Today I’m sharing 5 steps to start your own bullet journal, from falling down the YouTube rabbit hole to color-coordination. 

On day 15 of the Almost Famous Writer advent calendar I think it’s high time to start looking forward to the new year and what immediately comes to my mind (besides stuffing my face with oliebollen on the last day of the year) is a new bullet journal setup for 2019. If you’ve read my editorials over the past few months, you know that I’ve been obsessed with bullet journaling and I’ve absolutely fallen in love with it. 

Step 1: Fall down the rabbit hole

Before I started my own bullet journal, I fell into the BuJo rabbit hole at least twice a week. There’s so much online content available on bullet journaling, from weekly spreads and monthly setups to meal planning tools and mood trackers. At first I just really enjoyed to watch YouTube videos on bullet journaling, because I find it very relaxing and motivational at the same time to see people drawing and writing and scheduling in their bullet journals. Some of my favourite bullet journal videos to watch on YouTube are from AmandaRachLee and D is for Dazzle.

Step 2: Get yourself a BuJo

Once you’ve decided you want to take the plunge, it’s time to start looking at which bullet journal you actually want to buy. As many tutorials and videos there are out there, as many different bullet journals at different price points are available these days. The Absolute Classic, and the one that I decided to go for, is the Leuchtturm 1917 dotted notebook in the medium size. It’s pricier than a lot of other options out there, but I think it’s absolutely worth it as I use my bullet journal every single day and I just need it to be sturdy. Plus, I like how the Leuchtturm 1917 bullet journal already includes an index page (so less work for you, yeah!) and the book just falls open very neatly and you don’t have to struggle with keeping the pages down when you’re working in it. Some more affordable options are available at Kruidvat,, Bruna and Etsy

Step 3: Decide how you want to use your bullet journal

At this point you have all the knowledge and the actual bullet journal, so you’re all set to go. Of course you can just go out, try all sort of different things and just see what works for you, but what I found really helpful was to make an inventory (or just a list lol) with elements that I wanted to be in my bullet journal. For example, I really wanted to start mine with a future log, so that I could have an overview of future deadlines, appointments and events. I also knew I wanted to have a more traditional weekly spread so I have a clear overview of everything that is happening, I wanted to movie tracker so I would have an overview of the films and series I’ve watched in a month and I wanted to place where I could write down my daily to do lists. So once I knew what I wanted out of my bullet journal, I could go crazy on the fun part: color-coordinating, washi taping, drawing and writing. 

Step 4: Don’t worry

The first two months I included a mood and habit tracker in my monthly set-up, because I wanted to see if I found them useful. But as I was using my bullet journal I realized that I never really used those pages or found it relevant to fill them out. So for me those kind of trackers didn’t really work, and I’m sure that if you start with a bullet journal you’ll find things that just don’t work for you. So here’s a tip: don’t worry about having this perfect, color-coordinated and Instagram-worthy bullet journal. Just use your bullet journal and see what works for you and what doesn’t. 

Once I knew what I wanted out of my bullet journal, I could go crazy on the fun part: color-coordinating, washi taping, drawing and writing. 

Step 5: Enjoy

Besides making your life more efficient and structured, I think your bullet journal can also make planning your life a lot more fun. What people often say when they see my bullet journal is that taking the time to set up the month with images and stickers and washi tape and glitter is actually less efficient, as I could’ve used that time to do something more productive. My response would then be that my bullet journal is also a way of relaxing and being creative for me. I love to sit down at the end of every month (or at the beginning of one, let’s be honest), think of a theme that I want to use, colors that go with that, search Pinterest for images, and just draw, write and plan in my bullet journal. 

So those were the five steps that I took when I started using my bullet journal and I hope that they can help you too when you want to get out of that YouTube rabbit hole and start your own – whether that is just for shits and giggles, to help you plan your time more efficiently or a little bit of both. Keep your eyes peeled for my bullet journal 2019 setup (it’s on its way people) in the upcoming few days, and of course for tomorrow’s article. Here’s a hint: altered carbon. 

Photo by The Journal Garden | Vera Bitterer on Unsplash