Hello my Ever After Queens (and Kings)!
As promised, today I am going into my Bullet Journal. I’ll share what products I’m using, who I’m following for inspiration, and how my journal has transformed since first starting in March.
To start off I’d like to give a little background on what a Bullet Journal, known around the web as BuJo, is exactly.
The Bullet Journal was created by Ryder Carroll, a designer based in New York, about 5 years ago. He developed the Bullet Journal, an analog system designed to be a to-do list, planner, sketchbook, notebook, and/or diary.
The thing about bullet journaling, is that you can make it into whatever you need it to be that day. You start with a blank book, usually one that is dotted or in a grid, and at least one pen of your choice. You then fill in the book with what you want as you go along. Some people set up their BuJo all at once per month while others set it up by week or day.
Basic Set Up:
Though the point of a bullet journal is that you make it what you want it to be, there tends to be some standardization on what basic information is in it.
The Key or Legend:
One of the very first pages of a bullet journal will be a legend or a key that is used throughout book. There are a few different standard formats that you can easily follow or you can make up your own to fit your book.
The greatest part of making up your own key is that you can use it however you would like! If its something simple or if you want to really liven it up with color, weather, or type keys, you have the freedom to do so!
Index or Table of Contents:
Following the Key page, the Index or Table of Contents pages are next. Usually 2-3 pages are left for this area. Here is where you document the page numbers of each of your spreads. You can document as little or as much as you want here. Most bullet journalists fill in the pages as they create them.
The future log is like the “year at a glance” pages in a planner. Here you can use 2-4 pages to look at your year ahead.
Some people keep it really simple like this:
While others go into more detail like this:
The common thread is that many use it for planning trips, keeping track of birthdays & holidays, and yearly appointments like doing your taxes or yearly wellness checkups.
I wasn’t too sure on how well the bullet journal method would work for me. All I knew was that regular planners were too structured for what I needed, and I didn’t like having a whole other book for journaling.
I kinda jumped in to this with both feet after discovering it on some of my favorite YouTube channels back in January. I watched so many videos and read so many blogs on how to do it, before finally taking the plunge myself in March.
I created a key, but I haven’t really used it much, since I very rarely use my bullet journal in more detail than a monthly spread, but as I grow more accustomed to my journal, I may come back and use them.
With my index you can see that I messed up and completely fell off the wagon at the beginning of April, lost my journal and didn’t restart again until June. But that’s the great part about Bullet Journals, if you need to, you can start over as many times and you need to.
My future log takes up 4 pages and is simply laid out. I like to use a bit of color coding, but I am still just getting the hang of it.
Following my future log, I have my 2017 Goals and my Spring Goals. As the year progresses I add more and more goals to my 2017 Goals list. Some of them are wishlist items, like the Jeep or the Google Pixel, while others are really and truly goals I want to have completed by the end of the year, like losing 55 lbs by December 31st.
My Spring Goals, I actually got from my favorite bullet journalist blogger and YouTuber – Boho Berry! She is an awesome person, and her spreads are so useful for day to day use! She is my main source of inspiration. You should definitely check her out if you are interested in bullet journaling. This post explains the concept behind the Spring Goals planner spread, better than I ever could!
Here you can see the first of my failed spreads, a monthly expense tracker that covers the expenses of the three spring months. Not even once did I use it, but I did learn something about myself from it. I do not like to track my expenses on paper, I like to stick to excel and that’s okay. Every spread is a learning experience about yourself and what works for you!
Next to the expense tracker, you can see my first Monthly Page. I really like to have a starting page for each month, and one that I can decorate myself!
My first monthly spread just didn’t work for me. After watching AmandaRachLee on YouTube, I thought the monthly spread looked like an awesome idea, especially since I was starting this blog, but I just found myself not using it and having a lot of empty space.
Once again from AmandaRachLee, I used her idea of Habit and Mood Trackers throughout the month. Please ignore the left page, that was a first attempt at a workout planner. As I said before, sometimes if it doesn’t work out, you just need to cross it out and move on to the next page.
I was doing okay in March, keeping up with my trackers, and then it was time to do April. I once again created a Monthly Page, that I spent what little time I had between packing for my Texas trip and job searching to decorate. I also started a Gratitude Log. I’ve seen these on so many blogs and YouTube videos, I would almost consider it a staple of a bullet journal. Here you can see exactly when I left for Texas and after that I just plumb forgot to keep up with it!
For April, in addition to the same Habit and Mood Trackers, I added a Fitness Tracker. I liked the overall idea, but the plan just didn’t work for me, even after I found my journal again.
Now in April, I was very ambitious, I wanted to start journaling daily, so I thought that if I pre-wrote out journal prompts, I would use them. You can see it worked for the first few days, but after losing my journal I had several pages (18 actually) of blank prompts to still fill in. I am now going back, as a part of June, and re-doing these prompts and filling in the pages.
