One Whole Year Of Bullet Journaling - A Comparison.
This May marks one year since I entered the craze of bullet journaling, a craze that nearly all bloggers latched on to and a craze that actually I don't see that many bloggers doing anymore.
Myself? I haven't stopped working on mine and I haven't stopped blogging about it either - it's my most popular content, it's where a lot of my readership found me and it nailed me my viral pins. I don't want to get all melodramatic but bullet journaling has changed my life; not in a ridiculous way but genuinely the way in which I organise myself and my life, it's all in my bullet journal.
This post was inspired by Megan from Lazy Thoughts who wrote about her bujo anniversary (are we calling it that? I think we should) and it got me thinking about how far mine has come now I'm just about to move onto my third journal.
So I thought it'd be fun -for me anyway- to get my 2016 and my 2017 journals side by side and see what I've kept from the beginning, what's new and how I've evolved working with it.
I was very proud of the fact my first journal wasn't a Leuchtturm 1917 like everyone else's. I scorned those who spent nearly 15 quid on a notebook, I got mine for a fiver in TK Maxx in April last year but then the more I realised my journal wasn't working the more I hankered for the squared bujo set up and then whadda ya know, I became a Leuchtturm wanker too. And now I'm onto my second and I'd be hard pushed to be convinced to get anything else now.
I definitely find it easier now I have a squared layout rather than lined, I also like that the line spacing is much smaller in the Leuchtturm. For some reason I started writing in caps in my original bujo and I haven't stopped even though it's not how I hand write normally. It looks neat, the small line spacing lends itself to it and from an illustrator/designer perspective capitals looks lurvely next to all the flowing typography of the headers.
My journals start very much the same, I found some systems in my very first journal that I liked and have stuck with an am continuing to lay them out the same in my newest journal; July - December 2017.
Both journals start with some doodles and typography, I also have a separate notebook that I got in my Cratejoy subscription box which is full of typography ideas. This journal more than ever I am enjoying doodling and making it look pretty - it's the illustrator in me is fanatical about it so I like to have some nice things to refer back to at the beginning for inspo.
I've kept my key relatively the same even though I never refer to it. I remember my own key, I don't need to use it but it looks nice right? I got rid of my index when I moved to my second journal because I bought a Leuchtturm which has one built in. I said before that I wouldn't include an index again but the Leuchtturm has one and I don't want to leave a page blank so I found I filled it in again and have never referred to it again.
Again, I've kept my yearly calendar and my birthday calendars the same throughout, they work, the layout works and they're just points of reference for me. Interestingly I have actually just removed the yearly calendar from my third journal when I realised I just never look at it. If I want to look up a date I always always without fail look at the calendar on my phone. The birthdays however have stayed exactly the same and actually it's the format I use all the time to check up on people's birthdays.
My monthly calendars and my habit trackers have also stayed pretty much the same. The monthly calendar I started out with in May 2016 worked and I have continued to use the same format throughout. I use it both as a quick look at what's coming up and also a diary which I fill in things I did after the event. The difference I made in my journal for 2017 was I blocked out all my monthly calendars out in one go and the same with my habit trackers. I found in my old journal I was struggling to plan when I only had one month on the go at a time so I designed all my monthly calendars in one bulk and it works a lot better.
My habit trackers are the same, I marked them all out in one go and I update them as I go. I have stuck to a lot of the same habits to track - some of which I don't ever complete (8 glasses of water I'm looking at you). I have also added some new elements to my habit tracker and the size of the line spacing means I have more space in my new journal so I can easily add new habits.
My weekly spreads are changing all the time and is the biggest change in my journaling habits, and the biggest change in how I use it. I used to leave 7 days to a double page spread in my old journal and I used to map out 4 weeks at a time. This worked for a little bit, till about October and that's when I realised it just wasn't working anymore for me, and that's the main reason I fell out of love with it for a little while. Now I work on a week by week basis, I map out my following week and nothing further and this in turn allows for anything that comes up in the meantime, whether that be master to do lists, chores, stuff to remember that week, packing lists...whatever it be. In my 4 week block I'd be forced to layout those types of things further into my journal and that left it scrappy and unorganised. I also don't limit myself to a 7 day week layout, sometimes depending on how busy my week is I leave more room for some days, I combine the weekend together, I sometimes make one massive to do list for the whole week and don't section it to each day. I use it in a variety of ways depending on my week and it's the most crucial change I made.
