How to Set Up Your First Bullet Journal: 2019 Planning & Goal Setting

How to Set Up Your First Bullet Journal: 2019 Planning & Goal Setting


– Hi everyone, and welcome to another Bullet Journal productivity video. In this episode, I want to show you how to begin your very
first Bullet Journal. It’s something that
I’ve touched on before, but mostly, I’ve shown
you big-picture things, like goals, and habits,
and different trackers, or the weekly/monthly layout that you could use working on projects. What I want to talk with you about in this one is really starting from the beginning, starting from scratch. A really good reference for this, just to let you know, from the beginning, is the Bullet Journal Method book. You can see the review, and everything that I did for that book here, so make sure you check that out. But really, what kickstarted this for me, to make a video about it sooner, rather than later, is
one, it’s the new year. I think a lot of you
are going to be trying your first Bullet Journal, and the video that I did on productivity
planning may be a little too big for you to start with. The other thing that nudged me along with this is that I’ve
talked with two people recently about starting their very first Bullet Journal,
and one is Jon Acuff, who’s an author living here in Nashville. You should check out his
books, they’re amazing. They’re some of my favorite books. And then Koka Sexton, who
works on content at Slack. And both of them are starting
their first Bullet Journals, and just looking for some advice and tips. And I started thinking about it more, like, well, what would I be telling people if they were starting their
very first Bullet Journal? This is the video for you! Shout out to Jon and to Koka, because you were a big part of getting me going with this, and sharing, and teaching everything that I know
about Bullet Journaling. The main thing that you want to do when it comes to your
very first Bullet Journal, and I can’t emphasize this enough, is you want to be able to keep it simple. When you start your first Bullet Journal, it’s important to know that you can do this on any paper that you want. I do recommend graph or dot grid journals or paper to be able to do this. It just kind of helps you stay within the lines – in a good way. That being said, it’s hard to go wrong with either Baron Fig or
Leuchtturm for your journals. There’s also a bunch of
others that are out there now. Scribbles That Matter, Rhodia, also make great dot grid journals. But what I do like about Baron Fig, well, you know all the things that I love about Baron Fig from past videos. It’s an amazing company, great people, and I highly recommend them. They’re beautiful journals. One nice thing to like about the Leuchtturm specific Bullet Journal, it does have a key for you. So all of the primary signifiers
that you would want to use in your Bullet Journal can be found right on the inside cover. You can use any journal. You can use any paper. You can use any note cards that you want to kind of get into the
practice of Bullet Journaling. And the same thing goes for pens. You can use any pen that you want. There’s a lot of fancy pens out there. You know, for my holiday gift guide, if you watched that, that I subscribe to the pen category of better than Bic, but not super expensive. So pens like Pigma Micron, Staedtler, those are the ones that I use the most, and I’ve been really happy with them. The main way that most people get started with Bullet Journaling
is with rapid logging. So without worrying about
doing the right layout, or watching a bunch of videos on, oh, I have to make these certain icons, or do these certain things,
or do a layout in this way, you don’t have to do any of those things. Again, remember to keep it simple, and the best way to do
that is with rapid logging, and using these basic signifiers that are pretty common amongst
the Bullet Journal community. And keep in mind that you can use these any way that you want. It’s a totally flexible system, and that’s what so many people love about the Bullet Journal,
including myself, is that you can make it fit whatever you want it to be for your
life and for your work. One of the problems that I personally have with rapid logging is,
when you have a bunch of dated events, or meetings, appointments that you have, it can
get a little unwieldy to organize them, and so that’s why I have gotten into the weekly layout that I use, which is an agenda on the left, and then top tasks
for that day on the right. I also have a running list
of undated non-urgent tasks that still need to happen,
sometimes they are urgent. Well, no, if they’re urgent,
they go on the daily spread. Now, if you are committed
to rapid logging, and it is a really good way to start, another way to work on the future tasks that you have is with the future log. I have to say, full disclosure, it’s not something that
