Bullet journal

My 2019 bullet journal

Oh my, January is already over! And my new bullet journal is already well started! I have the luxury of starting a new bullet journal every year, by just removing the pages of the old one and adding some new pages, as I use a Filofax clipbook.

This year I did an evaluation of my previous bullet journal, so I was ready to start the new year. Let me take you through my 2019 bujo!

Since I set up the first pages of my journal before the beginning of the actual year, I had the time and luxury to include in the beginning several of initial part of a bujo and things I think will be useful during the whole of the year. So in general, the first pages of my 2019 bujo can be divided in the following five parts:

  • 2019 Opening page

In the beginning, I have a simple opening page, similar to the one for 2018. Last year I used the free space for the keywords that I would like the new year to be characterised by. This year, I decided I will leave it empty and write keywords as they come during the year.

  • My year in a glance – 2019 Roadmap

The first thing in my journal is my 2019 Roadmap. I discussed in my post How to track your year in a glance that this was the most successful collection I have done! So why not include it again?

My 2019 roadmap. Still almost empty 🙂
  • Basic components of a bullet journal: Index and future log

Then I created my index per category. Yes I use an index, but not a general one by just listing the number of pages one after the other one. You can refer to my post My bullet journal indexing, so as to find the explanation of my system.

My future log is a simple calendar with a bit of space for notes. I do not need a lot of space for my future log, but I quite often need to see the calendar when I try to fix an appointment and having it like this helps me a lot.

My simple yearly log
  • Interesting collections

As I discussed in the evaluation of my collections, I have migrated the tracking of movies, tv series, ideas for my blog and of course a page for “Waiting on…”.

In addition, I have pages for the books I will read during the year and for the reading challenges I am following.

  • House matters – Cleaning schedule

I wanted to avoid having to repeat the cleaning process every week or every month, so I decided to include this tracking as a page in the beginning of my bujo. It came up as a schedule for a bit more than the first half of the year and I combined this page with a “When did I last…” page. In the latter I note tasks that happen on a rather irregular basis, but it is still better to keep track of them, such as changing toothbrushes or backing up my phone.

Last July we moved to a new house and we are still in process of improving small things around or rearranging, so I decided I will keep the house plans I had in my bujo last year.

It is always handy to have the fairly new house plans available!

After these five parts, I have started the everyday use of my bullet journal, with the monthly pages and anything else that occurs. How does it look? Do you use anything else in the beginning starting setup of your bullet journal?

Bullet journal

My bullet journal indexing

Today I want to talk to you about indexing. Do you have an index in your bullet journal? Have you felt disappointed from it? Have you thought of not using an index? Well that was me! But let’s start from the beginning.

The index consists one of the basic components of a bullet journal according to Ryder Caroll. Popular notebooks for bullet journalling, such as Leuchtturm, even if they are not pre-printed, they include a section about indexing by default. It is really the contexts of your notebook.

The most common way of indexing is as books have them: the topics one under the other one by order of appearance in the notebook. As we usually number our pages, the first page filled is recorded first, the second is recorded next, and so on.

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The index from my first bullet journal

After using this way of indexing for a couple of notebooks, I decided that I don’t like it. It didn’t really help me find the pages easily. In a bullet journal pages are not usually grouped according to topic. This way of indexing is just recording the chronological order of when things are written. As you can see above, my monthly pages were in pages 15, 18, 41 and 67. I happened to use this journal in order to plan my wedding, so the only way I had to group the pages were to try to note all the pages that considered this topic next to each other. I even tried using colours, but space is limited and the index gets messy…

At the end of last year, I was planning the starting of the new year and of my new bullet journal. And I was contemplating of not having an index at all! But then I got an idea!

Have you seen books that have a register in the back? They usually group the contents according to alphabetic order. Well, alphabetic order would not have been useful for me, but why not group my index according to topic?

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In my case, instead of leaving a couple of pages totally empty in the beginning, so as to keep a list of the contents of my journal, I gave titles to the pages, according to what I usually note in my journal: Collections, Monthly, Projects and Recipes. So now, whenever I write a page, I register it in the appropriate page or column and not just all together.

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I think I have finally found the best way of Indexing for me! I love that I can find easily that recipe I noted in the middle of February! Or the project that I created I don’t remember well, was it May or June?

