Bullet Journal & Planners

How I Bullet journal (a simple guide for beginners)


Are you a beginner on bullet journaling? Me too, I’ve been bullet journaling for 85 days and I know how hard it is to make it simple yet fun with all the inspiration in the community. How can we NOT get crazy about trying all the great spreads and ideas we see around, especially from the ladies who have been doing it for years and have all those creative, tidy and beautiful journals? Today, I share my experience in the almost three months of bullet journaling and hopefully you will get some ideas on how to start and evolve.

>> Check how I startedI wrote a post about how I came across Bullet Journaling and why I fell in love with it and what were my plans at that moment.

> If you haven’t ever heard of a Bullet Journal, check out Ryder’s video below to get a general idea of how the system works.


>> Download the dot paper printable I use at the end of this post.

As I shared on my first post about the subject, when I started Bullet Journaling I fell in love with it because of its flexibility. I was very happy I found a planner in which I could use my creativity, practice doodling and hand lettering while planning my life, take notes of courses, webinars and books, and journal my reflections. All things in one place.

Why I decided to give Bullet Journal a try

Until 2014 I tried using simple planners I bought at stationery stores with no success. In 2015, I started working from home, and I knew I had to get organized if I wanted to grow my business and create the life I truly love (which is my primary goal). During that year, I tried lots of different free printables online. Since buying a planner from out of my country was not an option because it would be very expensive and there were no flexible options in my country. I bought a binder and downloaded printables and started building it. Some worked for months, others only worked for weeks and I sadly learned that some would take time and effort to set up and then never use it or only use for one day.

Back in January of this year, I came across Bullet Journaling and have been doing great progress so far. My life is more organized; I’m finding time to take care of my house and family and my mind is in peace most of the time. That’s why I’m loving it. Of course, you can’t give all the credit to the Bullet Journal system because it all depends on your efforts to put the systems to work.

>> Read about the 7 techniques I use to avoid procrastination and get things done.

It’s all about finding the systems that work for you. We can find lots of great planners and printables online and if they fit you and your routine, I say “Perfect! Go for it.” However, if you’ve tried a lot of things and haven’t found your system yet, I recommend trying Bullet Journal. It’s like wearing shoes; you can only feel comfortable and get to your destination in good condition if you’re wearing shoes that fit you. If they’re not your size, you are likely to get rid of them or get your feet hurt during the journey.

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset
Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

Some weeks ago, Kim from Tiny Ray of Sunshine wrote a great post about The 8 stages of the Bullet Journal Addiction and it became very popular because we all can relate to the stages. I know I can. They are:

  1. Amazement
  2. Preparation
  3. Diving In
  4. Inspiration (overload)
  5. Experimentation
  6. Overwhelm/Ineffectiveness
  7. Simplifying
  8. Centering

I want to thank Kim for sharing that, and I would never find a better way to guide you through this experience. I will use her headlines to tell you how it happened to me.

Amazement ~ She’s entirely correct about the stages. At first, I was amazed about how simple and flexible Bullet Journal is and even more excited when I saw all the room to explore my creativity.


Preparation ~ Then, I got into the preparation phase. I knew I couldn’t spend money on it. Actually, I didn’t want to spend any money while I was only trying something new. What if I found out I didn’t like it? (how wrong I was to think that). What if it didn’t meet my needs? (how could I think that if it was up to me to try new hacks and systems whenever I wanted). Well, it was a completely new approach and I was not certain about how it was going to evolve. So, I got a small notebook I had, ripped off the few pages I had already used, got the regular pens I had on my desk and started.

Yes, it’s that easy! Don’t think you have to buy all fancy stuff the bullet divas are using before you start. The core of bullet journaling is finding the systems that will support you to have a more balanced life, run your days smoother and achieve your goals. All the pretty bits are complementary and make it more personal and unique.

Diving in, Inspiration (overload) and experimentation ~ For me, these three stages intertwined. I didn’t dive in until I googled and found inspiration and ideas on Instagram. I tried out different kinds of headers, dailies, monthly tracker, goals setting spreads, reviews, etc. Oh, I even tried a different notebook (which I loved by the way). All of this lead me to feeling overwhelmed and ineffectiveness as predicted in stage 6.


Overwhelm and Ineffectiveness ~ I got to this stage some weeks ago, in March. I was not happy with the notebook because I journal a lot and I like taking notes of courses and webinars and all of this was making me loose sight of my goals and tasks.

Indexes never worked for me. I’m the kind of person who never read indexes on books, I’d rather flip through the book to find what I’m looking for. So, I knew from the beginning it was not gonna work – but I tried it and well… it was a total mess and didn’t help at all. That’s when I realized I needed to go back to my binder where I could have sections. However, I didn’t like the lined paper I had because it was thin and the ink of the fine line pens would bleed (yes, at this point I am using fine line pens). That’s when I decided to create my own printable dot paper for the binder. My goal at the moment was simplifying as you can see at step 7.

Simplifying ~ Here I am. I think this stage is the best so far. I’m making the systems my own and even though I find great inspiration around the Bullet Journal community, I know what I need and I can make a conscious decision on what I will try and what I know won’t work for me.

And I now I’m ready to dive into stage 8.

>> Download the dot paper printable I use in my binder.

So there you have it! I hope it helps you get motivated to start bullet journaling and focus on what is more important for you.

*See how I currently set my month in the next post, coming on Monday.


If you like this post, help me touch others
by sharing with creatives looking for the system
that will help them be more productive
and create the life they truly love.
Thanks so much.


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