How to set up a simple Bullet Journal ✨ Badibidu-style ✨

How to set up a simple Bullet Journal ✨ Badibidu-style ✨

This is a blog post version of my Facebook live video (from 13th June 2022) on the same subject, which is available here.

Happy colourful free-range notebook

There are so many incredible things you can do with a journal that sometimes the purpose of them can get lost - they're supposed to HELP us make life EASIER and more MANAGEABLE.

Phone apps and technology are amazing but can either be too complicated to learn and use or not flexible enough to our needs. The humble, paper notebook is flexible, affordable and simple to use. I'm hoping this post might just be the little nudge to get you started with bullet journalling which has been a saviour for me in busy brain periods (i.e. always).

My way of bullet journalling is a very simple and functional system which helps me keep track of the world. I love this because its very forgiving if you need to or want to stop for a while, coming back you can just jump straight back in and pick up where you left off. It doesn't stare at you with weeks of unused pre-printed spaces which you have left blank and 'wasted'! It can be whatever you need in that moment: a daily planner, an old fashioned diary for self examination, a wedding planner, a habit tracker. The options are one internet search away and absolutely endless.

I sell colourful, lovely notebooks (if I do say so myself!) with a range of inside paper in my etsy shop but you can use any notebook and any pen. Any at all!

So here it is, all you have to do to get started with a functional bullet journal...

1. Open notebook, number the pages (I do this ten at a time but you can sit down with a cuppa and do the whole thing if you like to complete a job)

2. Very first page should be titled with INDEX

 3. Leave 4 sides for the index then write FUTURE LOG as your next title and write the coming months (I leave about a third of the page per month) and this is to write any upcoming events. Add 'Future log p 5-…’ to the index page. Use the future log for everything that isn't happening in the current month... dentist appointments, birthdays, holidays, work commitments if you like. 

4. Turn to the next double-page spread and write the month on the left hand side as title (eg. JANUARY) and TO-DO on the right. Down the left of the month you write the days and dates, I find the fastest and easiest way is as follows:

1 M

2 T

3 W

4 T

5 F  

6 S

7 S


On the right under TO-DO you brain dump everything you want to achieve in that month. Then you try and fit the to-do's from the right into the calendar you've just drawn on the left. You will find this tricky because you have only got one line per day and that's the point. Your time and energy are limited and you need to be realistic with both of them. This has been HUGE for me, let me know if you're better at it than I am!

 Each time you are ready to set up your next month (towards the end of each month) you take everything from the future log for the coming month and put it into the To-Do list when you do your brain dump on the right-hand side of the page. It's all then included when you try to fit it into the calendar on the left-hand page.

Items which don't fit into the calendar month should be moved (migrated) into a future month in the FUTURE LOG, or deleted! Only let things which are important to you or someone you love or vital to your life to take up your time.

5. Everything else you want to write down to record it or ponder it you just put on the next blank page (no saving pages, see my last post about bullet journalling here), title the page clearly and add your title to the index.

That's the basic system! There are lots of Collections that you can add which will help you track or plan specific parts of your life (and make sure you add them to your index) but these are the basics.

The only slightly extravagance that I go in for is coloured pens and a few stickers. This makes the whole thing more fun in the easiest way possible so I enjoy looking at the notebook more, and its easy to tell the pages apart when I'm flicking through.

This blog post does not cover the full Ryder Carroll version - That incredible system is covered in 'The Bullet Journal Method' by Ryder Carroll. A brilliant system and I love the book, it's very motivating, but also a little overwhelming for me.

 This post aims to simply help you open the notebook and do your first pages. This act is motivating in itself and will hopefully help you to feel capable of trying it out for a little while and doing more reading on the subject if you want to dip in further.

 If you want a bit more information but don't want to go down the full rabbit hole quite yet I find this YouTube video excellent. It's not too long and also keeps it simple although it does cover a little bit more of the original method than I do here.

 If you're looking for ways this system can be used once you're comfortable with the basics, I chatted with a big group of stationery-loving friends and journal writers and here are 100 of the many many reasons they gave me that they use notebooks. There are so many more but it's a pretty inspiring list even in it's imperfect current state!

1. External memory

2. Ideas for future blog posts

3. shopping lists/shopping list templates

4. drawing and doodling

5. financial stuff

6. writing your novel

7. work stuff

8. Notes before bed

9. scrap journalling

10. to read list

11. nature journalling

12. recipes

13. financial plans

14. poetry

15. mood trackers

16. menstrual tracking

17. physical/mental health tracking, symptom tracker and doctor notes

18. to do list

19. life goals

20. mind maps

21 language learning

22 letters to your deity (as a witch)

23 pet tracking

24 online usage

25 spending record/no spend challenges

26 gardening records

27 sewing projects

28 favourite quotes

29 bible study notes

30 sermon notes

31 movie list

32 care journal for family member

33 learning journal

34 cleaning prompts

35 tracking grandchild ages/sizes/gift ideas

36 gifts given and recived

37 holiday planning

38 party planning

39 spare time plans

40 car maintenance notes (MOT/service date etc)

41 Appointments

42 Couch to 5k plan

43 Bucket lists

44 classic long form Dear Diary

45 Personal data records

46 habit trackers

47 Insurance details

48 Home service provider details

49 Travel history

50 education hisotry

51 Skin care products being used

52 Intentions for the year

53 Therapy notes

54 Budget planning and calculating

55 Usernames and passwords (stay at home)

56 Gratitude journal

57 Creative projects

58 brain dump

59 Packing list

60 Worries

61 Details vacation plans minute by minute

62 Pros and cons when decision making

63 First and last frost days

64 Goal setting

65 Food tracking for training

66 Memory keeping

67 medical records

68 Chronic condition management

69 Newborn tracking/feeding records

70 Podcasts

71 Stress relief

72 Scripture

73 art journal

74 morning pages

75 scribble journal

76 self reflection

77 healing and shadow work

78 calligraphy practice

79 meal planning

80 productivity record

81 starting new routines

82 a ‘to buy’ list to avoid impulse buying

83 minimal journalling

84 Addresses/contact details

85 Birthdays

86 Nutrition monitoring

87 shift patterns

88 time tracking

89 to do list

90 what I'm waiting for and from who

91 what questions have been asked to who

92 answer when it comes back

93 calendar and deadlines

94 meeting notes

95 delegated tasks to oters

96 next steps

97 appointments

98 phone calls received and made w contact info

99 time off records annual leave

100 continuity records so colleagues can continue work in your absence








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