Know what’s funny? The fact that I didn’t even know bullet journaling existed until about a year ago. How in the world, with my constant YouTube trolling, did I NEVER run across monthly plan-with-me bullet journal set ups.
Now, that’s all I watch. And if you ever need bullet journal ideas, YouTube is your source. There are sooooo many talented bullet journal people out there but don’t let their artistic ability, or your lack of artistic ability, scare you off. The beauty of bullet journaling is that you can do whatever you want. You can make it super minimalist and functional, or you can make it into a piece of functional art, the possibilities are endless.
For those interested in bullet journaling and want a place to start, let me see if I can help.
The thing is, you can start with a key, an index, a cover page, a quote page, a future log, a monthly log, a daily log, but do you really need to? Trick question, it’s up to you. You can do anything, remember? My advice is to start with the recommended spreads (which is a fancy way of saying pages) mentioned and try them out. See if they are a good fit. Then, add on more spreads, trackers, gratitude log, brain dumps, one line a day … and the list goes on.
I’ve done most of these and I have decided that most of these do not fit my life. I’m not a busy gal. Seriously. I work, come home, watch YouTube videos, journal, blog and record podcasts. I don’t have a busy social life, of my own design, and I don’t need planning spreads because I don’t plan anything. Instead, I have decided the only things I’m interested in keeping track of is my sleep, my daily steps and moods and the books I read every month. Outside of that? Not interested. I use a lot of my pages for journaling. My bullet journal is more of a journal than a planner. I don’t write every day, I usually end up using about 12 pages per month for journaling, but they have been THERAPUTIC for my soul and I’m so glad I’ve been doing it. You all know I blog and I’m pretty honest in my posts, however, there are some things that I would absolutely NOT share as it’s way too private and would hurt too many people if they knew what I was really thinking, so I keep my watered down thoughts here and write my innermost private thoughts in my journal.
It also clears my head leaving room for my creativity to stretch and grow.
All of this to say, there are no rules when it comes to journaling and if you’ve been thinking of starting a journal, I say do it. I think you’ll have fun and it will be fun for you to look back on someday. Not to mention, if you do have a busy schedule, it will help you organize your life and you’ll feel more productive.
As far as the notebook to use? Again, so many options. Don’t feel like you have to buy something super expensive. I know Archer and Olive are popular but they’re about $35 bucks a journal. Instead, buy a cheaper book, especially when you’re starting out, to see if a bullet journal is for you. Then invest in nicer books if you think you’re going to stick to it every month.
Here are my spreads for December:
My cover page and my sleep tracker. I’ve decided I like this tracker the best – I feel like it tells me more at a glance. And speaking of trackers – there are so many ways to set up trackers – again, experiment. You’ll soon find the ones you like. (Check out a ton of ideas on Pinterest – just search for bullet journal and allow yourself a few hours to scroll through the thousands of examples).
My productivity tracker. I’ve done these spreads for a few months now and though fun, they are sort of depressing, too. As you can see, I do the same things over and over and over again. There is not much variety to my life, again, by design, so I’m thinking of NOT doing any more productivity trackers.
Here is my weather and steps tracker. I don’t know why I like keeping track of the weather. I think I want something to flip back to in case someone comes along and says, “Wow – climate change is getting worse. Look how unseasonably warm it was today!” Then I can flip back to my weather trackers and say, “Actually it was this warm a few years back.”
And of course, my steps tracker. I like this spread because you can tell, at a glance, how lazy I’ve been. (See the low days? Yep – those are the weekends. I’m either in my chair at my desk blogging or writing or sitting on the sofa and reading.)
And my mood tracker and books read / podcast tracker. I’ve decided I like this calendar set up for my moods. I tried the typical mood trackers where you’re happy, sad, angry or meh but honestly folks, I have so many more moods I didn’t want to tie myself down to just those four.
And before you think I’m artsy myself, don’t be too impressed. You’re seeing stamps and stencils – I don’t draw anything free hand because I can’t.
The next twelve pages are my journal pages. Obviously, I’m not going to show those. But I do like to dress them up with stickers, stencils or cutesie stamps.
I decided to continue using my turquoise Rhodia notebook for January. I was tossing the idea around of maybe starting a new journal since we’re starting a new year but I just couldn’t bring myself to waste all of the remaining pages so I’m putting January in this book. It sort of messes with my OCD tendencies NOT to start a new journal for the new year but I’ll get over it. I will likely need to start my purple Rhodia notebook in February though as I don’t think I can make my turquoise last past January.
I’m thinking of making some reading spreads. Here are some really cute ideas:
I love her TBR barndoor idea. I also LOVE the book tracker. I’m definitely going to put that in my January spreads and will keep track of my favorite books throughout the year. I think that will be really fun. I’ll show you how it turns out.
Anyway. I hope you give bullet journaling a try. Again, it’s what you make of it. Be creative or keep it minimal but hopefully it’s a useful tool for you and helps keep you organized in the coming year.
(Pst – have you voted in my COVID-19 vaccine poll yet?)