January is for journaling…
Last year I got in to bullet journaling, something that surprised me because I’ve never really been a diary-keeping kind of person. My appointments are kept in iCal, I write out reminders in my phone as and when I remember them, and everything else I jot down on a notebook next to my laptop!
When bullet journalling took off, I held off – it seemed like a complicated, lengthly process when I already owned stacks of notebooks and planners! But within time, I saw the benefits of bullet journalling.
I liked that you could really personalise it and create a journal/planner/diary that suited you. I also liked that you could pick up and start wherever; in the past I always felt put off when I missed days in dated planners, but with bullet journalling, you call the shots. There’s no pressure at all.
This is more a tour of my bullet journal, to give you a bit of inspiration, but if you want to see a really good guide on how to start, Lily’s video is great, and of course Anna has a really awesome post on creating a practical, minimal journal which I loved! It’s actually inspired me to rethink future pages in my own journal.
Keeping it simple…
My last journal was a lot different to this years; previously I spent ages (especially at the start of the year!) on crazy headings and doodles, but within time I realised how time consuming it was and I ended up going the other way and I didn’t enjoy how messy and boring it became. It wasn’t exciting, it wasn’t satisfying or motivational – I needed to rethink it!
So this time, I sat down before the New Year and worked on my 2018 journal and really stripped it back. I thought about what worked for me and what didn’t, and I’ve ended up with something that is much more functional and inspiring.
So far, I love what I have going on! It’s not a chore to keep up with, it keeps me on track – and when you’re self-employed, staying on top of tasks is an absolute must!
A few of my favourite pages…
Last year I went over the top with lists and crazy pages, but this year I simplified it so much! Some of the fun stuff remains, but mostly it’s pretty easy and minimal.
When I thought about what I wanted to gain from this journal, I decided that I wanted something to keep me on track. A planner to keep me motivated and productive with work and life in general – to be able to monitor my progress with everything from my yearly goals to my daily tasks, fitness targets, blog and social stats and even birthdays and healthy habits!
I kept space (about 40 pages) at the front of my journal for different pages and sections, and the rest of my journal is reserved for each month of the year. I’ll fill this in as I go along.
The future log…
This spread sits at the beginning of the journal, it’s a great way to see the year at a glance. I set this up with three months to a page, so I could list what I have coming up! I had to remove a few secret projects, but you get an idea of how my year is looking. I like to add important birthdays, gigs and events, trips and any other big projects I have going on.
I did the exact same spread last year too, it’s so handy (and also very exciting!) to see my year ahead over a couple of pages.
Dream brands to work with…
I created a ‘dream brands to work with’ list last year and I loved it, especially looking back at it at the end of the year and seeing how many I ticked off!
This year I separated the page in to sections for the different topics on my blog – I edited out my list for this post, but under beauty I have brands like NARS and La Mer, and under lifestyle I have a few foodie brands I love!
My stats tracker…
Another section I loved from last years journal was my stats tracker, I’ve never cared that much about numbers but it is quite interesting to see where you’re growing. I think I gained about 45k followers on Instagram last year, which is crazy because at the time you feel like it’s such a slow process!
I included the usual social platforms, as well as YouTube subscribers and views and some blog stats too. I’m not going to obsess over it, but it’s good to keep an eye on these things – even just for motivation.
Tasks to get through…
I kept a page and sectioned it off in to three rows – a section for my daily tasks like emails, replying to comments, writing blog posts etc., then a section for my weekly tasks; taking photos for posts, updating my shop section, doing a food shop and planning meals, and then a monthly tasks section for jobs like planning blog content, updating my stats page and paying invoices.
It keeps me on top of my game!
Alongside the above, I have pages for my healthy habits and fitness goals, my standard weekly food shopping list, a list of meals to make when I’m all out of ideas, and then a few pages for my goals for the year ahead.
I divided the goals in work/personal/long-term and then I dedicated another page for my ‘top ten goals to achieve this year’.
I also have pages for my regular blog features, video ideas, packing lists and countries/cities I want to visit!
The monthly spread…
So after a big section for various lists, aims and trackers, I started my January monthly spread. On the left page I did a simple little heading (I’ve kept my doodles very minimal this year, which saves time!) and a mini calendar, and the opposite page is for key dates. So in January I have an exciting dentist appointment (I’ll be sure to keep you posted on that!), a Paramore gig and a couple of trips (and a few other events I sneakily edited out. Heh).
The following pages I left for a quick monthly goals roundup, my videos for the month ahead and my blog schedule.
My monthly goals are typical January aims – get back to the gym (tick), plan my blog content, cut down on chocolate etc. etc. boring etc.
I like this mini spread because I can see at a glance what I need to get on with. My monthly blog and YouTube content are there, my goals are there… easy peasy.
My monthly blog schedule
I actually plan my blog content on an online scheduler through my blog dashboard, where I can also schedule my social content, but this is a rough guide to go alongside it. I jotted down the days of the month and then added my upcoming posts beside it – then I can flick back and forth and see what’s what.
Ongoing sponsored projects
Also under each month, I kept a page aside for any sponsored campaigns I’m working on. Sometimes I have a few on at once and it can be hard to keep track of what I’ve done and what I haven’t, so I kept a double page for listing the work I have to do for each campaign.
The weekly spread
After the above sections comes my weekly spreads. Again, I kept this super simple – I don’t even bother with a ruler and just freehand it!
On the left, I split the page in to seven rows for each day of the week, and then I split the days in to two columns. On the left I put a mini to-do list for that day – this is more appointments, events and jobs I have to get done that specific day, and on the right I put my tasks – so that may be to film a set video, or work on some branded content. I like to map out my days quickly because it keeps me on track for the week ahead.
On the opposite page, I divided the two columns in to sections and I’ve been changing these up a little as I go.
I always leave a big chunk of a column for my to-do list, I write everything down or I’ll forget something. I edited these out because they were pretty specific, but it had tasks like; pay X invoice, work on tax return, speak to my manager about a project. That sort of thing!
I also have a small section for the blog photos I need to take that week, any items I need to buy, and also what I’m currently reading/listening to, and any important things to remember.
My weekly spreads used to be more simple, but I actually prefer sectioning it off like this – it’s quite therapeutic to see it all laid out.
A few tips…
My advice would be to not get too caught up in your journal – it doesn’t have to be a work of art! A few doodles are cute but otherwise, keep it functional. It’s so easy to be particular about it, and get worked up when a page doesn’t look perfect, or you’ve skipped a day or a week, but I think that’s the beauty of a bullet journal: turn the page and start again!
If it’s your first year journalling, use this as a trial year – go all out with pages and lists and trackers, and see what you use and what you don’t.
I recommend looking for ideas on Pinterest, there’s some incredible page ideas on there – although most of them are a little complicated for me, it does inspire you to make the most of your journal!
So, to finish…
There’s not a huge difference between my 2017 journal and my 2018 journal, except that I’ve streamlined it a lot and taken away a lot of the more unnecessary pages that I didn’t keep up with last year.
I’m definitely feeling a lot more inspired after starting to bullet journal, I think it is what you make of it though – you can have a whole book of doodles if you want, or you can use it to keep track of your mental health or fitness journey – you do you!
Are you thinking about starting bullet journalling, or have you been at it for some time?