My November Bullet Journal Spread

If you don’t already have a bullet journal (or “BuJo”), I cannot recommend starting one enough! I grew up in a very artsy family and have always searched for a way to use my creativity in a productive manner. 

The bullet journal system is the perfect combination of art and organization that has been immensely helpful for me to organize my assignments and time as a stressed college student. If you’re new to the system, I thought I’d write a little piece showing how I set up my journal at the beginning of each month.

The first page of the new month is my monthly calendar. Here is where I track all of my events, obligations, class cancellations, and major assignments. I usually fill it in as much as I can on the first day of the month, but obviously more events get added as they pop up. I like to keep this page relatively simple and clean so I can look at it quickly to know what’s coming up soon.

When you flip to the next page, you can find my monthly intentions and playlist spreads. I really like to set intentions at the beginning of each month and write them out in my journal to keep me accountable. You can see here that so far I’ve set three intentions for myself, which I’ll break down now.

The first is progress, not perfection. This month, I am working to remind myself that as long as I am learning, I’m not failing. I should be proud of myself for trying new things, even if they don’t go exactly how I planned.

The second intention I’ve set for myself is to consciously read the news every morning. I love to stay informed on current events, but I find myself getting overwhelmed if I consume the news constantly throughout the day. To remedy that, I’ve started to read the news in the morning so that I can start my day more informed and avoid feeling bombarded by information later. I do this by reading newsletters that I’ve subscribed to while eating breakfast. Some of my favorites include theSkimm (which condenses the news into really short summaries that are easy to consume), the Politico Playbook (which explains the current going-ons in politics. I’m subscribed to both the national politico newsletter and the one specifically about my home state of Massachusetts), and the Gist (which is a sports newsletter written specifically for women. I love this one because as a sports management minor, I need to stay informed about everything happening in the sports industry!)

My third intention is to cultivate a teachable mind. I need to remind myself daily to take every experience, both positive and negative, as something I can learn from!

On the other page, I keep track of all of my favorite songs for the month. I’m a huge music junkie, and I love being able to look back and see what I was grooving to each month. 

The last and arguably most important pages of my monthly bullet journal setup are my weekly spreads. I set up each spread basically the same each week. I’m a huge quote gal and I choose a quote every week to put at the top of my spread to keep me inspired. I also try to keep track of my habits every week so I can work to maintain them. You can see here that this week I’m tracking my vitamin intake, skin care, and duolingo lessons. I’m teaching myself Dutch and often forget to do my daily lesson, but by having a spot specifically to remind me to do it, I can keep this habit going. I also have a section blocked off for each day, where I put each of my events and assignments as they come up.

I use this system of symbols above to keep track of what each assignment or obligation is. 

If you’re interested in starting a bullet journal, there are a few materials that I would recommend. My tried and true pen is the Pilot G-2 with a 0.38 tip. I order these pens in bulk because I fly through them so quickly since they keep my writing looking neat and smooth. I also love my Mildliner highlighters. These come in a variety of colors and are great because they have both a highlighting end and a fine marker tip. To add more color to my journal, I also use Muji pens with a 0.5 tip. These pens come in bright and bold colors and write so smoothly.  

The bullet journal system is amazing because it’s a completely customizable way of staying organized. I often hear people say that they just don’t have time to do one, but that’s not true!

I usually set aside around 20-30 minutes every Sunday night to set up my spread for the next week and get organized. I’ll put on either a good show on Netflix or a playlist on Spotify and give myself time to plan for the week. It’s a habit that allows me to start my week on a good note and makes me feel in control, even if the week ahead will be totally crazy.