In December, I posted about my switch to a bullet journal and the stats to this little blog went through the roof thanks to that one post. There are a lot of you that are switching to a bujo (bullet journal’s nickname) or are just curious about how others set up theirs. I know I am! I love scrolling though IG and seeing all your pages! They inspire me. 🙂
I thought I would do an updated post since I started a new notebook for 2016. I was going to use the same one since it wasn’t finished but I couldn’t resist a fresh start with a new year.
Before I dive into sharing my set up, please keep a few things in mind.
It’s okay not to decorate. I don’t know how many times I have heard “I want to use a bullet journal but I am not creative” or “I use a bullet journal but it is very plain.” Stop apologizing for that! It’s fine! Plain can be beautiful. The original bullet journal is not decorated at all. I consider mine more of a bujo hybrid – taking the main aspects of a bullet journal and creatively making it my own. The main thing to consider – is it functional?? If you are stressing out over how to decorate it, then DON’T. Keep it simple!!
If It Depresses You, Look Away
Along that same line, if looking at all the artistic bullet journals on Pinterest is depressing you because you can’t draw a straight line, let alone a stick figure, then stop looking! It’s like a couple years back when I was browsing through some mom blogs and it was depressing because these moms looked like models, their saintly kids in hand stitched clothes (who didn’t know what dirt was) were gleefully helping mom in their garden so she could whip up an organic meal after homeschooling them all. Meanwhile I was sitting in front of the computer with sweats and a stained shirt, a garden of dead plants, crayon marks on the walls, pants that were hemmed with iron-on tape, pizza guy on speed dial and my kid just walked by and wiped his runny nose on my pant like I was a human tissue. I finally had to step away from those blogs and accept the fact that wasn’t me.
Eventually, I got my act a little more together and improved in many areas (even if I still can’t sew) and I’ve accepted that I have my weaknesses but I also have my talents too. I still drool over some of the artwork and hand lettering I see on IG but I don’t despair. Instead, I get inspired. I do what I know, practice what I don’t and keep moving forward. So if looking at all the pretty depresses you, stop looking.
It’s More than Pens and Washi
And on the opposite end, if drawing or decorating come easy to you, go for it! Just make sure you are using the journal and not just wasting all your time making it pretty. (She said to herself.) 😉
You’re Gonna Mess Up
Your bullet journal will never be “perfect.” It is like nails on a chalkboard to me, but I have to accept that I mess up. My journal has mistakes. Or I wish I arranged it a little differently. But I’ll live and it still works.
If you are starting a new journal (or even a new month), I recommend sitting down and brain storming about what you’d like to have in your planner. Will you have lists? Trackers? Goals? Logs? Then decide how you’d like to arrange the pages – lists first? Or at the end? Or just add them as you go long? Get a general idea but don’t overthink it. Next just jump in and give it a try. You will learn what works great and what was a waste of time. The next month, adjust accordingly.
So in a nutshell:
Brainstorm first. Start simple. Learn as you go. Accept your abilities. Embrace imperfection.Have fun getting things done.
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Okay, now for the tour.
I started a new book in January. I use a Leuchtturm 1917, which already has an index and numbered pages.
Index/ Table of Contents
Legend / Key
6 Month Overview
2 Month Interval
I break my yearly goals into smaller bi-monthly goals. So for March/April I decide what I wanted to work on and what projects I wanted to get done. That info is kept in this section.
One of my March projects.
Month cover pages for January and February. This is where I get to practice new designs. It’s not exactly what I had in my head but it’ll do.
I was actually pleased with this one. I feel like my doodling is slowly getting better.
Monthly Challenges – In this section I add the challenges I want to participate in.
In January I did the #ptldoodle challenge. I skipped it in February but am doing it again in March.
In February I did the #InCoWriMo Letter Writing Challenge
Some of the monthly challenges I’m doing in March – #planwithmechallenge, #rockyourhandwriting, #listersgottalist and #holylens. Sometimes I’ll skip days or I’ll do 4 days at once to catch up but it is still a fun activity.
January Goal Tracker
In January, I made a cute tracker will color codes. It was fun at first but it got too complicated to implement it each night. In February I skipped it all together. But I missed being able to look back and see how I progressed.
I brought it back in March but did a modified version without the color codes and all the drawn lines. It’s less pretty but pretty is useless if it doesn’t work. This way, in less than a minute, I can review and mark it off at night. Although, I think next month I’ll just put an X instead of coloring in the box.
I write upcoming posts in pencil and once it is posted, I write the post in pen.
Gratitude Log for January
Gratitude Log for March
No matter how tough a day I am having, I write down two things I am especially thankful for that day. It helps me stay positive and grateful for my blessings.
Current Month Calendar and Dailies
I don’t like the vertical monthly list normally used in a bullet journal. My eyes and brain need to see a traditional monthly calendar to process quickly so I improvised.
My New Weekly Layout
I tried a new layout I for the first time this week. It is a weekly spread. I wanted an overview to see what my weekly appointments looked like. I added my menu, prayer intentions, blog ideas to work on and a section for my weekly brain dump. If I find that I need more room for the brain dump, I’ll delete the blog section next time.
On Sunday evenings I usually do a weekly brain dump. I jot down everything that has been floating around in my head. Once that is done I go over the list and assign specific days to do that item. Some tasks don’t need to be done on a specific day so I add an arrow and fit them in on days when I have a little more free time to tackle them.
My daily sheets are fairly simple but it works well for me. I have my tasks on top. Schedule to the right. Sometimes I’ll take a full page for a day. Sometimes I will fit two days.
When I’ve been sick, haven’t been able to journal or for the weekend, I’ll often just lump the days together and make note of anything important.
Since the weekends are mostly for family time I’ll sometimes record memories or funny things the kids say.
Or I’ll add the memory to the bottom of my daily page.
The one thing I missed about a traditional planner was having calendars of the entire year to keep track of future events and appointments. To make up for this, I made simple calendars that I cut out and washi taped to the last pages of my BuJo. As the months pass I can remove the paper calendar easily with the washi and still use the blank page for writing.
If you’d like to print out a PDF copy of the calendar, I placed them in a file on Google Drive. Enjoy.
2016 Master Bujo
Another thing I set up differently this month is that I decided to keep a separate bujo for year long lists and logs. It is my 2016 Master Bujo. In it I keep master lists such as these.
2016 Yearly Goals
Books to Read
Log of Books I Read
Movies to Watch
Log of Movies Watched (I will go back and rate the movies with stars.)
TV Shows to Check-out
Words to Ponder (Favorite Quotes)
Pen Pal Info
A master blog list with all my posts of 2016.
I also have a section with important notes/ info that I will need later that I want in a central location. There are more lists coming (including medical stuff, car maintenance, local places to visit) but this is what I have so far.
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For more inspiration and ideas about bullet journaling, check out Tina’s Bullet Journal Pals page. She also does monthly list of bullet journal related links. Here is the Feb 2016 List.
I also started a separate IG account for bullet journaling, monthly challenges, snail mail, etc. Find me @bobbis_bujo.
Next week (or the week after, depending on life) I’ll do a follow up post about my favorite bullet journal accessories – pens, pen holders, washi, tabs for dividing sections, etc.
How about you? Do you use a bullet journal? What is your favorite layout or list? Or your best piece of bullet journaling advice? Do share. 🙂
UPDATE – Since I’ve been reading so much lately, I started a separate Reading Journal.
To read other planner posts, visit here.
Blessings to you!
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