Bullet journal…. So what exactly is it? How do you get one? Why do you need one?
Well the long and short of that last question is … you dont NEED one. I can explain why I keep mine .. what I use mine for and why it benefits me! From there… You can decide if you fancy it of not!
Let get this clear, I have not started something ground breaking here, its a well known community, following … society that is followed online now days. The Original “Bullet Journal” was coined / commenced by Ryder Carroll by visiting the Bullet Journal website you will find a very easy to understand style to which he started. Since these basic “rules” “guidelines”, many people have greatly elaborated their bullet journals, some people have several different journals at one time to track different aspects of their lifes. Such as .. work, etsy shops, you tube, health, travel etc…
On Instagram there are many fascinating and wonderful inspirational “BuJo” personalities and communities. Here are just a few which I follow :
- Boho Berry (Kara) also found at her own website bohoberry.com
- The Sisters BuJo
- Bujouk – Great travel log journal.
- Micah – Blue Sky design…. Also found on her Etsy Shop
- Bex – Painted Illustrated
- Kim – Tiny Ray of Sunshine
- Jessica – Pretty Prints and Paper
- Bullet journalers – Also on Bricks X Castle online store.
- Bujo Inspire
- Zoot – Bullet journal joy
- Heidi Currie – Paper and ink Co
To name but a few fantastic insta hubs!
What do you need… Quite simply .. A notebook… A pen and some imagination.
When I began my first attempt at a Bullet journal it took me a good few variations before I found my “flow” My first notebook was an Agenzio Multicoloured Square grid hardback notepad from Paperchase.
This was in between A4 and A5, it also came with an elastic strap to close and x1 lace page marker. I removed the Elastic as I purchased a coloured strap with pen holder to wrap around horizontally. The Grid layout worked well for me for planning out my layouts and ideas.
Eventually though I gave in and stumped up for the “Real” Bullet journal. If I’m honest … this purchase was propaganda and longing. I Did NOT need a new notebook but I promised myself that if I used the Agenzio effectively for 6 months I would treat myself to the Leuchtturm 1917. Unfortunately now… I probably wont go back, because I Love it, I love the dot compared to the grid.. I love the double page marker, I love the Index pages and the numbered page layout.
Throughout this Post all of the pictures on the left are my original attempt at bullet journal, the agenzio and the right is the Leuchtturm1917. Above you can see the layout I made for and Index and key and then the ready made Index. Leuchtturm1917 also sell a journal which includes a “Key” page, I do not have this version.
So one of the first steps following your Key and Index Is your future planner. You can see above I started out very very simply, usually writing out 6 months at a time. Under these months I mark out important dates, birthdays, appointments, events or trips. I also use this area to remind myself of any tasks I need to complete such as .. Car insurance, MOT, studying or seed planting times.
You will see once I began to experiment more I made my second attempt a little more interesting to look at, I also inserted a calender page for each month. This allowed me to track when i worked dayshifts / nightshifts and when I had annual leave. I found this much easier than having to write in every monthly spread having it all at a glance, it also corresponds well with my kitchen wall calendar.
From this you will go on to mark out your monthly plans.
My original layout was divided in to 4 sections:
- Work and appointments
- Personal and events
- Finance and bills
I also tried to document what my partners plans were so I had an idea of our household finance but also our work schedules.
Needless to say this just did not work for me, I imagine If you have a very busy big family life where you’re having to track kids hobbies and appointments, plus your work and own hobbies .. family events.. school events etc etc … This layout could work very well.
Personally it became obvious to me.. I did not have appointments every month… my partners work pattern rarely changes… my work pattern changes week to week. I discovered I was more likely to insert my chores or gym visits/ classes into my weekly layout dependent on my work schedule that week. As for finances and bills… They are all set up on my account and our shared account to come out on the same dates each month.
My goals worked quite well at the side of the month, I meant I could look back and see what Id started to achieve and able to monitor weekly if I was achieving them.
In short … I had used a lot of space but had quite a lot of blank areas that I rarely looked at this page for. Hence I changed my layout in my new journal to work for me, not only to use the area better, but also visually it helps me to see the month laid out in calendar spread.
You will notice above I have kept the overall theme and layout the same, but slightly adjusted things each to my needs each month.
I’d Like to just add a side note here…. You will notice that February is not included here. Unfortunately my father passed away that month this year. I do not feel I need to explain myself as to why i did not do February, but I would like to make a point of saying the repetitive task of doing my bullet journal monthly, weekly, daily….. Having something to focus on really helped me.
I had days and sometimes weeks where I didn’t see the point in dressing… I felt that even having to think about picking out something to wear… washing my hair , blow drying .. eating or making fresh meals… It took so much effort. My days felt tiring to even carry out simple things let alone try to think about hobbies and fitness.
The funny this is, once I started to plan out my days.. my meals.. I felt it helped me to focus and have meaning again. I gave myself daily tasks to get through the days but I also felt I’d achieved things.
This was my original weekly layout. Its funny because there was absolutely nothing wrong with this layout functionally, but as you start to bullet journal and stumble across so many inspirational designs and ideas…. you get itchy to try lots of other variations. The above layout done everything I required it to do…. But it just simply wasn’t interesting and pretty enough.
What do I like my weekly spread to do? …
- Plan Daily tasks/ events / appointments.
- Monitor Exercise and Activity.
- Make sure to shop mindfully and not waste food I’m Buying.
- Plan meals… So to eat better but also … Not to waste food!
- Monitor Patterns in Blood Sugar.
- Make the most of the time I have.
Initially I then would mark out the tasks I had that day and sometimes have a little journal log underneath it. In short … for me… This just didn’t feel necessary. I felt I was duplicating writing out the tasks and marking them off… and on days where I work (13hour shifts) … I generally will not have time to carry out other tasks, let alone write anything about the day I’ve had.
From both these layouts I learned I needed I bigger weekly spread… but no requirement for daily ones. The only exception to this is when we go away on a trip … I find then I will write Daily instead of a weekly spread because I don’t not have “Plans” when on my holidays. We don’t know what each day will bring!
Here was my first go at weekly spreading in the Bullet journal, the layout of this hasn’t really changed despite slight tweeks I made here and there for different reasons. Usually I have the days of the week, meals, exercise/activity and steps, a shopping list and I monitor my blood glucose readings.
These photos should let you see the different styles, plans .. ideas I tried until I felt comfortable with what worked for me. I tried to track activity daily… I tried to put daily thoughts in.. Meals etc… But as you might notice I never logged my Sugars. I’m a visual person and I benefited from having a line graph seeing what my sugars were doing.
Currently I am using the 8th version of my weekly spread. This really works for me, as you see I no longer Log meals because I now keep a weekly meal spread on my fridge, this helps me remember what we are having as I make it and what I need to prep for work days. What food needs used up and what I need to buy if we don’t have it for a recipe.
I got my Meal planner from Paperchase they have many many lovely magnetic planners like this that Link in well with the idea of bullet journalling.
Probably one of the most addictive and hook lining things about a Bullet Journal. Its probably the one thing that really made me switch over from a normal weekly diary that most folk have to keep a track on things. The idea of tracking individual habits, plans, logging books you’ve read, weight loss or measurements, health activities, planning decor and mind mapping ideas.
I LOVE IT !
I hope this give you a good idea of what people use a bullet journal for, but also some inspiration and ideas if you do feel this is something you were considering but weren’t sure where to start!
Also … Here are a few happy holiday / trip spreads that I slot in between when I’m not planning a weekly spread 😀