My journaling has evolved much over the past few years since I discovered the Bullet Journal system. I love that this method is so flexible and streamline. The fact that my BuJo can be whatever I want it to be and if I change my mind or my style from one week to the next, it's perfectly fine and it still works!
At the start of this year I ordered a beautiful new journal, my goal was to start this year in style, but chronic illness is quite unpredictable and I ended up not really getting started on anything until now. I hope you will enjoy this little tour through this month's layout in my new Bujo - I love it and cannot wait to use it daily!
It has not been an easy season for me, I seem to be in some sort of a flare or relapse, so at the end of February I was doing quite badly and didn't really have the energy to plan and execute an elaborate theme for this month.
I decided to skip the usual themed cover page and went straight into the monthly overview. It features a calendar spread where I can plan things in advance and keep track of things that need to be dealt with during the course of the month.
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I generally don't have any appointments or social meet-ups to occupy this calendar, but I'm finding it very helpful for social media planning and keeping track of birthdays.
I love the large blocks, they provide enough space to make a few notes on each day if necessary. I used a beautiful shiny washi tape down the edge of the page on the left so that the start of each month will be easy to find. It acts as a type of bookmark.
You might have noticed I forgot to write the days of the week across the top, proper planning in pencil is really helpful, but I only realised this after a few mistakes were made on this page.
The word March is covering up a line which wasn't meant to be there - it took some creativity to hide it well, but I think the mistake is now invisible. Who knew that funky mismatched letters with patterns all over would be such a great way to hide mistakes!
I love the grey shadowing around the outer edge of the calendar.
Vertical Weekly Spread
On the next page I went straight into the weekly spread. As I mentioned, it wasn't a good week for me, so I only set up the basics. In my old journal I used to use the horizontal layout, but this month I opted for the vertical layout and I quite like it!
A weekly overview is super useful. You get to see the whole week with one glance and can shift things around as needed. I love that each spread represents a week and each one can be different.
These vertical boxes have just enough space to make a list of things to do each day without requiring much writing. I love having the whole week in overview and the section with "goals" really helps keep me on track with my priorities.
You might notice a large flower in the corner of each box. These flowers are actually my water tracker. Each petal gets coloured as I drink a glass of water! The little flowers and surrounding leaves are coloured in advance though.
I have come to the conclusion that I don't like my brush script days of the week and decided to opt for caps next time.
New Weekly Spread
I love this new spread! The headings are easier to read and much neater in my opinion and I've added some tracking boxes to the bottom of each day too.
My daily trackers are easy to read and provide a good overview of my general well-being throughout the week.
I still get the weekly view at a glance, I can keep the journal open on this spread the whole day and can easily shift things around or add items on different days without flipping through multiple pages.
I've widened the boxes for each day and removed the left border which is replaced with check-boxes instead.
I've kept the flowers for water tracking and have added the health trackers too. First there are three circles. These represent me, there is one for each time I record my state: upon waking, after lunch, at bed time.
In each circle I draw a face with an expression to represent my mood at the time, I then have a collection of symbols I draw around the face to represent my most pronounced symptoms at the time.
There is one for pain, stiffness, shaking, itching, brain fog and inability to stay awake. These are my most debilitating symptoms and I only record them if they are causing me trouble to function. If mild and not interfering with my generally low exertion activities, then I don't bother recording them.
The last tracker displays my daily steps which are measured by my Fitbit. Once I get into bed, I sync my device and record how many steps I've walked on that day. This just gives me a general overview of activity levels.
I am planning on adding a few other pages to track or record various things, this month I have just been easing my way back into journaling after taking a few months off.
So I'm giving myself time to decide which spreads would actually be useful to have.
A Bullet Journal should help you be productive and efficient, not cause more stress or confusion, it really should help make life easier, so I want to make sure that I only commit to pages I know will serve a purpose and be helpful.
I used to use a lined, hard-cover note book (see previous bujo post), but this new dotted journal with thick pages is so much better! I don't think I'll ever go back to the thin, lined pages again.
The journal itself is sturdy with a hardback cover, leather feel and a pen loop built in the spine. There's a pocket in the back cover and some tabs to create divisions in the journal. It also has an elastic closure and one ribbon bookmark.
The dots are quite visible, this bugs my sister, but I have no problem with them, I think they are light enough. The dots make measuring areas so much easier and drawing lines is a much quicker job now. No more skew lines, just line the ruler up with the dots!
The pages are a lovely cream colour and are super good quality. I've done a swatch test of all my pens and markers and none of my water-based inks bleed through the paper. Not one! I even tried watercolours and they hardly warped the page!
The only pens that went through were Sharpies, but these are alcohol based and will bleed through just about any paper.
I am so happy with this journal and cannot wait for the end of the week so I can create my new spreads.
Here is a list of all of my own favourite supplies for journaling:
- Dotted journal
- Pencil (HB / 0.5-0.7 mm lead) and eraser
- Ruler, protractor and compass - for drawing lines and circles
- Uniball fine liners - for drawing and outlining boxes
- Tombow Fude / Pentel Touch - for headings
- Tombow grey - for shadows
- Pilot Frixion - great for writing, erasable - perfect for moving items around!
- Pilot Gel - great for writing, careful - this one's not erasable!
- Muji / Stabilo Felt tips or Tombow brushpens - for colouring
Mildliners & Supertips are also very popular for adding colour to your journal, but I've never tried them. You can of course also use washi tape or sticker sets to decorate your journal if you don't like drawing or don't have time for it.
Of course a bullet journal doesn't need to be arty and colourful, the main focus is of course productivity, so monochrome and minimalist is perfect too. In that case all you need is a notebook and a good pen!
I just find the whole process of designing pages and colouring them to be fun and part of my daily creative activities. I started journaling the minimalist way, but found that I tend to look at my journal more if it's pretty, so I am more likely to check my to do list and remember things than if the pages were only filled with text.
Over To You!
- Which are your favourite spreads to create in your bullet journal?
- Is yours minimalist, based on clean lines and just one or two colours or is it colourful and filled with art or stickers?
- If you haven't started a Bujo yet, what's holding you back?