When I’m Not Reading: Bullet Journal Edition

May 9, 2017 When I'm Not Reading 26

Back in November I made the decision to start bullet journaling. Why did I go down this path? I was getting frustrated with store bought planners because they were never set up how I wanted. Using a bullet journal is like having your own completely customisable planner. You set it up however you want and can include anything you want.

After 6 months of bullet journalling, I thought I’d finally make a post about it. And because bullet journalling is a lot easier to understand visually, brace yourself from tonnes of photo!

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What do I use?

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The main thing you need for a bullet journal is a notebook of some variety. It’s kind of vital. I use a squared A5 Moleskin hardback journal. I wanted a dotted one but it was more expensive. Next time I’ll buy a dotted one though because it will look nicer (it’s all about the aesthetic).

Other things I use are basically to decorate things:

  • Washi tapes – I bought the tape ones form ebay, and the white out style ones from Daiso
  • Zebra midlines – these are double sided highlighters/ markers available in a variety colours. I bought all four packs because I couldn’t resist
  • 0.38mm Artline Pen – this is the new pen I do most of my writing in. Before I bought this I used a black ball point pen
  • Staedtler Triplus Fineliner – I had these for uni notes and now use them for whatever

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The Year Ahead

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Yearly goals are new to me and not something I’ve done before but I thought I’d give it a go. So far… not doing all that great haha. I mean the reading is going well, but the some of the others I’ve not really tried to do. Oops.

Monthly calendars are super important for me, especially with all my due dates, rotations, and other things this year. It’s vital for me to be able to see what’s coming up when, especially when I might not draw up the month’s section for a while yet.

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Monthly pages

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My very first overview, November 2016. Super simple with a calender, habit tracker, and section for notes and details. I actually stuck with this layout for a few months, though I did move somethings a bit to give the calendar more space.

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March 2017 overview. I wanted to see what it would be like to have a single page dedicated to the calendar, and put the other things elsewhere. The habit tracker is still going strong, and added monthly goals to see how that goes. On subsequent pages (not shown) I have a gratitude log and “brain dump” (a.k.a. various notes section).

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April 2017 overview was done because I saw something like this on instagram that looked really cool and I think I might do it again sometime. I wanted to add flowers and stuff but don’t have artistic talent or time. All my other monthly features (brain dump, habits, gratitude, and goals) are on pages after the calendar.

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May 2017 overview is a reversion back to older styles I did because I’m struggling for time. I’ve added more habits to track, and decreased the number of monthly goals. Another change for may is that I’m migrating the gratitude log to the weekly pages.

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Weekly Pages

If anything has been the biggest struggle to decide on, it’s the weekly pages. I have yet to find anything that works all the time.

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December 2016 weekly layout is what I started with and I wasn’t fussed on it all that much honestly. Some days it was great, but the fact it was pre-drawn frustrated me. The amount of space didn’t always match the amount of work I needed, which resulted in both empty spaces and lots of clutter.

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January 2017 weekly layout was done in an effort to maximise space utilisation. It was good in that I did use space effectively, but it was really difficult to plan ahead as I couldn’t plan upcoming days until I finished the current day.

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February 2017 layout is a bit of a mix. The two columns meant I could plan ahead a little bit, but I still couldn’t go more than a day or two ahead. It is a layout I really liked and might go back to. I might adopt Jenna’s approach of having a separate planner solely for tracking future days as a draft of sorts before I add it to my bullet journal.

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My March 2017 layout was the most successful for me . I really liked the squares and filling up the left over spaces with quotes, memories, and scribbles. It makes it a lot more personal and interesting to look at, even if my inner neat freak wants it to be cleaner.

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April 2017 layout is another modification of March because it worked so well for me. I’m not going to add illustrations this month because I have less time and also I kind of wanted to see what it would look like without the extra clutter.

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May 2017 layout is a a combination of new and old. I have segmented days again, and I’m hoping it’s enough space because I’ll be super busy with uni things all day. I’ve also brought the gratitude log over from the monthly session, with the hope this will allow more space to write daily.

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Other Collections

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I have a number of quote pages throughout. Some are there to fill space, others are there for motivation or to look pretty. However it was only the other week when I was putting in this STRANGE THE DREAMER quote that I decided I want to have a quote page for every book I read. It’s really pretty and a good way to visually remember the stories I’ve read.

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There are three TBR pages in my bujo. My review TBR list makes sense, because I want to track what I’ve read, and make sure it’s been reviewed. The owned books TBR (5 pages), and the library wishlist (even longer somehow) are there because I got bored one day really. Still it’s going to be exciting to see them all get crossed off eventually.

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As I’ve spoken about before, I’m on a buying ban where I can buy a new book when I read 20. This Buying Ban Tracker is solely for the purpose of keeping track of when I read 20 books, and tracking which books I buy. I also have a book wishlist page to guide my decision.

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Do you use a bullet journal or planner?

How do you set it up?

26 Responses to “When I’m Not Reading: Bullet Journal Edition”

    • Bec

      Haha I wish it was MORE organised and uniform. It’s gotten a lot more simple too since I took these photos.

      I really love being able to customise it more. Those already set planners can be so frustrating.

  1. Jeanette

    I did start one in March, but I haven’t updated it for a few weeks. I need to find a easy layout for my weekly pages so they don’t take so much time to write and color :) I have a hard time to keep it up to be honest.
    When I do write and set up pages I think it is so fun, but to find the time on a regular basis is the thing I am bad at :)

    I guess I get a little pressured that I need to create nice and pretty pages, and when I can’t I just get stressed about it.

