It’s been over a YEAR since I started bullet journalling, and I didn’t even realise until a couple weeks back when I was looking through an old bullet journal for some information. Then, I started thinking about any changes it has made in my lifestyle, and how my spreads have evolved. That’s exactly what I’m here to share with y’all (in quite some detail) today.
I got introduced to bullet journals by Boho Berry on YouTube, and I pretty much loved everything she did and tried to copy a lot of her spreads. One thing which wasn’t working for me, as I very quickly realised, was the daily time header. It’s basically a visual representation of where your time is going/has gone on a particular day. I am not someone who has any time-restricted work, therefore most of the tasks I do are either spontaneous or depending on my mood. Therefore, scheduling my time in advance using this time header did NOT work. After that, I tried logging my time at the end of the day, like a tracker to see where my time has gone. I ended up being too lazy to sit and colour, basically, and I didn’t find it very useful. So I stopped doing it after about a week.
Whether it did or not, I ended up REALLY loving planning and making spreads. Being someone who always loves planning, this fed my planner tendencies to a great extent. Especially since the whole planner is made by me, I didn’t find any restriction like I found when I had once tried keeping a regular planner. Plus, the bullet journal is also flexible for creativeness, so I absolutely loved it. I didn’t even think about whether to continue bullet journalling. I bought a new notebook and set up for July quite early.
You can see my complete June bullet journal flip-through here.
July was the month when I tried everything out. And by that, I mean spreads, headers, mild lettering etc. As for the monthly and daily pages, I kept constant to what was working for me in June. Although, because of the random pattern tryouts and such, the spreads turned out quite mismatched, and now that I’m appreciating themes and colour schemes, the spreads look quite cringey to me.
Since most of this month was also vacation time for me, the majority “work” I had was related to this blog. About 50% of my tasks were blog-related and I kind of loved having a planner to keep my blog sorted. This was also when I was getting prepared for college and the busy schedule which would obviously come with. Therefore, I spent quite a while scheduling posts in advance etc. Having a bullet journal to volley ideas, plan publishing dates etc helped a lot.
College had begun and I was right, I became almost swamped. This resulted in me thanking myself for scheduling posts for August and doing extensive planning in advance for September (for the blog). Being so busy and cutting back on the number of blog posts also meant I didn’t have time to upload an August bullet journal flip-through, even though I’m quite proud of how my spreads turned out.
I started using a calendar layout in August, and found that this suited to my requirements way better. I also got my first washi tape that month! Way easier for aesthetic purposes.
I thinking I could do a flipthrough of August 2016 spreads now, when I have the time. (What do you think? Would you be interested in seeing my old spreads? Let me know in the comments.)
I didn’t do any major changes or try new things in September, I pretty much kept to the same as it was a perfect combination of minimalistic, colourful and productive spreads. To be honest, I also didn’t find the time to think about any new things as I was still getting used to the new hectic schedule. August and September were the months when I started writing my blog posts in notebooks/bullet journal when inspiration struck and later typing it up on Sundays. Again, I didn’t do a flipthrough for this month on the blog.
This was when the fact that planning takes up some time hit me. I even made a blog post on it later.
I finally got a few days off from college this month, and I threw all of my free time into planning in advance for the blog in preparation for my finals, during which I did not plan to blog at all.
In the last weeks of October, I didn’t see the point in making dailies as I didn’t have very much to do every single day, therefore I only made weeklies. Since the everyday section in my weeklies were big enough, it worked pretty well and I saved time by not making daily spreads.
I also tried keeping a section in the weeklies to track expenses but stopped doing it after two weeks since I didn’t require it much. I also didn’t like how the spread looked with that section.
November was more of exams than anything else. I mostly kept weeklies only and didn’t do any new things.
Literally, as I go through the pages, there’s almost only tasks about studying and exams, with a teeny bit on the blog and personal life. That month was busy busy busy for me.
I also did a post with tips on bullet journalling for people with busy lives after having such a schedule.
This month’s section was short, as well, in my bullet journal. I did try something new with the monthly tracker, though, taking inspiration from an account on Instagram.
You can see my December bullet journal flip-through here.
By the end of this month, my notebook ran out of pages. I was so glad the timing matched with the new year! There is just something more FRESH about starting new with the new year’s.
My first semester was over, and I had my semester break in Jan. Therefore I had more elaborate and decorative spread this month. I bought a new notebook online which I have reviewed in this blog post.