I’ve used a ton so far. I’m going to test a little bit more with it in 2019, but like I said, usually what I’ve done,
and I have found works best for me, the system that’s worked best for me, is a daily layout
that has agenda items, appointments, meetings,
on the left-hand side, and then top tasks for the day on the right-hand side of the page. Anything that I don’t get done from a top task on that particular day, then I will use the migrate signifier, and just move that down to the next day. The other thing that I
do for a weekly spread, and you can see a bigger explanation of this in my 2019 productivity video, I’ll link to the particular timestamp in the description below,
but I’ll use a single page for each week to describe the outcomes and objectives that I have for that week, and how they align with
the goals and themes that I have for the month,
for the quarter, for the year. So I make sure I’m always asking myself, this thing that I’m thinking about doing, or that I believe has to be done, is it aligning with a goal, with a theme, that I have for the year, for
the month, for the quarter? The big thing to remember, that I always encourage people with, is that you want to keep it simple. The more complicated you make it, the less likely you are
to continue with it. So I do recommend, use
these primary signifiers, start with rapid logging,
and have an idea, or task log, that you can
put undated, non-urgent tasks that still need to be done. So rapid logging, future
log slash idea task log for the month or for the week. Have that, start there, make sure you nail that, and just
stay consistent with it. The more complicated you make it, or think, ah, I’ve got
to make these trackers, and these layouts, and the video said to do this, don’t worry
about that as much, because, like with any habit, or with any practice that you want to cultivate, it’s just
not going to happen, the more complicated you make it early on. Now, there is a habit hack that I use in order to remember to stay consistent with my Bullet Journaling practice, and I call it the tow truck trick. And what I do with that
is I basically hook up the Bullet Journal practice to a habit that I’m already going to be doing anyway, something that’s already automatic for me. Once I kick off that established habit, I’m just going to connect, and put my Bullet Journaling habit kind of on the backside of that existing habit. So what I do is, after I brush my teeth at the end of the day, I will go back, and I’ll spend just about 10 minutes going over the things that I did for the day, and what I want to be my top
things, going into tomorrow. And that also gives me
a nice little buffer. That also gives me a nice little buffer at the end of the day, that I’m not looking at my phone,
I’m not watching anything, I can just look at the
paper, I can kind of reflect, and it gives a really
nice closure to my day. Then, what I’ll do, still before I go to bed, is that
I’ll go to my computer. I’ll take the Bullet Journal, and I’ll go to my computer, and actually
set the Bullet Journal on top of the computer, or the keyboard, so that way, when I go to
start work the next day, the first thing that I
see is the Bullet Journal, preferably opened up to the page that I’m on, so that I
look down right away, and I start to work on the task that matters most, the thing that I absolutely need to get started on at the beginning of the day. I’m already hooking those
two things together. Obviously I’m going to start work, and so the Bullet Journal’s
going to be there, and then obviously I’m going to brush my teeth at the end of the day. I put it just somewhere on, just somewhere in the kitchen, or somewhere in the house, that I can easily get to it, and then I take it to my computer. Hope you enjoyed this
Bullet Journal video. If you’re starting your
very first Bullet Journal, leave a comment, let me know what you think about this video. Any other questions that you have, I’d be happy to answer in the comments. Thanks to Jon and to Koka
for asking good questions, and being interested in Bullet Journaling. I love sharing about this. I love teaching everything
that I know about it, and if you have any questions, make sure that you ask
them in the comments below. If you enjoyed this video,
there are so many others. That’s what this whole channel is about. It’s about being productive. It’s about using analog
tools like a Bullet Journal, like index cards, different things to get your head out of your apps, and start to focus on the things
that really matter to you. Be dedicated to the
tasks, to the outcomes, to the objectives, that you have in your life and in your work. If that’s the kind of
thing that interests you, if that’s the kind of person that you are, or want to be, give this a like, subscribe, because there’s going to be so much more coming in
2019 to help you with that. Hope everyone has a great day, and I will see you in the next video. Thanks, bye. (calm electronic music)

