly searching for that perfect app (or combination of apps) that would somehow help me wrangle everything that was going on in my life.

Finally, in September of 2014, I stumbled upon the Bullet Journal. I researched the system briefly and then went out and picked up a cheap Markings brand dot-grid notebook from the office supply store. Unfortunately, I didn’t stick with it for more than a couple of weeks. Honestly, I just think it wasn’t the right time for me. For some reason it didn’t “click”, and I soon abandoned my very first Bullet Journal.

^^^ Here’s a fun little throwback to that very first Bullet Journal ^^^

Fast-forward almost 1 whole year to August, 2015… and I found myself in a much busier stage of my life. I was working full-time as a server/bartender at a local restaurant. I also had a growing blog and a small Etsy business that I was trying to get off the ground.

Again, my search led me to the Bullet Journal. This time, I did a bit more research. The Bullet Journal website had since been updated, and there were new resources from amazing bloggers like Kim (Tiny Ray of Sunshine) and Dee (Decade Thirty) who were constantly innovating and expanding upon the original Bullet Journal concept.

I was hooked.

Not only did the Bullet Journal revolutionize the way that I organized my life and business, but it opened doors for me that I never anticipated. Before I knew it, I was sharing my spreads on Instagram, participating in the #PlanWithMeChallenge, and blogging about the new and different ways I was using the Bullet Journal.

Today, an entire year later (and then some), I finally feel like I have enough experience under my belt to bring you this series with confidence.

Start at the Source

Although I’m creating this series as a go-to resource for those looking to start a Bullet Journal, I can’t stress enough how important it is to start at the source.

I can’t tell you how often I run into folks online who discovered the Bullet Journal through pretty pictures of elaborate and artistic spreads on Instagram and Pinterest. Although these images are great for showing how adaptable the Bullet Journal system can be, they can be misleading to those looking for a good starting place.

The bare bones of the Bullet Journal system are much more simple, functional, and minimalist than most people realize at first glance. I highly encourage you to head on over to www.bulletjournal.com and click on the “Getting Started” tab.

At the very least, take the time to watch the following video and get familiar with the different parts that make up a traditional Bullet Journal:

I know that all you artsy (or artsy-hopeful) folks out there will want to skip this step. But trust me when I say that learning the basics will create a strong foundation for you to build on later on when it comes to making your Bullet Journal your own.

You’ll be glad that you took the time to learn the basics first, and there’s absolutely no better way to do so than by going straight to the source.

The Parts in this Series:

Every Monday during the month of September, I’ll be uploading a brand new video to YouTube along with a companion blog post for each topic.

Below is a brief outline of the topics that I’ll be covering each week. As each new subject is covered, I’ll turn these headers into clickable links so that you can easily navigate through the course.

1. What is a Bullet Journal?

    • From www.bulletjournal.com: “The Bullet Journal is a customizable and forgiving organization system. It can be your to-do list, sketchbook, notebook, and diary, but most likely, it will be all of the above. It will teach you to do more with less.”
    • Why Analog?
    • General overview

2. Pre-Planning

    • Brainstorming – What do you need your system to do for you?
    • Start simple
    • Supplies – What you need vs. What you want

3. The Basics

    • The parts of the Bullet Journal System
    • How they work together
    • Helpful resources

4. Make it Your Own

    • Hacks/Upgrades
    • Collection Ideas
    • Regular Review
    • Getting Creative (or not)
    • Resources & Inspiration
    • Dealing with Overwhelm

It is my sincerest hope that this course will help all of you Bullet Journal newcomers, as well as those of you who have been at it a while but would like a little more in-depth guidance.

Please feel free to comment below and let me know your thoughts, as well as any questions you may have that I might be able to address in this series going forward.


OTHER PARTS IN THIS SERIES

Introduction (You’re here!)
Bullet Journal Overview
Pre-Planning
The Basics
Make it Your Own
Bonus Wrap-Up + Q &A

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Kara Benz

Kara Benz is the artist and author behind Boho Berry, where she inspires her readers to lead a more centered, fulfilled, and inspired life. Kara also runs a successful sticker shop on Etsy – Boho Berry Paperie.

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