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Of course there is the risk that the the space I left empty would not be enough. Already since May I encountered the problem, that I underestimated the Monthly index. You can notice in the picture of Index 2 that the page I had dedicated got filled within half a year! This is a problem in general with bullet journal when you try to plan too much ahead!

I have the luxury with my Filofax Clipbook A5 to add pages wherever I want, so at least it did solve that problem by adding another page at the end of my whole Index, naming it Index 2a. Unfortunately, I can’t number this page correctly and in general, I am not sure I like it like this, having another Monthly index after the Recipes and Projects. I might decide to rewrite the whole Index pages again, in the close future. Or I might adjust my predictions of pages needed in the 2019 bullet journal. Who knows…

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Bullet journal

Organising house seeking through bullet journal

We are in a period of turmoil, as we are moving once again (the sixth time in eight years!). The past month we have been looking for a house in the new town we are planning to live in.

The past two times we moved without huge problems, to houses that we loved. Unfortunately, this time the decision is not so easy. We are leaving a really beautiful area and a house that really feels like home and we have not fallen in love with any of the houses we have seen in the new town. But time is getting close and it is better for us to take a decision, and everything is so confusing and so unclear…

And at this point my nice red bullet journal turns to be so useful! I decided to make a list of the houses we are visiting, note the basic information about them and leave space for our thoughts and notes.

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Well, it is not exactly a bullet journal thing, but more like a list of comparing the different offers and noting the pros and cons. If I didn’t have a bullet journal I might still have ended up doing a list of the houses on a random piece of paper. I remember keeping track of the houses we were viewing when we were moving from one town in North Holland to another one in a random notebook I had around. But now I don’t need a random notebook. I have my bullet journal. It just demonstrates the different ways a bullet journal proves to be useful in my life!

Bullet journal

Running task list

Are you using your bullet journal to organise your task per day or per week? Has it happened to you that you are not sure how long a task will take or when exactly it has to be done?

Well, it happens to me from time to time, especially when I am on a business trip or travelling back home (that means Greece) to solve bureaucratic matters. In such cases I know what needs to be done during a given period of time and I can try to plan ahead when these tasks will be fulfilled, but I have no way of knowing if they will finish or not on one or more days. During my last trip home I was looking for something to fit my needs of planning. I had seen the idea of a running task list, as it is called, and I grabbed the opportunity to try it out!

A running task list is an alternative to the standard daily or weekly layout in a bullet journal. It is simple to set up, by having two main columns: one for the tasks and one for the period of interest. The column of the days is split in as many sub-columns as the days you want to plan ahead. If a task is assigned on one day, I create a box on this day. If I know it would be handled on several days, I create boxes on all the days concerned. Once the task is done I fill the boxes. If the task is not to be handled on a particular day, I left the column of that day empty. If the task was transferred to another day (it happens with bureaucratic matters…) I made arrows to the days it was transferred. It also happened that one of my plans was cancelled, so I crossed that box.

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For example, I decided to make my nails. On the 20th I called the girl and she gave me an appointment for the 24th. Another example is the bureaucratic matter of unsubscribing from my insurance. I passed from the office on Friday 20th, but the matter was not solved and I had to pass again on the Monday and Tuesday.

You don’t really have to use arrows or anything in particular. You can use your own way of notation.

As you understand, the running task list helps in not writing again and again the same tasks, if they occur on several days. It is a compact way of planning a particular period.  I have seen people using it for their weekly planning. I have to admit that I loved the flexibility and the overview it gave me for my trip back home.

 

 

Bullet journal

The utensils I use in my bullet journal

It has been a busy week and my bullet journal is a vital tool for keeping my life organised. In the almost three years I have been using it, I have gone through several utensils and today I am going to write about my experience. I should note that for me bullet journalling is a tool, so I keep it functional and as a result the budget I have for it I keep to a minimum.

The first “ingredient” for a bullet journal is a notebook. When I started in August 2016, I followed the idea of the creator and just grabbed the first empty notebook I had available. It was an Oxford Notebook A5 spiraled and with squares. It was easy to carry around and have it on my desk next to the rest of the things I was working on. I used it for the rest of the year, experimenting with outlines and uses. I was influenced by the rest of the examples of bullet journals I was seeing in the internet and I even tried to have colours and beautify it. Slowly slowly I was discovering the collections that were useful for me and of course I was adding them behind the rest of the things I was writing in my journal.

