Starting My First Minimalist Bullet Journal

I’ve fantasised about starting an arty bullet journal for years: in a heavily-influenced-by-Pinterest phase I went through a while back, intricately drawn pages with curly typography tumbled out of the screen at me in gushes of overwhelming beauty; I felt way too intimidated to begin one myself as I was consumed by the thought ‘mine won’t look that nice’.

The new year has just rolled around again and the bullet journal posts have begun to resurface, which at first, tugged on that creative and organisational part of my character and tried persuading it to pick up a pen and fill hundreds of pages with detailed, illustrated notes.

I resisted this though, because I know from past experience that the style of organisation I was artistically being drawn towards wasn’t the style of organisation that actually works for me. I knew if I began to recreate an inspiring bullet journal from the internet, I wouldn’t end up with a product that makes me feel more on top of things – my mind would end up feeling more chaotic, or it would result in me neglecting the notebook entirely and therefore rendering the whole task pointless.

So what did I decide to do with my seemingly conflicting feelings, one of which wanted a beautiful journal, whilst the other just wanted straight-forward organisation? I decided to create my very own minimalist BuJo. Here’s what I’ve included in it so far:

Monthly Spread, Goals and Finance

In a lot of ways, I’m a pretty visual person, so seeing the month ahead of me laid out on one page is a really useful overview to have.

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Next to this, I’ve put my goals: this is a section for the things I’m choosing to particularly focus on that month, such as personal development aspirations and health related ideas.

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I’ve also decided to include ‘to read’ and ‘to watch’ lists here, as I’m looking to increase the amount of books I get through this year as well as decrease the amount of content I watch. So the reading list helps me focus on what to put my attention towards whilst the watch list reminds me to only see the programmes I’ve highlighted here, rather than routinely trawling Netflix to find something to entertain me in the evening. The idea of this is to make me more mindful when it comes to my free time.

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At the bottom of the page sits my finance lists: what I earn in a month, what I spend in a month and things I’d like to buy at some point in the future. I’m usually pretty good at staying on top of these areas in my life, but I thought it could be interesting to track anyway.

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Hobby and Health Tracker

Writing my reading goal down is helpful to me because it turns it into a physical, visual objective. I decided to extend this idea further in the next section of my BuJo by creating a tracker page. I drew a grid, labelled 1-31 along the top, and put the hobbies and physical activities I want to do more of this year along the left-hand side. Each day in which I successfully do one of these hobbies, I shade in a square.

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Food Plans

In the last three years of being vegan, I’ve fluctuated between eating very healthily, and taking part in not so good food habits. Sometimes I think my healthy habits slip because I become focussed on other things in my life and start to get less creative in the kitchen. To help ward this off, I thought I’d give some mental space this month to thinking about some new meals I can make, particularly for lunches, and keep rough notes on how well I do with fruit/veg and water consumption each day.

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Gratitude List

I’ve talked a little bit about gratitude on my blog before, and I’m starting to get into the habit of jotting down a few positive thoughts every couple of days. I didn’t want to make it into a daily thing, as that felt pressurising to me, so I thought that a list I can build on whenever I feel like it would be a better method for me.

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Weekly Spread

I make a lot of ‘to do’ lists, and will definitely keep doing daily ones to keep myself focussed, but I thought having a few major weekly goals set out for study, blogging/writing, mind and body could be helpful for me to stay on top of my work and blogging content, as well as to make sure I’m regularly working towards my healthier mind and body goals.

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That’s about as far as I’ve come with my bullet journal in it’s first couple of days. I know it’s not the most beautiful or artistic setup and I know that I barely stray from two colours, straight lines and simple fonts, but I also know that this is what will boost my productivity and organisation.

The reason I’m sharing my journal layout is because I know I’m not alone in feeling a little intimidated by the idea of trying to emulate other people’s beautiful creations. I want people to know it’s okay for your method of organisation to be different, or simpler or more detailed, less colourful, full of pictures, purely lists or covered in biro doodles. Whatever has been designed with you, not someone else, in mind, is the best possible journal for you to have and the one you’ll use the most effectively.

There’s no singular way to be organised, and I’m slowly learning to trust that I can be inspired by the amazing work of others without being completely put off from making my own steps forward. Just because my steps look different to someone else’s, it doesn’t mean they can’t both be moving in a positive direction ❤


If you enjoyed this post, you might like:

18 Things I Want To Do In 2018

13 Things I Learnt During My First Week Of Manual Photography


My Social Media Links:

Twitter (@alysjournals)

Instagram (@alystravels)

Pinterest (@alysdc)

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59 thoughts on “Starting My First Minimalist Bullet Journal

  1. everythingevening says:

    I love this! I’ve done my own style of bullet journal where I’ve actually went for a lined notebook with a few blank pages at the beginning. You are so right about feeling intimidated, the whole blank notebook scared me too much. Yours looks lovely and I’m glad you’ve set it up for your own productivity as it’s easy to get carried away with creativity part.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Kaitlyn says:

