bullet journal setup | how to start a bullet journal the easy way (free 2020 bujo printables)

bullet journal setup | how to start a bullet journal the easy way (free 2020 bujo printables)

Everything you need for your bullet journal setup!

I have to say, I was beyond confused when I started looking into how to start a bullet journal last year.


I loved the concept…


All of my to-do lists, post-it notes and scribbles on the palm of my hand in one place. With an actual index so I could find them again easily.




BUT, I googled “how to start a bullet journal” and got scared off for a few months.


Bullet journal setup seemed super complicated.


Don’t get me wrong, the bujo designs on Pinterest are beautiful but I don’t have the time or the talent to design, sketch, shade AND then get out my watercolors before I even start “brain dumping”.


Who does!?




Thankfully, I stumbled across a video that’s narrated by the creator of bullet journaling.


Ryder Carroll explains that his bullet journal setup was developed to help him to maintain the focus that he lacked because of his learning disability.


After years of trial and error he came up with bullet journaling.


Which he describes as:

A system developed to “track the past, organize the present and plan for the future.”


It’s simple, clean and really easy…it’s the total opposite of what you’ll find on Pinterest or Google images!




You know that feeling when you wake up and your first thought is “oh I really have to arrange the car insurance today”.


Then your baby needs a change and your toddler tips an entire bottle of juice on the floor and understandably you forget all about the car insurance.


Until your just about to fall asleep that is…


Learning how to start a bullet journal the simple way made my life so much more organized.


Yes, on the surface I’m still a mum of two gorgeously chaotic toddlers.


I run a small business and blog while home schooling and attempting to become self-sufficient , zero wasters!


But, I have direction and focus…if you look past the noise, dirty dishes and sticky fingers!




Who is bullet journaling for?


Bullet journaling is for the girl who has forgotten to take a letter to the post office for the second week running.


The guy who feels like he just doesn’t have time to get everything done.


The parent who has an ever-expanding collection of ‘to-do’ post-its.

 bullet journal setup
Starting a bullet journal is a great way to focus the mind.


Bullet journaling is for anyone who ever feels a little overwhelmed with how much they have going on.


It’s basically for anyone and everyone who craves more focus and direction in their life.


Don’t worry though, Carroll’s bullet journal setup is designed to be flexible so you can still be spontaneous and focused.




How to start a bullet journal…without a cupboard full of craft supplies!


OK, I happen to love crafting pretty things but given my track-record for diary keeping (never made it past mid-February!) I wanted something really simple.


I actually started bullet journaling Ryder Carroll style…plain white paper.


I’ve since upgraded and put together some more aesthetically appealing templates.


You can download my bullet journal printables here. 

They are totally free and you won’t need to enter an email address or even tick any boxes!


How to start a bullet journal
Click to view free printable PDF bullet journal templates.


What do I need to start a bullet journal?


My printable bullet journal sheets or a notebook (faint lines or squares are handy).

A pen.

Yep, that’s it!


how to start a bullet journal setup easy
All you need to start a bullet journal.

How many pages does my bullet journal need?


It’s a good idea to think about how many pages you’ll need for a bullet journal.

If you want a monthly double-page spread that’ll need 24 pages.

A weekly single-page spread will add another 52 pages.


Keeping a single-page daily log will require an additional 365 pages each year.


So, I make that 441 single sides of paper add a few extras for your meal planning, holiday itinerary etc. and you’ll need around 450.


If that sounds like a lot then please bear with me…




I’m pretty eco-conscious so I rarely print at all, let alone almost 500 pages.


So, I set my printer to print my PDF bullet journal as a booklet using these instructions.


It fits 4 pages onto one page so uses just over 100 sheets of A4 paper for an entire years worth of bullet journaling.


Now, ideally in the name of zero waste living, I’d be using an online app but I’ve tried and it just doesn’t work for me.  I really should as I do everything on my phone (even run my website!)


Try an app for yourself first as you may love it!




Starting your bullet journal…


1. The Index

The first page in your bujo should be an index.

Simply, label your page ‘Index’ and use it to record all subsequent pages.

Bullet journal printables

2. Monthly log

A monthly log helps you to organize events and note tasks for completion.

You can add to this as and when events and tasks occur.

Bullet journal monthly log
Just add the month and start rapid logging!

Click the image above to visit our free printables page.


3. Weekly log.

The weekly log is basically an overview of your upcoming week.

It is somewhere to plan, schedule and visualize what your week might look like.

The most basic weekly planner layout consists of seven sections…one for each day of the week.

Depending on your interests and goals, you can add sections to record things like meal planning or a weight tracker.

Bullet journal weekly log
I never know whether the week starts with a Monday or Sunday so you can download either version on our printables page.



4. Daily log

You’ll need a daily log too.


This is where you’ll write your daily tasks. You can also record things like your water consumption and daily exercise.


Bullet Journal daily log
Click to see the various daily log layouts we have available for free download.


I like to add a space to reflect on what’s been good about each day too. Practicing  gratitude is thought to be great for mental health and it’s a lovely way to end each day.


5. Everything else

What makes bullet journaling so perfect is that each bujo is unique and personal.


There is no end to the list of things that you can include in your journal…


Meal planners.

Calorie trackers.

Chore lists…

I’ve put together some printable bujo PDF templates for the habits and tasks that I like to keep a record of.


Click to visit our bujo downloads page.
Click to visit our bujo downloads page.




What else you need to know about bujo?

Bullet journalers use a method called ‘rapid logging’ to record tasks and notes very quickly.

You can use different bullet icons to distinguish between tasks.

Mark some as priority or delay completing others for a few days or even months.

Find out more about the bullet journal key here.


So, that’s how to start a bullet journal…the beautifully simple way.


I hope this post helped you with your bullet journal setup.


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