I first learned of bullet journals at the end of last summer. I knew immediately that this was the system for me, and quickly shoved my standard planner with complicated color codes and scribbled post-its aside. I love starting things new and fresh and wanted to wait to start til 2017, but I knew I needed some time to practice…to make this journal my own.
I practiced in a Moleskine from September-December. I used colored pens and made every list I could possibly think of, and all the ones from Pinterest also. I liked it, but didn’t love it. I was much more organized, felt more accomplished at the end of the day, and loved having only one notebook. I was staying with this system, but needed to find my own way.
To start the new year off right, I splurged on a pretty blue Leuchtturm1917 notebook and some Pitt Artist Pens pens (ended up loving the S size best). And I set up my notebook in a manner similar to Carroll’s original ideas, but filling my own needs.
I put my calendar pages at the front. Based on how much I filled my Moleskine in four months and planning to scale way back on my collections, I decided to try for six months in this book. I used two page spreads to make pretty traditional calendar spreads, while leaving room for notes on the side. I really enjoy having all my big calendars together at the front for easy reference.
I put all of my collections at the back. I had quickly learned that I do not love having my collections interspersed throughout my notebook of dailys and weeklys. Despite the numbering system necessarily being backwards, as I cannot predict the future, I’m much happier with a collection of collections, if you will.
I’m a bit of a future planner, so I made sure to include a simple future log in the back for months July-August. Because I laid out the calendars for January-June, I can use the notes section and calendar boxes to make my future plans for those months easily. As I think of things or schedule things for these months, I just jot them down in the appropriate spot.
After the calendar pages, I just started rolling with my dailys. I start with simple headers and include the weather each evening, when I fill out the next day’s list. I’m firmly in the all black-no color camp, as I like the minimalistic look. I also think my handwriting is too sloppy to include color effectively, without it looking a mess. I’ve toyed with journal books for years and years and years, but generally stop them after a bit and then tear out pages willy-nilly. I decided to try journaling my thoughts and ideas and feelings in with my daily to-dos and I’m loving it. It’s a bit odd, but I just put a little dash whenever I want to write some notes, even if it’s between my chores and appointments for the day.
I’ve tried with weeklys and without, and weeklys it will be. My calendar spreads work well for appointments, but I need a space for the random to-dos that I need to remember each week. I also like having a space for weekly meal planning and logging my cleaning and exercise routines. These all go nicely on a one page weekly spread. Lastly, I use a bit of colorful washi tape on the edges to note where each month’s days are.
So far, this system works beautifully for me. I love following bujo instagram feeds and blogs with super-artistic and creative folks’ spreads. I’m fairly certain I will never be one of those with gorgeous handwriting and watercolored headers, but never say never, right? For now, this is a place for me to stay organized and store my memories and plans.