A lot of my 'filler' pages are very much the same, from my savings goals to my film tracker, they've remained very similar, if not identical in my 2016 and 2017 journal. My random pages and trackers interject my weekly spreads and my normal content, they come up whenever I require them. In both journals I started with my film tracker on a half page and when that was full, I moved on to a full double page spread later in the journal. I have included parcel trackers, lots to do with my new house, packing lists for every trip, reading trackers, all manner of things and it's the bread and butter of my journals.
The way I track my blog has actually changed quite a lot between journals. I didn't really track a lot to do with my blog initially, I had a blog notebook where I did all my planning and I kept the two very separate for a long time. It was only seeing a blog goals tracker in someone else's journal - I literally can't even remember who - that I decided to create one of my own. I call them goals, there is an end number on each of them but actually they're not something I actively try to hit as a milestone, I use them more as a tracker of numbers more than anything.
In my 2016 journal, when I was using another notebook for my blog so the first time I created a bullet journal spread for any kind of blog content was when I hosted guest bloggers way back in July. Without realising this layout inspired my current monthly blog schedules which I now track in my latest journal, it's also based on my monthly spreads as it works in very much the same way. Now I've moved solely to a bullet journal I create a spread for each month to create a general idea of what I have coming up on my blog in the next month. I never do more than a month at a time and I never actually write the content until the day before or the day of publishing at best. I also have pages dedicated to my advertising packages, my bullet journal content ideas and other general lists of ideas for blog posts.
As well as the odd random tracker I also have a lot of random lists, be that to do lists, tracker lists or checkers. When we did the work on our house this year there were a million and one things to keep a track of - be that the budget, the deliveries we were waiting for and all the things we still needed to do on it or buy for it. I popped them all into my bullet journal willy nilly when the moment arose and having them all in one place is an absolute life saver. Combine that with my monthly and weekly spreads and I found I could easily look back at my random to do lists and chose a few house tasks to migrate to weeks or days where I space to do them or jot down things I needed to buy when I knew I'd be going past B&Q. Life saver. This hasn't really changed from journal to journal except the house wishlists on the old journal were pipe dreams and this year became a reality so that's always nice.
And finally (soz, I know it's photo heavy but I love to nose into other people's journals so hopefully you do too?) my week on week lists and spreads have evolved throughout my journaling. Sometimes I can have such a busy week I feel the need to draw a new more detailed calendar to get my head into check. My monthly spread only leaves room for the most important dates in the diary and gets full quickly so sometimes, like Christmas fortnight 2016 when I was here there and everywhere I need to just do a more focused spread where I can add the detail.
This hasn't changed when it comes to my 2017 journal, the layouts are a bit different but it totally depends on what format I need for what week and what occasion. Just after Easter I was so busy and felt like I needed to remember so much I set out a calendar segregating even the morning, afternoon and evening whereas the other week I simply used up about 3 squares deep for exactly the same thing.
I have also started creating 'Master To Do Lists' which is something I only really started doing back in November last year and it's changed the way I journal. If I am having a pretty full on week where I just need to remember a thousand things (seems to be every week at the mo) I create a giant to do list as the week goes on and add and add and add to it whenever I think of something else or something crops up. This then means I have one giant list to refer back to but also means I can easily migrate tasks to the appropriate days on which I need to do them when it comes to planning my weekly spread. I've also condensed my monthly 'title' page from a double page spread to a singular and tbf these days I generally use it as a block between months so it might not last too much longer anyway.
I think the biggest change in the way I use my bullet journal, and the thing I noticed more and more as I flipped through my 2016 one is how more effectively I am using it. It's so much more all encompassing and less diary like and more massive life organisation and I genuinely don't know where I'd be without it now - I'd certainly forget 104827358657 things per week!
Safe to say, I'm even more hooked on the bujo craze one year on.