July 2017 Bullet Journal Spreads

Since I liked June’s layout so much, I did something very similar for July!

I started medication for my mental health just before the month started, so my biggest change is adding a symptom tracker for that.

I messed up on the calendar and did full boxes for the 7 x 6 dimensions, since I didn’t feel like using pencil and then erasing all the lines. I managed to save it with some artistic lettering and pretty new washi tape! It’s a good thing I had a short perseverance quote that I could smack into the bottom.

This month, instead of putting my goals and projects right into the journal, I’m using sticky notes so I can pull them out. They’re smaller and don’t get in the way like my notebook can, if I’m working at my desktop or my laptop. It’s been okay so far (I say, on the 3rd day into the month)—the stickiness is definitely lessening.

I have my mood tracking in the calendar, where the multiple colours are, and the legend on an index card in the front of my notebook near the key. Since the medication I’m on is specifically for moods (well, and other stuff), tracking my moods is going to be a more important part of my life. I’m glad I started doing it before the medication: it’s helped me reference highs and lows, my behaviour, and all that fun stuff to relay back to my doctor.

One other thing I did differently for July is set up all the weekly layouts in advance! That will save me time and decisions on the weekends now. I’ve enjoyed being able to use weekly layouts, instead of daily ones; it feels like I’m doing less during my day and thus everything is more important.

(Sharing on Pinterest helps out my blog!)

My Bullet Journal Index

In my first bullet journal, I set it up with the standard “index” that’s part of the Ryder Carroll system. I hated it.

First, it’s not an index. It’s a table of contents. Second, I used my bullet journal chronologically and didn’t have much need to flip around in the book—especially when my usage of “collections” fell to the wayside. And thirdly, it was an extra step that I didn’t feel the need to use, especially when I could find pages easily through muscle memory and spatial cues.

But now?

I started using a new brand of notebook—the Luddite Every Day Carry line, which I reviewed when I first got it in September, and then a few months later when I had finished it. There are four pages in the front for the index (*cough* table of contents) and tags. I started using it for colour swatching my pens and markers. I’ve also started including information about different types of spreads.

This is more of a “tags” and “keywords” type index to me, than a table of contents. Colour-coding really helped me visually set apart all the different information. If I want to know where the March habit tracker is, I look for the March colour in the “Habits” section!

Small calendars for the months of January to June, with colours in the headings of the months.

I use my bullet journal more and more to track my moods and health, and I thought it would be important to have those more quickly accessible to me. I have some health concerns right now, so the history I’ve been tracking since January will be vital when I see my doctor to discuss my symptoms and treatment. My mental health is something else I track, too, that gets included indirectly when I look back at habits, where I fell out of using the journal, and notes I leave when I’ve had a bad day.

A colour coded index for various pages in a bullet journal, such as monthly spreads and collections.

I think this also gives me a little more sense of freedom. I can insert a page without really messing up anything. When I first started bullet journalling, I didn’t do it for record-keeping or archiving my life. I did it so I could get my shit together on one day or through one week, and not fall behind with school.

However, since I finished classes in December, the purpose of my bullet journal has changed.

The index isn’t going to be something I use heavily or even reference all the time. But I figured it was worthwhile to show another change in my planning system, since I have never used the index, or tags, or a table of contents.

Personally, I’d rather have it at the back, like every other index, since a table of contents deals with headers and chapters and sections. An index deals with tags and finding small information. But I digress—I know words are malleable, but for goodness’ sake, can we still try and use words that mean what they refer to?

Do you use an index in your bullet journal? How do you feel about it?

June 2017 Monthly Bullet Journal Spreads

Unlike April and May, my June layouts are full-force spreads that I’ve created! I’m only a few days into using them, but I’ve been enjoying them so far.

I also thought I’d include what my desk looks like when I’m brainstorming/pre-planning a monthly layout.

A desk with a mess of notebooks, pens, markers, sticky notes, and sketchbooks.

The monthly layouts always take a lot of energy out of me. I’ve spent hours figuring out how I want my spreads to look. There’s so much more that goes into them than just using the same ones as the previous month. Sometimes, I can’t do that—like April, when I moved and needed to focus my priorities on other things—and other times, it doesn’t fit what I want to achieve.

My monthly layouts set the tone for how I want to approach the next four or five weeks. I think, “Where do I want to focus my time? My energy? What commitments have I made? Where are my deadlines? How will my goals and projects be affected by my activities this month?” and so on, and so forth.

I’m also always trying new things. My bullet journal is a place for me to play. Every spread is a puzzle that I have to make and then solve, looking for the problems and answers mostly within myself (and the confines of my dot grid space, of course).