In addition to daily journal prompts I also found this really awesome 52 Weeks of Self Discovery on Page Flutter. I like to take a day of the week – for me its Sundays – for some self reflection and discovery.
Now on to June! Once again I created a Monthly Page, and I am just loving taking the time to add new quotes or doodles to it throughout the month!
This month, I used Boho Berry’s Monthly Spread to give something different a try. So far I have really enjoyed it. I’ve already made a tweak in adding a “This Month” section on the right hand side bar, and I might make more as the month goes on.
I’ve done the Gratitude Log again this month, and so far I have enjoyed taking a moment at the end of the day to reflect on what I am most grateful for. I try to be very specific and not list the same thing over and over again.
On the next page, I took another stab at a Goal Tracker, this time focusing on fitness (Weight & Measurements) and journaling. I kind of created this one as I went along the month, so I think next month I will set these up slightly differently.
As for the usual trackers, I went ahead and kept the Habit Tracker, adapting it more to what I needed (a whole page to itself) and on the opposite page, I adapted a Self-Care Tracker by Boho Berry to fit my style.
I’ve also added a Workout Calendar to my journal. If you follow me on either of my instagram accounts (@EverAfterQueens or @JessYourSize) you may have seen this tracker already! I’ve also talked about the workout plan it follows in my post last week!
The next few pages are being filled with challenge materials! I am following the #BohoBerryChallenge and the #RockYourHandwriting challenge on instagram. Each day I upload my response to the challenges to instagram, so you can find it them all on there!
Now finally, I have added a new Fitness Tracker, just this week. I am using it to track my workouts, how long they are, and how many calories that workout burned (I use MyFitnessPal & the Fitbit apps to calculate this).
I am also starting to track my meals and snacks using a color coding system.
- Pink – “Bad” – Not an awesome nutritious choice
- Orange – “Moderate” – It has some good points but not great if you want to lose weight
- Green – “Good” – This is the type of meal to eat to keep losing those pounds
I am thinking of instead of putting my actual food eaten here, putting the calories they were here. The Fitbit app has a great way of monitoring this, but I am trying out the LifeSum app, and so far I am really liking it. I’ll make sure to follow up with you guys in a later post how well I am liking them and what fitness apps I am continuing to use.
The Tools I Use:
The usual book that most people use is a Leuchtturm 1917 Dotted Hard Cover. When I decided to give bullet journaling a try, this book was $30 (as of today I found it on Amazon for $19.95), and I didn’t want to drop that kind of dough on something I wasn’t even sure I would use. It is considered THE bullet journal book to use. After I finish the books I did get, I am strongly thinking of going to this book since it’s pages are a tad bit thicker and having a hard back book that lays flat, would be VERY useful when creating new spreads.
Right now I personally use a Northbooks 144 Dot Grid book. The quality of the book is fantastic and this is a great book for those who, like me, aren’t sure if they want to invest a lot of money. I love this book and it has held up really well, even to my one year old throwing it across the room in a fit of rage to get my attention (Kids huh?!). The only thing I do wish is that it would lay flat, right now I use crafting clips to hold the pages down.
As for the pens that I use, I like to use the Sharpie Fine Point Pens. I like these because, once again, they aren’t crazy expensive, and they give you nice crisp lines. And best of all you can get the no bleed kind, so you won’t have to worry about it showing through, even on the lighter paper of the Northbook.
When it comes to coloring with markers, I use what I already have on hand. For me this is the Target Brand, Up & Up Fine Tip Washable Markers. They are great because they have a small enough tip to write and draw precisely, while the thicker base is perfect for creating thick lines and calligraphy. These are very similar to the Crayola Fine Tip Washable Markers, but I’ve found that the Up & Up brand are slightly less pigmented – which makes it easier to wash off when you kid takes them to the walls or your favorite white shirt…
As for other tools, I love using Washi Tape to both decorate and cover my MANY mistakes, and a ruler. Helpful tip: using a clear or clearish ruler is quite helpful for the straightest lines.
Overall my basic philosophy in starting this was that it didn’t need to cost a whole lot of money. Sure you could buy the best journal book, the best pens & markers, but that wasn’t going to motivate me to keep up with it. I’ve spent upwards of $60 on planners that I barely used. The key was to find something I liked doing and investing TIME in it. Once I know its something I love and will keep up with, I will have a clearer conscious when deciding to invest in it.
Are you thinking of starting a bullet journal? Have you already? What tips have you learned or would you like to learn?
Until next time my Ever After Queens!
I love to brag on products and people I love, so I can share them with you! I will always let you know if I am partnering or being compensated, but no matter what all thoughts, opinions, and recommendations are my own.
I have used some Amazon affiliated links. If you would consider supporting me, that would be amazing, but I have also provided the names of the products so you can search for them yourself!
I am not collaborating with any of the bloggers or YouTubers mentioned in the post.