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My first bullet journal

As the beginning of 2017 was coming close and as the bullet journal was becoming more and more important for me, I decided to look for another notebook and with my taste and way of life I decided that a ringed one would be more fitting for me. It would allow me to create pages and move them around to the place I want! In the local bookstore I found a Filofax Clipbook A5 in beautiful colours that was on offer, so I got it. And ever since I adore it!

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My Filofax clipbook

The clipbook I bought came with a variety of pages: blank, lined, squared, monthly, weekly and a yearly overview. I admit that I rarely used the lined or the weekly ones. I used the yearly overview for my future log and the monthly ones as my monthly overview. I like squared pages, so it was no problem for me there! The notebook can easily fold in the middle and it has traveled with me around the world but still looks like new! I still have the original outside and I just replace the pages every year.

I know that most people that use bullet journals prefer brands such as Leuchtturmor Moleskine, but I find them both pricey and I prefer the flexibility of a ringed notebook. I have noted that people tend to prefer dotted pages, which is the only drawback of Filofax, as they don’t offer dotted pages as refills. But the ringed notebook can be filled with any page you want, as long as it has the correct holes. I did invest in a Filofax A5 hole punch and I am now creating my own blank pages.

The second “ingredient” is the pens. There is no need to have anything in particular, but we all have our favourite pens no? At my work we were using STABILO CULTdynamic pens and I liked them so much, that I bought them myself. They are gel rollerball pens that write smoothly and with deep colour. In my first journal I used only these ones in black and blue, so as to separate the notes that referred to my personal and professional life.

For a bit of colour in my journal I am using the fineliners of STABILO point 88. I have always had a couple of these pens around and my husband had a whole case of them, which I made my own!

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Lately, I tried the Pigma Micron fineliners. I got them in a set of several thicknesses and I admit that I like them a lot! I use thicknesses such as 02 – 04 for text, less than 02 when I want to make lines for frames and higher than 04 to fill in out the different shapes.

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The only slight disadvantage of the Stabilo Point 88 pens is that if I go a second time over the lines I have created, then the ink goes through the paper and I can see it from the back of the page. In bullet journal jargon, this is called ghosting (when you see it only faintly) or bleeding (when it comes through). With the Pigma Micron 02 to 05 I notice less ghosting than with the Stabilo, but Pigma Micron 08 and Pigma Micron Brush had the most intense ghosting.

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The back of the page. You can notice a bit of ghosting from the three pens I have noted.

Besides a notebook and pens, I use a small wooden ruler I have, my favorite blue 0.7mm mechanical pencil and from time to time a bit of washi tape. Last month I allowed myself the luxury of buying a series of stensils for general use.

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I don’t think I spend more than 20 euros per year for my bullet journal. I buy my squared refills directly from Filofax (3 euros for 50 pages without sending costs) and make my own blank pages from normal A4 cut in half. And I replace my pens when they are over, but except from the black one that I use for most of my writing, I do not replace the rest too often.

P.S. Concerning the links used here, please check my Disclaimer.

 

Bullet journal

Setting up April

March is almost over and it is time to set up my journal for the next month. In this post I will show you how I work.

My months start always in a new right page. I have the luxury of moving my pages around, as I use a Filofax Clipbook, so I don’t have to worry about how many pages I need to skip.

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The first page of every month is dedicated to an introduction and I use it as an open canvas. Being more of a practical than artistic person, it is the last page I complete during the process I am describing in this post. I tend to do a small sketch or something, using as inspiration an incident or an object I acquired during the last days before I start working on this page. For example in January I saw a cute small owl on a Christmas napkin and I copied it as simply as possible.

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Last week I received a few stensils that I ordered for using in my bullet journal and some new pens (a PIGMA MICRON Fineliner set), so I decided to try these in the first page for April.

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The second page of every month is my monthly log. I usually create a box of 7×6 for the seven days per week and the five weeks per month. The extra row is so as to write the names of the days. This month is an exception, as it starts on a Sunday and it finishes on a Monday, so I needed seven rows in total.

