About 6 months ago, I began bullet journaling. Maybe the logical thing to do would've been to wait until January 1 like a normal person, but I started in the middle of December because I just had so many ideas.
It started with a twitter conversation. People tried to explain it to me and it made sense when they laid it out - a bullet journal is a planner, a to-do list, and a place for notes all in one place. So, then I started googling. I looked at Pinterest, which is a wealth of pictures and blog posts about layouts and ideas. I also looked on YouTube to watch videos of the things people were doing. Then I decided to go for it.
Bullet Journaling uses an index. You write down everything important in your index and the page numbers so you can find it easily. This requires pages for indexing and numbered pages. After falling down my research rabbit hole and realizing these were things I would need, I decided to stick with the Leuchtturm 1917 - which comes with numbered pages, indexes, and bookmarks. It makes things easier for me to have all of that ready to go. (These are available on Amazon a little bit cheaper and I try to check regularly - sometimes certain colors will randomly be cheaper.)
Additionally, the Leuchtturm is available in a dot grid. The benefit of a dot grid is that it it gives guidance for drawing lines and writing neatly, unlike blank pages, but it doesn't feel as constraining as lined or graph paper because it's not as defined. Not everybody is bothered by the definition of lined or graph paper and not everybody wants guidance, so it really depends on your preferences. These notebooks are pretty pricey, so if you're not sure what you prefer or if bullet journaling is even for you, then start with any notebook you have around the house.
Now, what do you put in a bullet journal? As I said, it's a planner, to-do list, and place for notes. Most people start with a Future Log - which basically means some sort of calendar for future months. Personally, I used two pages and wrote down all the months of the year with some space between, 6 months per page. Underneath, I write down anything relevant - birthdays, events, holidays.
I also put any trackers that I'll use over and over again for months. For me, that included a purchase tracker, so I can track my spending habits, and some reading trackers - one to track the books I read, counters of what format I'm reading and how diversely I'm reading, etc, which I'll turn into graphs later. There's also wish lists, long term to-do lists, a list of movies to watch, a period tracker, a list of essay ideas I have, a social media tracker, phone numbers for my representatives, a list of passwords for various websites, and lists to track the books I get rid of and the books I bring in this year.
Then comes monthly spreads. There's a lot of ways to do this that depend on your needs. For me, I keep it simple - a page where I put down every day of the month and make any notes of events/holidays/etc that are listed on my Future Log. On the next page, I make notes for the month - Blogbound work, freelance projects I have for the month, Interrobang list I want to get done, and any other notes or goals I have for the month. Super, super simple, but there's all kinds of things people do with their monthly spreads.
Next, I have monthly trackers. I have a habit tracker, both to keep track of when I do things like cleaning the litterbox and watering my plant and to build better habits, like taking vitamins every day, working out, moisturizing. Then I do a Money In/Money Out page, which is literally just a page split in half where I write down my income and my spending. Then I do another reading page, so I can track EVERYTHING I pick up and sketch out my TBR for the month. Finally, I do a Gratitude Log, which has a lot of layout options.
After that, things vary. Some people do weekly and daily spreads, while others just do a weekly - again, it depends on what you need and how much space you need. I don't need a ton of space, so I just write down the date, 4 days on one page and 3 days on the other, and write down any events, appointments, and to-do list items. with the remaining space, I make a notes section for the week - things I don't have to get done on a specific day and things I just want to keep in mind - and a Waiting On section, to keep track of things I'm expecting in the mail.
Beyond that, I make a lot of lists - to-do lists, ideas for Interrobang, time logs for Pique, notes for my manuscripts, places I want to travel, Broadway shows I want to see. I practice my handwriting because I still have a long way to go on that front. Your pages can be whatever you want them to be.
How do you decide what you want your layouts to look like? That, again, comes down to you. I did a ton of research into ways people did layouts to decide what to work on and I still change things up - my June spreads are a total departure from the spreads I've been doing so I can see if I like something else better. As I said before, Pinterest is a really great resource. I have a Pinterest board for bullet journal spreads and for handwriting practice - there's not a ton there, but it prevents getting overwhelmed and helps give you a basic starting point. I also, as mentioned, fell down a YouTube hole. One of the most helpful channels was Boho Berry. She has a ton of videos, but probably the most helpful series is her Bullet Journal 101 series. But she also has Plan with Me videos, tutorials on different layouts, comparisons, and other tips. Additionally, she has a blog, an Etsy shop, and she has a newsletter that includes some freebies and discounts.
As a bonus, once you start looking at these kinds of things, Pinterest and YouTube will both start recommending you MORE channels and boards like it. And you'll also fall down the research hole.
So, I think that's a good place to start! I'll be happy to do another post on more tips should anyone want them or have other questions relating to bullet journaling.