So for a while I’ve been wanting to post my progress with my bullet journal.
Things that have not worked for me:
- Weekly layout – I knew from the start that this layout would not work for me. I didn’t even attempt to create one at any point. My Monday – Friday schedule is consistent and I don’t have enough going on each week to have to record it. Maybe that sounds like a boring life to some, but eh. I work the same hours Monday through Friday and between getting ready for work until I get home, I use 12 hours out of my day. That doesn’t give me much time to schedule things to do with the rest of my day. To be honest, by the time I get home I’m exhausted. It’s a combination of both how really early I get up, and the fact that my job requires extreme attention to detail.
- Habit tracking – This didn’t work at all. I’ve switched to using an app to track things like this instead. Mostly I needed to be reminded to track my habits. Having to remember to open my bullet journal every day, then open to my habit tracking page to remind me just didn’t work. (I use Loop – Habit Tracker for those wondering. Android OS.)
- Mood tracking – Yeah this died out quickly. For one, moods can change during the day. Two for the same reason the habit tracker didn’t work. (I use Daylio.)
- Printing out monthly layouts and taping or gluing them onto a page of the journal – Over time I noticed the pages of the journal started to bulge. That doesn’t bode well for just starting out a journal. Over time the binding would weaken from the extra weight of it all.
Things that have worked for me:
- Yearly layouts – I used a pencil to sketch out what I wanted a yearly page layout to look like. I was happy with the result and ended up using it again. I basically reserve a full 2-page spread to this in my journal. The left page is current year, the right page is the next year. I mark things like days off of work and paydays. It’s also nice to just quickly flip to if you need to confirm where a date falls in the year. I did the same layout again the start of this year. Here are some photos. The first photo is my first attempt at a yearly calendar. The second photo is my attempt at it this year. Not much of a change. I may color the 2018 calendar in more in the future, but for now it works.
- The Future log – For mine I make a quick jot down of important dates. These are things like doctor appointments, festivals I want to attend, any important events I want to go to, and so on. It also works great when I am at a doctors appointment and ask me “When is the last time you made an appointment for [x]?” and I open to that page on my bullet journal. It also makes for a quick glance at things coming up that I then jot down into each monthly layout.
Below is a photo of my first attempt at this. I actually found this layout on a bullet journal YouTube video somewhere. I wish I remembered which one, but alas I’ve seen so many. Since I was so far into the year I put all of the months of the year on one page. For 2018, I split this into two pages. The first page is January through June, the second page is July through December.
I fill out a “block” under each month and to the right I write down what important thing for that month I need to know. Like jotting down about Free Comic Book Day in May. So, in that case, I fill out a box under May and write (for 2017) “5/6 – Free Comic Book Day.” So there’s a block for each event, appointment, etc.
Also with this layout, if I find out about something during the year, I can just jot it down without worrying about things being listed out of calendar order.
- A new simpler monthly layout – I found this on Boho Berry’s Instagram and I fell in love with this layout. It’s a monthly layout that also feels like a weekly layout at the same time. It’s quick and easy to write and looks very simple and organized. I love it.
I added my own touches of course. I finally got to play with some of my washi tape. The trick is to find some design that fits with the mood or theme of that month. Like for January I had a gold washi tape that had gold hearts, stars, and musical notes. It seemed appropriate for the new year. For February, of course, I found red hearts. At the bottom of the monthly layout I write down important holidays for that month, and of course more washi tape.
You can see I digitally edited out my writings on January’s page for privacy reasons. February I took a photo of right after finishing it.
I did make one minor change between the two months. January was written in a bit too close to the spine. The ribbon bookmark would fall right next to the days of the week. So for February I pushed that in one more dotted square to add a bit more space for the bookmark.
So proof you don’t need to be fancy if you don’t want to, don’t have the time, or just aren’t artistic (which is completely okay.)
- The rest – I’ve started to make lists in the journal. Well, one list. Things I want to learn. That way I can flip to that page and remind myself of some of my learning goals. I hope to make some more lists in the future. I may even find a way to write down my accomplishments for each month, big and small. That way I both feel productive and I have something positive to look back on.
I also have a page near the beginning of all the birthdays I need to know. Again it works as a quick flip to for reference and then jotting into my monthly layouts. The best part is that it’s once and done for each journal book.
So that’s how my bullet journal is looking at the moment. Of course I expect things to change and evolve over time. I thought I’d post what I’m doing in case it gave anyone else any ideas, or for anyone out there looking for a simple bullet journal look.