As we head into a new month I am excited to show you my new bullet journal layout for June! I'll also share more detail about my symptom and mood tracker as well as a layout comparison with previous months.
I cannot believe we are already half-way through 2018, time is just racing by so fast. I only started this year's journal in March, so I don't have 6 months of journal updates to show you, but I will share the 4 months I have done so you can see how my journal has evolved over time.
Personalising My Bullet Journal
In the front of my journal I have my personal key of symbols. I don't use the official bullet journal symbols for different types of activities or appointments, I use a much simpler system:
- I use simple check boxes [ ] next to each item on my to do list.
- I just cross through the box diagonally [ \ ] once I've addressed the item.
- I put an arrow [ > ] if it's been moved forward a day.
- I put a cross [ x ] through the box if it's not been done and cancelled.
That's easy enough to understand, so I don't need a key for that. I do however have a more complex key for my symptom tracker and although I know most of these by now, I have recently added some newer ones which I sometimes forget with brain fog. Click on an image below to zoom.
My Symptom Tracker
This consists of 3 boxes for each day. One for morning, noon and night. I just record my most intense symptoms based using a key that I have crated over the years. If you click on the photo further down on this page, it will zoom in so you can see these trackers.
I update this tracker 3 times a day: upon waking, after lunch and at bedtime.
- Faces - these illustrate my mood and light sensitivity
- Lightning bolt - this is for pain
- Dots - this is for itching, more dots means more itching (scale of 1-6)
- Spiral - is for brain fog
- Quotation marks " - these illustrate shaking
- Exclamation mark ! - is for stiffness
- Three lines or spikes - for pins and needles
- A big "Z" - this is for those times I just cannot stay awake
- Teardrop - if I've actually been so unwell I have cried, not common, so important to note
It might seem complicated, but I have been using most of these symbols for years now and they are almost second nature. They make sense to me and are so quick to draw, it just takes a few moments to record everything that's going on. The important thing is to create a system that works for you. If it's too complex, it will cause more stress than order in your life and that is counter-productive.
There are many monthly challenges around to help you cultivate good habits or keep you consistent in any activity you want to improve in. One of my favourites, which I have yet to complete, is The 100 Day Project. This year I have chosen to focus on watercolour and gouache. I have written about it previously, so I won't go into detail here, but I'll show you the setup I have in my journal to keep track of things.
On the left I have an envelope which contains all the various themes for my watercolour practice and on the right is a page where I'm tracking my progress. It is a page with three columns. Each one represents a month with all the days numbered down the left. I just use this calendar to keep track of my daily challenges done. I've covered it because it's private and mostly unused at this point.
I was tracking my progress, then I fell off the wagon and things have not been going ahead. May was a hectic month for me - very busy and much flaring. But I am determined to continue the daily practice and let myself off the hook for the days I have missed. I might extend the challenge an extra month, redesign the page, so I can start fresh.
March 2018 Bullet Journal Layout
Getting used to a new journal isn't easy. I moved from lined notebooks from the pound store to a high quality dotted journal I found online. It was absolutely worth it though - I love my journal! But getting used to the dots and being more creative in the journal was all new to me and I did make a few design errors in the first month. You can read all about my March mistakes and see more detailed photos here.
The Monthly Spread
ecorated with hand drawn flowers which I coloured with markers and gold washi tape down the edge of the page to mark the start of the month. This spread is used for social media planning and dates I need to remember, like birthdays and appointments. Any planning ahead can go in here until I have the relevant weekly spread set up and it can be migrated onto the appropriate day.
The Weekly Spreads
Displays a week at a glance and has a slot for that week's goals or priorities too. There is a little tracker at the bottom of each day and some flowers in the bottom corner. The tracker consists of: my mood and symptom tracker which uses the key I showed you previously to track my feelings and symptoms 3 times a day.
This works much better for me than writing out paragraphs of details. It's quick and easy to do and is actually much faster to scan over at a later date without needing to read pages and pages of text.
Next to that is a space to record my steps walked each day. An easy way to measure activity levels. Around this point my Fitbit started giving some trouble and stopped syncing. It was an old, previously loved one, so quite expected. I was no longer able to consistently track my steps and have since got a new activity tracker. I'll write more about that soon!
The little flowers in each corner are actually my water tracker. Each petal is coloured to represent a glass of water I have had. You can see I am not in the habit of drinking much water.
April 2018 Bullet Journal Layout
I really liked my April layout. The pastel coloured flowers and shading made it look lovely. And when my journal looks good, then I tend to look at it more often and forget things less.
Once again you can see the gold washi tape as edging to make the front page of each month stand out. I used pencil crayons instead of markers to colour these drawings and lettering.
Social Media Planning
In each box of my monthly overview I have put symbols or acronyms for the items I wanted to post on each day as well as which blog posts I wanted to share on which particular days. When the spread is in use, there are usually a bunch of post it notes stuck all over it too. I use these to draw attention to things or have the freedom to move things around easily until I am happy with the plan and can pen it in.
I decorated this page with a cross because it was Easter in April.
The Weekly Spreads
This time I let go of the water tracker and just coloured the big flowers in. I love how they turned out. You can see that by this time my Fitbit was dead and I could no longer track my steps either. April was quite a productive month for me, I also had some new tracking pages for social media scheduling as well as a Prayer list and list of emails I need to respond to.
I still use those pages, you can see the new trackers below.
