I’ve been bullet journaling so long that I honestly have no idea what I have and have not done before. I’m pretty sure I previously used a 2-week layout at some point in my bullet journaling history, but if I have, it’s been so long that this feels new.
My work schedule has changed a bit so I don’t really need daily pages anymore. When I used daily pages, I also did a 1-week layout for the “at a glance” type of view. I never really felt like this was enough as I usually start planning details two weeks ahead, especially for the kid’s school stuff. 2-weeks is about the notice you get for school events, at least in our case.
So now that I don’t need daily pages, I’ve decided to do a 2-week layout and just put the scheduled items on there and just keep a running “to do” page that doesn’t necessarily have a date/schedule on it. We’ll see how this works for my new daily life.
Do you use a layout like this? If I stick to this, I’ll post a picture of what my “to-do” page looks like as well, but that one I haven’t quite sorted out yet. I do need to keep it set by day in SOME manner, but every day doesn’t need it’s own page. This 2-week layout I really like so I know this one is going to stick as long as it proves useful.
With this change in work situation I’ll be able to update my Bullet Journal Joy accounts with more regularity. For this reason, I made my photographer-kid take a picture of me and my bullet journals, and I updated a lot of my profiles with the new SUPER DORK photo.
As summer bids farewell and the cool air rolls into Alabama, I start to remember that I HATE COLD WEATHER. I know this is hilarious to some of you because I live where there are very mild winters. And winter allows me to do my favorite hobby – Trail Running – without snakes our poison ivy! But- I still hate being cold and I find the chilly, gray days make me grumpy and irritable.
What does any of this have to do with bullet journaling?
Well, I decided to finally do a SELF CARE page like I’ve seen other bullet journalers do. If you haven’t seen this, it’s basically a chart with days of the week marked along the top and then a list of self care tasks you can check off for having done. You can set your own goal, maybe 5 per day? Or just use it as a way to inspire you to actually take time to do the things that are good for your soul! And you can make it personal to you, don’t use everyone else’s ideas of “Self Care.” Maybe baking or quilting or playing Zelda is your self care!
I’m going to start tracking things next week, and because I’m a Monday-Start kind of girl, that’s when I started my chart. But you can start yours on the weekend or TODAY if you’d rather! I’ll try to report back to see if it actually inspired me to take time out of my day to soothe my soul. Here’s to hoping!
Here is my first bullet journal, started 4 years ago this month!
In the four since since I’ve started this system (I’m currently on volume 14) I’ve made some really beautiful spreads and pages using washi tape and zendoodles and brush markers and stickers and hand lettering…and…and…
You get the point.
But most days? 99% of the time even? It’s just the basics. As a matter of fact, I haven’t done anything really pretty in awhile. I don’t have any fun natural lettering talents (although I’d love to learn some day), I don’t always have my washi tape on me, and most importantly? I don’t have the time. Most days I’m just working my way through my weekly spreads which I just barely jazz up with the only letter I know how to do. And it’s not even that great.
But you know what? That’s okay. We see bullet journalers on instagram with these gorgeous spreads marking words of wisdom or daily weather reports or beautiful lettering and sometimes it can freeze us into inaction. But the point of the system is simplicity. Is function. It’s whatever YOU need it to be FOR YOU and it doesn’t matter how pretty your handwriting is or how often you misspell “Tuesday.”
(I misspell Tuesday ALL THE TIME.)
Even when I have something fun I want to document (because remember, my motto is Plan, Document, and Create) I often just throw the memorobilia on a page with scotch tape.
More often than not, I’m writing and taping random stuff in there to help me remember things. We just bought a new house and during the sell/buying/repair/rennovation process I wanted to remember who we used for what. And then I also wanted to remember what I’m allowed to recycle and how I should do it. These things maybe could had been done in some artistic what worthy of an instagram photo but I really just needed the function at that point and didn’t have time to be creative.
So don’t be fooled if I randomly share out some pretty spread or art or lettering on my instagram account. I truthfully only have a few of those “pretty” pages per volume. Most of my pages are function that I sometimes spice up with fun ink colors. That’s the extent of my fancy bullet journaling: SOMETIMES I USE PURPLE INK!
Never Forget: It’s okay to be a No Frills bullet journaler!
One of the photos I included yesterday was a shot of one of my first daily pages.
I was basically just making “to do” lists and decorating them with washi tape and stickers. And those were good days when I did that. A lot of days I just sloppily scratched lists not recognizing the therapeutic effect of hand-lettering and lines. Eventually, I did discover how meditative the lettering and lining of pages could be. I do still work full time and have 3 kids (one at college) and hold two volunteer board positions and train for the periodic marathon, so I don’t have the time to make each day a work of art, but I did start playing around with it more.
And while I enjoyed this, I was also starting to discover the “weekly” spreads were useful but I didn’t want to have one weekly spread and then seven daily spreads so I started playing around with combining days to conserve space. This proved to be useful too since I tend to not accomplish all I need to so I could just look at the unchecked stuff on the SAME PAGE instead of re-writing it on the NEW page every day. I swear I wrote “Paint Eliah’s Bathroom” everyday for 3 weeks a couple of years ago.
