Usually I would just share my top bullet journal theme ideas and my final layout in a blog post for the month, but since I am behind on my journal and participating in blogmas I figured I would show you today how I actually go about planning my bullet journal step-by-step. Because of how busy my life typically is these days, I want to keep my December bujo fairly minimal. However, I still want to have fun with it.
My journal is still a work in progress, but I figure it’s still worth showing. It’s not fair that all most of us only get to see is the finish product when so much work actually goes into the things most of the time. It can feel daunting to try and start, so hopefully this post demystifies the process.
For finished pictures of my bujo, follow my Instagram @theinkysaga. I will also try to share finished pictures here at some point during the month.
Step 1. Pick a Theme
Now this month, theme is less important to me than spread layout. I am not even sure if you could call what I decided to go with a theme. Essentially I wanted to draw pine cones, berries, and leafage; so I would call it a Christmas aesthetic? Wreath contents?
I took inspiration from __ on YouTube, but I made the specific wreath design my own.
Step 2. Find Layout Templates
This step was a challenge. I wanted something that would help me increase my productivity on personal projects each week and also be good for my work and housekeeping schedules and organization. I also did not want to spend too much time at the start of each week designing the weekly spreads, so I knew I wanted to use a dutch door of some kind.
Dutch doors are pages that are cut so that they are not full pages in your journal. Instead they work with the immediate next page to conceal and reveal content as desired. They are a lot of fun and I would like to use them more in the coming year. For this month’s bujo. I decided to use it rather simply for weekly spreads with the habit tracker, month-at-a-glance corner calendar, and a focus reminder square.
I learned about this layout from Boho Berry’s recent post on the Allistar Method, which is about…
Other than the weeklys, I just had a blog post planner page and a language studies tracker, which was another experiment for me. I know I want to prioritize relearning French over the next few months, so I want to quantify my learning in a way. I Googled “language learning trackers” and ended up on Pinterest, which is how I found a few different spreads.
It has been a while since I shared my bullet journal online, and today I am finally going to share why I stopped bullet journaling this summer. I love bullet journaling for many reasons. One of the main reasons being that it helps me look a month, or even a week, holistically. I can make notes in advance and fill in the blanks after a day or week has concluded. And at the end, I have a beautiful record of the time to look back on.
All summer my life has been uncertain. When I think back to May, I can still remember how I honestly thought I would be following my parents to their new home, even after starting my new part-time elections job. It alone would not have allowed me to survive on my own. However, my life plans have evolved since then as new developments were made on the job front. It’s crazy to think how much can change in just two months’ time!
The blog and my other activities have shifted in priority. But now with summer near its end and my decision to move final, I think it’s a good time to finally summarize my summer bullet journaling experience. I will also be sharing the spreads I came up with this weekend to get me through August.
June & July
I did not enter the summer season thinking I would step away from bullet journaling. On the contrary, I had planned ahead on themes and even spent several days working on the monthly spreads for both June and July. However, when it became clear I would not finish on time and was growing frustrated with little mistakes, it just became easier to step away from bullet journaling.
In June I was going to do a beach wave theme inspired by the The Great Wave off Kanagawa by Hokusai. I referenced a great many bullet journal spreads I found online in my weekly spreads, and got as far as week 3. I’m not terribly proud of them, so I’ll just share the cover spread.
I wanted my July theme to be an homage to Stranger Things since the third season was debuting on the 4th of July. After much thought and work, I lost interest after making one too many little mistakes. tHonestly they are not even that distracting now that I’ve taken some time away from it!
I never finished a weekly spread, but I will share the monthly trackers along with the cover spread for July.
Maybe it was a problem of becoming too ambitious with my designs. It didn’t help that June and July were months of tumultuous life change either. Ultimately I decided to take a break from the monthly routine of designing bujo spreads and focus on preparing for fall. I have also resolved to return to basics so that I don’t have anymore lost months for the year.