May 2018 Bullet Journal Layout
May was ME Awareness Month, so you can see I have marked ME Awareness week with a matching washi tape. Again I have used gold washi to mark the start of the new month and I have continued with the lovely big florals. I was taking part in another challenge so each day on the calendar has the prompts filled in as well as which blog posts I wanted to share on the relevant days.
I ended up really struggling to keep up with all the advocacy I had planned, so the inevitable crash came and I spent most of the month in the dark, unable to complete the planned actions.
I also switched from the previously colourful lettering for the heading and used a black brush pen and then adding grey shadow detail. I really like how it turned out.
My exhaustion shows in these pages as the layout is much simpler, it's the horizontal layout I had been using in my old notebooks prior to buying this journal. There's not much fuss in the decoration, it was all done in shifts over a few days. I initially didn't even have the tracker and flowers.
I did however eventually create a lovely new tracker which I quite liked. It allowed me to colour in the flowers ahead of time because I had a separate water tracker now. Still not drinking enough water though.
I also like the addition of washi tape to the weekly spread which is an easy way to add colour to the pages without needing to spend ages drawing and colouring when you're not well.
You can see many parts were eventually left out. The following week was also completely empty. I created the basic layout, but I just couldn't actually do anything with it. I've just clipped it shut with a paper clip and won't look at it again!
June 2018 Bullet Journal Layout
I decided to move away from the floral theme and went with a summery seaside theme instead. I love how it's turned out and will enjoy colouring these drawings in. The gold washi has made an appearance again, as has the lovely cyan. I really like that rainbow set of washi tape. It's not the best quality and you can't really write over it, but the colours are lovely!
Social Media Trackers
The next spread is for keeping on top of social media curating. On the left is a scheduling calendar where I keep track of all the posts I need to publish on various accounts I run on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. I will list each time slot and which profile its on down the left side and use this whenever I sit down to schedule posts in advance.
These are handy tools for when you know you will be unable to spend much time online, have things posted even while you sleep!
Brain fog makes it very hard for me to keep on top of things, so I colour in a square for each post I have scheduled so when I need a break I don't lose my spot and can carry on from where I left off. I used this method in April and it really worked well.
The page on the right will be populated with all the Facebook groups I'd like to visit on each day of the week. These groups have virtual events on certain days of the week, and although I often cannot participate, I like to have them organised here so that on the days I am able to, I can just look at this page and see which groups are actually doing something on that day. It's a helpful way to conserve energy by not wasting time scrolling through the wrong groups on the wrong day.
I started working on this June layout quite early, so I had time within the week to make 2 weekly spreads. One has an under the sea theme and the other has an ice-cream theme. I love how they have turned out and can't wait to get colouring!
I am no longer making check boxes of to do lists, but rather keeping track of what I do each hour of the day. Turning my journal into an activity tracker. I want to be more intentional about rest so I'm trying to do some meditation each hour. Not quite there yet, but a few times a day is helping so far.
You can see I use little post-it notes to make my lists and stick them on the relative day. This means that I can move them around if I have a bad day and can't do anything and leaves the space in the journal to keep an account of what actually happened on that day.
Design And Functionality
I have used washi tape again, I love how it makes the headings pop! I have kept the mood and symptom tracker and have slightly modified the rest of it. There is now a step tracker and a heart rate variability tracker.
This measurement comes from my new fitness tracker and it basically measures your stress vs rest levels. I'm finding it very helpful in pacing. I am also keeping track of what time I go to sleep and wake daily. The water tracker is now up front where the challenges are... because drinking 6 glasses of water is a massive challenge for me!
Bullet Journals Are So Easily Adaptable
I really like that each week has a slightly different theme and uses different colours, pictures, headings and washi tape.
This makes my journal more interesting to look at and more enjoyable to use.
It also means that if I ever get bored with any aspect of it, I can simply change it up the following week and everything still works.
You are not bound by the preset layouts and decorations of ready-made journals, but get to design your journal the way you like it. I just love the flexibility of the Bullet Journal!
Want To Know More About Bullet Journals?
- Click here for my post about bullet journaling and why it is helpful for people with chronic illness
- Click here to visit Ryder Carroll's website, he's the creator of the Bullet Journal system
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SO funky, I love it!! It’s so hard to think it’s now June already. These bullet journals are great for keeping track of things, gaining a little control over our lives where we can with chronic illness, and I think you do an amazing job with yours! =]
Thanks, Caz! You’re right it does help to keep some form of control and order in our very unpredictable circumstances. And it really helps with memory issues too – having things on paper. Have a great weekend! x
I have been using a bullet journal for about a year and a half and love it. It is not as intricate as yours but keeps me on track. I use check boxes for weekly items and leave space to jot down things that come up that week.
That’s great! I so love how flexible the BuJo is – it can be as simple or complex as you need it to be and it grows and adapts with you.
Hope you’re having a lovely weekend. x
I really need to do this – like Caz says we spoonies need anything to keep a little control and routine in our temperamental lives. Note to self …..must try harder!
Yes! But don’t put pressure on yourself, if it causes you stress then it’s not helpful.
Some people try too hard to make it a certain way and it just becomes more work than anything else. I think with its flexibility it can be such a joyful and calming process to set it up and fill it in… But it can also be overwhelming when you’re tracking too many things daily.
But therein lies the beauty of a blank page… You can just change it up next week or even tomorrow if you find today’s plan was too much. Give it a go! I’d love to know how you get on.
Have a lovely weekend! x
This is such a beautiful Bullet Journal! I’m feel so inspired! =)
Thank you so much, Melanie! Glad you have been inspired. Do you use a bullet journal too?