As my last bullet journal-related post went down so well, I thought I’d begin sharing quarterly updates about mine over on the blog. It goes without saying that deciding to transition to this system has been the best idea I’ve had in quite a while! My bullet journal has been awesome thus far in 2018 for keeping me organised in real-time, helping me plan ahead and also to reflect (already!) which is far more than I’d expected. If you want to learn more about the bullet journal system and how I’d planned to use it, you can start with this post and then come back.
To start with, it’s worth noting that I genuinely don’t go a day without my bullet journal and I’m really into the compact size of mine. At first I was worried but the A6 size is absolutely perfect for me as I can slip it into my handbag, gym bag, laptop case or even just grab it and go. I wanted an A5 at first, but will probably continue with A6 notebooks once this one is finished (I’m a quarter way through already!). I use my bullet journal for all avenues: my freelance business, my blog and for organising my personal schedule.
I was once adamant that I wouldn’t ‘waste space’ by drawing out all seven days of the week in my bullet journal. You see, I work roughly 4 days a week and so I figured I’d just map out my days as they went, treating the journal as more of a daily to-do list keeper.
Having tried 4 different weekly spread layouts and finally found one that I like, I don’t think I’ll leave the weekly spread format. It’s nice to see a day at a glance and see where I have free time and where I don’t, in a bid to make the most of my week. That’s not to say I like to fill my week up with work, it just means I can maximise leisure time on work-scarce days and easily see where I can slot things in.
Pictured here is my current favourite spread, where I divide each page into four and devote a box to each day. I then use my bullet journal key to easily identify tasks, events and notes within each of those.
I added an invoice tracker back in February to manually log a particular client’s invoices and the work I do for them. This client is a retainer client, but I also charge them additionally by piece and I like being able to see how my workflow changes as well as easily flick to the page as I need to fill out monthly invoices. You can download the spread here.
Top Performing Posts
More of a blog-centric collection here, but I’m finding great use from my Top Performing Posts pages. Here I log my two best performing posts (by views, but you could log yours by interactions, comments, etc.) at the end of the month, by going into Google Analytics, hitting ‘Behaviour’ and segmenting it by the desired month. This way, I can see exactly what it working when planning for my future posts!
I think it could be extended to include more specific information like site referrals, perhaps a note of the key events from the month that could’ve led to those posts performing well, but I’m enjoying the top-level information right now.
Fitness Habit Tracker
Inspired by Ghenet, I’ve added a fitness habit tracker to my journal which has been great to look at when writing in my next week’s worth of workouts.
I like to ‘schedule in’ workouts, which sounds incredibly boring but it helps me to take time away from my desk and office and make dedicated time to move around and get sweaty. I workout by body part (arms and back, legs and butt, core, etc.) The habit tracker simply means I can look, see where I’m lacking and plot a workout in. For example, if I see several ‘arms’ dots, I can add in a legs day for the upcoming week. It’s also a great motivational tool, because I really don’t like seeing too much white space here. Time to work out!
Not a ‘log’ per se, but at the end of each month, I print out a screenshot of my Instagram grid and stick it in to my monthly ‘opening’ pages to see how my grid is progressing as the months go by. I find this works well in seeing how my editing style is changing, although it isn’t really much of a tracker or log that helps with future planning. It also adds something a little more visual to my bullet journal as I’m not much of an illustrator.
To Buy List
I decided sometime in January that I wanted to create a collection dedicated to curbing my incessant spending. To do so, I created a tracker (download yours here) and simply force myself to only truly covet 4 items a month. Once I’ve decided I want it enough, I add it to one of four spaces in the collection and tick it off once bought. So far, so good! I’m saving a bunch of extra dollah-dollah each month and can really refine the material objects I add to my life.
I’ve noticed that lots of journallers draw up their weekly spreads all in one go for the month ahead and also follow a format of trackers-weeklies-notes, which isn’t something I’ve implemented or think that would work for me. I’ve been treating the whole process quite fluidly and simply set-up the week ahead on a Sunday and add in notes pages right after those, if I need it. This way, I can access those pages more quickly. Plus, if I find I want to give myself a week off from life, I can skip it completely!
Things I’ve Vetoed
Traditional Weekly Spreads
When I first set up my bullet journal in January, I sketched out my pages just like my previous planner had: the days of the week and plenty of blank space to add things to. I instantly gravitated to (poorly) attempting calligraphy on the days of the week and overall, found the format limiting and not very aesthetically pleasing. Then, I progressed to adding washi tape to a similar format for a while, before trying my current one (shown above). The traditional spread simply doesn’t work as well for me as my current one – it’s a wonder how I muddled through with pre-created planners before!
My gratitude list has completely gone out of the window. I’ve written one thing in mine this year and it’s just not something I reach for my diary to log.
Same as above, no need to note down quotes, although I thought this was a great idea post-2017 research!