How and Why You Should Bullet Journal Today
"The Bullet Journal is a customizable and forgiving organization system. It can be your to-do list, sketchbook, notebook, and diary, but most likely it will be all of the above. It will teach you to do more with less." - Ryder Carroll (Creator)
The Bullet Journal caters to everyone and is completely adaptable. I, a very unorganized ADHD teenager, was able to begin bullet journalling and had never been more organized and on top of my schedule in my life. After bullet journalling for months, I found myself no longer taking it seriously eventually tossed it aside, only to realize how spacey and unaware I am without it! This year I decided to get back into it, and now I want to show you how you can start bullet journalling today.
First off, if you are serious about wanting to bullet journal I suggest watching the how to video made by the creator himself. He shows that bare minimum effort it takes to successfully bullet journal.
Now that you've watched that, you should know the process of making tasks and what to do when you finish those tasks or when plans change. In the rest of this post, I will show you my journal, the collections I created, and how I use my bullet journal.
One of the most important steps to bullet journalling is to keep and index. The more you add to your journal the harder it is to keep track of all your content and where it lies in your pages. By keeping an index you can find your spreads quickly and efficiently. Mine is very simple, since I don't feel the need to jazz it up at all, like you'll see I do with my other spreads.
TIP: DON'T RECORD WEEKLY/DAILY LOGS
Many of those who begin bullet journalling quickly learn that your index fills up quick. One of the things I do in my bujos (bullet journal), is design all my weekly pages at the start of the each month. In my index, I am then able to just record the month and the page it begins and know all the pages after that are monthly planning. While I like to have all my weekly logs made at the beginning of each month, it is also possible to have collections (explained further down) in between them. Record the beginning of the month and just continue logging the collections spreads, and when you reach the next month record the beginning of the month again. Then you are able to see that all spreads besides other collections fall under that month.
2. My 2017 Cover Page
I decided that since I got a new Bullet Journal for the new year, I would introduce the year that the contents would pertain to. The cover is a simple design with just a large 2017 written atop the page, a picture, and a small phrase. I chose to write "and so it begins" at the beginning of my journal with the intent of making a page when the year is finished with "and so it is" written in the same fashion.
3. Future Log
I am not one that needs to plan months out into the future, but for bullet journal sakes, I created a Future Log anyway. This is where you can see months at a time, and plans/ appointments you have already scheduled. For me so far, I only needed to really record an anniversary, holidays, a vacation, a few appointments, and a play I'm going to.
4. Beginning of the Year Collections
Basically every page is considered a collection. It is given a title and the content goes underneath. Most people who bullet journal, however, refers to collections as those that aren't Future Logs, Monthly Logs, Weekly Logs, or Daily Logs. For the beginning of the year I decided to make a few collections that are relevant to the entire year.
- Birthdays: This was a simple collection to track the birthdays of my friends and family. Every month when I make a new monthly log, I transfer over the birthdays for that month.
- Word of the Year: Creating a Word of the Year for yourself, is like setting an intention to work on through out the entirety of the year. I've seen words such as: grow, confidence, release, faith, balance, gratitude, simplify, etc. For my word I chose focus. I want to focus on the things that are important to me and work on keeping focus to the tasks, goals, and work I have.
- Goodreads Reading Challenge: The Goodreads Reading Challenge is a year goal of reading a set amount of books. Last year had over 3 million participants and this year almost 2 million have already taken he challenge. The average amount of books pledged to read is 45, but I've seen people pledge from 1 book to 100+ books. I've set my goal at 36 books and I'm about two books in. I have some catching up to do! Take the pledge here!
- Weight Loss: Many people have made Fitness Tracker or Weight Loss collections. After not finding one that I really liked on Pinterest or Instagram, I got my ruler and markers out and made my own. I'm very proud of this collection and am well on my way of recording my weight loss for this year. Apologies for not showing the entire spread, due to hiding my current weight and progress. Maybe I'll share the full spread (starting weight and all) by the end of the year.
- 2017 Memories: This is an entire page for recording big/important/interesting events that happened in that year. In my bullet journal before this one, I made a memory page for each month (which you certainly can do!), but I found I wasn't filling up the page every month. Since I don't do a lot of big, interesting things in a single month, I thought it would be better to have one for the whole year. You can see I did a few things in January, but literally nothing note-worthy in February or March.
