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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 ❤
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