But this wasn’t working out for me much either – so about 6 months or so ago or so I switched to the 2-page weekly spread. It took a lot to get over ghosting, I usually only rarely use the backs of pages as I don’t like seeing the other writing under it. But with good planning, I can avoid it a little bit. The 2-page weekly spread allows me to see my week at a glance which is super-useful when scheduling things, but it also still prevents me from re-writing tasks that carry over.
This has especially proven to be a useful method for me in that it allows me to easily ply 2-3 weeks ahead which I’ve been finding I need more of lately. That’s a harder thing to do when you’re dealing with daily pages because if you have a busy Tuesday coming up and the individual things scheduled for that day are too much for your monthly page, you don’t want to have build a Tuesday page for 9 days from now when you haven’t built all of the pages in between. Once I start to get days too hectic for the monthly page (which we have a lot of when the monthly page is full of soccer games) I just quickly build the weekly spread for that week but I usually do leave a few blank pages in between for meeting notes or memory collection in the meantime.
How has your daily method changed since you started?
I’m two weeks away from starting another volume (#11!) in my bullet journal life – so it’s time to start transferring important information over to the next volume. I only transfer pages that I’ll need to reference regularly over the next three-four months. I’m not transferring my kid’s summer schedule because school has started, but I am transferring my “Books I’ve Read” list as I want to carry them out throughout the year. I don’t need several of my project pages for work, but I do need some notes from some recent meetings. You get the point!
In order to not get too overwhelmed – especially if I need to transfer a lot of data – I start about two weeks out by going through the index pages of my current volume and marking all of the pages I’ll move over. Sometimes there are pages I’ll reference again – but not often. Examples would be: Bucket List type pages. Those pages I’ll write at the bottom of the index pages on every volume. “Bucket List: Volume 3, page 72.” There are some “in between” pages that I might not ever need again, but most of those I know approximately when I made them so I can find them by searching through a few volumes. I recently was looking for notes on a past meeting and it only took me about 15 minutes to go through 5 volumes until I found it. No big deal! That’s why I like this system.
So this week I’ve start transferring information over to the new journal. Since I started two weeks ahead, I only have to do a few at a time. That way, when it’s time to start the new volume, I can put this one on the shelf and not have to carry TWO around for a few weeks, which I’ve done before. Here is my new “run log” page in my new journal.
I even took time to tape a coloring card onto the page opposite the run log. Since most of the races I do are done with friends, I figured this was an appropriate addition to this page.
How do you move stuff over to a new journal? Or do you even bother?
School started this week in my world. Soccer starts next week. On top of a full-time job and volunteer obligations, I found that my life got away from me last Autumn and we barely had time to breathe. To avoid that chaos and then anxiety it gives me, I’m trying something new this year. I’m scheduling actual down time. I’m blocking out entire evenings IN ADVANCE so that if something comes up, I have a reminder in my calendar about how important it is to just have some nights…simply at home. We’re trying to sell our house so sometimes those nights might be catching up on house work. Or maybe I’ll just veg out with the kids and watch our favorite superhero television. I’ll definitely cook a real meal on those nights since we do quick things like quesadillas or cereal on the other nights. It doesn’t matter what I do, what matters is that I am AT HOME and that I’m free to use that time how I best see fit.
Ideally I’d have two nights a week where I can block out “HOME” on the calendar, but I want to at least mandate one night a week. We don’t have soccer practice schedules yet, so I don’t know if that will be a possibility, but I really hope I can make it a priority. I think the “Something Every Night” scheduling causes me more problems than most – or else no one else talks about it. But those weeks where I work all day and then do soccer/meetings every night really take a toll on my mental health and with two kids who have their own mental health needs, it’s important I make sure to put my oxygen mask on first, so to speak.
Do you have to schedule downtime to remind yourself how important it is? Or are you one of those superheroes that can Go! Go! Go! every night and not suffer ill side effects?
Last year I successfully completed running my first 100K with the help of my bullet journal. I have a bit of a chaotic life, so strict training plans have never suited me. So, I printed up a basic plan I found online and just tried to keep my weekly miles above the recommended goal. Beyond that? I would plan long runs first on Saturdays and Sundays based on the running schedules of my friends, and then I just filled in day to day whatever I could to try to meet my weekly goal. This is what my (ultimately successful) log looked like last year.
I am not doing a 100K this year (my husband is trying is first 100-miler in November and that would be too much) but I am trying for the same combo of races in November as I did last year: A 50K trail race on Saturday, followed by a road Marathon on Sunday. I’ve already signed up for the 50K but the marathon is the Flying Monkey and it’s lottery only. I’ll find out if I’m in no later than August 15th. I’m trying to be optimistic though, and decided to build my run log and training plan around getting in.
Since I successfully did the back-to-backs last year, I just basically used my run log from last year as my “weekly total goal” for this year. I don’t take racing very seriously. I’m a “completer” not a “competer” – meaning my goal is only ever to cross the finish line before the cutoff. That means I don’t have to stress out about types of runs (speed days or hill days or whatever days) and I don’t have to stress out about speed or time. For me? It’s just about getting the miles in however I can.
