I’ve been bullet journalling for over five years – I couldn’t find a diary that suited what I wanted in 2017 while I was still at uni so I decided to try this bullet journal malarky that I’d seen online. I’d seen all these beautifully organised spreads and designs that were basically works of art as well as really functional home made diaries.
My first journal was very much ‘make it up as I go along’ but as I got to know the format, saw more inspiration online and figured out what was most effective for me, I refined my design and adapted it as I finished uni and used it for a different purpose.
As I finished my masters in a pandemic and started my first full time job, I was still using my bullet journal but not to the same degree – I didn’t feel I needed it as much, it was a notebook I’d plan some tasks in once a week then barely look at.
But as I was shown more and more bullet journal videos on tiktok, I became inspired about using my bullet journal again. So when the New Year rolled around, I used 2022 as a brand new start and totally updated the way I use my journal and I want to talk about it because it’s meant that I’ve used my journal almost every night this year so far!
So here’s a look inside my journal and how I’m using it differently:
In previous journals, every month has gotten it’s own page and often went forgotten and unused. But now it’s the first step of my little bullet journal routine – ticking off the day, adding in any new social plans or key dates (I’ve just started adding movie release dates to it!). I feel so much more organised and prepared for the months ahead being able to see four months at a time.
Next I have the tracker for my savings challenge, which I mostly just enjoy getting to colour in a square every week. I also have a weight loss tracker on the reverse page but I don’t feel comfortable enough to post that on the internet just yet, the same principle applies though but it’s extra satisfying because it’s much harder work to be able to colour in a square on that tracker.
The visual representations of my goals – both financial and health – are a really useful way for me to stay focused and accommodate for those goals.
I’ve seen lots of people on tiktok have separate reading journals but the whole point of my bullet journal is to streamline everything into one notebook. Here I have more boxes to colour in as I get closer to my annual reading goal, I write down what I’m reading, I’ve got a ‘book of the month’ tracker which can help me pick a book of the year as well as a cute looking bookshelf and a genre tracker, so I can see which genres are my highest rated.
I love reading so much and I love writing about it and tracking it all.
A relatively simple and self explanatory one (and more boxes to colour in!). A calendar with a list of any plans, my goals and my blog posts for the month, all in the theme of the colour from the calendar at the front of the journal.
Making the trackers page is my least favourite part of every month because I have to write the dates out so many times but it’s a really good way of keeping things I want to work on in the forefront of my mind – the tasks I want to do every day like filling in my bullet journal and doing my Duolingo, health goals like drinking enough water and doing my step goal – seeing them and being able to (or not able to) tick them off every day makes the world of difference!
Having a ‘highlight of the day page’ is a brand new one for me – I have one of those 5 Year Line a Day journals that I fill in every night but having a space in my bullet journal to list the best part of every day is a really good way for me to find just one good thing to write down, even when I feel like there isn’t any, I can always write something. And at the end of the month it’s lovely to look back on them all.
The main thing I’m doing differently with my weekly spreads is that I do most of the design elements all in one go at the beginning of the month, rather than starting from a blank page each week. It doesn’t make much of a difference, but I find having the pages where I’ve done all the outlines but not yet filled it in incredibly satisfying.
I’ve experimented with the design and I’m now working on setting myself 4 base tasks a day rather than 5 because I find it’s far more convenient for my productivity, and even though I’m technically achieving less every day, I get less overwhelmed and I feel more comfortable taking tasks at my own pace and I end up ticking off more, rather than letting it all build up until I’m too overwhelmed.
And I’ve found I’m much better at handling free time – rather than constantly feeling overwhelmed by how much I have to do, I’m giving myself space to breath; to just laze on the sofa watching Netflix and doing some crafts. I’m working on that feeling that I constantly have to do something ‘productive’ and I’m very much enjoying learning how to relax.
That’s what I love about using a bullet journal diary – it’s totally adaptable and you can do whatever you want with it.
I love my bullet journal so much more in 2022 than I have in the last year or so and I love sitting down at my desk as the last thing I do every day and reflecting, ticking off what I’ve down and using my rather large collection of coloured pens. It’s a very mindful action for me and although my mental health is really not very good at the moment, taking control of the things I can – like giving myself five minutes to colour in some squares in my journal – is really beneficial for me.
Thank you for reading,