100 thoughts on “How to Set Up Your First Bullet Journal: 2019 Planning & Goal Setting

  1. I’ve been trying for about six months. I keep getting frustrated because many ideas are convoluted or way to Pinterest Foo Foo Frilly and Cute. I needed a raw Caveman approach, I think I found it. No stickers, no washi tape, no this is so cute… just write shit down, declutter the dome and do shit. #Aloha

  2. I have journaled since circa 1988 and naturally evolved to do some "bullety" things. I'm excited to give actual bullet journaling a try in 2019! Thanks for the tips!

  3. Continuing my … journal, started around 2017 with bullart journal (I mean the artsy bullet journal, thus bullart) which only lasted for two months of doing pretty layouts but didnt even fill them. Then I knew the frills and woowoo wasn’t for me. I switched to minimalistic bulletjournal, referencing mainly to your channel, and then Ryder Carroll’s official the bullet journal method came out and I added from that also. Now restarting to continue bullet journal again. I think this is the best method, for me personally, since I have stayed using this one method from 2017. Never used any journal method longer than 1 month other than bujo.

  4. Hi Matt, thanks for this video. I will start my first BuJo in 2019. Il will keep it simple for a start. I'd also purchased the Bullet Journal Method to help me understand, simplify, keep it simple to be focused on the essential. See you next year ! 🙂

  5. I used your ideas to redo my Bullet Journal. I have important things to do with my wife like going to Paris, and your tips really helped. Thanks Matt!

  6. So happy I found you! I have been continually daunted by all the artsy bullet journals. I neither have the time nor inclination for it. Your minimalist planning is exactly what I was looking for

  7. im super late to the party but i really want to start a bujo & honestly have felt like going through tags on Twitter, Instagram, etc. it can feel incredibly overwhelming having to feel you have to meet a certain “standard” when it comes to your layout. but this is so simple and honestly kind of made things feel at ease and not so daunting putting the pen to paper. good video 🙂

  8. Buddy you're a charming failure. In the end, your message was hard to find. You said too much. You have got too much information in your head, you haven't simplified it for the beginner.

  9. I thought this was a really good explanation.
    I was having a little trouble getting my head around some of what was said, but then, I realised it's like a prep list.
    I'm a professional cook and I use prep lists every day. It's kinda the same thing.
    Once I realised that, the whole concept was easier to pick up.
    Now I'm going to start my own bullet journey. Thank you so much.
    👍👍👍😀😀😀

  10. U just saved my 2019 somehow
    Whenever I see those setup bullet journal vds with all the fancy layouts pens themes I just get lazy cause instead of thinking how to remove stress form my head to a journal I become stressed thinking how I'm gonna journal it
    Simplicity in organizing is the best ❤
    Thanks

  11. Would you please talk about the page that says "where are the holy places". I've never heard of this before. Is there someone anywhere who explains this? Thanks

  12. There are a significant number of apps that can replace a simple bullet journal. They are much easier to manage and edit and will always be there with us. I really want to start a bullet journal from Jan 2019, but apps seem to be much more convenient.

  13. I am interested in end of year (or completed journal) reflection on how it went for the year (journal). Reflecting to improve one’s use of the journal for the future. I have been reviewing my use of the Bojo and doing some noticing as I think about my use of a bojo for the future

  14. So glad to finally see a YT series on bullet journalling that doesn't make me feel like an artistic failure! I'm rebooting my bujo habit after several years w/o it. I've become hooked on Field Notes and am trying that size notebook for my journal. I do wish I could do calligraphy, drawing, even washi tape, but so far, nah. Anyway, I've subscribed and will watch more of your stuff. Thanks!

  15. Thank you for your video! Keep it Simple: it should be the mantra of bullet journalers. LOL! I look forward to many more videos on your channel. I like the way you present things!

    Also: I love the stand you've got your laptop on. Pretty please, what is it and is there a link to find out more about it?

  16. I've been bullet journaling a while. Sometimes I need a reset. A reminder that I'm doing this as a productivity tool.

  17. Matt, I was getting frustrated with how complex the system seems to be, but maybe that's because I'm new at it. This video helped me keep it simple. Is it better to stick with Rapid Logging for a while until BUJO becomes easier? I just feel like there are so many moving parts. Am I wrong in this?

  18. Good thoughts! I’m fixing to start my second Bujo, and I think I finally have a system that works for me. My first Bujo is a hodgepodge of other’s ideas and hacks, but I really connect with Your way of thinking. No fluff or flair, just straight productivity. Good stuff! Keep it coming.
    As a side note, the background music was a little distracting, or maybe it is just my adhd.

  19. “Get your head out of your apps.” LOL love that quote, I’ll have to remember that one!
    Really like your videos, both the simple and detailed ones. Thank you!

  20. Hi there, if I want to buy graph or diet grip diary or thing you mentioned, what do I say in shop of I want to get the kind of diary you mentioned? Also, what are those pens called, can you please tell me so I can buy it. I got your email a week back but haven't checked it. I really want to start bullet journals and your video is what came to my YouTube recommendations. I hope you would help me. Thanks.

  21. Cool video! and I notice about the "atomic habits" book. So quick question. If you had to choose between this one or "the power of habit"… which one do you recommend me to buy?? Thanks!

  22. I still did not get the concept of that monthly log next to daily log; when monthwise future log is there. Can anyone tell me why is it so?

  23. Lol "not super expensive pens" my anniversary gift was my favorite fountain pen…an edison nouveau p premier fountain pen that i love using in my bullet journal and in my hobonichi weeks. Like writing in butter.