I did not think that I would do an August spread this month, but this past weekend I realized I really needed one. It did not have to have an amazing theme or even much detail. But I wanted to have a planner to help me organize my thoughts once I realized I was moving to Austin at the end of the month. There are so many little moving pieces involved in moving and starting new jobs. I needed something to help me feel a little more control over this crazy adventure.
I did not realize this weekend that there are still three full weeks ahead in the month. I will be traveling a lot in the next two weeks, starting one of my new jobs, and gradually moving into my apartment and making cosy. Bullet journaling will definitely help keep my productive. I can’t wait for this new chapter of my life and to be able to start a new chapter of The Inky Saga.
Hello, and welcome back to The Inky Saga! Wow, it’s been a minute since I posted. April was extremely busy between work events, Red Cross work, job applications, and even interviews! I’m very glad I did all my weekly spreads ahead of time, because it likely wouldn’t have happened during the month. My free-time was spent walking my dog, watching new series/movies, and READING! Yes, I’ve finally been reading again! I just finished my marathon of The Illuminae Files with Obsidio this weekend.
In April I had an interview almost every weekday for the last two weeks. After obtaining the first job for which I interviewed, a seasonal position, I decided to put in my two weeks’ notice at my current job. I was ecstatic to have a good reason to leave, because I was starting to get emotionally drained. Nevertheless, I’m still applying and interviewing at the moment, hoping to find something more steady that would be able to support me more fully.
Anyway, I managed to start working on my May bujo spread during my free-time last week. It was a major stress-reliever as I waited to hear back on my interviews and pass the time between my morning and afternoon shifts. Bear in mind, I haven’t completed all my weekly spreads yet! But today I will show you what I have mostly done.
For the longest time, I had a different theme in mind for May. Since I’ve been in the mood for murder mysteries all year, I was aiming to create something original based around that theme. However, my job search activities picked up this spring and I barely had time to do anything more ambitious for myself. So that theme has been tabled for the time being.
In April (or was it March?) I was asked to fill in at another school and I met a kid who liked to like draw anime characters for the counselors. I’ve come to realize we’re all dorky artists somehow! For me he did a really cute Hamtaro!
I discovered Hamtaro around the time I got my second gameboy, the advanced SP pictured on the left. My brother and I shared two Hamtaro games, Ham-Ham Heartbreak and Ham-Hams Unite! I have been playing these games about once every year for the past 3 or so years, generally around finals while I was in grad school for stress relief. So, essentially, this theme idea came to my mind at the perfect time.
I knew I wanted another simple theme for the month and something that would still be fun to draw. It was just a matter of looking up iconic imagery from the show (available on YouTube) and the games I already have then deciding on the practical layouts I knew from experience would work for me.
Sneak Peak into My BuJo
This is the first month where I’ve decided to play around with color! I worked my city’s annual kids festival in April in the art village and one of the crafts was this amazing map of the United States that the visitors could add as much or as little color as they wished. Most of my time was spent coloring with the Sharpies we provided that day, in between helping the kids with their crafts obviously. ^_^
It occurred to me that I actually owned a color set of Sharpies, which I purchased while I was still working on my undergraduate degree. After testing them on my Pen Test page to make sure the ink wouldn’t bleed through, I decided to use color to bring the ham hams to life! They worked better than I thought they would, the colors showing up beautifully on the page. They also dried so fast, so I didn’t have any problems with the color smearing (unlike the pens I use)!
All that being said, I only have my title page, my monthly log, a two-page habit & media consumption tracker (not pictured), before I jump into my weekly spreads. I only did the first three weeks, but I know what I’m doing for the last two weeks. For those spreads, you can watch my Instagram @theinkysaga. I’m aiming to become more active on there as I continue along my bujo journey.
It’s a little off topic, but I have been thinking more and more about how I could provide the layouts I design for anyone who wants to use my monthly spread alongside me. It’s definitely a long-term goal and one I hope to achieve in the next year or so. I see all my “original” monthly spreads as first drafts, so one day I would like return to these spreads and revise/recreate them digitally.
