Simple Bullet Journal

Do you use a bullet journal? I have been using one for a few years now. Well, a simplified version of the bullet journal. For a while I didn’t see the point of bullet journals. Or rather, they seemed like they are a lot of work. Especially when you see people posting pictures of their bullet journals that are decorated with fancy lettering and stamps and stickers etc. Obviously, if your bullet journal is your creative outlet, then go nuts with all the decorations you can cram in there but I just need it to be really simple and not take up a lot of extra time. :-)

Since I have just started a fresh journal, I thought I’d share my (current) set up for anyone who thinks a bullet journal might be for them but are a bit put off by what seems like a lot of work to make it look pretty.

Oh, my first tip is to pull the elastic across the book so you can attach a pen. Isn’t that clever?! Not my idea but I can’t remember where I saw it. :-)

(The bullet journal I use is from Flying Tiger. Not an ad, I bought it myself.)

On the first spread I have a small calendar for the coming months. I always start that calendar with the month following the month when I start the journal. I’m starting the journal in September so that means the first month on this calendar spread is October.

I use this calendar to jot down appointments and things I need to do/remember in the future. So I’ll note days when I’m scheduled to teach or dentist appointments or when to order presents for people. At the start of each month, and during each month, I’ll refer back to this spread to add to my weekly calendar.

See those coloured in month headers? That’s as fancy as I have ever got with decorating my journals and that was only because the pens happened to be on the table when I was setting up the calendar! :-D

On the spread following the calendar, I have these categories of things I need/want to get done. Some of them I transfer from the previous journal and some are new. The things here are sort of big picture things, not individual tasks, although sometimes I do add smaller tasks too.

This is my weekly spread. The layout of this is always changing according to what I need. (This is what they looked like three years ago.) The days of the week used to take up the whole spread but I find that that’s not really necessary. More space to add tasks etc doesn’t mean that they all get done so it is better to put down a few each day and actually get them done. For those tasks, that don’t have to be done on a specific day that week, I add in the Tasks section. The Notes section is for, well, notes or things I need to look into. I also put reminders there about stuff that needs to get done the following week.

I usually set up the next weekly spread on Fridays because it’s the end of the week and I start to see tasks that haven’t been done and I can then move those to the following week.

Food section is because I’m trying to be better at meal planning. The keyword here being trying. ;-)

There’s a funny quirk in the weekly spread: everything else is in English but I write the names of the days in Danish. Not sure why I do that, but why not. :-)

I use a few markers in my journal.

– is a note of some kind, • is a task, o is an appointment. I draw a ■ over a task or appointment marker when they are completed. For tasks and appointments that have been moved to another week/date I draw a ▶ over the markers.

I use my bullet journal for lots of different things. Shopping lists. Brain dumps. Sometimes I write down things I’ve been looking up online but I really want to close some of all the tabs (how many open tabs are too many?!); I call these browser dumps. :-) Sketches for projects. Quotes from books. Travel planning (not currently!!) Recipes. Drafts for blog posts. Etc etc.

The one thing that really bugged me, when I started using a bullet journal, was the index. It seems like most people put it at the front of the journal and as a right handed person that just felt super awkward. I had to have the index page open to write on it but I usually also wanted to mark the page I was logging in the index, so I’d have my left hand partially jammed under the pages. So awkward. And indices are usually at the back of books anyway, so I decided to put mine at the back. And it makes it so much easier to write on the index pages and making the page with my left hand at the same time!

On the index pages I just have a running list of the pages. Every week or so I’ll add the pages I have filled up so far. If it’s a page I know I’ll need to refer back to, I usually mark it with a ■ in the margin.

So, yeah. That’s my bullet journal. :-)

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