My Experience Bullet Journaling

In January of this year, I acquired a new obsession: bullet journaling. I watched hours and hours of YouTube videos, figuring out which styles and spreads I wanted to incorporate into my own journal. Then, around the middle of January (a little late, considering you're generally supposed to start them at the beginning of a month/year/semester), I created my own. I decided to go with a playful, colorful look, using bright color palettes and bordering every spread with crayons. I was very nervous when starting this bullet journal, as it was probably the tenth journal I've started in my life, none of which have been finished...

It's now almost three months in, and I'm going strong! I open it at least once a day, and it has truly made a giant impact on my organizational habits! I've kept up with my school work much more consistently, made more time for my friends by structuring my days differently, and even have included supplementary recap pages for picture collages and monthly summaries. I strongly encourage every busy woman to try out this journaling technique. Whether you only use it as a scrapbook, an agenda book, a goal tracker, or a mixture of all three! Try the following spreads out to start, and if you stick with it, I promise you'll see the structured improvements in your life as well :)

1. Quote/Title Page

It's important to start off every bullet journal with a quote page. This way, whenever you open your journal, you're greeted with a positive message. Most people choose one quote or word to encapsulate their year, and what they hope to gain from the year. I chose the word "acceptance" for 2020, because this year I am trying to make great strides in accepting myself, my situation, and my mental health. On my title page, I printed out the quote "Acceptance makes an incredible fertile soil for the seeds of change - Steve Maraboli," and pasted it alongside a cute doodle with the words "hello 2020 :)"

2. Key & Index

For every journal, you need pages to guide the reader in how the journal functions. In my key, I included what each symbol would mean in the agenda portion of my book. For example, a checkbox is a task, a circle is an event, and a triangle is an appointment. The index, on the other hand, is fairly self-explanatory and doesn't change very much between journals.

3. Yearly Recap

In my bullet journal, I included a "goodbye, 2019 - hello, 2020" page. In this, I recapped my 2019 in accomplishments, highlights, mistakes, what I learned, what I was grateful for, and how I felt. Then, in the 2020 portion, I wrote about things to let go, things to change, things to keep, what I want to learn, what I want to feel, and what I want to accomplish. This page is a very useful one to look back on and monitor your progress.

new years resolution no resolution Pexels

4. Yearly Goals

Another great page to monitor your progress is your goals page. I gave myself room for 50, but have only filled out 12 so far. I want to leave room so that if I discover a new goal I want to accomplish this year, I can have a place to put it. Don't be afraid to make some goals big and some goals small - and never be hard on yourself for not accomplishing every goal. The wonderful thing about goals is that if you do not complete them by the end of this year, you can simply make it the first goal on the page next year!

5. 2020 in Photos/Songs

Two spreads that I have really enjoyed working on so far have been my "2020 in Photos" and "2020 in Songs" pages. Every month, my boyfriend and I visit this (semi)private section of a beach we love, enjoy the day there, and take a polaroid at the end. I have put each of these polaroids in my journal, and it's always heart-warming to look at and remind myself of some of the happiest days of my year. Similarly, at the end of every month, I choose a song that really exemplifies me and my character that month, print out the album cover, and paste it into my journal - making sure to label the song title and artist's name. These two spreads are very fun, in my opinion, because they still give you the insight into how you are doing, much like a journal entry would, but you get to go about it in a very unique and creative way!

a woman sits at a wooden desk writing in a notebook. there is an imac in front of her.  Retha Ferguson | Pexels

6. Important Reminder Pages

A very functional aspect of the bullet journal is that it is great for tracking important dates, functions, or events. A few of the pages I have for keeping track are my "Birthdays," "Moon Cycles," and "Weekly/Daily Schedules" pages. These all work very well for entries that are fairly set in stone such as birthdays, full moons, class times, gym runs, etc.

7. A Gratitude Page

I wanted to include a page where I could just jot down things I come across that I'm grateful for or that make me smile. I think this page is so cute, and it doesn't have to be anything special/professional. A few of the entries I have on this page are family, the warm sunshine, and sushi :))

8. Agenda

The last important aspect of a bullet journal is the agenda portion. I won't go into great detail on the design of those - since "agenda book layout" can be easily searched and copied. Just do whatever style or format you think will keep you the most disciplined.

The Lalagirl Smiling Holding Journal Her Campus Media

While I have many more pages in my bullet journal, I want to leave the rest up to you! Start with all or none of these ideas, and let your creative mind take control. Make a page just for doodling mushrooms, a page for ripping up into tiny pieces, do whatever you want! The important part is that you stick to it. Even if you don't feel like journaling that day or entering in the assignments you need to complete - I promise seeing it all laid out in front of you will make loads of a difference when it comes to actually getting things done!

All the love,

aj