Thursday, July 27, 2017

Why I Started a Bullet Journal + How to Start Your Own!

It's no secret that I'm a huge fan of organization, and that I have a mild obsession with my planner. I've been seeing bullet journals around Pinterest and Instagram for a couple of years now, and I really don't know why it took me so long to start one. I decided to finally check into them more, and hours on Pinterest and YouTube later, I had ordered a journal and some notebooks.

I hadn't known that bullet journals were not only planners, but actual journals as well - silly, I know. I personally have (or had, now) a planner, a separate journal for my thoughts, and another journal for goals/ideas. Obviously I couldn't carry around all three, so I'd usually just carry my planner around with me. My phone is full of notes and ideas since I didn't always have my "ideas" journal with me, so it would result in a lot of lists later that I couldn't really make sense of.

With my bullet journal, I can have designated pages that are solely for lists and ideas, or anything else I'd like to put in there. I really like the creative freedom you can have with bullet journals, and that you can follow the system loosely and make up your own rules. I've found it's been great to sit down on Sunday afternoon and figure out the week ahead, and see what all I have to do. It's quickly become a part of my weekly and daily routine to set up the week on Sunday and get ready, and then come back after work and update my journal.

Another part I love about bullet journaling are the different "trackers." Currently I have a habit tracker and mood tracker, and I think next month I'll add in an expense tracker, too. Visually checking in with my goals for the month and year has been helping so much in keeping myself accountable, and it's cool to see them fill in. I love filling in those little boxes, so it keeps me motivated, too! This has also been great in setting realistic goals, and also seeing where I can push a little more to set a higher goal.

So far I've been keeping my journal relatively simple, but I'm excited to become more creative in the future. I love drawing and painting, so my bullet journal will be a great place to be able to do that in, since I don't have a whole lot of time to dedicate to that. I really love how you can get super creative and elaborate with bullet journals or keep it simple if you like!

How to start your own bullet journal

I just want to first say that I'm still a beginner at this - so take what I say with a grain of salt! These are just the tips I've picked up from all the reading and watching I've done about bullet journals. It's really daunting to set up your bullet journal at first because there's so many photos out there of really elaborate journals, but it isn't as difficult as it looks! 

Start with a key

I saw a couple of people do this, and it's been really helpful! Putting the key on some thicker paper and then taping it into the inside of the cover has been really useful to have it on whatever page I'm on. The actual bullet journal system is easy once you get the hang of it, but it can be a tad confusing at the beginning. I mixed up the "event" and "task" bullet a lot in the beginning - I still do - so this has been really helpful in remedying that.

Move onto the future log

The future log is really important for your bullet journal, because it allows you to see the year at a glance and write in important events. So far I've mainly written down birthday's and holiday's, but as time goes on there's more and more to put in the log. I added little doodles for each month to give it some personality, too!

Then, of course, you'll need an index

This is really self-explanatory, but the index just helps you keep your journal organized. It's important to keep track of all of the pages so you can come back to important ones, or yearly logs. With the journal I got, the index is already in there, which is super convenient. I left a couple of pages after the pre-made ones just in case I need more, since I've heard people run out of space.

Put in any yearly logs you want, or anything else you'll want to come back to a lot

For these I put in my half-yearly goals and the books that I want to read this year (I still have to integrate these from my good reads account), since I know I'll be referencing these a lot. It was really nice that I started my bullet journal in July since it means I have an even six months left in the year, and I was able to check in on the goals I set for this year. A lot of people put in pages like "movies to watch" or "things to keep track of," but you can really put whatever you want. It's your journal!

With that, here's my first monthly spread!

I decided to go with a vertical calendar for the month, which was really nice to keep track of my personal life and blog/YouTube stuff, but I did find myself wanting a larger calendar so I had a more wholistic view of everything. Honestly, I'm a calendar junkie so I should've known better that I'd be missing it.

Next are my monthly goals and stats. I really like this page since both sections are based around goals, but I feel like I can fit in a third section to fill up more space, whatever that might be. I'll play around with it next month and see what I'm feeling!

Then we have the trackers, habits and mood. I saw so many people do this, and I love the idea! I've been keeping myself so much more accountable because I actually have to track these things on the daily, so I'm much more motivated to follow through with them. The mood tracker is also really cool so I can see how my emotions fluctuate throughout the month depending on what happens in a day.