5. Monthly Planning (May)
At the beginning of each month, I create my monthly, and weekly spreads. I start out with a vertical list of all the days and draw a line splitting the weeks between Saturday and Sunday. I add a calendar view to the corner and then list birthdays, holidays, events, plans, and appointments. After my monthly layout, I usually go write into my weekly spreads, but I decided to add and change somethings for this month.
With a burst of courage, I decided to take on the terrifying thought of logging how I spend my time for an entire month. Since I've been wanting to create a daily writing routine, I've had to realize my excuse of not having time doesn't cut it anymore. I know I spend countless hours online, watching tv, and playing video games! So, now I'm committed to logging and seeing just how much time I actually waste. I'm very intrigued and scared to say the least.
Next I made a "Habit Tracker" (a very common bujo monthly collection). This collection is to track habits you need or want to stick to (i.e. taking your medication), as well as tracking how often you do bad habits (i.e. eating fast food). The past few months I have been making a few individual trackers and putting by my main monthly spread. For this month, I decided I wanted to dedicate my time more regularly, and track more than just taking my medication, not spending money, and not eating fast food. To my list of three habits, I've added eight more including writing an hour, calling my Abuelita, seeing how often I do my hair/makeup, and getting up before 10 (I've been getting up at 8:30 the past couple weeks, so I may change this to earlier).
Since I didn't have a huge list of habits to track, I decided not to waste a full page and combined it with a new collection I've been wanting to do for awhile, a Mood Mandala. While I got the idea from BohoBerry, I believe the original idea comes from @bujo.mama on Instagram. The idea is to track your mood everyday for a month, and color in a ring of your mandala. A lot of people use the colors and do individual designs for each day, but I'll be following BohoBerry's lead and color ing each day the corresponding color and using black to create a mandala design on top of the colors.
Finally, I began my weekly logs, and plotted all fives weeks of May in a vertical fashion. I wrote the week on top (i.e. May 1st-7th) and gave each day a box of space labeling the day of the week inside and the date next to it. Lastly, because I want to be writing everyday, I gave myself a word count goal with a box split by a dotted line. The idea is to put my goal above the dotted line and my total below it. For the first week of May, I made a goal of 5,000 words. On my last weekly page, I had about half the page left over, due to there only being three days of the month left in that week. In that space, I decided to put a monthly word count table to add up all my weekly totals and see how much I wrote for the entire month! I still have some space on the side where I may put a quote or use it to doodle.
Lastly, to end my monthly section, I created an expense page to track my spending as well as income for the entire month. I haven't been spending a lot, and am not currently working, so I think one page will be enough, but I do see a lot of bullet journals with a full two-page spread.
6. Extra Collections
The last thing in my journal to share, is my extra collections. These spreads don't necessarily pertain to a set amount of time like my monthly or yearly collections, but rather are just general things. I would love to add more, might follow through with that soon, but for now I only have a few extra collections in my journal.
- Packing List: In January, I spent an entire holiday weekend up in the Malibu mountains leading a church camp. I had a lot of responsibilities that required more packing than usual, and I can't exactly say I'm the lightest packer to begin with. My packing style is more of pack-a-week's-worth for a three day weekend kinda style. Ya know... just in case.
- Books to Read: While I've seen many fancy books-to-read collections, I decided to go with a very simple layout. Since I already drew a bookshelf for my Goodreads Reading Challenge, I didn't think I needed to (and I didn't want to) do a similar collection for this one. I decided to make four columns to track the books, their authors, if I finished reading them, and what I would give the out of 10. First, I left a single square row to put a dot next to the books I ended up reading, gave room for the title to fit in the next column, before giving slightly less space for the author's name, and, finally, a few squares to rate the book.
- Creating a Daily Writing Practice (and other note collections): This was a collection I made to take notes on The Divine Guide to Creating a Daily Writing Practice by Pernille Norregaard. I really wanted to stick with my goal of writing regularly, and thought there was no better way than to have notes on the book that really kicked my butt to make the goal in the first place. By placing it in my journal, I always have it with me, since I take my journal everywhere. I have another collection for notes I took during a writing webinar, and will most likely continue to create note pages for other writing books/ classes.
- Social Network: In my bujo, this collection lists all my emails and social media accounts for not only my personal accounts, but also my business and writing accounts. While I didn't include the passwords to each of these accounts, this is a good place to put that, and I might make another collection solely for all my passwords to different websites. I did, however, decide not to share a photo of this two-page spread, due to all my account information being on it, including business pages that aren't ready for interaction.