HOW TO SET UP YOUR BULLET JOURNAL: LAYOUTS

HOW TO SET UP YOUR BULLET JOURNAL: LAYOUTS

Get started with these simple planner layouts

You’ve decided to start bullet journaling + you have your chosen materials ready. What next? Here are some basic layouts to get you started.

Index
The index – contents page – is where I add page titles and numbers as I go along, for easy reference. I also add post-it note markers to key pages that I use regularly.

Key
Sounds fancy; just the signs you use to mark progress against tasks – I use some of the ‘standard’ key signs for that have been developed. I use very few, because I don’t need anything too complicated. On some planners I also use ‘L’, ‘M’, ‘H’ to mark progress from low to high priority of tasks.

HOW TO SET UP YOUR BULLET JOURNAL: LAYOUTS

Year planner
I use this primarily for birthdays. It’s been a very long time since I last wrote down birthdays + I’d become a little too reliant on Facebook for reminders.

Monthly planner
I set this up at the beginning of every month with key dates – birthdays, appointments, social events – circled. It helps me to get an overview + a sense of the lead in time I might need for various events.

Weekly planner
My weekly planner sets out my key dates, tasks + meal plan for the week.

  • Tasks: weekly to-do list and in-progress tasks
  • Food log: planning breakfasts, lunches + dinners. This helps me in two ways:
    • It helps me shop efficiently + quickly, only buying what I need for the week + keeping food bills down
    • It means I always have quick, nutritious meals to hand for my son + I. When I get home from work, the last thing I want to do is spend a long time figuring out what’s for dinner + preparing food. I want to cuddle with my son + learn about his day. Having meals already planned + the ingredients to hand helps me get to mother + son time more quickly.
  • Shopping list: based on the food log

Regular tasks
I keep track of regular weekly + monthly tasks with these two trackers, which are divided into my broad categories of: home, garden, beauty, errands. These trackers help me, for example, not let my houseplants die by forgetting to water them (it’s happened too many times…) + keep on top of the small, regular tasks that help keep everything running smoothly.

In my next post I’ll share one of my bespoke layouts for planning + organising a capsule wardrobe.

Do these layouts work for you? Let me know if you have any questions or layouts to share.

HOW TO SET UP YOUR BULLET JOURNAL: LAYOUTS

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A NEW WAY OF ORGANISING: THE BULLET JOURNAL

BULLET JOURNAL

“The analogue system for the digital age”

Bullet journaling has increased my productivity, improved my planning + given me a lot of satisfaction in the few months since I started. Developed by digital product designer Ryder Carroll, it’s a versatile + completely customisable way of tracking anything in your life that you need to track, from events, meetings + social dates to planning projects + managing lists. It brings you back to (analogue) basics: all you need is a pen + a notepad to take complete control of your organisational needs. I’m an expert organiser, but even so, I never really found a digital way of organising my life that provided everything I needed in one place – my personal organisation was spread across Gmail, iCal, Clear, scraps of paper. With bullet journalling, all of my organisational needs are met in one place, because I have complete control over the system (developing new “features” as I go to meet evolving needs in my planning/organisation). An additional plus for me is that the record is saved for posterity. I’m never going to be a diary writer, but preserving my dates + tasks in this way forms, for me, the closest I’m going to get to one.

For me, one of the key advantages of bullet journaling is its flexibility. You start off with an index (contents page), which you fill out as you go. It doesn’t matter if a to-do list or planner for a future project falls smack bang in the middle of your weekly planners for a particular month. You’re not beholden so much to chronology + your index means that all content is easy to find.

(Also one big advantage for me was that I realised I had become reliant on Facebook for knowing people’s birthdays. That is not ok! I had stopped writing them down and started to forget. Definitely not ok!!)

BULLET JOURNAL

What to use?
Notebook: You can use any notebook. It all depends on your approach. The most-talked about bullet journal is the Leuchtturm1917. Patience isn’t my strong point + once I’d committed to the idea of bullet journaling I went to see what was available at my local Waterstone’s. I found a real gem in the Princeton Architectural Press’s Grids + Guides Notebook for Visual Thinkers. It contains a number of different types of grid paper, which give flexibility, spark creativity + are fun to work with.

Writing/marker materials: Some bullet journalists really go to town with different coloured pens, post it notes, washi tape, creating beautiful journals that are as much works of art as organisational tools. It wouldn’t be true to me to follow that path (my handwriting is awful; I’m not much of a doodler), so I adhere to the ‘minimalist’ school of bullet journaling. I use a Foray porous point pen (I am fussy about this, no other pen will do), occasionally a red biro, a ruler + post it markers so that I can find key pages super quickly. Easy.

Layout inspiration
I got started with a few ideas from Pinterest + now I’m in the swing of it, I feel confident mapping out my own layouts – I recently free-styled a layout to help me streamline + reorganise my wardrobe (blog post pending). I will confess to having torn out a few pages that I messed up, so now if I’m doing something new I tend to sketch it out on scrap paper first to test it before committing to it in my journal.

In future blog posts, I’ll take you through layouts, ideas that work for me. Let me know if you have any questions!

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