What is a Bullet Journal and How Does it Work? (Bullet Journals 101)

Photo of author

By Anna Marikar

What is a Bullet Journal?

Bullet journaling is becoming more and more popular, but if you’ve never heard of it or used one before, it can seem a little daunting. Understanding what bullet journaling is and what it involves can help.

So, what exactly is a Bullet journal?

In bullet journaling, you combine all of your thoughts, finances, schedules, to-do lists, and miscellaneous life notes into a single journal.

It is an easy way to organize all of those different things you try to keep up with on a daily basis. It is not only fun, but also extremely helpful in reducing overall stress and anxiety.

Bullet journaling is an awesome way to get everything together.

what is a bullet journal?

A bullet journal, also called a bullet diary, is a system for managing your life. It’s an effective way to keep yourself organized and focused. It doesn’t matter if you use a paper version or an electronic one. You just need to find something that works for you.

In this blog post, we will mainly be talking about paper bullet journals but you can take these principals and transfer them across to a bullet journalling app if that works better for you.

Why use a Bullet Journal? The Benefits of Bullet Journaling

Bullet Journaling is a wonderful tool to use. There is not a right or wrong, good or bad way to use it; it just depends on the person.

It’s supposed to make your life easier and less complicated, not harder – So don’t be pressured to have it organized or looking exactly like others.

Here are just a few of the different ways you can benefit by starting and using a bullet journal

bullet journalling

Everything is in one place

All your different to-do lists, schedules, and notes are in one journal.

Many people do have a journal for each of these categories, but it is inconvenient having one for finances, another for home chores, and another for business to-do lists.

The bullet journal lets you have everything in one place easily, since you are using symbols and short phrases instead of long paragraphs of notes.

It is easy to do

Bullet journals are a very easy way to organize your thoughts.

You can do it the way you like, but usually you start by creating an index of the things you need to remember.

Then you number the pages and begin writing down whatever you have to remember.

It allows you to track your regular habits

When you write in your bullet journal each day, you’ll see what changes you need to make. You’ll be able to track what needs to change—like your spending habits, whether you’re exercising enough, and if you’re spending too much time online.

How to Choose Your Bullet Journal

If you want to create an organized, effective bullet journal, then you’ll need a bullet journal notebook.

You can use any type of notebook, but I would recommend that you choose one that is sturdy, has lots of room for indexing and is big enough to accommodate all the different items you might want to track.

Look for one that can stay closed when needed, but when you open it up to the individual pages, the spine isn’t so tight that it is hard to write in it.

I would also recommend going for thick pages in case you decide to decorate some of the pages and you don’t want any ink or colours bleeding through to spoil the pages behind.

Some people also like to choose a dotted bullet journal, these pages have a dotted grid type of pattern.

We will share a few bullet journal product recommendations at the end of this post. You easily buy bullet journals and bullet journal supplies online.

What to Include in a Bullet Journal

Although you can create the bullet journal however you like, it really does help to have some direction for getting started – especially when you’re new to bullet journalling.  

Here are a few components to try and include within your bullet journal to help everything run smoother.


Every bullet journal should ideally have an index, which lets you know what section the journal is located in, such as grocery and meal planning or finances.

This is a great way to jot down quick notes, as you can quickly find the page you need.

Since you are combining multiple topics within one journal, the index really does make bullet journalling easier and more effective.

Page numbers

Naturally, since you have an index, you will also want to have page numbers as these two features work together.

You can add the page numbers as creatively as you like, just make sure that every page is numbered and it corresponds with what is in the index so that you can find whatever you are looking for within a couple of seconds.


What are Bullet Journal Signifiers?

Remember we mentioned symbols? Signifiers are symbols that you assign to different types of notes within your bullet journal.

This can be really useful when you want to use them in place of longer phrases. Mood trackers are popular to include within a bullet journal and an example of signifiers is using a happy or sad smiley face for your bullet journal mood tracker.

Other simple symbols include using a heart for a date with your significant other, or drawing a Christmas tree when scheduling holidays. You want something simple that will trigger your memory and the associated meaning when you see it.

writing a bullet journal

With this basic information, you will be well on your way to getting that bullet journal started.