This month, I tried out having a Gratitude log. I kept it flexible, without dates, so I could write whenever I want and how much ever I wanted without being restricted on space for everyday. I also bought more washi tape and used it quite a lot. I stopped making weekly spread half-through the month as I didn’t require them.
Since the month was basically vacation, I had a lot of free time and filled my bullet journal with loads of things. January takes over about 60 pages in the notebook!
My college started up again a little into that month, but since I had already been through one semester, I was handling the schedules MUCH better. Until February, the main contribution of my bullet journal was towards planning for the blog and also kind of being a diary. Only in semester 2 had I started using it more for assignments and keeping track of college work. I pretty much free-lanced through the first semester with my memory for all of that, but mostly because I only saw my bullet journal at the END of the day, hence making it useless for evolving tasks.
I continued having a gratitude page this month, and tried my hand at themed spreads a couple times. There isn’t much new in February except one thing. I got inspiration to write towards the end of the month. But this was more like two-sentences writing which pop into my head at random times throughout the day. Whenever I got one in my head, I wrote it down in the empty spaces throughout February’s spreads. Essentially turning it into a garbled mess and ruining the aesthetic. But I don’t regret it.
By this time, I had gotten pretty used to having a planner and loved it. It held everything I needed—blog things, college, personal events, some journalling here and there, all the information I might need on a later date and basically a log of my life.
You can see all of my spreads of February here.
Throughout the time I’ve been bullet journalling, my favourite spread is the tracker. Also known as habit tracker.
I kind of got bored with the traditional tracker, and therefore went in with something new.
I took this image a few days into the month. The spread took quite a while to set it up but I love the outcome.
There is so much planning on improving blog posts and new ideas in my March spreads. The only other different thing is the French. I decided to download an app and learn French, simply because I was bored and wanted to learn something new. I wrote down a lot of French words and meaning etc.
Towards the end of the month, I had my internal exams and became busy with those and some other stuff so I stopped bullet journalling for the most part. I only kept up with the tracker.
April was a bit hectic for me, with too-near tests and other college-related events. April spans over only 10 spreads in my bullet journal, and that is counting the miscellaneous lists I wrote. I wrote programming codes and ideas in between here and there, and only that increases the overall count for April. And honestly, I don’t even like my April spreads. The only reason they look sort of nice is because I brush lettered the headings on the days I actually used the bullet journal.
I went back to using the the normal habit tracker, too. I did not have the time to sit down and carefully set up the tracker like in March.
This was when I decided to go on a blogging hiatus. Because I was so darn busy and wanted some time off. Bullet journalling and/or planning DOES take up time. I decided to simply go with my memory since there wasn’t much to remember a lot of the month.
I made some effort with the monthly spreads in May, and I tried to keep them all in one theme. I had chosen the colour green for the spreads. I also tried out keeping a mood tracker and expense tracker this month. The mood tracker didn’t work out so well. I wasn’t happy having it and didn’t feel the use. The expense tracker, though, finally worked out! I had been wanting to track my expenses for a long time and I got down to in that month with determination.
I also changed the monthly spread to use because I didn’t require a two-page spread anymore, as I had only few events going on.
See the may bullet journal flipthrough here.
I tried a different habit tracker this month, and it worked out so well! It’s somewhat like what I used in March, but easier to set up and gave a much better visual, for my preferences.
My notebook was coming to an end, and I stupidly used quite some pages writing down a blog post instead of writing it in another book. I didn’t want to break into a new notebook in the middle of a month, and therefore I managed by using sticky notes. I simply stuck sticky notes over the pages where I wrote the blog post, and used one sticky note each day (my days weren’t very eventful). I managed to complete June in the notebook, and I was really glad.
See my June bullet journal setup here.
I tend to use one notebook for six months, I’ve noticed now.
I love using a bullet journal, and it has become a part of my daily life now. My bullet journal contains everything I need in one place. It’s also perfect for me since I don’t like pre-made planners and virtual planners. The bullet journal is so flexible to what you need—you can change everything depending on which stage you are in life and your unique requirements.
I have been so much more productive and on time this past year because of using my bullet journal, and I’ve also made many improvements by noticing my lifestyle through the trackers.
I wholeheartedly recommend using a bullet journal to everyone. At least try. It might just make your days much more productive.
Do you use a bullet journal? If so, then how long have you been using it? Do you plan any other way? Or do you not plan at all, and just wing it? Is there anything on which you’d like me to do a blog post? I’d love to know! I just might. Also, do let me know if you’d be interested in seeing flipthroughs of the months I haven’t published in the past year. And if you have any doubts, don’t hesitate to ask me in the comments!