Welcome to the second installment in my mini-series of posts on staying organized! Last month, I talked about how an online calendar helps me figure out everything from my monthly blog schedule to my daily schedule. Today, I want to tell you about the second step in my organizational process: my bullet journal.
The concept of a bullet journal isn’t exactly new; they’ve been featured on blogs quite a bit over the last couple of years. But, for those who aren’t familiar, here’s my quick overview: A bullet journal is a cross between a planner, goal tracker, habit tracker, general journal, and whatever else you want yours to be. You could, for example, track your budget, plan your days, keep a record of project progress, track which books you’ve read… anything you can think of, really. You start with a blank book and customize it in whatever way fits you best.
My bullet journal has two main purposes. I use it to schedule my life and to track my goals. I want to talk to you about both aspects, but how I track my goals will be waiting until next month. Today, I’m going to focus on my schedule spreads.
Most future logs, my own included, are a snapshot of the coming year. Unlike my other schedule spreads, my future log is one of the first elements I build into my bullet journal. Here’s what it usually covers:
- Tentative dates for blog posts
- Significant events, such as holidays, birthdays, deadlines, and appointments
- My bi-monthly and semi-annual chore schedule
Keeping track of those upcoming significant events is my main goal for these pages. At this point, though, I don’t get too specific about any of them. I note only which days or months something is happening, and leave out the exact times or locations.
From what I’ve seen so far, this tends to be how most people use the future logs in their bullet journals. That’s often where the similarity ends, though. Everyone has their own way of laying out their future log, and some people get really creative with how it looks. If you want some inspiration, just check out some of these ideas on Pinterest.
Here’s where things start to get a little more detailed. About three-quarters of the way through each month, I skip ahead and create a spread for the coming month. Here are the main components:
- Blog schedule
- All events or appointments, including get-togethers with family or friends
- My monthly goals
- Mini calendars to help me track my mood and sleep habits/issues
The calendar portion is, of course, the biggest component of these spreads. Yes, it’s essentially a copied version of my Google calendar, but I prefer to include it in my bullet journal, rather than having to rely on my phone or laptop.
That said, the calendar isn’t necessarily my favourite piece of my monthly spreads. I also really like having a visual representation of trends in my sleep habits and mood. It’s been really useful; I’ve been able to pick up on patterns between the three, and try to adjust my routine to eliminate any bad habits.
Unlike future logs, monthly spreads tend to be very different from person to person. Everyone likes to keep track of different elements, or they may just want to keep their month-to-month calendars super simple. That’s the beauty of a planner +you build yourself, rather than relying on one you’d buy in a store: you can tailor it to suit your needs and your needs alone.
My daily spreads are the most detailed element of the schedule portion of my bullet journal. As with monthly spreads, everyone’s daily spreads are different. Some people don’t even use them; they prefer to keep weekly spreads, instead. I, however, like to keep track of a lot of day-to-day notes. Here are the featured boxes of my daily spreads:
- An hour-to-hour schedule
- Daily goals and tasks
- Daily meal plan
- Any chores I need to do that day
- How many social media posts I sent out, and on which platforms
- A gratitude log
- An excercise log
- A sleep log
- A place to keep track of how I’m feeling, both physically and emotionally
While each element plays its role in my day–or in the days that follow–the pieces I rely on most are my hour-to-hour schedule, daily goals and tasks, and social media tracker. They help keep my days on track, and they help me see what I’m accomplishing each day. I find them to be both an organizational tactic and a motivational one.
Everything else on my list isn’t so much to help me stay organized as it is to help with self-care. I’ve been trying to put some extra focus on that lately, and I find keeping track of each of the above puts me in a better position to do that.
As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, my bullet journal isn’t just for scheduling. Goals, as you’ve likely noticed, also play a big role. And I don’t just track them in my monthly and daily spreads. Next up in this little series of posts, I’ll tell you a bit about why I set mini goals and I how keep track of each.