This year I started using a Bullet Journal for the first time. I’ve been at it for three months and counting, so I thought this would be a great time to do a review of what I’m finding is working well, and some of the changes I’ve made along the way.
If you’re interested in starting your own bullet journal, check out the original blog post, Starting a Bullet Journal.
3 month check in
I am really enjoying using my Bullet Journal. When I started it, there was definitely a nagging worry that I wouldn’t be able to keep up with it. This has proven to be the opposite of true, I love using it and I have literally used it every day since I started.
I’m still fine tuning it to help me be most effective. For that reason, I allowed myself to be flexible in changing layouts and adding new sections.
If you’re getting started I recommend you grant yourself this same freedom. In many ways choosing a layout and setting your index page seems very final. But the beauty of bujos is that you can make them work for you, even if that means changing things up a few months in.
Changes in spreads
The spread I use most often is the Weekly spread. I’ve kept the weekly layout where I can write in my appointments, as well as the to-do list for the week.
Meal and Sleep trackers
I’ve made updates to the Meals and Sleep trackers. These started as lists below the weekly layout, but it was taking up a lot of real estate on the page. I ended up aligning them horizontally with the weekly layout.
Social media tracker
One of my goals was to improve the frequency of Pop Craft’s social media posting, so I added a tracker beside the Meals and Sleep trackers. I soon found that tracking all of my accounts was too much, and I simplified this to focus on only Instagram. With this simplification, I was able to align this with the weekly layout as well.
So, now directly below my weekly layout are the trackers for my Instagram, Meals, Exercise, and Sleep, all labeled with a little icon. This consolidated 7 – 8 journal lines into 4. (More room for to-dos!)
I added a Priorities section that falls in the space of my to-do list. It started as a Top 5, but then I cut it down to a Top 3. Top 3 forces me to pick the really important goals for the week and makes it more manageable to get them done. Each box gets marked with an X on completion.
I added a Recurring Calendar spread that lists all of the activities that I need to do on a regular basis. I use this each day when I’m setting my daily to-do’s to make sure I’m not letting things slip through the cracks.
To start, I made a list of all of the things that needed to do regularly and things that I wanted to do in batches for efficiency. Batching is awesome by the way, if you’re not doing it you’re wasting time. Read this blog post on batching, by the efficient and talented Angelica Ross, to get started.
After I had my list of activities, bucketed by how frequently they must happen, I plugged them into a generic calendar spread. So now on the second Monday of each month, I am batching out my blog posts.
I’ll admit, this takes discipline to actually stick to the recurring calendar, and I’m far from perfect. It’s really helped me shine a light on if I’m letting something go for too long, and pushes me to get back on track.
My favorite spreads – What’s working
Weekly spread, daily to-dos, recurring calendar
As mentioned above, I spend a lot of time on these pages. It’s how I run my day, stay organized and focused, and get shit done!
Some call it a gratitude journal, I prefer happiness tracker. I list out the things that made me happy that day. I use it every day before I go to bed.
These flexible pages are so great for pulling together my thoughts on an event. The latest planning page is for Chris’s birthday party. The theme is Cats in Space (yaaaasss!). I wish I had budgeted more space for planning pages in my bujo.
Mind sweep pages
Sometimes my head gets bogged down by a bunch of ideas and things that don’t necessarily all belong on my weekly to-do list. I do a mind sweep where I jot down all of those ideas and thoughts so they’re out of my head and into a list on a mind sweep page. I refer back to this list about once a month to see if there are any things I need to be working on and moving to the weekly to-do list.
I have made adjustments to this each week as I have different habits or challenges that I’m focusing on. Before bed every night I review what habits I was able to practice that day. I’m finally taking my vitamins regularly 🙂 But, I’m still feeling like I could be doing more to improve my habits, and I’m wanting this page to help me more.
Perhaps I’m too focused on the now and am resisting my goal tracker pages. I’ve set goals for the year, and I think most of them are relevant, but some are not, or I wish I had set them up differently. Maybe I’ll try quarterly or bi-annual goal pages in the future. I am usually forcing myself to complete these pages, and have done a poor job of it.
I set up a couple pages to track lessons learned about myself and my business. I don’t often update them or refer to them, but I still like the idea. Lesson learned – I could use less space for both of these pages in the future.
At-a-glance, Birthday and Holiday pages
I guess by their nature these pages won’t be used daily. They’re good to have, but I usually forget to check them or update them. Maybe this should be a recurring activity on my recurring calendar (light bulb!).
Whew! I hope you found my bujo journey helpful. I’d love to hear about the ways you’ve made adjustments to make your bujo even more effective for you.