15 Months of the Bullet Journal

At the start of September I will move into my new Leuchtturm 1917 after filling up my first with Bullet Journal greatness over the last 15 months.

I’ve organised my life through diaries for years. In 2015 I got myself a day-to-page view A4 diary and loved it, and it was necessary for noting down all my plans to complete my Look Wider challenge. In 2016 I bought another day-to-page but an A5 one, which I never took too. It was too small for all the this I wanted to note down. Then I discovered the Bullet Journal system in May 2016.

You can read up on the initial birth of this organisational phenomenon here:

Bullet Journal 101

And you can find amazing layouts, ideas and ways to decorate a bullet journal all over YouTube and Pinterest.

But I’m going to write about my experience, since the brilliance of the system is that you can tailor it to suit your own needs. While I do enjoy my art, my Bullet Journal is purely a item of productivity, motivation and organisation, there isn’t much art in mine!

What works for me:

  • A four page spread split into three months per page, this I use to keep everyone’s birthdays, annual reminders such as car tax and MOTs, and appointments and events too far ahead of my calendar.
  • A four page spread of the year,  my calendar, this is where I note down every event, appointment and day specific items. At the turn of 2017 I rewrote this into my Bullet Journal to add a further 6 months.
  • A monthly spread, the month drawn out as a standard calendar month. I input anything from the birthdays spread and the yearly spread onto the appropriate days. Plus my Brownie sessions and any annual leave.
  • I now use four different monthly pages too:
    • A spending log to note down where I’m spending, on what and how – at the end of the month I compare this to my bank account and I use this as a way of seeing at a glance my spending habits.
    • A line a day journal; every day I write one thing down about that day – it is really fun to look back on!
    • Habit tracker – each day of the month has a column and I track habits such as working out, drinking enough water, reading and no sweets. If I complete the habit that day I fill in the box. This is a good at-a-month glance of what I’m keeping up with and what I’m not.
    • Monthly goals. Lastly I make goals for the month, usually based on my long term goals or on my master to do list. This usually includes something to do with my career, finance, health and girlguiding.
  • A weekly spread on one page, on Sunday I draw this up and plan out what tasks need to be done on which days, anything from my monthly log for that week, and I have a spare box for to dos and reminders. I usually write my workouts into here also.
  • Daily pages, I’ve gotten into a system where I have the weekly spread on the left and the dailies for most of that week on the right. It is good to see the week at a glance while I write my daily to do list. I also have a water reminder, sometimes my weight and anything else I need to remember to do daily on here.

I sometimes have other pages too. I used to do gratitude logs which were nice, but I feel off that habit. I sometimes have pages for specific goals to track such as planking or drawing, I have a page to write all the books I’ve read in 2017, one time I left a blank page so I filled it in with a motivational quote.

When I go through my bullet journal I don’t usually leave blank pages, I like to use it as intended and just use the next blank space for whatever I plan to write next – but I also found it rather productive to have the weekly spread next to the relevant dailies so now I try to plan it slightly in advance.

It took a year of testing to get myself to the system that works best for me. In the beginning I never had goal pages but began those a few months in. I started the line a day journal in January and love that addition. I only started using it for my budget a few months ago but this is a habit I should really stick to now.

Funnily enough I’ve been using the same monthly, weekly and daily spreads since I started, I used to sometimes write about my day under my dailies but I didn’t keep this up. The line a day journal pages work a lot better. I know some people like to try out different spreads, which is one of the benefits of using a bullet journal, but if it isn’t broken don’t fix it!

So what is new for my second bullet journal? To get myself started I’ve created a vision board across the front two pages, taking images from Pinterest of things I want to see myself as and quotes of who I want to be. I included my name within it so I can visualise that I’m thinking of myself when I see this page.

I’m going to try and use the index a little better in this one. I kid myself that I don’t need it as I remember where everything is but that isn’t always true!

I’ve been listening to the audio book ‘ Getting Things Done’ by David Allen, so I have included some pages at the front for my master projects list which I can review each week when deciding on tasks.

It is a little sad to say goodbye to the notebook I’ve been carrying with me everywhere for the last 15 months, just to see it relegated to the book shelf. But it’ll be a fun one to pick up in a few years and look back on. Onwards to my exciting new blue bullet journal!

 

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