Today’s prompt, then is “Spring into Action”. I love bullet journals, so I was very excited to see a bullet journal themed prompt on the list! I’m not very artistic though, so my bullet journal is definitely more functional than pretty, but I thought I could talk about how I set it up anyway, and what I find it useful for. If you’ve not heard of bullet journals, check out the official bullet journal website to find out a bit more about the basics.
I start with the traditional key, and contents page. I use a soft, dotted moleskine as my bullet journal as I find the dots really useful, and less invasive than squared paper. Then, I have a little ‘future log’. I do a 6 month page, where I basically just draw out a tiny calendar for each month. I tend to just use this for birthdays, and I’ll write a person’s name in tiny letters over the date of their birthday. On the page opposite this, I have my future log, where I write down important future dates, like deadlines, or holidays. Then, I get into my section for books.
I split my books section into series and stand alone books, and this is where I write down books I want to get my hands on. It’s not a TBR, so if there’s a book on my shelves, it doesn’t get written in here. This is really to help me when I’m book shopping to have a reference list of books I want to buy. On the double page spread after this, I have a reading challenge graphic. I colour in a square for each book I read, and once I’ve finished my reading challenge, the graphic will be entirely coloured. On the page opposite this, I put my TBR. The following double page spread is for my reading log. I write the title and author of the book, and then give it a rating out of 5 stars, and make a note of whether it’s a first time read, or reread.
I have a fairly similar setup for films, though my list of films to watch isn’t separated by whether I have access to them, because I find what I have access to changes too much due to Netflix and other streaming services posting and taking down films at different times. I also don’t really buy DVDs, so I don’t really need it for when I’m out shopping. I do, however, pick out a few for my ‘Films to Watch in 2020’ page, because there’s more on the list than I could watch in one year! I really need to work on that. Opposite my ‘films to watch’ page, I have a film log that works in a very similar way to the reading log I just explained.
My setup for TV shows is quite different: I write the name of the show down the left side of a double page spread. I then write the series number, with a separate line for each series. Then, across the double page spread, I use a square per episode in the series, which I colour in as I watch. I do then have another ‘To watch in 2020’/‘TV show log’ on the next double spread that functions the same as the film spread.
With all the preliminaries and lists out the way, this is where I get into my monthly/daily planning. I have a double page spread for the month. Each line is a different day of the month, and going across the double page spread, I split it into morning, afternoon, evening, and ‘goals’. Goals is general to the month rather than specific to the day. This is where I write in all my classes, and deadlines, and social events, and anything else that I have scheduled. I also have a little bit of space left at the bottom as there’s more lines in the journal than days in the month, so I use this to put in any important dates for the next month, taking these from the future log, or just adding them in if they arise during the current month, for example, if I book a hair appointment for next month, I’ll just write it on the current monthly spread, and I won’t also put it into the future log. The next page I use for a habit tracker and log what matters page. After this, I have a double page spread that I use to track my finances, so I record how much money I have for the month and then write down what I’ve spent and where, to make sure I’m not overspending.
Then, finally, we come to my daily/weekly pages. I use a double page spread per week, and split into 8 sections, four across, two down. But Ellie, there’s only 7 days in a week, you cry. I use the 8th section, in the bottom right, for my more general goals for the week: things that might have to be done over several days, or things that I don’t know what day I’m going to do them on. In each section, I transfer from my monthly spread anything that I made a note of that’s happening, classes, appointments, parties, for that week, and then I add in my independent work around these. I tend to plan out my individual work for the whole week at once rather than taking it a day at a time, because I find this helps me not to leave it all until the end of the week.
The other thing I often use my bullet journal for is meal planning and shopping lists, which I tend to put in after the section I need for my daily/weekly spreads.
I’m currently experimenting with adding in a blog schedule page between my monthly calendar and my daily/weekly pages, but I’ve not quite figured out a good layout for that yet. Do you use your bullet journal for keeping track of blog posts? I’d love to hear how you do it if you do!