Minimalist Bullet Journal Setup (2023 Update)

Want to create a minimalist bullet journal and not sure where to start? You come to the right place!


I know it’s already 2023 and the hype of bullet journals is already way past its prime time. But hey, it’s better late than never

What is a bullet journal?

Bullet journaling or sometimes referred to as Bujo is a combination of a productivity system like a planner, to-do list, tracker, and diary which is specifically designed to your needs and customizable depending on your current priority in life (I say current because our priority tends to shift all the time.

“ It’s an analog system that I designed to track the past, organize the present and plan for the future”

Ryder Carroll, Creator of Bullet Journal

Why do I want to start a bullet journal?

I didn’t use my planner well enough, and my week and day have been running haphazardly. Some days it’s quite organized and most of the time it’s just a chaotic mess.

When I journal my reflection, I realised the layout of my planner is not tally with what I wanted. Hence, I didn’t journal regularly.

And since its already April, I don’t bother to buy a new one

Currently, I have a separate book for planners and a journal. At first, I’m okay and able to keep up with both entries regularly.

But over time, I find it a hassle to use different mediums and I plan to combine them, using a bullet journal

The solution: Simplify planning by bullet journaling

I came across an article from 2019 which sparked my interest in bullet journaling.

..bullet journal allows flexibility and creativity, and it is personalized to one’s needs.

Another advantage of a bullet journal Is I can include anything I want from keeping track of what is present to planning the future.

They said if you can plan it, you can do it, eh?

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Journaling Ideas For Beginners: How To Get Started In 5 Simple Steps! (2022 update)

The original bullet journal layout by Ryder Carroll

At this point, you might be thinking that you can’t start bullet journaling because you lack creativity.

Same my friend

For the longest time, I have been avoiding the idea of starting bullet journaling because lack of creative bone in me.

But the original layout of the bullet journal doesn’t really require creativity at all. It is the most simplistic, minimal journal/planner layout if I may say.

Here are 7 simple steps of a minimalist bullet journal

Step 1: First few pages are set as index

Step 2: The next few pages are the future log (Add page number and add it to the index)

Step 3: Add the monthly log: Gives the birds-eye view of the month’s activity (Again, page number & index)

Step 4: Weekly or Daily log: Date, entry with short sentences divided into 3 categories

  • Task: Dot Bullet
  • Events: Circle bullet
  • Notes: Dash
  • Add asterisks * to signify the importance
  • Migration( using the right-facing arrow) the incomplete task/notes to the following month

Step 5: Collections: Organise an ongoing project, shopping list, etc

And that’s that. Simple and straightforward.

*Rapid logging: Rapid logging is the way of capturing information in the bullet journal in a short and concise manner. This is the essence of bullet journaling

So, is it wrong if you want to doodle and use a bullet journal as your creative outlet?

Absolutely not

People are built differently; some thrive with simplicity while others bloom by arts.

So, you do you, honey.

There’s no right and wrong when it comes to bullet journaling.

As long as it caters to your needs and purpose, it should be okay

My plan or idea for a bullet journal

The number one thing is I want to keep it minimal and learn along the way.

Minimalist bullet journal

Not gonna lie, I sweat looking at other bujo’s spread. They are so pretty it makes me feel overwhelmed.

The idea is to make it more ‘me’. I will adapt the idea from other people and tweak them to fit my need.

Even though it’s not in the original bullet journal setup, I am keen to add doodle in my bujo.

I want to document my journey as a complete beginner in the world of bullet journaling in this blog, and this will be my first post on this.

I want to make myself more accountable for this project. If you are a newbie, who is just about to begin the bullet journal journey, let’s stick together friends!

Related Post: I Try Morning Journaling For 30 Days And Here Is My Thought (And 5 Morning Journal Prompts Ideas!)

Bullet Journal supplies you need.

Since we are just starting, don’t sweat on purchasing a new notebook, pen, and gazillions of other accessories.

Let’s just keep it to the minimum: Notebook and pen. And maybe a pencil if you like to doodle like me

Notebook for bullet journal

Just take any empty notebook that you have laying around the house screaming to be used.

For me, I will use my Moleskin blank journal that I have abandoned for almost a month now

Pro bullet journaler has recommended a few notebooks that they think are good for bullet journaling. if you just starting like me and looking for a brand-new notebook, a few good suggestions include

  • The Official Bullet Journal Notebook
  • Leuchtturm 1917 Medium A5 Dotted Notebook
  • Moleskin Classic Notebook
  • Archer and Olive A5 Notebook

It is not a must to use these notebooks, but since they have a good experience with them, I guess you can try it.

