1 Sept 2021

how I'm getting on with my bullet journal

Back in November 2020, I talked about three months' in a bullet journal. I've now been using a bullet journal for over a year (how time flies...?!) and I wouldn't say I'm a seasoned user but like to think I've worked out what does and doesn't work for me now. 

The structure is a standard one in terms of a journal - there's an information page, a year plan, a month spread and the standard weekly spreads. I've found a week-to-view an optimal way for me to organise my life and it has worked well for me in the past so I have stuck to it here. From next year, I'm hoping to use a more free-form week to view (more on that in due course). 

I'm still in my Leuchtturm 1917 and this is how it's looking so far. 

Month Spreads

Although month spreads are something that have universally graced my planners year on year, I've actually found that I don't use them that much? A perfect example is June below. You can see just how bare it is and it only has the bare minimum. I'm thinking of doing away with it altogether, however, it's actually quite a useful way of seeing an overview of how busy the month will be and when my free time will likely be too. Very essential for organising catch-ups with friends and other downtime! 

Weekly Spreads

I've stuck to a fairly basic structure. A column is down the outsides of both pages and to-do lists tend to grace these columns. Some weeks, there's very few to-dos; other weeks, there's loads as you can see below. 

It's quite a chaotic spread below but I find it works fine for me. I'm still trying to find the best way to sort my weeks though and the spreads shown here give me a bit of anxiety, purely because of how scatty they look! 

Triangles denote events which can vary from meetings to netball commitments to meet-ups with friends. Squares are for actions I need to do and anything else is just whatever I fancy. Although conventional bullet journals suggest using a set code for things like this, I tend to do my own thing. That's one of the reasons as to why I like the bullet journal system so much. There's so much room for creativity and also adjusting things to fit my own personality and life. 

Monthly Reviews

At the end of each month, I sit down and review the things that matter to me. 

1. Exercise
To say I'm a little obsessed with exercise is putting it lightly. My sister gifted me an extra MyZone belt system that she had and it's something we use semi-competitively (she always wins though). A few months ago, I also bought myself a Garmin watch to track my runs and workouts too. 

2. One Line A Day
I'm on my third year of a five-year 'Some Lines A Day' Leuchtturm 1917 journal. This is a streak I'm determined to continue. 

3. Journalling
I try and journal at least twice a week but sometimes, this is more if I've had a tough day for example. It's important for me to brain dump because I often take work home mentally. The other thing is, that it also helps my mental health and keeps things in check. 

4. Reading
I've not read nearly enough this year and it's a little disappointing. By having a tracker, this will keep this hobby accountable. There's always time for a chapter of two of a book (more often more!) and I'm trying to re-discover my reading mojo. 

5. Running
I started running properly at the end of December 2020. Although I play a lot of netball, I've never described myself as a runner. At first, I could run 3-4km without stopping for a break and now, I can run far further than that. My speed has also improved and I smashed my 5k PB at the end of June! My goal now is to keep up the mileage because after each run, I've noticed that my mood is so much brighter and my mental health receives a boost in positive hormones. 

Overall, the bullet journal system is a good thing for me. I like the freestyle nature and adapting it to my own needs. I also like tracking things important to me so the monthly reviews lend themselves perfectly for that. As mentioned earlier, I'm going to try something slightly different for my 2022 bullet journal and we'll see how that pans out too. One option I'm considering is combining my bullet journal with my twice-weekly brain dumps in my main journal. This might work as my bullet journal doesn't leave the house usually so the risk of someone reading a brain dump would be minimal anyway. 

Do any of you use a bullet journal? I'm keen to try and go more minimalistic with it so if you're similar, please do let me know and link me to your own spreads/other spreads you've seen that are inspirational. 

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