Bullet Journal Ideas for Beginners

Bullet journal written in green ink with reminder sticker being placed

The Spruce / Leticia Almeida

Keeping a bullet journal is one of the most creative endeavors you can start for yourself. But where do you begin and how do you find journal bullet ideas?

There are plenty of ideas for bullet journals to sift through. But before you do that, learn the basics of how you might want to set up a bullet journal and what could work best for you. If you're just beginning the process or only thinking about setting one up, read below for easy bullet journaling ideas to get your creative juices flowing.

What is a Bullet Journal?

A bullet journal is a highly personalized and creative book or online tool that holds your schedule, to-do lists, reminders, goals, brainstorming ideas, and anything else you'd like to keep track of in your life. It's a more mindful method than keeping a rigid daily schedule but more succinct than diary writing or journaling.

  • 01 of 09

    Turn an Existing Planner Into a Bullet Journal

    bullet journal idea for beginners

    Space + Quiet

    Many bullet journalers will tell you that they love the flexibility and creativity of entirely blank pages. However, some people will also tell you that they miss the functionality, structure, and time-saving aspect of a predesigned planner. If you are using a planner now, consider first turning your existing planner into a bullet journal before you make the plunge to blank pages. This guide talks about how Tracey used a Happy Planner as a bullet journal, which in her mind made her a better bullet journaler overall.

    How to Create a Happy Planner Bullet Journal from Space + Quiet

  • 02 of 09

    Create a Digital Bullet Journal on a Tablet

    beginner bullet journal layout

    Life is Messy and Brilliant 

    Some people will tell you that the act of writing things down is more effective for memory than typing on a computer or tablet. However, there are a lot of benefits to creating a digital bullet journal instead. By having a planner on your tablet, you'll be able to quickly add pre-designed layouts, erase mistakes, and adjust each layout accordingly with a swipe of the hand. Beginners with poor penmanship might prefer this method of bullet journaling because it's much less messy and can be time-saving.

    My Digital Bullet Journal from Life is Messy and Brilliant

  • 03 of 09

    Pick Layouts That Only Require One Pen

    beginner bullet journal layout

    bujoescape / Instagram

    Once you start designing your own page spreads, be mindful of the complexity of the layout and the supplies needed. If you're a beginner, think about starting with one fine liner pen. For example, this design from Bujoescape uses one pen. Then, she enhances the spread with washi tape, which is a material that is very beginner-friendly. If you want to recreate this layout, remember that the space at the top of the left page and at the bottom of the right page can be customized to fit your needs.

  • 04 of 09

    Designate Pages for Doodle Practice

    bullet journal doodles for beginners

    Estée Janssens / Unsplash

    Once you have mastered a simple bullet journal page layout, it's time to work on some doodles if you desire. Remember, your bullet journal doesn't need doodles to be effective. If the thought of spending time drawing doodles makes you feel uneasy, skip this part. However, if you love getting lost in doodles, no matter how good or bad they appear, then designate some pages for practice. Once you have some that you like, then incorporate those into your main spreads.

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  • 05 of 09

    Accent Spreads With Simple Doodles

    simple bullet journal layout

    thebulletjournalcorner / Instagram

    The last suggestion mentioned designating pages for doodling. Once you've done that, explore simple ways to incorporate these doodles into your main layouts. This idea from The Bullet Journal Corner is lovely because it only uses two colors, and the doodle design is relatively simple and easy to recreate.

  • 06 of 09

    Grid Off Four Days to a Page

    weekly bullet journal layout for beginners

    thedotsandgrids / Instagram

    The Dots and Grids did a great job creating this bullet journal layout for beginners. The bubble letter heading and dot outlines are very easy to complete, and separating the grid into four equal sections is beyond straightforward. Despite its simplicity, this spread looks beautiful, is functional, and can be recreated in minimal time.

  • 07 of 09

    Print Off Pre-Designed Bullet Journal Pages

    easy bullet journal layout

    101 Planners 

    Okay, say you started some layouts and tried doodling, and you are hitting a wall. The next step for any beginner is to try out some printable bullet journal pages. There are free ones online that you can print, but be aware that they make not overly fancy. Use these pages to work on your handwriting and rapid logging skills. Once you have some practice, try to create a layout from scratch again if you want.

    Printable Bullet Journal Pages from 101 Planners

  • 08 of 09

    Think of Custom Collections for Your Bullet Journal

    printable bullet journal page

    A Piece of Rainbow 

    Custom collections are often overlooked since most people focus on tracking their months, weeks, and days. Arguably one of the greatest benefits of a bullet journal is this customization piece. As a beginner, take some time to think about unique pages for your planner. In many cases, you can find examples and printables online. This spread from A Piece of Rainbow is a printable planting calendar for gardeners. Print it out or recreate it depending on how much time you have to dedicate to the page. If gardening isn't for you, brainstorm some other ideas that make more sense for you.

    Custom bullet journal layout ideas:

    • Brain dump
    • Gratitude log
    • Fertility tracker
    • Habit tracker
    • Movies to watch

    Printable Planting Calendar f​rom A Piece of Rainbow 

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  • 09 of 09

    Focus on Layouts That Make You Feel Better

    bullet journal self love idea

    My Life Journal / Unsplash

    A bullet journal is a tool that is meant to make you feel better, not worse. Setting goals is fantastic, but sometimes if those goals are too unrealistic, we might end up feeling bad about ourselves and quit the bullet journaling process. Focus on small, attainable goals, and balance those goal layouts with layouts that remind you of things that make you proud. This self-love spread is just one example of the many ways you can show yourself some love while bullet journaling.