I’ve tried calendar layouts like this before, and have found I either neglect them, or I overuse them and get frustrated when my plans don’t line up nicely.

A notebook page in landscape orientation showing a 30-day box calendar for June, with a small table on the left side to input work, goals, and rewards. A quote in the top corner reads, "Great works are performed not by strength, but by perseverance."

I’m being more lax this month with habit tracking. I’m not sure why, but it felt right, you know? There’s a lot of flux in my environment right now—both my living situation and my family are undergoing positive changes—and I wanted to “go with the flow” more this month, compared to May’s focus on spontaneity. Going with the flow just comes off a bit more mindful, y’know?

A notebook in landscape orientation showing a small calendar, divided into sections on each day on half the page, with a list of goals and associated to-do lists on the other half.

I’m very happy with my mood tracker for this month. I went all Pride 2017 with it, evoking the rainbow. I’ve also changed up how I track my moods: instead of picking a mood for the entire day, I have 3 spaces for each day: morning, afternoon, and evening. That way, I can see how I progress through the day, rather than try to remember a feeling for the entire day. We change so much on micro and macro levels, throughout the day and from day-to-day. This month of tracking my moods through the day will be helpful when I see my doctor at some point over the summer to check my blood sugar levels, too.

I’d post my weekly spreads right now, but they’re still very simple to-do lists! I’m enjoying them and I make them as I go along through the days. They’ve got the time codex bar like I was using in September; very simple and not colour-coded.

If you wanna see more of my bullet journal posts, I’m probably going to get back to posting them on my Instagram. Sharing photos there is much faster than blogging about them, after all! (Also lots of food pictures and the occasionally selfie spam, of course.)

May 2017 Monthly Bullet Journal Spreads

May 7 2017 Update: I’ve embedded the Youtube video of my timelapse doodle of the geode! Scroll down to the bottom to see it.

My bullet journal spreads in April (well, my singular spread) was almost like a break for me. I needed a bit of a reset from my bullet journal and from planning. I think it’s really important to take breaks from your bullet journal, particularly if you take a creative or artistic approach like I do. This month, I’m excited to get back into the bujo! I’m still unsure if I’ll do weekly or daily spreads, but for now, here are my monthly layouts.

This month, since it’ll be my first one where I’m living post-grad in my hometown, I have more time on my hands to work on my personal projects as well as my clients’ projects. My personal projects include doing more art, on top of the writing. I’ve always felt a little guilty for having to choose between the two, but in the words of Tulio and Miguel…

Both? Both is good.

So I created my spreads this month to both inspire my artistic inclinations, as well as remember two important philosophies for art:

  1. Practise your art, both what you know and what you’re learning.
  2. Ignore perfectionism.

I’m glad I could get my perseverance quote in this month, too. I didn’t include one for April’s spread—it didn’t feel right—and this month’s is perfect. I’ll be doing the Couch To 5K interval training for walking and jogging. I may post a blog about my motives for starting, and possibly check in weekly with how it’s going. (But then again, I might not.) I also have my preferred calendar, and as you can see, I haven’t filled in anything yet. I like to post my blank spreads, after all.

A 2-page notebook spread with a list on the left page and a calendar table on the right page.

I loved doodling the crystals and geodes. Doing so required some studying and reference photos, which is important in illustrative work. I recorded my doodle of the second geode (the one I didn’t mess up, haha), as well as the crystal cluster at the bottom. I’m thinking of editing the clips and posting them to YouTube or somewhere, so let me know if you’re interested in seeing those!

I used pictures from Pinterest as reference and study! Here is a split geode, and here is a doodled illustration of crystals. I’m excited to see the finished, coloured products of the crystals!

A 2-page notebook spread with a sleeping chart on the left page and illustrations of geodes and crystals on the right page.

But drawing the geodes really reminded me that planning can’t take precedence over organic function and creation. There was no way I could’ve planned the geodes. I started with an outline and had to go from there. I want to take that philosophy and apply it more to my life.

My bullet journal has been very planned out during in February and March, so I’m trying to go with the flow a little more this month. I’m not sure if I’ll use weekly or daily spreads, but we’ll see how it goes!

Timelapse Video:

March Weekly BuJo Spreads

I changed up my spreads a little bit this past month, especially for this upcoming, final week of March! In February, I found a bit of a layout that I liked. But March hit and I just lost a bunch of my motivation… I wonder if it’s correlated with finishing my novel draft? My activities have been scattered across multiple projects without a real focus on them. It’s hard for me to prioritise.

