bullet journal 101: setup

Now that you have the tools, it’s time to set up your bullet journal. Before we get started, a few things to remember:

  • You’ll figure out which spreads you need and like as you go.

  • Your bullet journal doesn’t have to follow the same spread layout throughout. For example, I’ll switch up my weekly spreads every week to best suit whatever I have going on that week.

  • Your bullet journal doesn’t have to be perfect. It should be functional, if nothing else. Pretty is a bonus. Only about 20 per cent of my pages are cute and those are the only ones I post publicly #itsallanillusion


Your key is the legend you use to track item status or progress. As with all things bullet journal, your key should be whatever you need it to be. Here’s what my key looks like. Pinterest has lots of other examples.


Collections are a group of spreads that you may continuously add to over time or that you might refer to regularly. For example, I have a collection for Small Blonde Blog that includes several pages of different planning, content and partnership lists and spreads. I have another collection of well-being spreads that include a long-term habit tracker, meal planning and anxiety coping ideas. Keep these items together and mark them with a sticky tab for easy reference.

Monthly/Weekly/Daily Spreads

These spreads help me plan my life and keep me organized. I put appointments, meetings, to-do items and some habit trackers in these spreads. I use a big binder clip to mark my weekly spreads for easy reference.

Check out some of my favourite spreads on Pinterest.


  1. Monthly calendar

  2. Monthly goals

  3. Monthly to-do items

  4. Weekly agenda

  5. Habits tracker

  6. Gratitude log

  7. Travel itinerary details

  8. Journaling

  9. Annual goals

  10. Birthdays

  11. Important dates

  12. Meal planner

  13. Fitness tracker

  14. TV shows and movies to watch

  15. Books to read

  16. Podcasts to listen to

  17. DIY project ideas

  18. Sleep habits

  19. Home project ideas

  20. Personal budget

  21. Savings goals

  22. Clothing sizes at favourite stores

  23. Medical notes and prescription reminders

  24. Pet supplies tracker

  25. Cleaning schedule

  26. Household products inventory

  27. Grocery list

  28. Content ideas and planner

  29. Wardrobe inventory and planner

  30. Motivation/inspiration

  31. Funny moments to remember

  32. Gift ideas

  33. Businesses and brands to check out

  34. Career inspiration and planning

  35. Conversation starters

  36. Travel bucket list

  37. Mood tracker

  38. Savings tracker or debt payment tracker


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