If you are a student with a limited budget, worry not my friend, just use the leftover notebook for the subject you have never taken any notes on before, I know there should be a few of them.

If you want to read about the selection of bullet journal notebooks, head on to this post

Pen for bullet journal

You can use whatever pen you own, including the free pen you get from your dentist.

Since I only use a ball pen, I might buy the pilot g2 series. Since it looks way nicer as compared to the ball pen I used now

And since my handwriting is bad enough as it is, might as well spend on a good pen, right?

But if looking for a more aesthetic-looking layout in your bujo, maybe you can try some of these fancy pens.

(I call them fancy because before this I couldn’t be bothered about the brand of the pen. What I know are the pens I owned and free pens)

  • Sakura Pigma Micron
  • Pilot G2 Pen
  • Staedtler Pigment Liner Fineliner


Other bullet journal supplies you might want to add

I see you, fancy people.

Maybe if you are the artsy type and feel you want to make this bujo your creative outlet, you can get these extra supplies

  • Pencil colour
  • Watercolour
  • Washi tape (This is too cute, but I will keep it once I am consistent with my journaling entry)

Minimalist bullet journal setup for 2023

Okay now we have come to this, the bullet journal set up.

The two things I want for my bujo set up

Number one, I want to be simple, so I don’t feel overwhelmed doing it

Number two, I want it to be functioning enough to cater for my needs

Here are a few essential or basic to set up the bullet journal this 2022

Bullet journal keys or signifiers

The master of the bullet journal itself, Ryder Carroll, suggested using symbols (such as square dots and dashed) to use throughout your bullet journal.

The idea here is to allow us to skim the bullet journal to find what we want to view such as appointments or to-do lists quickly

As the beginner in a bullet journal, we can use simple symbols like

  • Boxes for the task and to-do list
  • A circle for an event or meeting
  • Star or asterisk for important staff. But I prefer to use this !
  • Arrow facing right signifies migration to the next day, or whatever day we set

Upon completing or partially completing the task we can fill the symbol accordingly

Important note:

  • we need to be consistent with the symbol to avoid confusing ourselves later
  • if we use lots of keys, we might need a key page as a guide


Photo by @sarahboparah via Instagram

Photo by @giftyua via Instagram

The bullet journal spreads

The bullet journal spread is a page on the related topic where you can get an overview of the content

Photo by @isabelplans via Instagram

Bujo monthly spreads

It offers a bird’s-eye view of the things you have to do, as well as your available time.

Ryder Carroll, The Bullet Journal Method

The Bullet Journal monthly spread or monthly log is designed to act as a reference page or a summary page. 

the idea of monthly spreads by the original creator is to keep an events logger and keep it short and simple. It works like a timeline

however, I found that there’s a lot of variation from the original version that is more toward monthly planner version

Same as the one in the planner, this is where we keep everything regarding important dates, tasks, meetings, and anything eventful for that month

There are a few ways to do this but stick to the basics for the beginner as of now. Use the one that you are familiar with and work well with you

For me, since I always use calendar format, I will stick to this format

The format depends greatly on your lifestyle, work, and aim.

Some ideas for the bujo monthly spreads include

  • Monthly goals
  • Habit trackers
  • Quotes

Photo by @illextrations via Instagram

Bujo weekly spreads and daily spreads

This daily entry is the bread and butter for bullet journaling. This is where you keep all the essentials of the day like the regular notes, tasks, events, and activities.

The weekly spread is not in the original Bullet journal method. But I found many people have included the weekly spread that helps them organise activities and priorities of the week

Photo by @bulletjournal via Instagram

Key index

This is basically what it is, an index that will guide you to navigate the bullet journal. Or we can say it is like the table of content of the book

The first few pages of the bullet journal will be set as the key index to record the corresponding page number. Just add a page number at the bottom of your notebook don’t have numbered pages.

This will become handy when you have to use the bujo for quite some time and have lots of entries.

The one thing I’m worried about bullet journaling is how well can I use it as a planner. I always wondered whether I have to set a monthly calendar ahead of time which could be a hassle

Then I come to know another element of bujo which is the future logs

The future log of a bujo is the page where you can write down the future appointment or plan that is still far ahead.

So by flipping these pages, we can have a look at the important date that’s coming in the future.

This way, we can be more organized in our life

What do you think? Ready to start our bullet journaling journey now?

I am excited to begin the bullet journaling as I am way over to stuck in a chaotic mess repeatedly.

If you’re like me, let’s jump this ship together and see what changes bullet journal can do

Share with us your tips and tricks on bullet journaling

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