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In other news, I have another blog post scheduled for later this week! I also would like to share a job search update once I’m more confident in my position and my short-term living plans, as I’m thinking I will need to move at some point in June. I’ll need to start looking at apartments in my area if I get a job I want here and if not, well, I may be relocating. Regardless of this uncertainty, I do plan to blog more consistently now that I won’t have to wake up before dawn for less than two measly hours of work.
For April I decided to make a Howl’s Moving Castle spread! It took me over a week to pull this one together, between narrowing down my idea and pre-planning my spread. I was fairly certain I wanted to do a Studio Ghibli movie theme this month, but I felt myself gravitating towards the movies with which I was already most familiar. Then Howl’s Moving Castle won out over Spirited Away.
There were a few spreads I was able to find that had done a similar theme (@jannplansthings and My Sister’s Journal (Apr 2018)), but I wasn’t able to find a complete month’s worth of spread ideas I liked, so I had to come up with a lot on my own. It was fun and I’m really pleased with my creative choices and the final result.
I decided to keep this month’s spread really simple. I didn’t set space for goals or a brain dump. I kept it down to the bare essentials: monthly log, stats, and blog post planner. I also decided to do all my weekly spreads in advance so I’ll be sharing them in today’s post!
Why Howl’s Moving Castle?
When I was thinking about spring bullet journal themes, Howl’s Moving Castle probably entered the running when I was looking up umbrellas. Turnip Head turns out to a really sweet and considerate character in the movie and when I think of him, I think of him with an umbrella in his hand.
The more I thought about Howl’s Moving Castle, the more I realized it really is a spring-time movie. We don’t really celebrate May Day in the U.S., to the best of my knowledge, but it’s a holiday that celebrates spring and an opening event in the book that brings Howl and Sophie together. Flowers are in bloom and present throughout the movie, whether they be in the hat shop or in nature.
I could have saved this theme for May, but I’ve had a different theme in mind for that month for a couple of months now. Plus, May in Texas definitely feels like more like summer than spring…
The April Spread
The title page of the moving castle came from two very similar designs I discovered in my planning stage, one a painting and the other line art. I loved the look of both, but I wasn’t sure if I wanted to commit to using color yet. So I decided I would lean into the inked version and add color later if I felt like it.
I tried out a new monthly log layout that I discovered from Boho Berry. I don’t know how much use I’ll make out of it, but I do think it might help me visualize my days a little better by breaking the Personal column of past spreads into AM & PM columns. I also like the last column where I can take notes that best help me picture the work I do in April. To tie in the theme, I decided to draw in Sophie and Sullivan’s dog from the movie scene where they are watching a young Howl swallow a shooting star that fell to Earth.
The last two-page spread before I get into weekly spreads I decided to dedicate to blog stats and open space for blog post planning. I separated the stats from the bigger space with Turnip Head’s scarecrow arms. Other than that detail, I wanted to have a lot of space for any notes I wanted to take during April. I had way more space than I needed for brain dumps last month, and I knew I’d have a lot less time this month for creative personal projects.
I don’t want to talk too much about each week’s specific layout, because I did all five for the month in advance! This is why this post ended up coming much later than I had hoped. (Sorry this post was published incomplete this week!)
I had the visual imagery in mind before I knew the specific layouts I would use, but I felt it very intuitive to apply everything I wanted and keep the weeks all unique in design and format. Below you can see the weekly spreads that incorporate Sophie’shat shop (Week 1), Calcifer with a frying pan over him (Week 2), the doors with Howl’s portals (Week 3), the field with shooting stars landing on Earth (Week 4), and Sullivan’s magic ball and dog (Week 5).
The spreads for Week 1 and Week 3 were finished on Saturday! I couldn’t find any pre-existing bujo spread ideas to go off, so I developed them entirely on my own by just referencing movie stills. I’m rather pleased with the final products for all the fretting I did over them!
I can’t wait to jump into this April spread! It’s my favorite of the year so far, and it’s especially special because it’s my first in my new Scribbles That Matter bullet journal!