I’m coming off several complications in my running life so my base is not as strong as last year. (Most recently I had a bike wreck in Colorado which kept me off my feet for a couple of weeks.) But I’ve been trying to at least do 15-20 miles a week all summer, and am hoping a 30-mile week this week won’t be too much of a jump. Here’s to hoping this method of using my bullet journal to train will make me as successful this year as it did last year!
Mondays. It’s so cool and trendy to hate Mondays, but you know what? I like them. I like them A LOT. First of all, weekends are exhausting in our world so Mondays tend to bring calm again. But also? That’s the “start” of my week when I’m planning so everything is fresh and full of potential.
Naturally, I also love the first of every month. Whether your accepting a nutrition challenge or fitness improvement or trying to meditate more or work less…we all tend to look at the first of the month as a natural “Start Day” for anything.
So! Imagine my thrill when THE FIRST OF AUGUST also fell on a MONDAY! The POTENTIAL that brings to me! My monthly spread starts the same day as my weekly spread and everything is pretty and new and fresh and THE WORLD IS MY OYSTER!
I have all of these plans for August. My kids start school this month (younger ones this week, college kid next) so I have all of these great plans to manage time and homework and lunch making. I have races that will start coming up in the Fall I have to start really training for. I have nutrition challenges (I’m taking the month off of beer! And I love my craft beer!) I’m giving myself and I’m really wanting to try to get into Yoga. This week is the first of a month FULL of potential!
Will I succeed at all of my challenges and goals? NEVER! Hell, if I succeed at ONE of them I’ll consider it a win! But I still love trying to make myself a better person every day so if you give me a Month that starts on a Monday? I’m going to make a whole month out of it!
Awesome August is what we’ll be calling it! No beer! Time management! Learn Yoga! Finish reading the books on my bedside table! Live! Love! Laugh!
Are you giving yourself any challenges this week? This month? Do you have any special spreads that are helping you do that? I’m going to show off my run tracker tomorrow!
I’ve been using the bullet journal system for almost 3 years now and I’m putting an average of about 3 months into each volume. I like starting a new volume at the first of the month, so there are some volumes with blank pages at the end and one with a LOT of blank pages because I really wanted to start a new volume on January 1st of the new year.
In a perfect world? I get within 10 pages of finishing one volume before starting another, but that rarely (never?) happens. I do spend too much time thinking about it, though. I’m constantly trying to decide which is worse: Start a new volume with too many extra pages at the end of the last one, or NOT HAVING ENOUGH PAGES TO FINISH A MONTH OUT. I have no idea why I’m compulsive about that, but the idea of being on – let’s say – August 20th and being on the LAST PAGE of my volume makes me TERRIFIED.
So, I always err on the side of caution and go with “too many blank pages in the previous volume” as the scenario I can handle the most.
But! This volume and this month is going to be weird and maybe hitting that perfect sweet spot. I have about 90 pages left in the volume (there are approx 250 pages in a Leuchtturm1917) and we have a month and a half left to go. Previously I averaged 3 months a volume and that’s about 120 pages a month, so logic would say: NO WAY! Not Enough Room! START A NEW VOLUME!
HOWEVER, This is the volume where I switched from doing daily pages to 2-page weekly spreads, so I’m not using as many pages per month. So! I really think 90 pages is enough to get me through August. 4 months in a volume would be about 80 pages a month and I think I can do that and not run out. And at this point, I feel like that’s a better option than putting this volume on the shelf with 60+ blank pages at the end.
SO! As I gear up to start my August spread (I usually start in the middle of the previous month) I take a gamble and bank on this new 2-page weekly spread method giving me plenty of room to finish out August in this volume. Which would actually be perfect because August is my Bullet Journal Birthday month! September would be the start of YEAR FOUR of the bullet journal. [Sidenote: How I deal with planning future dates/months can be seen here.]
Let’s do it.
What about you? How many months do you fit in a volume? Do you have the compulsive need to start a new volume on the first day of the month like I do or can you be casual and just start when you finish the previous volume?
Obviously with the #PlanDocumentCreate motto I love those three main things about bullet journaling: I can plan, I can draw, I can preserver. Movie tickets, vacation plans, zendoodles…these things represent the most common pages in my bullet journal.
However, the other thing I love about the Bullet Journal system is the ability to combine all of the random lists I keep in my life into one notebook. I used to flag shows and movies on my “watch list” on Amazon and I’d put books on my To Read shelf at Goodreads. I’d email myself links with “Article To Read” in the subject heading. I’d mark recipes as “favorites” on my favorite plant-based websites. I’d subscribe to RSS feeds in my chosen feed reader.
And did I ever consult any of these? Rarely to Never. Mostly Never.
But now! Now I have a bullet journal where I can keep lists with me at all times. And they are lists I usually copy and re-copy to each volume so they’ll move along with me through time. Movies to watch, Books to read, Daily blogs, Articles to read (usually preserved by website and article title. But honestly? I still email myself the links.) and Recipes to try.
What are the random lists you keep in your Bullet Journal? Do they move with you from volume to volume?