Bullet journal

My 2019 Bullet journal evaluation: Which features will migrate to my 2020 journal

Most bullet journalers are entering or have already entered in the period of setting up a new bullet journal. I am also, but for me it is easy to start a new journal, as I use a Filofax Clipbook A5. In the end of the year I remove all pages from my clipbook and store them. I then add new pages.

In my previous blogpost, I answered the first question that was in my mind in starting a new bullet journal: What happens to the old bullet journals? And since this is by now solved, I can continue to the next one, which is: Which features of my current bullet journal I will continue having in my 2020 version? I split the features of my bullet journal in two big categories: the collections and the monthly/weekly/daily layout.

Collections – Trackers

About this time last year I went through the process of evaluating the collections I have been using in my previous bullet journals. I knew that I have been starting a lot of them and I tended to quit keeping them updated towards the middle of the year. Has that happened to you too?

So in my 2019 bullet journal I kept only collections that were not abandoned and created only a couple of new ones in subjects that I evaluated as really interesting for me, such as books. And guess what? It was an absolute success, as I did not abandon them this year either!

These are the collections – trackers that were so successful for me in 2019:

  • 2019 Roadmap
    This is one of the two not so minimalist pages in my bullet journal. I have already explained the idea behind it here. I absolutely love this short overview of my year!
My 2019 roadmap, as I transferred it to the notebook for safekeeping.
  • Movies and Series watched
    These two collections are of interest for both me and my husband. We watch several movies each year and a lot of series, as it has become so easy with Netflix. These trackers usually end up a bit messy, as I tend to complete them while watching tv, but I love them anyway 🙂
  • Books read tracking
    The Books read collection is the second not-so-minimalist page in my bullet journal. I read about 40 books per year and I tend not to keep the majority of them. As a result, this page is the only way I can really imagine how it would be if I was. It is so fulfilling to see my drawn library filling up!
My 2019 library until now
  • Reading challenges and other book related tracking
    I follow a reading challenge during the year, called BRACE, and it is vital of course to track it in my bullet journal. In addition, during 2019 I decided to keep track of where the books and their authors take me. I track the origin of the authors, so as to have an overview and where and when the books take place. I have been trying to use these data to create some statistics, that I found quite interesting!

Collections – Functional pages

The bullet journal is an incredible organisational tool. I keep a few functional lists that help me in my everyday life:

  • Waiting on…
    I consider this one, one of the most useful collections I use in bujo. Quite often I order things from the internet, or expect an email or a letter from somebody for a follow up. These are things that tend to be forgotten or lost inside a daily or weekly log. As a result, I keep a special page where I note what I should follow up. 2019 was a rather quiet year, but I can’t know how 2020 will go, so I will keep in my new bullet journal
  • Wishlist without deadline
    This is a list of all the things I would like to do, but they are not eminent and I do them only when I have time and mood. Not everything was done, but at least the majority was!
  • When did I last…
    In this list I note things like when I change toothbrushes, clean the windows and the fireplace, or any other task that is donea few times per year, but not regularly.
My “Waiting on” and Wishlist without deadline pages for 2019

Monthly/Weekly/Daily layouts

These are the second most important component of my bullet journal. At this time last year I took some decisions about the monthly/weekly/daily layouts that I have used during the years I have had a bujo. To be honest which of these layouts you use depend on the particular occasion and phase of your life.

During all of 2019 until now I have used a one page monthly log, the running task list for weekly and I didn’t have any dailies. By the way I found out that the running task list is also called Alastair method for weekly.

  • One-page monthly layout
    I know that a one-page monthly layout is perfect for my personal life, so I will continue using it. The months that were full of my gardening activities I kept a second one-page monthly layout dedicated to my plants.
  • Running task list or Alastair method for weekly
    I have found this layout really useful for me. I was mostly staying home and I did not have strict deadlines for the tasks to be done, so by using a running task list I avoided rewriting tasks. Now that my weeks have become more busy already, I will have to reconsider about which layout will be more useful for my 2020 bullet journal. But I never prepare my weeklies too much in advance, so I can change my mind whenever I want.
My current weekly for personal tasks

I think after this evaluation I am ready to start my 2020 bullet journal. Are you evaluating your previous versions yourself? Are there any interesting conclusions you have drawn? Please be kind enough to share them with me!