Next on the blog will be my monthly wrap up, which I started last weekend. My March flip-through will likely be in a video format, shared on YouTube and/or Instagram. I do hope to launch my YouTube channel in April, but I do not expect to be very consistent with it. I’m far more interested in being consistent with the blog, which takes enough of my time as it is ^_^
At the beginning of February, I envisioned my flip-through as being one of my first videos for my YouTube channel. As it turned it out, I didn’t end up making the time to develop my YouTube strategy in February. But I still want to show off my bullet journal in the hopes it inspires anyone out there to give it a try for themselves!
A part of me is nervous to share this flip-through, but I’m nervous for the same reason that I am so motivated to share it. I feel like it can be intimidating to start bullet journalling, even if it’s something that seems like it would fit perfectly into your life as creative person, blogger, or even just a student juggling multiple classes.
A bullet journal is supposed to help you organize and track the things in life that matter to you. Sometimes you start the month with a beautiful bujo spread and then find you scarcely used it. Whether that be because you got caught up in the parts of your life that do not factor into your bujo or because you simply fall behind on it and don’t know how to catch up.
The important thing is to stay positive and keep tweaking. I still see a light at the end of the tunnel where my bujo is my holy grail for productivity. I’m still working out what spreads work, things that I should be including, and how to make a better use of space. It’s okay!
⟡ February Flip-Through ⟡
So I still love the first four pages of my bullet journal. I love the simple, clean look of the monthly calendar with the theme introduction. I also really love having the monthly log with the dates listed down the middle. I’m going to keep that for next month.
One thing I definitely decided to change was the placement of these two pages. I discovered that it would be much more helpful if I had my monthly log beside a page where I’m brainstorming and planning out blog content I’m excited about creating, since my monthly log is a place where I bookmark days for blog posts.
I had a lot of exciting ideas this month and quickly found I needed a lot more space for my brain dump! I barely used it in January, which is why I ended up having the hanging lightbulbs dangling in this area. But in March I really need to have more space for my content notes and ideas! I possibly even need multiple areas in future to spread out by topic (e.g. blog posts, products, projects).
I think my inclusion of my monthly goals and growth tracker was a really cute snapshot of the month’s priorities and growth. However, I do have ideas for how to expand my March goals section so that I can better track my progress and all the tasks that fall under my individual goals.
Once again, I still really love this page that shows the books I read plus a writing graph to track my writing progress, but I barely used them. Writing wasn’t a big focus of month. I didn’t think it would be, so why did I include it? Because it fit and looked cute!
Now onto my weekly spreads. I really thought I would like my first week’s spread, but I ultimately felt like it took me a lot of time (those dots!) and I didn’t like how FULL it became. I wish there had been more negative space. One thing I am proud of is my use of the side bars.
Week Two was by far my favorite. I was a little skeptical of how it would work for me, but I love the way it turned out. I feel like I have a much better sense of the week at a glance and I’m not even bothered by the empty space here. I’ll be repeating this format a lot more in the future.
Weeks Three and Four were created on the same day! I actually made a mistake and started working on Week Three a page ahead of where it should’ve been in my notebook! I didn’t want to waste the space, so I rearranged the numbers (dates) and quickly whipped up another weekly spread to use for Week Three (February 18-24th) instead.
It was actually inspired by a really cute cartoonish layout design I found on Instagram (@amizaomar). I just couldn’t figure out how to work in my lightbulb theme into the box so I just ended up trudging along, ignoring the next page. It wasn’t the most productive week. It was actually my birthday week and the one following my decision to spring for the Premium WordPress account, but I didn’t do a whole lot so there was nothing much to record.
Week Four’s layout is actually one I really like inspired by @kaixjane on Instagram. I used a version of it in January with my cloud theme. It took over an hour to do with the clouds, so I wanted to go really minimal on it this month. Again, the theme didn’t really factor into the layout.
I really like that this spread allows for a lot of unconfined space. It takes pressure off of needing to fill the space ahead of time and allows me to add whatever notes I see fit as the week progresses.
