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twirling pages

how to create a bullet journal

the title of this post is very misleading because 1/ there are many ways to create a bullet journal so there’s no “right” way, 2/ this is MY way to making a bullet journal and i’m sharing that, 3/ so technically i’m just sharing how i make my own journal as opposed to teaching you how to make a bullet journal. that being said, here’s how i made my bullet journal. fair warning: i only created this around a month ago, so this is still in the works.


bullet journal - supplies

first, you’ll need a journal or notebook. i currently use a leuchtturm1917, but any notebook should work. BUT, i would definitely recommend getting a journal that is 1/ a good size – not too big, but also not too tiny, 2/ has a grid/squares interior*, 3/ overall good condition because you’ll be using it everyday (aka hardcover, leather bound, or something that can STAY in good condition).

*i first tried using my moleskin that had an empty interior and it was SUCH A STRUGGLE because spacing and everything and i ended up using ~6 pages where i actually drew out grids until i finally gave up because it was too time consuming and seriously, such a struggle. lined interior is alright, but i think grid is the best.

next you’ll need some pens. (and that’s basically it, but i like to get fancy) with the inspiration of studyblrs, i added even more pens (i need colors in my life) (i use pigma micron 005 and pilot precise v5) and highlighters (specifically, zebra midliners. lots of hype around these but OH SO WORTH IT) and some washi tape (aesthetics). you can also include stickers and sticky notes and literally anything, but you only reaaaaally need a journal and a pen.

the backbone

the first thing you should note: number all of your journal pages. in case you need to go back to something, everything will be easy to find and organized. you’ll need a table of contents or index. give yourself a few pages in the beginning and label it however you like.

bullet journal - table of contents

after your table of contents, you’ll need a key or legend. here, you’ll explain what your symbols and colors and makes will mean. you can make this part up – show your inner creativity – or get ideas from studyblrs like i did.

bullet journal - legend

the next section is the future log. there are multiple ways to make this, but i copied from the original bullet journal video and split my two-page spread into threes to make a six-month calendar. whenever there’s an event in the far future – holidays, important exams, or for me, competitions – you put it in the future log.

bullet journal - future log

the real deal

now that you’ve set up the backbone of your journal, you can get to the real stuff. by that i mean the months and weeks and days. for the month, most people list out numbers for their date and write important events next to it. i, on the other hand, use a two page spread and actually drew out the squares because i found it easier. (i tried the list version in november and it was :///)

bullet journal - monthly log

for most people, they’d directly start writing out the dates and tasks/events, but i found someone else on tumblr do this so i decided to copy them. they made a weekly habits log where she logged all her food/water intake, exercise, expenses, and general habits. i stalked lots of studyblrs and this was my favorite. (also logw key blurring my habits because i’m doing a bad job completing them, sorry) (also blurring expenses because that was a gift)

bullet journal - habits log

on the next page, i write the date and tasks/events for the date. i use my colors and categorize them accordingly and add additional lists if necessary (aka what blog posts i need to draft or book pictures i need to take). i recently started writing my weekly goals at the top of the page as well. it’s important to note that if you don’t finish a task/event at the end of the day, you need to either migrate or mark it as irrelevant. if you migrate it, you’ll need to rewrite it onto the new day. the concept with this is to finish the important tasks and only do what’s necessary. obviously, if you’ve written the task repeatedly for a week straight, you should either finish it or mark it irrelevant. it’s annoying to constantly rewrite it – which is why they made this idea in the first place.

bullet journal - to do

other resources:

that’s my bullet journal! did you find this helpful? i challenge you to make a bullet journal and be more productive for the upcoming year!

Alexandra Ling

alexandra is a nineteen-year-old content creator and avid reader. when she’s not on the internet or hiding behind pages, you can find her training to be a professional ballet dancer. she finds writing about herself in third-person strange.

  • OMG, that looks amazing! I need to start something like this 😀 I LOVE IT!

    (just had to google what studyblrs is LOL)


    Girlll, I loved this post! It was so helpful to get an insider look at your lovely little bullet journal. It’s so adorable!!

    I started mine a while ago, but haven’t really been keeping up with it. This post has gotten me totally re-excited about it, though!! I’m going to do a new set up and steal some of your ideas for sure.

    I think pretty pens are pretty important for a bullet journal. One of my friends was saying that if her journal didn’t look aesthetically pleasing, she wasn’t going to be motivated to use it, and I was like SO TRUE. Making it pretty = a total necessity, which means you need all the pretty studyblr pens, no?! 😉

    Love the calendar idea! I like having everything spread out for me as well, which is why I think I’m going to snag the calendar, instead of just having the listed dates like a typical journal. Also, yes to tracking habits!! I want to drink more water, blog more, and exercise regularly, so those are all things I want to add. One of my friends (same girl I quoted above lol) also tracks her productivity- with a little smiley face if she felt good or not- and I love that idea too!

    Basically I LOVE YOUR JOURNAL. Can’t wait to re-do mine!!!! Also, shoutout to all the pretty studyblrs, omg. Love all that inspiration. <33

    *throws confetti* *exits dramatically*

  • This looks so coooooooooooooooooool! I tried to start a diary/journal at the start of this school year but I haven’t really been keeping up with it recently which I really need to start doing again. I hope you can keep up with this better than I did!

  • This is just beautiful! I’m not good with keeping up with journals (I don’t even own a planner!), but this definitely is a lot more creative and personal than using a regular notebook! Also, can I have you writing?? Please 🙂

  • omg xan you know i’ve been waiting for this post for ages and it’s everything i wanted and more! i loved getting a sneak peek into your bullet journal! your pens and layout is so pretty! my journal in comparison is very bare (or maybe minimalist if you want to be more complimentary). i watched the bullet journal video but felt like it was a little excessive so for me my bullet journal is essentially a glorified to do list. i don’t really haev monthly views or future logs as i have a separate planner for that (also since i would say 80% of events for the future etc i have to remember are school deadlines and i have an academic planner for that so it’s just easier to throw in the 20% not school with the school as well) but i have a habits log too for every day and i suck at keeping up with them too haha. though i haven’t really been good at using my bullet journal lately , this post really inspired me to get back into it.

  • I had no idea what a bullet journal was, but now I’m officially obsessed! No joke going to start one soon 🙂 This post is so inspiring, and your handwriting is to die for. I think this is definitely going to help me manage my time better/be more motivated to do things in a timely fashion instead of last minute. So excited to start!

  • I just started using this today. i tweaked it a little bit to fit my lifestyle better, but I really like it so far. Very helpful post and I now feel the urge to go buy some colorful pens.

  • I’ve been searching for a suitable planner/notebook system that I think should work for me, so it’s pretty timely that you decided to share your bullet journal system! Though I don’t think I would stick to it for long because sticking to a legend would require me to think too much about how best to set up and then I’d keep second-guessing myself. Lol.

  • Xan, thank you so much for this post! I’ve been meaning to look into bullet journaling and this was the perfect starting point.

  • I loved this post, it was very informative. I’m planning (hah, get it, planning) on doing my owl bullet journal, and I really liked your layout.

  • This is just…gah, MARVELLOUS. I’ve never managed to persevere with writing a journal. It was my goal for 2015 and…ha. I didn’t even crack a journal open. -_- I LOOOOVE how this is set out though! TEMPTING.

  • Kaelyn

    Wow! I’ve been meaning to check this out for a while, and I’ve got to say, this looks exactly like something I’d use. Your handwriting is BEAUTIFUL, btw.

  • Aubrey’s Book Nook

    Wow. wow. wow. This is gorgeous!