  24. There is a BIG difference between men and women when it comes to BuJo… Men are focused on GTD – getting things done while women starts to decorate, track their habits, making lists of this and that. The CORE message from you – that is absolutely priceless – is simplicity!
    I have had a running simple journal, as a textfile in my computer on a network harddrive, for over 20 years. I start a new line with the date and then write ONE line (as long as necessary) with contact adresses, tasks, info, customer orders, passwords, logins, webb addresses etc etc. That has proven to be absolutely vital to be able to find something, my company has about 100 TeraByte of files, and at the core is a simple textfile. The most important thing in your BuJo is the JOURNAL! That is not apparent from the start, maybe not even after a year, but the longer you keep going the more will you find yourself referring to your log. Everything else are ways of handling the tasks, habits and flows, but the journal is your mind unloaded in a chronological order! Every attempt to sort data will in the long run collapse – except the chronological list. The simple one that I suggest you start with and never stop using. Decorating the BuJo is FUN, but never let it become a burden.

    As for paper versus computer. I started with computers 1980, I love the Apple Pencil on the iPad Pro, but I do my personal journal, plan my calendar and agenda on PAPER.

    I also suggest this, as part of your weekly reflection, photograph your journal and copy the images into a folder named "2019" with a subfolder "January" and just keep the filenames as YYMMDD_HHMMSS.jpg This will be your BACKUP of your BuJo, and you can synk it to your phone, portable, desktop etc.
    If you feel the need to SEARCH, then either perform OCR or just transcribe it into a textfile.

  25. Hi from the Netherlands 😉, I've watched some of your video's now.. and just now I'm starting my very first journal. Small question: do you use your journal only for work purposes or do you use it in your personal life to? (Don't mind my English🙈).

  26. Hi Matt, I love your video and I'm all for analog productivity. Also, I really love how you reply every comment (I hope you reply mine too). Please I'll like to see a flip through of your bullet journal if you don't mind, I really love it's simplicity. I stopped bullet journaling because I couldn't keep up, it took a lot of time to get my layouts done and all so now I use a planner and I'm loving it.

  27. So do you use a digital calendar at all as well? I know with work I get quite a few meeting requests and i'm concious of doing double work by having a digital calendar and a paper version.

  28. Hie… I want to start a bullet journal… I am all set but I think I missed like almost half of the January since I was on the tour in since the beginning…. and this is my first time and thanks alot for clearing so many doubts I had through this video.

  29. I am starting Bullet Journaling this year, my main purpose is become healthier and cure my anxiety. I starting really simple, I do my tracker weekly.

  30. Hey is there room for us semi-artsy gals who like their washi tape but also want the basics? LOL! Seriously though: I have seen enough Pinterest and YT stuff concerning "Oh, let's get super-colored and artsy-craftsy before we write anything useful down!"

    I like my color-coding, sure. But it's mostly because that's how my brain handles information best. Monochrome writing? It just gets blurry after a time. If I need to remember something, I need more than a symbol. I need colors as reminders like I need air to breathe.

    I also use washi tape around the margins of specific pages (such as "Week in Review" sections) as a colorful, and perhaps "gentle" way of reminding myself to refocus my tendency to blather on aimlessly with my writing when I am not on a "brain dump" page. I liken it to a car with a steering alignment problem. A car like that is gonna wander this way or that if it is not corrected. My brain, when it gets all kinds of ideas going, is much like that car with the alignment problem: it wants to wander everywhere and talk about everything before getting to the point.

    The washi tape and color coding is me with my "hands on the steering wheel of my brain," guiding the "car" of my uber-creative, yet talkative mind to focus on a topic and be brief.

    I have been accused of unfettered mental meandering by a well-meaning (but still overly critical) guy friend. Yet after some thought, and observation of my writing habits in the context of bullet journaling, or journaling in general, I realized he has a point: I can't get stuff done in a reasonably efficient manner, because my brain thinks EVERYTHING is important!

    Hence the practical use of washi tape and color coding. That isn't just "being a girl" about bullet journaling, because my efforts are nowhere near as super-scrap-bookish as other girls might get into. It's me trying to sort out all my brains' contents and do a bit of "triage," deciding which things are most important, and when to do them, without the limitations of a daily and/or future log. Color coding decides level of importance, which comes first, regardless of what day it that thing falls on.

  31. I've been journaling for awhile but still can't find what works for me as there are so much one can do with this method I like the simple approach you have and I think that is my problem, I'm over thinking things. Gonna check out the rest of your vids.

  32. honestly, most simple and helpful bullet journal starter! Thanks so much! Going to start off my first one, and question, what good brands would you recommend to start off with?

  33. thank you for this video. I'm starting my bullet journal this week for 2019. My goal is to make it as simple as I can while keeping on track. also i just subscribed. Your methods as well as consistency on my part will help me become more productive.