Looking to buy Bullet Journal Supplies? We got you… check out these suggestions from Amazon below (affiliate links)

Click the images to take a closer look at each product.

[amalinkspro type=”image-link” asin=”B07Y7KM9L9″ new-window=”true” apilink=”https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07Y7KM9L9?tag=inthepla-21&linkCode=osi&th=1&psc=1″ img-size=”500,500″ addtocart=”false” nofollow=”true” alt=”Bullet Notebook Journal | Dotted A5 | Thick 150gsm Dot Paper | Kit Includes: Art and Planning Stencils, Rear Pocket, Pen Holder, Scribble Test Page and more | The Classic by Ottergami (Green Speckled)” alignment=”alignnone”]https://m.media-amazon.com/images/I/51Qj9jVYF4L._SL500_.jpg[/amalinkspro]
[amalinkspro type=”image-link” asin=”B07CPF5F9Z” new-window=”true” apilink=”https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07CPF5F9Z?tag=inthepla-21&linkCode=osi&th=1&psc=1″ img-size=”334,500″ addtocart=”false” nofollow=”true” alt=”Bullet Journal "Watercolor Rose” 05: Mit Punkteraster, Seiten für Index, Key und Future Log sowie Lesebändchen, praktischem Verschlussband und Innentasche” alignment=”alignnone”]https://m.media-amazon.com/images/I/31nIm2yMCGL._SL500_.jpg[/amalinkspro]
[amalinkspro type=”image-link” asin=”B08TMFB6NN” new-window=”true” apilink=”https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B08TMFB6NN?tag=inthepla-21&linkCode=osi&th=1&psc=1″ img-size=”500,500″ addtocart=”false” nofollow=”true” alt=”Dual Tip Brush Pens for Adult Colouring Books, 24 Colors Fineliners Colouring Pens for Bullet Journal, Dual Felt Tip Pens, Coloured Pens, Fineliner Pens for Drawing, Lettering, Sketching, Calligraphy” alignment=”alignnone”]https://m.media-amazon.com/images/I/51eA5hl5RGS._SL500_.jpg[/amalinkspro]
[amalinkspro type=”image-link” asin=”B08R5K3YHB” new-window=”true” apilink=”https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B08R5K3YHB?tag=inthepla-21&linkCode=osi&th=1&psc=1″ img-size=”500,500″ addtocart=”false” nofollow=”true” alt=”Ultimate Productivity Journal Stencil Set, Reusable Journal Planner Stencils for Bullet Dot Journals and Planners Layout, DIY Drawing Stencils Templates for Calendars, Schedule, Habit Trackers, Goals” alignment=”alignnone”]https://m.media-amazon.com/images/I/61-3o2Xhf3L._SL500_.jpg[/amalinkspro]
[amalinkspro type=”image-link” asin=”B08JFXFQG5″ new-window=”true” apilink=”https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B08JFXFQG5?tag=inthepla-21&linkCode=osi&th=1&psc=1″ img-size=”500,500″ addtocart=”false” nofollow=”true” alt=”Journal Notebook Set 2021 Daily Plan Mindfulness Journal Accessories with 24 Fineliner Colored Pens 6 Stencils 6 Sticker Sheets 10 Washi Tapes for Study Planner Drawing Weekly Schedule (Colourful)” alignment=”alignnone”]https://m.media-amazon.com/images/I/61jzZtDs0cL._SL500_.jpg[/amalinkspro]

Happy shopping, and happy journalling!

You might also like to try some of our free journal prompts to kick start your writing creativity


If you enjoyed this guide please feel free to share with friends, and we always appreciate pins to your Pinterest Boards – thanks so much!

Website | + posts

Anna is a Wales-based writer and graduate from SOAS University of London.
As the voice behind On Your Journey, she empowers women to embrace holistic well-being and spiritual growth through her expert insights into wellness and symbolism.
When she isn't writing thought-provoking articles, you'll find her busy crafting and raising her 4 children.

6 thoughts on “What is a Bullet Journal and How Does it Work? (Bullet Journals 101)”

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.