    • Bec

      My washi tape and stuff really helped reduce the time it took to set it all up. Setting everything up at the start of the month also helped a lot. Still I try to find some time to update it every now and then because it is relaxing. Finding that time is really hard though.

      That pressure is real! I guess the thing to remember is it’s YOUR bujo. You set it up as you want, and the more you do it the better you’ll get and the more happy you’ll be, but for the first few months (or years even) it’s a bit of a trial and error situation.

  2. ShootingStarsMag

    This looks great. I really like the idea of quote pages for all the books you read. I think I read too many books to have time/space for something like that. Granted, I don’t have a bullet journal but I’ve thought of doing one for just books/reading. I have a planner though and I LOVE it.
    ShootingStarsMag recently posted…Blog Tour Review: Faking It by Christine d’Abo

    • Bec

      Thanks! It’s only a new idea but one I’m really looking forward to maintaining (if I have the time!). It might be something to do with a dedicated notebook just for quotes if you read a lot?

      Planners of all varieties are so useful.

    • Bec

      It’s so customisable and creative! I really love bullet journalling and highly recommend giving it a go! Worst case scenario, it’s not for you and you gain a new notebook haha

    • Bec

      I don’t know if I could ever come up with my own unique complete layout, so I draw inspiration/ modify some of the really pretty layouts I see on instagram. I think that’s half the beauty of bullet journalling, you can change the weekly layout to something you’ve seen and want to try as you see fit. The more I try, the more I figure out what I like and don’t like.

      I chose some of the better pages to display haha. I wish my writing was neater for it.

  3. Kat

    I love your bullet journal! I use a bullet journal and have found layouts that really work for me. I, too, struggled with the planning-ahead aspects of the dailies, and I don’t really use them anymore, opting for weeklies more often. I have a daily planner for school to track homework and assignments for each class, and really only use my bujo to track the really big projects and events for school. Based on how much you have going in your daily’s, I don’t really think that would work for you, though ;) One thing I do is a really utilize my monthly calendar.

    Thank you so much for you gorgeous shots! I love your bujo, it’s so pretty! The artistic-ness is something I really love about this kind of planning/journaling. I’m not very artistic, but with the bujo I find ways to express myself, like through words and calligraphy and colors. I’ve been thinking of doing a bullet journal, myself, and your post is spurring me on! Thanks for sharing :)
    Kat recently posted…6 Foolproof Secrets to Finding Time to Read

    • Bec

      Thanks! Slowly I’m figuring out what works. I do kind of need dailies haha, but I think eventually I want to buy a pre-designed planner to “draft” future events and add finalised things to do to my bujo.

      I really need to use my monthly calender more!

      I’m definitely not all that artistic haha. I envy those with calligraphy skills in particular!

  4. Arwen @ I Love A Good Book

    I just found out about bullet journals a few months ago. While I do all my planning on Google Calendars, I do like it for keeping track of other things. Like the Marvel movies we own and on what format, or the movies I want to watch. (I really only have about 10 pages so far.) But my May goal is to create one new page a week. I love your quote page idea and will be using that, and the bookstagram hashtag list too probably. Thanks for sharing!
    Arwen @ I Love A Good Book recently posted…Review: The Waterfall Traveler

    • Bec

      That’s the great thing about bullet journals, you can put whatever you want in them! Overviews are so handy, but so are little collections and list.

      Glad I could provide inspiration :D

    • Bec

      I like sticking to one or two colours and playing with all the different shades! It’s more uniform and really does look great.

    • Bec

      Go buy a notebook, journal, whatever and give it a go! There are no rules to bullet journaling. It can be whatever you want it to be :D

        • Bec

          It takes a few goes to get things right! I certainly have pages I really don’t like but the more I do the better I’ll get I figure

  5. Cait @ Paper Fury

    THIS IS GORGEOUS AND AMAZING. And I really love the March layouts with the separated squares eeeep. And omg the quote per book idea is AMAZING. I am just trying to do one quote (like prettified and decorated) in my journal per month and failing pretty hard. I like bullet journalling but I never seem to make the time for it #shame. YOURS IS SO GORGEOUS AND ALSO GOALS.
    Cait @ Paper Fury recently posted…10 Types Of Reading Moods All Moody Bookworms Experience + Highly Accurate And Scientific Quiz

    • Bec

      The March layout was so nice to use! All I needed was prettier colours haha (brown was weird). Thanks :D

      It can be really hard to find the time (unless you’re procrastinating all the important things you’re supposed to be doing).

  6. Ashtyn @ Wonderland's Reader

    This looks so cool!! I attempted to start a bullet journal a few months ago but found I got frustrated with it because of how much you it seemed you had to think ahead (I don’t know what I’m having for dinner tonight, much less what I’ll need to do in a week). I’ve been sticking mainly to store bought planners, which aren’t perfect but I use them mostly to keep track of things I have to do for my blog or posts I’ve scheduled. Your bullet journal is so pretty though — I may have to try it again!

    Awesome post, Bec! Hope you’re having a good week!

    Ashtyn @ Wonderland’s Reader!
    Ashtyn @ Wonderland’s Reader recently posted…The Beauty & The Beast Book Tag!

    • Bec

      There are a number of different ways to use a bujo, and you can take it one day at a time but that frustrated me because I have so many things in the future I need to keep track of. It can be really difficult to figure out what works! I think when I get to my next bujo I’ll also keep a bought planner for tracking upcoming events, and use the bujo for day to day things.

      Thanks! Good luck with your next bujo attempt :)

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