Finally, in the initial July pages, is the idea page. I intended for this page to be for whatever I was feeling or thinking about, but it actually really is just an idea page, which I both like and dislike. I think for August I'll turn it into a "brain dump" page, so I feel like I can write more than ideas for blog posts and videos. We'll see how it goes!

Now time for some of my weekly spreads!

This was my first weekly spread with some little daisy detailing at the bottom. I really loved how the bottom turned out, I thought it added something really cute to the page since it was so blank at first! Like I said earlier, I was trying to keep this month pretty simple, so I didn't want to go to crazy on the daisy theme. I think less ended up being more this month!

This was my second weekly spread, and I decided to put a little calendar in the corner this time, and I really ended up loving that. I didn't have to keep looking at the calendar in the future log or on my phone to see a whole view of the month, so it was really nice. It was really quick and simple to do, and added something to the blank corner under Sunday.

Here are some extra pages I added in for the summer!

I wanted to put in a summer bucket list so I could try and actually do some fun things this summer other than work. the title is simple but super cute, and I'm really happy with how it came out! The banner reminds me of the lanes in Brighton when I was studying abroad last summer, and I love the baby blue.

Here's a closer look! I plan on continuing to add things to the list and (hopefully) checking them off, so we'll see how it goes!

Just as I want to make sure I do things this summer, I also want to track what makes me happy! I actually ended up added some yellow to the "happy" to make it a little brighter, but overall I'm happy with how simple it is. I want to make sure I'm really present this summer in everything I do, as well as grateful for all of the great things that happen.

These are some of the supplies I've been using

I really love this Signo Uni-ball pen! It comes in a pack of three which is really great, and is only $6 so it's a great deal. This is useful for covering up any little mistakes I make, and it's also fun to make a little black box and put white text over it to change it up!

I've had this Tombow brush pen for a while now, and I love it so much. This one came in a pack of two: one "hard" tip and a "soft" tip pen. It's really nice that there's two different pens for some variety, and to use them for different things! 

Sharpie pens have been my go-to pen for years now. I love how fine the tip is and how dark the black is - it's great for writing small block letters, or adding fine details to drawings or paintings.

I got these washi tapes at Target for around $3 each, and I really love them! They're different from the regular floral ones (which, don't get me wrong, I love), so I thought it would be cool to switch things up!

I got these Tombow dual brush pens for my birthday back in April, and they have quickly become some of my favorite art supplies. I've been using them like crazy to make cards, and they've come in handy just for coloring, writing, and everything in between!

I've seen so many people use these Crayola Supertips for their bullet journals, and now I understand why! The 50 pack was only around $10, and all of the colors are so pretty. I love the variation in them, and they're really great for adding some color here and there throughout your journal. The lighter colors are also great for more subtle colors, too!

And of course, here's the actual journal that I'm using! I'm so happy with this journal, the pages are thick, and it's great that there's already an index in the beginning. The pages are also already numbered, which is really convenient. I haven't added anything to the cover yet, and I honestly I might just leave it black. I haven't decided yet!

Alright, that's that for all of my tips, how to start a journal, and all the supplies I've been using! You can watch the video I did on this topic right here! I go more in depth through my spreads, and talk about them a little bit more. Plus, it's just nice to see a flip through.

I'm so glad I finally decided to start a bullet journal, and that I get to share what I've done in mine so far! I'm super excited to share monthly "plan with me" posts and videos, so be on the lookout for that. I actually am in the process of filming my August Plan with Me, which will hopefully be up in a couple of days.

I also decided to finally start a monthly newsletter, so if you want more updates from me, go ahead and put in your email at the top of my blog! I'm not sure when exactly I'm going to be sending those out, but I think it'll be early in the month, or a couple of weeks in. This is all still new, so it's a work in progress. Thanks for coming along with me, and thanks for reading a watching! :)

Do you have a bullet journal?

Have a great day! :)

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  1. So cute! You make me want to start one myself!
    Did you write the titles (days of the week, bucket list,etc) yourself!? If so, awesome job! It literally looks like a font!

    Renee | Life After Lux

    1. Aw thank you! And yes I did with my lettering pen, it's been my new obsession lately haha!