10 Things I’m Tracking in my Bullet Journal
I’ve been using a bullet journal for a couple of years now and, at this point, can’t imagine not using one! During that time, I’ve switched from paper to digital and back to paper again, experimented with lots of different styles, approaches and spreads, and how I use my journal is ever-evolving. Since becoming a mother, I have less time for long-form journaling and keeping a bullet journal has become my favourite way to track and reflect on my daily life.
In this post, I want to share 10 things I track using my journal. I love getting new ideas for Collections and seeing how other people go about setting up their pages, so I hope this inspires you to try a few new things with your journal too.
If you’re new to bullet journaling, I recommend checking out this post series first for an overview of how it works, then returning here after. I also recommend to everyone the excellent book by Ryder Carroll, The Bullet Journal Method, for an overview of the original system, its purpose, and how to make the most of it.
Bullet Journal Setup
As you’ll see, I use my journal for both personal and professional projects. When I start a new journal, which is currently every 5-6 months, I begin with higher-level spreads (like the Level 10 Life spread and someday/maybe lists). Then, I move on to monthly and weekly spreads, adding in extra projects and pages as I need to. Using a journal that comes with a blank table of contents is very useful, and my two personal favourites are the Rhodia goal book (although I find the soft cover gets a bit battered after a while), and the Leuchtturm 1917.
But. One of the best things about the bullet journal system is there isn’t really a “right” way to do it. It’s super adaptable and you are free to use each blank page in whatever way feels right to you. If you’re familiar with bullet journaling, you’ve probably seen all the amazingly artistic pages people create on social media. As you’ll see from my own pictures below, I’m not exactly Van Gough :) If you enjoy creating beautiful journaling pages, more power to you. If you’re like me, however, and don’t have the time or inclination to spend hours creating beautiful weekly spreads, this is a quick reminder that’s totally OK too!
Without further ado, here are 10 things I’m tracking in my journal right now…
1. Monthly habits
At the beginning of each month, I decide which habits I want to focus on and create a single-page spread for these. As you can see, I currently use a dot system, where one dot equals one day. If I do that habit on a particular day, I colour in the corresponding dot. I like this because it’s quick to set up, super quick to fill in, and I can easily see how each habit is going in any given month.
This is another single-page spread I create at the beginning of each month. I like looking back on what I’ve read, watched and listened to. It’s fun to remember where I was and what I was doing and to remind myself of interesting things I’ve heard or seen that I might otherwise forget. I also keep a separate reading journal in Day One.
3. Blog posts
This is one of the Collections I add to the beginning of each journal. Right now, I’m scheduling posts well in advance, so it’s useful to have a quick-reference record of what posts I’m working on and the progress of each. The letters in the columns stand for Outlined, Written, Edited, Graphics, post Scheduled, Email scheduled. Unlike other Collections, for these pages, I specifically use an erasable pen (like the Pilot Frixion) so I can easily change post titles and dates around if I need to.
Two of my current obsessions are knitting and crochet, so I use my journal to track projects I’m working on, as well as keep a wishlist of potential future projects. I also find my journal useful for keeping track of hobbies that come with a lot of resources, for example learning Spanish. Even though this particular hobby is on the back burner right now, I can still keep track of relevant books, podcasts and videos I come across so I can refer back to them in the future.
5. Someday/maybe list
The someday/maybe list is a suggestion I took from the book Getting Things Done by David Allen. It’s a catch-all list of things I’d like to try, projects to consider, new things to learn… anything I’m not ready to commit to right now, but want to keep on file to return to at an unspecified point in the future. I review this list regularly, remind myself of what’s there, remove anything I know I definitely won’t want to do in the future, add new things that have come up in the meantime.
6. 19 in ’19
The idea for this spread comes from one of my favourite bullet journalers, Kara Benz from Boho Berry. It’s a list of 19 things I want to do in 2019 and ranges from big things (like go to Barcelona), to smaller projects (e.g. finish my first cardigan). Although I have a separate list of personal and professional goals for the year, this is more of a fun checklist. I plan to do 20 in ’20 next year too :)
7. Big projects
I mentioned above that I tend to add new spreads and pages into my bullet journal as I go, and this is usually when I am planning or starting a new big project. These include everything from a progress charts and timelines for my next book, planning an upcoming trip (packing lists, to-do list, things to do at the destination, etc.) and things I’m researching (for example, I used a couple of pages in my old journal to research conventions for creating large print books).
8. Level 10 Life Spread
This is something I create at the beginning of each year. I’ll go into more detail about this in an upcoming post, but it’s a useful overview of the different areas of life and how I can enhance each of them over the next year. If you're interested in doing this and don't want to wait for the post, you can find a similar exercise in "The Wheel of Life" workbook, which is free to download from the Becoming Who You Are Library.
9. Savings goal
My income is unpredictable and I find it helpful to have a visual savings goal for each year. I try to break it down into small increments, so even if I don’t save as much as I’d hoped to in a single month, I can still usually colour in something on the chart, which keeps my motivation going.
10. Monthly and weekly projects, appointments and tasks
At the beginning of each month, I set aside a certain number of pages for the 4-5 weeks ahead. These include the habits and reading/watching/listening Collections I mentioned above. They also include a double page for each week of that month, where I can map out what’s happening each day, an overall to-do list for the week, a list of wins from that week, and things I know I’ll need to transfer over to the next week. If I have enough space, I’ll also jot down a few sentences about the day and any key events/experiences/situations I want to record.
So there’s some of the things I track in my bullet journal. If you also keep a journal, I’d love to hear what you record, your favourite pages, and anything else you’d add to the list above!