Today I thought I should revisit the topic of bullet journals, as I haven’t shared any images of mine since 2016. I continue to use a bullet journal nearly every day, and it’s invaluable as a tool to keep my life organised, but how I use it has been fine-tuned over time.
Given that my artistic skills are minimal at best, I decided not to waste my energy trying to make my bullet journal look beautiful: to me, words are more important than images. Instead of rich illustrations, I chose to adorn my bullet journal with appropriate page headings lifted from Hamilton, which has been my obsession for the past year or so. It is the most quotable musical you could ever hope to find, and I had fun choosing lines and pairing them up with suitable pages. I still love all of my headings – they make me smile every time I open my journal.
And if you don’t know what Hamilton is (musical, all about one of America’s founding fathers), I’m jealous of you, as you can now discover it in all its wonderfulness.
In my original bullet journal post I wrote about how I intended to start using an A5 Leuchtturm 1917 notebook, with dotted pages. Here’s my current journal, which has lasted me all of 2017 so far:
Although I have a Future Log (annual or six-monthly plan), I haven’t bothered photographing it, since I barely use it. We have a wall calendar in our kitchen that holds all of our long-term plans – holidays booked, etc – so I tend not to replicate them in my journal. However, I do have a list of annual goals:
Let’s not talk about how limited my progress as been towards most of those goals…
I continue to maintain a Monthly Log:
And it hasn’t really changed much so far this year:
However, I have changed my Daily Logs (which I’ve always drawn up on a weekly basis – one day per page is total overkill as far as I’m concerned, and having a Weekly Log and a Daily Log seems like a real waste of time). Earlier in the year I maintained daily lists of tasks:
But I realised that this approach doesn’t work for me: I have a lot of things that need to be done during the course of a week, but not on a particular day. Here’s my more recent version of a Daily Log:
This gives me sufficient space to: list appointments; keep track of jobs; note any habits I’m trying to record; and note down any miscellaneous thoughts. And speaking of tracking habits, I did start the year with a dedicated page:
Flipping back to another page each day to keep track of stuff is a hassle, as far as I’m concerned. Now – as per the Daily Log example above – I track things on my weekly page. I’ve fine-tuned the layout of my habit records:
You can see what that ‘Forest’ thing is all about in this blog post.
And more recently still, I haven’t bothered tracking habits at all – I just can’t be bothered:
I mean, seriously: look at the ridiculously long task list for this past week! Who has time to count glasses of water?!
(And as an aside, is it just me, or do you notice that those beautifully illustrated bullet journals on Instagram are often a little light on content? I’ve lost count of how many perfect-looking task lists I’ve seen, with no task more pressing than ‘fold the laundry’, or ‘defrost shrimp’. If the biggest thing I had to do each day was to defrost some seafood, I imagine I’d have more time to decorate my bullet journal as well. Instead, as these photos show, I’m heavily dependent on washi tape and stickers to make things slightly colourful, and I use my Crayola colouring pens when I have time. Having said that, I do – very occasionally – draw a little picture:
Two other daily habits that, regrettably, I haven’t been able to maintain (although I liked doing them), were a one-sentence journal:
And a gratitude journal:
But (as of two days ago) I have started a new five-year journal, and I am determined to stick to it!
I still find my bullet journal is a great place to keep track of random projects, university work, and other plans. I also found that there were so many great Hamilton-related quotes that I could use as headings, so I went a bit mad at the start and set up several pages to track various financial elements of my life:
There are also a few pages that have been set up in my bullet journal, but not yet utilised. Here’s a prime example…
Unfortunately the chances of me achieving that ‘Run a 10k’ goal on my 2017 list are looking slimmer by the day.
But other pages are proving to be far more useful. This one has enabled me to make sure I keep up with thank you cards that need to be sent:
This page was great when I was planning the kids’ fourth birthday party:
This page has enabled me to plan (to some extent) the playground project I’ve set up:
And this page keeps track of the blog posts I’ve published for all three of my sites (and all of the blog posts I’m still intending to write, when time allows):
Here’s my second semester plan of assignment due dates, in case I’m feeling too happy and light-hearted and want to bring my mood down a bit:
And here’s my weekly schedule, so I know where the kids, my au pair, and I will be on any given day:
When it comes to tracking pointless stuff for fun, I love my bullet journal. My favourite thing to track – the only thing I really do track – is my reading. Here’s my library list:
Here’s the list of books I have and need to read (I have a bit of a charity shop book-buying addiction, which is probably a topic for another blog post:
The lines are coloured as the books are read, and they, and the completed library books, are drawn into my virtual book shelves:
And that’s my favourite page of this year’s bullet journal.