My name is Crystal and I have a paper obsession. All types – wrapping, post its, stationary, scrapbook, tissue – I love it all. Its so pretty, and I love the way it feels.
Give me a good old fashioned book with pages I can turn. Not this super compact, light and easy to travel with kindle nonsense. Nevermind that the digital form might be more practical for traveling.
Give me a pad and paper for my list making, thank-you-very-much. Much more efficient that fat fingering it and fighting with autocorrect if you ask me. Also, there is something strangely rewarding about getting to draw a line through a completed task. Not gonna lie, I am one of those people that will write a task down, just to cross it off the list. It just feels good.
So when it comes to planners I absolutely had to have a traditional paper planner, but I have always struggled with finding a planner that I absolutely loved. I would literally spend weeks (maybe even months) combing through planners in search of “the one.” I found some systems that were “close enough” but in the end nothing ever felt just right. And then an awesome friend introduced me to the Bullet Journal. The heavens parted and the angels sang and a voice said “this is the planner you have been searching for.”
If you don’t know what a Bullet Journal is, Google it, do a Youtube search, check pinterest, maybe even ask Alexa. Apparently this is a thing and no one thought to tell me about it until my sweet friend finally brought me out of the dark ages sometime this spring. She’s pretty much my hero – and a talented artist. Check her out sometime.
Now, I do this Bullet Journal thing a little differently than most people, but that’s the beauty of Bullet Journaling, you decide how to do it. You make it work for you. Set up is a little time consuming, but I enjoy the process so it doesn’t bother me. There are a lot of minimalist Bullet Journal people out there, so you can definitely streamline the process if you don’t want a lot of frills. But I like a little color and flair in my planner, so it takes me a little extra time. I usually set up a couple of weeks at a time. Some people do a day at a time, a week at a time, even a month at a time. I needed to be able to plan out more than a day in advance, and I was not keen on rewriting tasks over and over, so I set up an entire week at a time. I also don’t do the symbols and rarely migrate tasks. yeah. I’m a #bujo rebel.
Sometimes I do multiple weeks, but I occasionally get the itch to tweak my layout so I can’t do too much in advance or I end up frustrated with the way the current layout is working/not working.
So here’s my journal. Its a little beat up because it goes EVERYWHERE with me.
Its not an official Bullet Journal (like Moleskin or Leuchtturm), but I’m not really a brand loyalist. I’m also a journal junkie and am always snatching up cheap ones at TJ Maxx and HomeGoods and Target… I like that you can Bullet Journal in anything and I like that it doesn’t look like a planner.
I used a couple of pages at the front for my year at a glance layout.
Since I only set up a week or two at a time, I use these pages to jot down dates that further into the future (like trips, conferences, etc.). This is one of the first pages I set up when I started, so its not very pretty. I also have a page for birthdays/anniversaries.
My weekly spreads are the bread and butter of my bullet journal. And these have changed a lot since I started. This is my first attempt. I needed a way to track how I was spending my time, but also a place to keep to do lists for various clients.
As you can see I tried recording our meal plan for the week and tried to record highs and lows for the week. I attempted to do more of the traditional bullet journal list type weekly spread (this was how my previous planners were also set up)
But I quickly realized that I really needed to visualize my appointments and track my time, and still needed a little space to record tasks that didn’t have a time or date associated with them. So I changed the spread to this:
I had a lot more space to record appointments, and even kept up with our meals. This was a useful layout for visualizing how I was using my time, while allowing me to record things that were day specific too. And I still had room to record to do lists. I was feeling more comfortable with this Bullet Journal thing and started to get colorful! This worked great for a couple of months, but my needs changed – I needed more room to record tasks and less room for the hourly stuff.
My weeks stayed with this layout for a couple of months too. I had more space to write down projects and task relating to my marketing clients, but still had space to record appointments and items that corresponded with a particular day. If I had free space in the layout I’d fill it with a quote or scripture that stuck with me that week. And then a couple of weeks ago I made another slight tweak to the spread that slightly expands the appointment area to allow me track my time again, and still leaves lots of space to record to dos and projects. I think this layout will stick for a while!
I also have monthly spreads that allow me to visualize any trips, birthdays or anniversaries that are coming up that month. What can I say, I’m a visual person. I create these when my weekly spread reaches a new month. So you’ll see a monthly layout, followed by 4 weekly spreads, and then another monthly layout. I use one page for the calendar and the facing page as a place to jot down notes and goals for that month.
I started out printing these, because I didn’t want to draw the month, but then I lost my printed copies so I had to draw it anyway! I also started using a habit tracker to hold myself accountable for daily tasks…and its fun to color in!
Drawing the month by hand is really time consuming, so for 2017 I’m back to printing of each month and taping it on the page.
I’ve also incorporated some fun pages that are mixed throughout my Bullet Journal. And I really like that I always have them with me. For example, this little map of the places we’ve traveled this year:
I attempted to do a Table of Contents when I first started and that was a big fat flop. Ain’t nobody got time for that.
I’ve got a reading list that I started. I’m always looking for a great read, so send me your recommendations!
And I have a gratitude list, and sermon notes.
I’ve also got pages with photo session ideas, blog post ideas, instagram ideas, and webinar notes. Even space for reflection and goal setting:
And this journal isn’t even halfway filled! I’ll probably get to use it through the end of 2017, which makes me excited to have all of this information with me, all the time! I don’t normally have the little post it flags sticking out, those were just there to help me pick the pages to shoot. I fold over Washi tape on the edge of the page to indicate the special pages.
So there you have it, that’s the way I Bullet Journal. I’m a believer in this system, and will probably never buy another planner. Do you Bullet Journal too? I’d love to hear your thoughts about the system and what layouts you love.