If you’re wondering where my March bujo is, don’t worry! I haven’t forgotten it. I just decided this post was long enough to stand on its own. My March bujo spread is coming later today! In that post I will share my March spread and the design rationale behind it. I went with the mushroom theme and it’s the first month in which I feel like I came into my own as a bujo planner.
As soon as I started my February bullet journal spread, I was already thinking about next month’s spread. While I knew I was looking for a very simple theme for February, it was inevitable that I would come across more complex and exciting themes than I was currently ready to try out. After discovering so many new bujo artists and more styles of layout than I knew could exist, I starting making a note of my favorites.
Rather than keep my folder to myself, I decided to start sharing what I’ve discovered and learned from primarily Instagram on my blog!
So today I’m sharing the themes I’m contemplating for the month of March, just to get a head start in planning. I started a little late in February and regret not planning ahead for the month so that I could have more flexibility and fun with the layout.
March Theme Ideas
When I think of March, I think of spring time. I think of rain, flowers in bloom, babies bunnies and chicks, Easter, pastel colors. Yuck. Spring is my least favorite time of year. I like rain, but I already did a cloud theme for my January spread.
So it has been a little bit of challenge to think of how to become excited for March. After scrolling through loads of bujo content on Instagram, I found a few themes that I thought would work. I also had some ideas organically based on my life and interests at the moment. I made a theme cloud.
Feathers | I like the idea of feathers because it fits into the spring theme when I think of newborn chicks. I could see myself taking it in a few different directions. I could go the peacock route and really have fun with the feather design and color. I would also go with a more Native American-inspired aesthetic, with dream catchers and other accessories.
Mushrooms / Woodlands | When I think of rain that generally comes with spring showers, I also think of mushrooms. I live in a wooded area that is prone to mushroom sprouts, so that could be a central feature to my March theme that I would enjoy creating. My dad taught me how to draw mushrooms when I was little, so there’s a sentimental aspect to the mushroom design as well. To round it out so I’m not just drawing mushrooms, I figured I could expand it to a woodland theme as well, with grass, wildflowers, and animals if I’m feeling ambitious.
City Hall | I actually had this idea on my own! I drive through city hall every day on my way to work and have appreciated how well kept it is. It was decorated during the holidays, but also looks really nice without lights and decor. I could see myself having fun doing street lamps, benches, industrial flower pots, street signs, and old-fashioned store fronts. It would be an ambitious task because I would have to do a lot of the spread layout design on my own. This theme gives me some Wes Anderson vibes.
Weird Magic | Somewhat associated with my ideas for the feather and mushroom themes is this idea of incorporating weird magic of crystals, moons, black cats, crows, etc. There’s an artist on Instagram (Celine @ enemesis_4) whose work has been some of my favorite in terms of her use of color and illustrations.
Murder Mystery | This is another theme I thought of as I just finished reading The Vanishing Stair, and feel like I have generally always read Agatha Christie on rainy spring days. It would be a really fun challenge to design my own murder mystery spread, but it may be a bit ambitious to complete in just one month. Maybe I’ll save this idea for May…
The theme I will select for March will really depend on how much time I feel I will have to prepare for it and what materials I have at my disposal, because some of my more ambitious ideas would be sad to complete without the requisite color. I think if I feel like going for something more simple, I will just end up doing the feathers or mushroom theme.
Let me know which of these themes are your favorite and if you are a bullet journalist what your theme ideas for March are!
Hello, everyone! I meant for this post to come out last week, but, in truth, I didn’t start my February bullet journal until last weekend. So I’m a little late, but that’s fine. I’m a prime example of the fact that you do not have to skip a month just because you start late!
Before I get into everything, I do want to admit that I abandoned my January bujo at some point halfway through. January felt like the longest month ever, and I came to dread the need to sketch out and use the weekly spreads. Additionally, I realized that some elements of the traditional bujo spread just weren’t working for me. January was a real learning experience and I went into February’s spread with some adjustments in mind.