Once I have created the frame, I decide on a colour to use for this month. For April I used a pinkish one, since it is the first month that the flowers are blooming! I use this colour from my favourite STABILO Fineliner point 88 colour pens for all the labels and the small things that refer to the month, all throughout the pages I create during this month. The following step is to copy in this monthly log all the entries that have accumulated in the future log in the beginning of my journal, or anywhere else until today. And so my second page is ready.

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In the third page I try to collect the notes that from experience are scattered around during the month. I decide on a few habits that I want to track this month and set up my monthly tracker. I also like to dedicate a big box where I put the tasks that I do or have to do during the month. For example this month I am planning a trip back home so as to solve some legal matters, but since I do not have the weekly log of that week yet, I make the list here. In addition I use this box to have a glance of the month in the end, so I note the books I read or the projects I complete.

In the end of my page I dedicate a small box to notes that will have to be included in the next month or just things that I will need to consider during that month. This box will be useful during the setting up of May.

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The fourth page of my monthly setup is the first weekly log. This is a special month, as a mentioned already, with the first day being a Sunday, so as an exception I included it in the last weekly of March. So this weekly log starts from Monday 2nd April. I have shown you already, that I like the one-page weekly logs, where I have two columns for tasks and notes and one for the weather.

Having the luxury of the Filofax Clipbook, I also set up a few pages that I consider essential for the month, but will be placed rather later in the numbered pages. For example, I already created my “a sentence a day” log (using the colour dedicated for this month).

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Before considering the setting up finished with my April monthly log, I do two small things:

  1. I create a small index marking with washi tape, so as to be able to turn to the month easily when I open my bullet journal and

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2. I number the first pages I created and then make an entry in my index.

These are the first essential pages for the month of April for me. They don’t take more than an hour to setup, of course excluding the first introductory page.

Once the month starts and I have something to include, I will create the “memories” page for it, too. But no need to do so already! Still a few days to create memories for March!

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Bullet journal

Habit tracker

One of the most common trackers used in the bullet journal is the habit tracker. This is the term to describe a system to monitor daily habits. It is a really useful tool to motivate yourself to follow healthy regimes or other goals, as well as monitor patterns that exist in your life and understand yourself better.

In this post I will discuss some of the most common habits people tend to track and give you tips about this tracker. Keep in mind that this feature should be adjusted to your needs and habits and that you don’t need to include something just because somebody else does.

To begin with, I should mention that habit trackers can be daily, weekly, monthly and in rare cases annually. I would recommend to use a weekly or a monthly habit tracker, as with the daily one you really miss the point of tracking and having an annual one means that you have decided to follow this habit for a whole year. Weekly or monthly layouts have the advantage of letting you experimentise with both the layout and the habits you are tracking. For example for several months you might be tracking smoking in an effort to cut it, but once you have achieved that you can focus on something else. For some months you might have to take a medication and for some others not.

The simplest layout is to have a table with the days and the habits you are following. The table can be horizontal or vertical in the page of your journal. This layout is the one I am using in my journal myself:

20180319_130601Of course there are more creative ways to track your habits, such as the one from The Petite Planner, where she combines several different layouts.

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Concerning what to track, the choices are uncountable! Below I am mentioning some examples, grouped in categories.

Health

  1. Water consumption
  2. Fruit or vegetables consumption
  3. No alcohol
  4. No sugar
  5. No smoking
  6. Sports
  7. Calorific intake (usually below a value set as maximum)
  8. Taking vitamins or medication
  9. Eat breakfast

Household chores

10. Tidying house
11. Laundry
12. Cooking at home
13. Watering plants
14. Paying bills
15. Taking care of pets (feeding fish, walking dog etc.)

Personal improvement

16. 8+ hours of sleep (or setting some time that you want to go to bed and/or get up)
17. Personal hygiene (face cleaning, showering etc.)
18. Floss or teeth care
19. Self care
20. Meditation or Yoga
21. Studying time or homework done
22. Time spent in a project
23. Time spent in a hobby
24. Time spent with children
25. Reading
26. Working on your bullet journal (or your blog)
27. Contacting friends or parents
28. Try something new
29. No spend day

Well, the list can get endless. You can track as many things as you want. Personally, I found out that I behave better if I focus in a few of them and not spend time monitoring things I never do or things I do every day anyway. But the best is for you to try and find out what you like most! Go ahead, prepare your habit tracker for next week!

