In my last weekly update way back in March, I mentioned that I started Bullet Journaling. After having used it for the past few months and trying many, many page layouts, I’m finally ready to share what I’ve learned. I honestly believe that this system would work for every person and my goal is to get as many people into it as possible. If you have any interest in getting your life together at all, go find a notebook you abandoned (it’s okay we all have them) and just try it for a week. You won’t regret it.
So without further ado, here’s my BuJo.
Upon opening, the first page you come to is the Index. Mine is one of the less aesthetically pleasing ones I’ve seen, but it works. I also gave myself two pages just in case I ran out of room on the first page. Most people don’t keep track of the daily log pages, but I liked the ease of flipping to a certain date. To save room and keep the day pages separate from my other lists and pages, I have list-type things on the right and dates on the left.
Next comes the Key. Pretty much every BuJo I’ve seen has one of these, but mine is pretty much useless at this point. I started off this whole process a little over-enthusiastically. I wanted every color and line to have meaning. So that’s what my key says. However, in practice, I found this all a little too time consuming and I was spending way more time flipping back and forth to check what color things were supposed to be than I wanted. As far as the symbols go, I pretty much now just use bullets for tasks, X’s for when I complete the task, and little arrows to migrate the task to the next day or later in the week (you’ll see pretty much every “cleaning” task has an arrow until Friday or Sunday).
Following the Index you get to one of my favorite best intentions gone wrong, The Calendex. I originally found the Calendex on BohoBerry’s Future Planning post (her blog has lots of fantastic ideas and that’s where I pulled a lot of inspiration from in the beginning). Unfortunately, as you can see it is mostly blank and I never quite figured out how I wanted to use it properly. It required a lot more page flipping than my ideal system, so I’ll have to figure out a better year-long option in the future. Right now this two-page honker has pretty much just become a useful tool to quickly check which Fridays are “Summer Fridays” at work. I did really want this one to work though, and it is a very pretty way to see the whole year. If you can get it to work in your own BuJo, let me know how you managed it.
The Monthly Log
This is my first “Monthly Log” also inspired by BohoBerry’s post from above. For the most part I really liked how this layout works, but as you can see it didn’t get much use. I only started my journal in the last week or so of March anyway, but even after that I rarely used it. It was useful for tracking my work schedule, but as you can see on 3/23 I had that interview listed in the morning…and within a couple of days my changing work schedule became obsolete. Huzzah!
When April rolled around I tried a slight variation which gave pretty much the same information but also included trackers. As you can see I did a great job with those. For a total of four days. I really like the tracker idea but now that I have a Fitbit, I pretty much have an app that tracks all of that for me, and while having it in my BuJo would be nice to look at, I don’t really need it and it’s just more time I have to spend every day moving things over. And again, I rarely referenced the monthly log enough to make it worth it.
The Weekly Log
I think weekly logs and monthly logs are one of those things that are very one or the other for a lot of people. When I first started I had decided to implement both to see what I liked more. To this day I’m constantly going back and forth about what the best method is. Originally I had the monthly, weekly, and daily log. While it gave me a lot more room to write things down, I found it was a little excessive. It got repetitive transferring from monthly to weekly to daily, so things started being left out of the weekly or the monthly…and soon enough neither was quite reliable.
The original weekly layout and the newer one have mostly the same information, except the newer one offers more space in the day columns, a quick daily note to sum up the day, a smaller “notes” section, and small date calendars for the current month and the next month. I also hate how the original one looked, but am in love with the newer one. At this point, the new weekly logs are the only section I’ve decided to definitively keep. It does take a while to set up, but I spent one morning at work doing the layouts for the month, which a) made it so I only had to dedicate my time to drawing lines once a month and b) allowed me to scrap the monthly log for June. This way I could plan ahead for future weeks and not sacrifice the space I was able to dedicate to each day.
The Daily Logs
When I first started my BuJo, I wanted it to be more of a hybrid between a planner and a journal. Many BuJos showed multiple days on a page, but I decided to do one day per page so half could be dedicated to tasks and half could be a paragraph or so synopsis of my day. While I really liked all the space, there were several days that were basically empty wastes of a page, so eventually I moved to two days per page. Once I started at WME I had a lot less to talk about day-to-day, so I didn’t need all the “Daily Reflection” space. While I like the two days per page system, I still think that it’s a little too much room.
For June, I actually wound up scrapping the daily log entirely and opted to only use the weekly log. For anyone with a really hectic schedule, this probably wouldn’t work great, but I actually find it to work pretty well. However, I do miss having a spot to do a small recap of my day, so for July I think I’m going to have the weekly logs scheduled the month out and then try doing a daily log day by day. Previously, I had laid out the days for the whole week and there was a lot of wasted space. By doing day-to-day and picking up where the last one leaves off, I think I’ll save some pages and wind up with a better looking journal.
One of my favorite parts of the BuJo is the ability to just throw in random lists as you come up with them, and instead of becoming lost in the middle of a random notebook or planner, it’s purposefully accounted for in the Index. I’ve always been awful at keeping track of the books I’ve read, what I want to read, and many more, but now I have a place to keep everything. The above are some of my prettier lists, but I also have them for wines I’ve tried, podcasts I want to listen to, shows to watch, celebs I’ve seen, and many, many more.
Hopefully by this point, I’ve convinced you to start your own BuJo. If I have, keep an eye out for my post on Friday where I’ll tell you how to get yours started, along with many of the resources I used to start mine.
Happy Hump Day, Everyone!
See you on Friday.