Lifestyle · Personal

My 2017 bullet journal

For the last couple of years I have been trying to refine the way I keep myself organised. These have come in various guises over the years and each year I try to improve the efficiency of my system. This is the first year though that I am truly trying to embrace the bullet journal as a repository for all my comings and goings (and often brain vomit too).

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Now, I know a lot of people like to hand draw their bujo’s and fill them with what can only be described as calligraphic pornography, but that way just isn’t going to work for me. For one thing, my creativity has always been best utilised through digital means. I’ve never been much of one for drawing but also, realistically, I know I just don’t have the time to lay out all those beautiful and intricate pages by hand. Even with the best will in the world and much as I would like to, I know that I suck at sticking to things if they don’t fit comfortably within my already established routines. That’s why I’ve never managed to stick to long hand journaling for more than a few weeks before and why my previous attempts at bullet journal’s haven’t ever been quite as helpful and efficient as I need them to be.

So I took everything I’ve learned from my past experiences and put them together into my new, improved, proper bujo for 2017.

Here’s the format I decided on:

Firstly, it’s A5. I learnt last year that anything bigger than this that won’t fit easily into most of my handbags isn’t going to get filled in. It’s just not convenient and if I can’t carry it with me, it’s not getting filled in.

Secondly, it’s spiral bound. I settled on this so I could easily pull it apart and thread it together again and without too much hassle can choose to add in extra pages at a later date if I so wish. The book itself is actually designed to be a sketchbook. It’s just a cheap one so I wouldn’t actually recommend the paper weight as being high enough for watercolours, say, but it is thick enough that my pens are going to have a hard time bleeding through on the other side.

After I decided on the format I started designing the pages in Photoshop. I made them all black and white with the intention of decorating and colouring them as I filled them out. I did a fair bit of research on Pinterest (where else?) first and from this inspiration I brought together all my ideas into one great Frankenstein of a layout plan that would suit my needs.

The contents are as follows:

  • 2017 at a glance
  • 3 page year planner (for birthdays and key dates)
  • Monthly spread including:
    • a habit/mood tracker
    • a diary of events
    • a to do list
    • a blank page for brain vomit
  • Weight tracker
  • Savings tracker
  • Self care advice
  • Movies archive
  • Books read and to be read archive

I know many people like weekly or even daily breakdowns but again, this is too much detail and pressure for me to stay on top of. I’d spend more time recording things than actually doing them, which doesn’t make for being very productive.

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Monthly layout

Prior to this year my bullet journals were really just diaries to help me manage my month but with added lists stuck in here and there but this time I tried to really concentrate on things I wanted to track in advance.

One thing I want to focus on this year is self care and my own mental wellbeing so that was the driving force behind the habit and mood tracker. The idea being that it will help me form new (healthy) habits as well as provide clear evidence of what happens to my mood when I either do or don’t keep up with them, hopefully motivating me to stick with it if I can see real gains.

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Habit and mood tracker

We shall see how the format goes. A couple of weeks in and I’m already seeing the benefit of the mood and habit tracker and I love having a colourful and creative space to record my books and movie choices. A few people at work have seen it over my shoulder in the office and I’ve had some lovely compliments about the layout and design which is a nice boost too. One thing I feel like I am missing as a result of not having a weekly spread is a place to meal plan and/or record a shopping list, something which I find really useful when I’m a. on a diet and b.trying to save money. So this might be something I choose to incorporate next year.

I’m a great believer that to lead a fulfilling, creative and productive life takes a certain amount of discipline. I’m a huge advocate of The Action Method as set out by Scott Belsky in his book ‘Making Ideas Happen‘ and my bujo fits into that mentality well.

Here’s to an exciting, happy and productive 2017.

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