my minimalist bullet journal thedorkyfrench

My Minimalist Bullet Journal (how and why)

On this page, I show you how I organize my minimalist bullet journal. My bullet journal is the one thing that keeps me sane to manage to finish my university degree, along with teaching and working on my blog. I use a minimalist design to keep it as simple as possible. So if you too are too busy or not cut for designing fancy journals, you are in the right place! The content of my minimalist bullet journal is outlined to encourage both a healthy mindset and optimized productivity. 


A bullet journal is basically an all-in-one notebook. It can be used as a planner, personal journal, support for to-do lists, habit tracking, note-taking, and more! And it is up to you to make it as complicated or as simple as you would like! Feel free to pin or bookmark this page to refer to it later. And leave a comment at the end of the page if you have any questions.

bullet journaling 101 thedorkyfrench


I always struggled to find a planner that fits my needs. It was either too simple, too complex, not relevant for me, or way too many inspirational quotes… plus some of them tend to be really expensive.

I also used to have different notebooks for different purposes. I had a notebook for all list items, one for day-to-day planning, one for ideas and notes for my blog, plus some random notes on my phone… it just wasn’t working for me! With one bullet journal, I was able to make it much easier for myself and combine everything in just one notebook.

I am now more organized, clear-minded, and productive than I’ve ever been before (of course not all the time!!). At first, I thought designing my own journal would be more of a waste of time, but by keeping it to a minimum I was able to make it work and actually find joy in designing my templates each month.

And as a creative person, a bullet journal is a great way to express my creative mind in a productive manner. I am keeping my designs to a minimum at the moment, but guess what? Whenever I will feel like making my templates fancy, I am free to grab my pencils and do so!

Finally, I am also happy I was able to find a great quality dot grid journal that really works for me. It is important to choose a good quality journal and pay these few extra pounds if you want the best experience with bullet journaling.


Before we get into the details, below is a super short video for a quick overview!

1. Key

The key is the first page of your journal where you keep a list of the symbols you may use and what they stand for. You can make the key an elaborate combination of codes and colours. But I choose to keep mine simple with a small list of symbols.

key bullet journal

2. Index

The index is to easily navigate through your journal. It’s what holds the entire journal together and allows you to find a certain page in no time. Yop and Tom journal pages are already numbered which makes the process much easier, but you can also number your pages by hand if your journal is not numbered.

index bullet journal

3. Box counts

This one is optional but can make a big difference in designing templates for your minimalist bullet journal. You can use this first page to write down the number of boxes in width and length, this way you won’t have to count every time you try a new design!

box count bullet journal

4. Yearly view

I use the yearly view to write down birthdays and other events such as Halloween, national holidays, university exams… The yearly view is spread between 4 pages for the 12 months of the year.

yearly view bullet planner

5. Monthly calendar

Thanks to the yearly view, you can then easily transfer the dates to remember into the monthly view as you start a new month. And add any other information which is relevant for this month.

monthly view bullet journal

6. Monthly “check-in” and monthly “brain dump”

  • On the left page, I write down monthly “check-ins” of how I am feeling spiritually, emotionally, and spiritually. You could use this page for something that is more relevant to you, For example, improvements on your anxiety if it’s something you usually struggle with.
  • On the right page, the monthly brain dump, my favourite! The monthly brain dump is to literally “dump” on your planner any ideas or tasks that come to your mind! I devise mine into 3 categories: “TheDorkyFrench”, “personal”, and “teaching”. So for example, let’s say you remember that you have to email your bank, grab your planner and write a quick note in the “personal” brain dump! And as you come to the end of the month, whatever you have not done from your brain dump can be transferred into the next month’s brain dump!

brain dump and check ins bullet journal

7. Monthly habit tracker and gratitude

  • On the left page, the habit tracker is to track the habits that are important to you. I don’t use it to put pressure on myself but more for encouragement with the visual satisfaction of seeing your habits. It’s also a reminder of the things that make me feel good mentally and physically. It can also be a way to see at the end of the month what are the habits you want to try doing more consistently.
  • On the right page, I write down every day 3 things I am grateful for. I usually write down the most random things from gratitude for the weather to gratitude for my bed, and I squish it all into one line!

habit tracker and gratitude thedorkyfrench

8. Weekly planning

The weekly view is for day-to-day planning. On the upper part I write down the tasks I want to do for the day. And on the lower part, I sometimes divide my day into hours. Especially if I have university classes or if I teach on that day. I also leave a little space for notes of things to remember for the upcoming week. I usually plan my days at night for the next day, but some people prefer to plan their day in the morning with a cup of coffee or milk tea.

weekly view bullet journal

9. Lists and collections

Finally, I write down in my bullet journal random lists and collections such as passwords, addresses, objectives for 2021, and more! That’s what’s great about having a bullet journal. You can really personalize it to adapt it to your life and needs. And as you write a new list, you can then add its page and title to your index.

lists and collections bullet journal objectives 2021


You would first need to purchase a good quality journal or planner. I insist on the quality as thick pages and a solid cover make the experience of bullet journaling much more enjoyable. Yop and Tom A5 dot grid journals contain 160 pages with extra thick 160 GSM uncoated paper which I absolutely love! The cover is made out of vegan leather and is soft touched which I also adore.

I will be gifting a Yop and Tom journal through my Instagram page @thedorkyfrench very soon, so feel free to follow me to enter the giveaway and get a chance to win the best bullet journal!

minimalist bullet journal

Make a list of layouts you want to incorporate in your minimalist bullet journal. Thinking of this ahead will help you find the designs that work for you. You can always use sources such as Instagram or Pinterest to find tones of inspiration on journal layouts and designs.

All you need is then one pen, one ruler, and one highlighter. Having a corrector is also essential to not worry about making it perfect the first time. I keep them all in a small pencil case that I take everywhere with me along with my planner.

Take it one day at a time, and be aware it will not be perfect at first. But that’s what makes it exciting; seeing your improvement in skills for bullet journaling as you go.

I really hope this has been somehow useful to you, and as always feel free to DM me or leave a comment if you have any questions!




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About the author

Founder and editor | + posts

Marlene is the founder, creator, and editor at Based in Glasgow, Scotland, where she completed a BA (Hons) in Business and HRM, she is passionate about sharing valuable content for her readers; encouraging them to experience the benefits of a healthier lifestyle and a growth mindset.

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