 

Bullet journal

10 collections in my bullet journal

I promised in my previous post about bullet journaling to dedicate a post on collections. Admittedly, they are one of the most interesting and diverse parts of a journal, and I think there will be several posts on this subject.

Collections are all the things that you can have in your journal besides future, monthly or daily logs. In this post I am going to give you examples of my collections. I am not so artistic and I like geometry and symmetry, so my style is minimalistic. I use pinterest for inspiration, but I like trying to create the pages myself by hand, even if they are not a huge artistic success.

Trackers

A big group of possible collections are the trackers, such as:

  1. Mood tracker
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I set up my mood tracker in the beginning of the year and I tend to use one or two colours per day, based on how the day goes. Other people prefer a monthly mood tracker.

2. Movies tracker

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This year I decided to track the movies we are watching. The original idea is to write the movies horizontally, but in an effort to save a bit of space and not have to make a new page again in a month, I decided to write them vertically!

3. Series tracker

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My husband and I like watching a few series. This tracker was another new addition in my bullet journal for this year. This is one of the pages that constantly changes, as we add series constantly, so I decided to have a really basic layout.

4. Books read

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I am reading several books per year. This was the very first collection I created in my bullet journal and it is the only one I am spending a bit more time creating, so that it looks like a library. I have a goal for the number of books I want to read in the year (thanks to goodreads) and so I can set my library up with at least this many books. Oh well I am not a painter, but it looks acceptable, no?

5. Habit tracker

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I like creating my habit tracker every month, as the habits I want to monitor can vary with the month. I try to keep them in a minimum number and not have too many things, as that would rather discourage me from focusing on things I consider important.

I do not just colour the box, as in the rest of my journal. In the habit tracker I try to create a nice pattern! It can be slightly improved I know…

6. Crocheting and knitting projects

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I have tried different ways of tracking these projects. One was making a list of the projects I created during each month, once that month was finished. This year I decided to have a kind of indexing for them in the beginning and special pages with notes for each project inside the rest of my notebook. It is a much more useful way, although I don’t know yet what to make inside those circles I created in the beginning of the year!

Other collections

7. Cleaning schedule

I have tried several ways of monitoring my cleaning schedule. This year I decided to have something concentrated and not just spread around in my weeklies. I wanted something simple and efficient, after all this is the basic idea of my journal! I couldn’t find an idea that would occupy only one page and contain what I had in mind, so I made this combination of trackers:

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The left page, I use more like a motivation so that I don’t skip anything. After all I am a bit of a control freak, so I don’t like missing ticks… The right one is really useful, because they are things that are not done regularly, but it is good to remember the last time they were done!

8. Reading challenges

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I try to follow a reading challenge per year, just for the fun of it. I have to admit, I usually lose my interest around the second half of the year, but I have the best intentions in January! The challenge I follow this year is a bingo type one, where we have to fill a 5×5 table with books that fall in some given categories.

9. Gratitude log

I dedicate one or two pages each month in writing a sentence that characterises each day. I don’t like the title “Gratitude log”, but I name mine “A sentence a day”.

10. Memories

In the end of each month I dedicate a page (or more) for memories. These could be tickets, events, emotions, something that I saw and was interesting, anything that was important for me that month.

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This month’s page is not so exciting yet! The blog is the most amazing thing that has happened!

And this brings me to the end of this post. By now you had a peek in my bullet journal. As I said in the beginning it is not the most artistic one you will find, but I am just trying to give you an idea of what collections I find interesting.

Bullet journal

What do I include in my bullet journal?

In What is a bullet journal? I explained briefly what the basic idea is behind a bullet journal and what the creator considers as the essential components. I am now going to explain some of the components that I include in my own bullet journal.

Weekly log

I use my bullet journal to organise my life more efficiently. Given my schedule and my style, I do not need a detailed entry per day. I have better control by looking at the week as a whole, therefore I use weekly logs. These are the core of my journal and I tend to prepare them every Thursday. As an example, I show you my weekly log for last week:

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I like the fact that I can have all of the week on just one page and this layout gives me enough space for two columns of tasks or notes plus a column in the end for the weather of the day.