Keep reading for the lessons I learned as well as a glimpse of my February spread!
❝ Keep it simple ❞
I really want to keep a bullet journal year round, and the only way I figured I would be able to do that is to keep things simple. I realized that the design I chose for January, while beautiful, was a bit too much to keep up with when it came to the weekly spreads. I should’ve just dropped the design and kept kept up with the journalling, but I wanted the entire month to be cohesive visually.
So for February, I chose a much simpler theme and design that didn’t require so much time, that way I can focus on what really matters: the content.
❝ Sketch out the weekly spreads in advance ❞
My least favorite aspect of the bujo has always been the weekly spread. I’ve seen many different versions of it that I just do not find personally fitting for what I need. I hate seeing empty space on the page, and some days I just don’t find that I’ve done much at all. Plus, I don’t want to keep too much personal info in my bullet journal, so using it partially as a diary to fill it up is not really an option for me.
What I do need in my bujo is space to keep my daily to-do lists, so I decided to figure out this month how to make the weekly spreads work for me. I decided to sketch them out at the beginning of the month, instead of on the weekends, so that they are ready to go on weeks that I didn’t have the time or will work on them the weekend before.
As I did this, I also realized that I could actually utilize extra space for notes that will help remind me about the day in addition to the to-do lists and keep weekly habit trackers for the main activities I’m prioritizing that week. I decided to start keeping notes of the German vocabulary I am working on that week.
At this point, I actually only have two weeks planned out, so I will still need to figure out the last two weeks of February. I plan to go even more simplistic, using a more minimalist approach inspired by Instagram bullet journalist @journal.it. Below are some ideas I have in mind.
❝ If you aren’t using a spread, don’t continue to include it ❞
As much as I love the idea of mood trackers and individual habit trackers, I don’t actually find them all that practical or useful. My habit trackers specifically began to give me a little bit of anxiety because there were few days I could do everything I listed. I felt like a failure, even though I was doing a lot in reality.
So I don’t have a month-long habit tracker element in my February spread. But as I mentioned above, I did start naturally including trackers for things I wanted to keep track of during the week, specifically exercise. Ideally I would exercise everyday, but some days I need a break to accommodate other things on my agenda or to make sure I have some time for fun. My realistic (but still ambitious) goal is five days a week. The tracker reminds me if I’ve fallen behind.
⟡ February BuJo Spread ⟡
For February, I decided to go with a lightbulb theme that I saw on Instagram last month designed by the bullet journalist @bulletwithe. I thought her style was really cute and whimsical. It is also fairly simplistic and one I felt I could easily duplicate and make my own.
This month I decided to start my monthly spread on the left side of my open journal so that I could see my monthly log beside it. Another difference from last month is how I put the day and date in the middle of my monthly log page instead on the far left. I think it was a simple way to make the page more interesting, although I could still see myself moving it around in the future.
Before my weekly spreads start, I only have two pages for monthly notes, which consists of space for brain dump (random ideas/notes I have during the month), my monthly goals, my blog growth tracker for WordPress and YouTube (if I do indeed start it up again), books I read, and a writing graph!
I will not show my weekly spread today in this post, because I have already begun filling it in for this week and would rather do a proper flip-through at the end of the month. If you like what you see so far and want to know what direction I took for the weekly spreads, I highly recommend checking out @bulletwithe‘s Instagram page for how she decided to do them. My first week is her Week 3 and my second one (currently still a work in progress) is a variation on her Week 4 I think (she didn’t label it).
I have some ideas for future bujo-related blog posts that I’m hoping to start working on this weekend. I’ve really falling down the Instagram bujo community rabbit hole, so I feel like I have discovered a lot more possibilities and things I would like to try. I’ve also already begun brainstorming themes for March so that I can hit the ground running next month and hopefully make it easier for any of you who might be interested in joining me!
Tomorrow I will finally be sharing my thoughts on The Man in the High Castle! I finished writing it on Monday and just need to give it a final polish before I send it out into the universe.