    OMG Alys!! I’m so proud of you for sticking to what works for you! It’s functional but also creative, and although it’s beside the point, you bullet journal looks gorgeous! I love the simplicity of it, but most of all that it is what suits you, rather than following a trend. Thank-you so much for sharing it, and I look forward to seeing how you progress with it. Sending lots of love and hugs 😊💛

    Liked by 1 person

    • Alys says:

      Thank you so much Kaitlyn! Your post the other day helped give me the courage to post this, so thank you for that☺️ your words are so kind❤ hopefully bullet journaling remains a positive experience for both of us!☺️💕

      Liked by 1 person

  3. castlesandhurricanes says:

    Your bullet journal looks really cool! I haven’t looked into bullet journals that much, so I stick to a regular planner and try to fit as much as I can into it. Having a hobby tracker seems like it would be really awesome though, and of course keeping better track of my finances would also be helpful.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Alys says:

      Thank you! I have to say it’s been quite the experience learning about the sorts of things people out into them, and I’m really liking it so far. The tracker is keeping me more motivated too!

      Like

  4. silkandspire says:

    I really enjoyed your post as someone that hasn’t seen or heard heaps about the bullet journals (I think now I want to find out more) you have definitely opened my eyes to the multiple things that you could use it to track,organise and be thankful for . Im sure as the year process your style will develop more 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Alys says:

      Thank you! I agree, I’m trying very hard to be more mindful this year so hopefully that will help. Good luck starting your journal! Thanks for stopping by xx

      Like

  5. Hello Bexa says:

    Love this Alys! 💕 Bullet journaling is such a cool idea! It’s definitely motivating for fitness goals! I really like the gratitude list you included, such a lovely way to stay positive and thankful 💖. Also, you have very neat writing ☺️. Good luck with your goals this month! 😘 xx

    Bexa | http://www.hellobexa.com

    Liked by 1 person

    • Alys says:

      Thank you Bexa💕 I totally agree, it’s helping me so much already! I can often overlook the small positives in life so I think the gratitude page will really help me! Aw thanks hehe☺️ you too lovely😘 xx

      Like

  6. Senyth says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this and giving me an idea of creating my own planner using an unruled notebook. Like yourself, I like the look and feel of artsy planners, but I don’t want my own planner to be cluttered and it makes my mind even more unorganized. The idea of creating your own layout and spread is brilliant! I am new to bullet journals and this helped a lot.

    Wishing you all the best this 2018!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Alys says:

      You’re so welcome, I’m glad I could help! Yes that’s exactly it! I hope organising your own planner goes well and that you have a great 2018 too 🙂 x

      Like

  7. crystalsandcurls says:

    I am LOVING your photography in this post! Super cute and really uniform, loved it 🙂 In terms of your bullet journal, GIRL YES. You gotta do what works for you – and I’m the complete same. My everyday week-to-week spreads are really minimal (because feeling pressure to be creative leads to procrastination and not using your journal, so I don’t force it) and then if I’m inspired and I want to do a couple of doodle pages, or a pretty spread for like lists or something I do and my beginning of the month page is usually decorated. Satisfies the Pinterest junkie AND the organisation junkie that actually wants to just get things done 😉 x

    Liked by 1 person

    • Alys says:

      Thank you so much lovely! That’s so kind!☺️ yes I’m so glad to hear you feel the same! Like I’m looking forward to creative arty pages but I’m not putting pressure on myself to make my everyday organisation a work of art. I’m so happy with this balance! Aw yours sounds really nice. Thanks for leaving such a lovely comment❤ x

      Like

  8. 97 says:

    You’re journal looks so organized! I really appreciate that you didn’t include just tasks or habits, but more personal + fun things like a reading list. (Please do read “Turtles”. It is probably one of my favorite books that I’ve ever read, and is second favorite from John Green!) I also really appreciated that you decided that you wouldn’t try to make yours all “Pinterest-y”. I do agree that there is a pressure for aesthetically pleasing journals because of Pinterest and Tumblr. Can’t wait to see where your bullet journal will take you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Alys says:

      Thank you! I’m trying to stay organised and keep a balance between tasks and doing things to improve my mental health/hobbies so I’m glad those features are coming through! I actually finished turtles this morning! It was pretty good I think, but I wish it had been around when I was a bit younger, I think I could’ve benefitted from it more back then. Aw thanks, that’s so nice of you ❤

      Like

  9. bournemouthgirl says:

    This is what I love about bullet journals is you can literally have it anyway you want with the best way it suits you!! My 2017 was extremely arty. But have only put small amounts of colour and design this year so far anyway. Thank you for sharing! I love bullet journal and stationery posts! Xxx

    Liked by 1 person

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