Monthly log

In addition to the weekly logs, I also always have a monthly log. In this I transfer whatever notes I have from the long planning of the future log, if there are days I need to remember and I know them already before the month starts, whatever comes up during the month for a week further than the current week (simply because I do not have the weekly log ready yet) and anything else that makes sense to see in the general view of the month. Examples of these are birthdays, appointments that are made well ahead and the dates of the local garbage collection.

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Of course, I keep an index in the beginning of my journal, as well as a future log for the whole year. I will not go into further detail about these, as they were explained already in my previous post.

Signifiers

When writing your daily (or weekly) logs, you can use symbols for your entries. Tasks, events, appointments, notes, ideas, etc. can each have a different symbol that makes sense to you. As the name of the whole project says, the idea is to use bullets and this is what the creator had in mind, but you can use whatever you want. For example I use the symbol “@” for appointments and boxes for my tasks: an empty box for the tasks to do, a half full for the ones that are started and a full one for the ones that are finished. In the beginning you might want to include a key page, which is a collection of the symbols or signifiers as they are called.

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Personally I had a key page in my first journal, but in the new ones I did not spend time in creating one. My everyday life changed too much and as a result my bullet journal got simplified.

Collections

The key page leads me to the last thing I would like to discuss in this post: Collections. When using the bullet journal for a while, you will find out that there are things that you want to start monitoring, or that maybe there is a pattern of things you note on a regular basis. These can be concentrated in one page or two facing pages, instead of being scattered around your journal, and are called Collections. They can include things like books you read, movies or tv series you watch, your mood per day, birthdays, christmas gifts, a master shopping list, goals of the year, cleaning schedule, packing lists etc. The idea is to go to the next free page, put a title in it and start writing similar notes together. I am showing you my “books I read” page, which is probably the only page in my journal that has a bit of drawing!

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Collections are a big topic by themselves, and I promise to prepare a post dedicated only to them!

 

Bullet journal

What is a bullet journal?

If you use it already, you know what it is. But if you haven’t heard it before, here is a small presentation.

In order to make a bullet journal, all you need is a notebook, a pen and the desire to have a planner, a diary, a sketch book, an agenda, or anything else, or all of these together. The idea is to adjust the notebook to your own needs.

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My first bullet journal

The basic components of a bullet journal, according to the creator Ryder Carroll, are the following:

  • an Index, which is really the contents of your notebook. It is usually in the front and you add things to it gradually, once you create them

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  • a Future log, which is an overview of several months in advance (usually a year or the rest of the year if you start in the middle). Here you can note things that are scheduled far in advance

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  • a Monthly log, which is an overview of the current month, where you have a more detailed calendar than in the future log

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  • a Daily log, which is dedicated to individual days and is designed to contain what is essential for each day. This is the most detailed of the logs.

But you don’t have to have any of these in your own bullet journal if you don’t find them useful. This is exactly the magic of the system. I myself have never ever used a daily log, so I don’t have an example to show you. For me, weekly logs (the overview of the whole week, instead of a day or a month) are more useful and I have been using them from the beginning until today.

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And besides these basic components, there are several other ones that the different people that have a bullet journal use. There is so much variety and as many ways to set up your own notebook, as brands of notebooks on the market. You can see so many examples in pinterest or instagram, or on facebook in the different groups that exist. You will probably be amazed by the beautiful drawings people do and the way they fill their bullet journals.

As I mentioned in my first post about bullet journaling and as you will notice in the photos of my own journal, I personally prefer to use it in a minimalistic way. This means that I do not spend my time in drawings. In the best case, I stick something in it, such as a postcard or a photo, that I think is worth keeping. I do however use a bit of colour by using coloured pens.

This year is the third one I have had a bullet journal and I tend to set up a new one in the beginning of the calendar year. In the following posts I will explain the way I have set up my own bullet journal and what conclusions I have drawn from the three I have had until now. But always keep in mind that what fits me might not fit you. You have the absolute liberty to set up your own bullet journal in the way you like and fits you!