Over the past couple of years, I have begun dabbling in bullet journalling. I’ve always loved stationary and keeping a planner in school. I’ve also always been highly reflective, creativity-inclined, and goal-oriented, so bullet journalling felt like a natural fit for me. I’m also attracted to the fact that it is something I could make and hold in my hands since so much of my time is spent online.
In total, I had created three monthly spreads before this month, for June 2017, September 2018, and October 2018. Each time felt like an experiment. When I was first starting out, I didn’t know what page elements I would want or need during the month. I didn’t know what was practical and or what would work for me.
I’m not going to lie, I did not complete filling out any of these previous spreads, abandoning each project at some point during the month. But each time I started a new one, I got closer to the right layout and elements for me.
In this blog post, I will share my inspiration, my January spread, and my rationale for what I decided to include in my bullet journal this month.
I was recently watching AmandaRachLee‘s 2018 Journal Flip Through for ideas when I came to an important realization. While I love her artistic style and creativity in spreads, I do not feel motivated to make my bullet journal a planner. I don’t have many important dates to remember each month and prefer to keep an actual paper calendar on my desk for quick reference.
Rather my aim with my bullet journal to track progress on my projects over time, to brainstorm, to keep a log of the things I want to do and actually do. Some people also make their bullet journal their diary, but I personally am keeping that in a separate notebook. I treat my bullet journal more as a physical manifestation of a online blog, highly selective and curated towards what I want to share and remember.
If you’re interested in starting a bullet journal, I highly recommend:
Immersing yourself in the bullet journal communities in the blogosphere, on Pinterest, on Instagram, and on YouTube. There are a lot of fun ideas to parse through and only you know what spreads will work best for you.
Practicing first in journals you already have. You don’t need to buy special notebooks or pens when you are just starting out! It will most likely just psyche you out anyway if you have perfectionist tendencies; you will be too anxious not to make mistakes.
Using sticky notes to organize your layout. Some people like to create story board-like rough drafts before they start putting pen officially to paper, but I find sticky notes work just as well. After I list all the page elements I want, I go through my journal and figure out where things will fit most naturally.
I went back and forth with the idea of buying a new notebook for my bullet journal this year. The specific one on my wish list was the Scribbles That Matter A5 dotted notebook. It was only $20, but money was tight over the holidays and I wanted to buy gifts for my loved ones instead. *le sigh*
Also, the more I thought about it, I realized using a regular notebook would work just as well. It would be my gimmick if I started dedicating more of my blog-space and focus to journalling. So I looked through my small collection of notebooks I had collected over the years and decided to use a more recently acquired journal, my Target decomposition notebook. It’s a nice size and makes me happy every time I look at it.
One negative to this notebook is that my pen ink (Pilot G-2, fine, ball-point) bleeds through the pages quite easily. My current solution is to tape pages together so I do not need to worry about the visibility of the ink marks. It feels a little wasteful of page space, but I figure I might find better solution later on this year. I know there’s liquid paper I could paint over the back, and I could also start gluing in loose leaf.
My January 2019 Spread
I decided to make clouds my January theme because it’s been a very rainy winter in Texas this year and because I always feel like I always have my head in the clouds, especially around the new year. Clouds carry a lot of symbolic meaning.
I did not come up with this theme on my own. My spread is heavily inspired by my bujo idol AmandaRachLee‘s April 2018 set-up, from the distinct cloud design to specific page elements like the mood tracker. Where I deviated was primarily in the actual layout. I don’t love drawing out calendars, so my spreads have elements that lend themselves better to list formats and brain dumps.
Directly after the main page, I have a page for my mood and habit trackers. I find it enlightening to be able to see at a glance how happy or unhappy I was during a month, particularly since I generally end the month without remembering everything that went on. I’m still working out how I want to visually depict my mood (e.g. via size of rain drop, length dropped, or color shade of blue-grey).
I used to make my habit trackers a simple table that would take up half a page. I decided to try out this mini-calendar design to better be able to see how consistently I was sticking to the daily habits I wanted to nurture.