  34. Thanks for this — I'm new to bullet journaling and I love ideas that are more focused on organization and goal setting and prioritizing, as opposed to super artsy layouts. The Bullet Journal book was really helpful and got me started but it's nice to get more inspiration from other people who aren't as into doodling! Looking forward to checking out the rest of the videos.

  35. Matt, great summary video. Excellent suggestions. Where can I get the "curved shelf" for the journal that lets it sit above your computer as in the video?

  36. Idk, I like a functional journal, but I also love to design it, create new layouts, experiment with it. For me, that aspect of it is important, as I need to keep my creativity flowing. We all are different. I like how men are bitter about how some people choose to decorate their journals. Everyone does it however they like it. If they wanna be over the top aesthetic, if they want to be super minimal or combine it with an art journal.. "wasn't intended for that" yeah, mate, I'm sorry for you. 💕

  37. I'm think about starting my first bullet journal because I need to be more organized and productive. Thanks for the great tips!

  38. Unfortunately your not showing how to set it up, rather discussing things you like or don’t like and why.
    There has to be a video on setting up a simple journal without all the coloring pages, fancy designs and countless hours making them look pretty with themes. I just need the basics please……

  39. Thank you for the basic bojo. I have the bojo book and I love Hobonichni journaling books(Cousin, planner, & weeks).
    I would love to marry the two. New to Bojo and would like to be able to just get going.

  40. I love your bullet journal videos! With all the artsy journals you see all over the internet, it's really refreshing to see it from a perspective that focuses on functionality rather than on an aesthetic appearance.

  41. I can't wait to start! not even 3 minutes into the video I went on amazon and bought a journal and some markers!

  42. Going to try new method start on this day! Thanks Matt for give new inspiriation that not complicated but simple and continouos.

  43. Hi Matt, do you put all your business / passion project tasks and ideas in the same BuJo as your personal journal (personal thoughts and feelings)?

  44. Starting my first bullet journal this Monday! so excited to get started 🙌Thanks for the awesome tips dude ✌️

  45. I'm not even a week into my "first" bullet journal (I tried bullet journaling 2 other times last year, but they didn't stick since I felt like I was migrating too much), but I really like the system so far. 🙂
    It's very minimal, and I have daily entries instead of weeklies.

    For someone who just started a bullet journal, how would I go about tracking things like time and productivity? Or should I wait until I've used the bullet journal method a bit more? 🤔

  46. This honestly isn't really a guide for someone new to bullet journaling. Do you have a resource that's more of a step-by-step guide that explains each facet of bullet journaling?

  47. Thanks Matt this video gave me an idea of what bullet journaling is. I am a home school mom and this weekend is our annual home school convention they are hosting a workshop on bullet journaling. I am planning on attending it and cant wait to get rid of all my little pieces of paper and index cards that i write everything down on and then they magically disappear

  48. Thank You Mr. Matt Ragland, I will take your advice in starting simple. I tend to do more than is needed, which leads me to discontinue new (to me) ways of prioritizing.

  49. i had came here to learn how to start a Journal and how to set it up but this started rambling so bad i couldn't take it he not showing nothing

  50. Brushing my teeth after dinner is a habit I need to make haha. I tend to forget but I always brush my teeth in the morning.

    Linking a new habit to a habit already made is a very good idea. Thanks.

    There’s so much habits I need to adopt and a lot I need to get rid of. Namely laziness lol

  51. Seems like all this could be accomplished by using an appointment diary, the kind that includes a monthly section, a weekly one, and a notes section. Why go through all the setting up unless one likes to create a more personal or artistic design.

  52. Hi Matt! Thanks for posting this video! I've started bullet journaling several times but never managed to make it a habit. I decided to make a push to restart for the end of 2019, get some lessons learned for what's working for me, and go into 2020 with a solid foundation for successful analog planning. I'm going to adopt your Tow Truck Method to batch this habit with my morning routine. I also like the advice to start with rapid logging first and worry about Collections and other layouts later. Thanks again!

  53. Can you start a bulletin journal in the middle of the year? Would you make one just to the end of the year and start fresh in January?

  54. Just started my first bullet journal! 🙂 Great tips! I especially liked your suggestion to have objectives and goal/theme, so important to know why we're doing certain tasks and what we're ultimately after. 🙌🏽

  55. Hi Matt, I'm using bullet journal for about 3 years on and off. Now I want to have a new start with my new bullet journal to replace the old one. Then I found your video and it offered me a fresh start I needed. Thank you for sharing it!

  56. Starting or rather restarting a BuJo. Thank you for the simple tips on how to get started and stay organized!

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