March 6 – 12

This layout was essentially how I went through February! It’s less boxy, and the filled in spread is very messy.

March 13 – 19

That habit tracker was a disaster, not gonna lie.

March 20 – 26

I really, really like this spread and might use it again in April. I have the days of the week across the top, followed by my sleep tracker and all my additional modules. Unfortunately, I stopped using it on Tuesday and realised I wanted to return to something simple.

March 27 – April 2

Here is this week! I have my to-do lists and I’ll be colour coding them by the day of the week. I’m aiming for a running to-do list for the entire week, basically, to avoid feeling guilty for not getting things done the day that I plan them, and in order to not continually re-write the lists.

I feel like I need to get April layouts done now despite the fact that there are 4 more days left in March. I’m excited to post my monthly layout next week, though! I’m trying something new in it as well. a kind of return to simplicity, since I’m moving next month.

March 2017 Bullet Journal Spreads

I’m really pleased with how my spreads for this month turned out! I only do one week at a time, in case I want to change things for the next week, so this post has photos from my monthly spread and my first week of March.

For 2017 and all of my monthly views, I’ve been including a different quote/saying. My word for this year is “persevere” and I’ve found some great quotes.

January’s quote: “The will to persevere is often the difference between failure and success.” – David Sarnoff

February’s quote: “Perseverance is the foundation of all actions.” – Lao Tzu (a personal favourite—I would have used this one again if I didn’t have more!)

And this month, the quote is “Persevere and preserve yourself for better circumstances” from Virgil, apparently.

Although I don’t like yellow, I really love the bee washi tape and yellow is really the only colour to go with it. I’ll have a post up this month for my favourite bullet journal supplies, by the way, so you can see the different washi tape and tools I use to make my spreads.

I also couldn’t pass up an opportunity to put in some hexagon icons for my monthly tasks and goals.

These spreads were photographed before I filled them in, so they definitely don’t look as neat anymore. I plan to post the filled in spreads over on my Instagram, and there are more pictures of spreads there—including the one for this week!

My monthly layouts focus on the habit tracker and a quick calendar view of the month. Adding in goals and tasks to the monthly view helps me when I make my weekly views. I can look at my goals for the month and see what I can do during the week to achieve them.

I also have a habit tracker on my weekly layouts for the more important habits I want to develop. Having them shown to me in the week means I’m more accountable, since I’m often too lazy to flip to my monthly view and see what habits I should do.

For the first week of March, I wanted to include a more relaxed meal plan. It doesn’t have the meals planned out for specific days, but I’ve since put in the different meals I can have or cook. In previous meal plans, I found myself switching breakfasts or snacks from one day to another. Now I can look at the meals I’ve written out and pick one!

This week, I also experimented with merging my “next week” and “notes” boxes into one generic space, under the weekly header. I found it much more helpful to consolidate everything together. When the boxes were separate, they took up more space than I could fill in. It made sense to squish ‘em together.

A sleep tracker has become a staple in my weekly layouts. I introduced it back in the fall of 2016, and it’s been fantastic in figuring out the amount of time in my day and how much energy I have.

I plan on keeping the grey and yellow theme throughout the month, though I might change up the grey and go for yellow as the accent colour!

Bullet Journal Notebook Follow-up Review

A worn-out black notebook that says "Matte Black" on the cover.

Well, this book only lasted 3 months and I’m preparing to start a new 7 x 10 inch book (from the same company) in 2017. For December, I’m not going to be doing bullet journaling to the degree I did the past 3 months.

So how did the book hold up?

Well, compared to how it looked in the original review post, it doesn’t look too bad. I’m glad that it didn’t constantly fall open!

Here are a few pictures of the wear on the outside!

A worn-out black notebook that says "Matte Black" on the cover.

Close-up of open pages that are slightly swollen from usage.

Close-up of a worn-out spine of a black notebook.

Side-view of a closed notebook, the cover with lots of smudges.

As for the interior, I have a few other posts that show my layouts. (Here is one post for monthly spreads in October and another post for weekly and daily logs.) I’m incredibly pleased with how the paper handled my pens. There is next to no ghosting or transfer!

As such, that’s why I’ve purchased another Productive Luddite “Every Day Carry” book in the dot grid style. Since it’s from the same line, the new book also has 100 pages like the one I just finished. The new book is bigger, though, measuring 7 x 9 inches. The one I just finished measures 6 x 9 inches. A one inch difference shows up more than you’d think, especially in a dot grid.

I’m excited to set up through December. Expect a post on the new notebook in the new year! New new new~