Next up is my two-column January event planner. I break it up into personal and blog categories for better spatial organization. Personal plans might be related to work, appointments, or social events. For the blog section, I like to keep track of the blog posts I plan to write. Once they are complete and published, I go over the final titles in ink so I can see at a glance what went up that month.
Next to my plans, I like to be able to see the specific goals I set for the month. The ones shown in the picture below (see page on the right) were ideas I had last week before I hurt my back. I plan to get to them once I’m 100% again!
I also like to keep space for brain dump. Here I record any special ideas I might have regarding writing, blogging, or any number of my projects. It’s not a lot of space, but I do find that it’s enough room key ideas that remind me what I was thinking at the time.
The newest addition to my monthly spread a place for weekly notes and to-do lists. Many people allot space for diary-like notes they want to remember. I personally see myself just writing to-do lists and short life highlights. I folded a page in half to reduce the number of times I would have to draw the side-bar calendar.
I have still been thinking about how I want to use this space, so I’ve not applied much ink beyond the side-bar calendar. I do think it will be a place to keep track of what I end up doing each day or maybe job positions for which I apply.
☙ ❧End Note❧ ☙
I hope you liked this blog post! I have been wanting to start talking about bullet journalling on this blog for a long time. In case anyone’s interested, I think I will try to share a flip through this spread at the end of the month with some more commentary about how well my set-up worked. I’d also like to start doing more focused posts about the set-up of my bullet journals.
I will be back this weekend most likely with a writing update + 2019 writing plans. I have a post on my recent reads that is nearly complete, but I think that I will not be able to finish the last book I want to talk about until after this weekend.
Do you bullet journal? How do create your monthly spreads? Is your set-up organized entirely differently?
This post is coming at you a little later than originally anticipated on account of the fact that I’ve been dealing with a flare up of back pain since last Friday, and it is probably the worst my back has felt in the five years since my first back injury in 2013. It’s slowly getting better, but it was hard to do anything that involved sitting up properly. Which is to say most things.
Fortunately for me, I’ve not had regular work hours. So I had already been planning for 2019 all last week! I had set my goals for the new year, prepared my January bullet journal, and even been working on some new blog ideas. I’m ready to make 2019 the best year of my life despite this rough start!
Upgrade my blog. I’ve been thinking of recommitting myself to my blog by upgrading so I can take more control of what it looks like into my own hands. I’m currently playing around with new blog names, but I have some brainstorming to do before I make anything official.
Read 24 books. My mini-goal at the moment is to readone fictionand one non-fiction book each month. I know I will have months where I will read much more than that, but I do feel like I want to get through more of the older books in my physical TBR this year.
Journal. I have so many notebooks I’ve collected over the years that I want to finally put to good use. Last year I started dabbling a bit more seriously in bullet journalling and I would like to start blogging about it.
Write like it’s 2012. My best times writing were my sophomore year of college, and I would like to take myself back to basics this year. Outlining has not been working out. I feel like I need to stop trying to force myself to work on WIPs when I don’t feel like it. So I simply want to writeanything on a regular basis. It doesn’t have to be a cohesive. I just want to write.
Level up my German and Spanish. I started learning both casually in early 2018. I’ve kept up with the German, but I want to pick up Spanish again as well. I’m hoping to find a good balance of study time between the two languages this year.
Reset my forms of online recreation. I want to start a new YouTube account for subscribing to different kinds of channels and eventually start uploading my own content. I want to stop using Tumblr and Goodreads, because they are not essential. I want to cut myself off from my smartphone after 8 p.m. each night so I can end the night doing more chill activities. Basically, I want to shake things up.
These are just a few of the goals I have for myself. I also have some collaborative goalswith my writing buddy, some personal health/wellness goals, and some career-related goals that I don’t want to get into on the blog just yet.
I’m hoping to start posting every other day or so on the blog, but only so long as 1) it is fun and 2) I don’t feel like I’m wasting my time or yours. Next up I will probably talk about my bullet journal and my most recent reads.