Bullet journal

My 2018 Bullet journal evaluation: Which monthly and weekly log works best under which circumstance

As a continuation to my previous posts about evaluating my 2018 Bullet journal, after Collections, it was time to decide about the monthly and weekly logs.

I have been using a bullet journal for two and a half years now and I have gone through different phases of my life, from being really busy while working full-time and planning my wedding, to being more flexible with my time while taking care of the house. As a result, I have tried  a couple of different monthly logs and several types of weekly logs. Oh and I have never used a daily log by itself. In this post, I will go through the different formats that I have used during the time I am using a bujo, evaluating each one of them.

Monthly logs I have used

  • Two-page monthly log

When I first started with a bullet journal, I was making my own monthly log, spread in two facing pages:

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A two-page format for the monthly log

I had enough space to add a few habits for tracking, as well as some space at the side for notes or anything else I wanted. It was quite simple, but functional. I did like the fact that the working week was in one page and the weekend in another, thus supporting my effort to have more personal time, which was quite precious at that time.

Evaluation
+ Wide view of the monthly log
+ A bit of space for additional notes or things
– Two facing pages needed
– A bit of time needed to set it up
? Is the space used enough for needs or is it too much?

  • Pre-printed monthly pages, for example the ones from Filofax

As I explained in an older post (The utensils I use in my bullet journal), for my bullet journal I use a Filofax Clipbook A5. This came a few default pages from Filofax when I bought it, so for some months I used their pre-printed monthly pages and it looked like this:

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A pre-printed page of Filofax

They have the same format from both sides, so I used the front side as a monthly log and the back side so as to write a small sentence for each day. They were really useful for me during some months that my husband and me went travelling (we went for a road trip down under!), so as to keep a kind of fast diary. We were keeping an online blog for our travelling, so I just needed small notes that I could use while writing at the blog.

Evaluation:
Saving time in preparing the month
+ Two identical pages, so one can be used for something else, for example for a “One sentence per day” page
– Additional cost
– Not a lot of flexibility

  • One-page monthly log

Once the pre-printed pages finished, I decided not to go back to the two-paged monthly log, but compress it into one:

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A one-page format for the monthly log

Evidently, it looks like the first format I was using, but more compact. I did like this more, especially when I did not have any problem with personal time anymore! I was using the facing page for habit trackers, summary of my month and notes that I should include in the month to come, although towards the end of the year I discontinued the use of such a page, as I was spending less and less time on my journal.

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My additional page to the monthly log

Evaluation
+ More compact look
– Eventually less space

Weekly logs I have used

  • One-page simple weekly log

This is probably the first type of weekly log I used. It was a totally simple separation of the page in seven horizontal spaces, one for each day of the week. It was ok, but there were days that I needed more space than I had.

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The first and simplest weekly log I made
  • Two-paged compact weekly log

For a few really busy weeks I needed more space that what the one-page simple weekly log was offering, so I used the following format:

weekly 2016.jpg
A two-paged weekly log

It did give me enough space for several tasks, as well as a way to track the water I was drinking (the blue squares) and some meal planning. In addition, it looked neat, something that I appreciate in general. On the downside, it required a bit more time to set it up.

  • One-paged format with enough space

Since I started using my Filofax, I decided that I wanted a one-page format but with enough space. As a result, from the beginning of 2017 and until May 2018 I was using something like this:

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A one-paged weekly log with enough space for several tasks

I liked and still like this format a lot! It is also neat and structured and have space for several tasks, although in one page. In addition, it is kind of easy to draw it. A combination between the first two weekly logs I have used!

  • Running task list

In June last year we moved to another home and suddenly my free time became scarce and my life less structured. I had already tried the Running task list and I had noticed the advantages of it! So since June I have only made running task list weekly logs:

My weekly log from last week

I loved this way of keeping track of my week. It allows flexibility both in noting down tasks that occur, as well as to which day they are assigned. Especially the latter was so important for me, since I work without strict deadlines.

As you can see I started my 2019 bullet journal with running task lists. I will see though, how the rest of the weeks are going and modify things accordingly.

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!