Way back when I was using my first couple of bullet journals, I liked to set up my spreads in advance. This year I’ve learned that it’s so much more beneficial to set them up as you go. The idea of winging it may sound terrifying to some but I’ve really liked having something so much more adaptable. I think the reason why I’ve managed to keep journaling every day for the last six months is because I don’t have a strict structure and can adapt it month by month.
In January I blogged about my initial set up for the new year, then reflected on how useful those spreads were after a month. I thought I’d share another update six months on so you can see how my habits and preferences have evolved. I won’t show you any new dailies, as these are quite personal, but most other spreads are featured below – these are the ones I’ll be continuing with for the second half of the year. It’s worth noting that I filled this journal over the course of six months – perfect for a mid-year reflection.
The Dingbats Earth Journal (and many other dot grid notebooks) features a built-in index, so you can easily find what you’re looking for. This has made it easy for me to find new spreads I’ve introduced later in the year.
It also has a built-in future log. I used mine to include a calendar so dates are easy to see at a glance, plus note upcoming blog posts. If you’re new to my bullet journal posts, you’ll soon see that I don’t use my bujo to plan my typical daily routine, rather to focus on my blog schedule/admin and goals/daily reflection. I have a separate day-to-a-page work diary and a week-to-view diary for mine and Jenson’s appointments and such. Yes, I could incorporate all of these in one journal, but I quite like keeping everything separate.
I read Ryder Carroll’s How to Bullet Journal at the end of last year to help me prep for my new bujo and I really liked his 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 spread. He prompts you to list goals to complete in one hour, two days, three weeks, four months and five years, both personally and professionally. I’ve updated this a tad in my latest version.
I started out the year with different tracker spreads for the reading challenges I signed up to, plus a generic one to track the kinds of books I was reading. I’ve not found it all that useful as I’m a regular user of Goodreads but I do kinda like listing all of my books in my journal.
I liked seeing ‘year in pixels’ posts in Facebook groups and on Instagram, so I decided to use this idea for my mood tracker. While some like to track each mood experienced in the day, I prefer to focus on the one that’s most memorable at the end of each day. I’m also tracking my sleep patterns. I don’t have an app which records my sleep cycle; rather, I try and pinpoint roughly when I fell asleep and woke up, not noting how broken my sleep was. At the start of the year I thought I’d highlight the nights where I got eight or more hours a sleep. It turns out it’s pretty often, so I stopped noting this after a month.
At the start of each month, I dedicate a spread to my overall blog schedule, with a rough schedule for content, allowing me to ensure I’m posting one lifestyle, one book and one stationery post each week. I also note ideas for future posts, admin tasks and list who I’d like to pitch to.
As you can see, this is something I’ve kept up throughout the year and I’ve found the simple format really useful.
At the start of the year, I also prompted myself to record what I was grateful for each day – something I still do now. I used to try and encourage myself to do one small thing just for myself each day but that wasn’t easy to maintain, so I abandoned this page.
There are various other spreads I introduced through the year, including Twitter chats I wanted to try and engage with, a period tracker (I prefer to use an app on my phone but a ‘year in pixels’ allows me to see everything at a glance), potty training, birthday party planning and organising my National Stationery Week posts. This required more than a simple month-to-a-page schedule and I found it really useful to keep everything in the same notebook.
One of my favourite parts of my journaling practice is reflecting at the end of each month. As noted in my recent goals update, I take a few minutes to note any progress on my key goals for the year and look at what I’d like to prioritise for the coming month. At the start of the year, I also noted some key achievements and stats for the blog but I’ve not been great at maintaining this. The information is really useful, however, so I’d like to try and do something similar moving forwards.
The format has changed slightly each month but the general idea is still the same.
My spread was somewhat more compact in April as I used prompts from my Oops a Daisy review.
Then, at the end of June, I used my Forward Thinking journal to reprioritise for the coming months and I’ve noted my revised goals at the start of my new journal (a Leuchtturm 1917, in case you were wondering. Review coming soon).
The only thing I’ve added to my new journal so far is an updated spread tracking Jenson’s potty training and sleep habits, plus a monthly pixel spread where I can see my new goals’ progress at a glance. I’ll give you a peek in my review post after a month’s use.
How have your bullet journal spreads evolved over the last six months? I’d love to know what you find useful.
Use my affiliate link and code ACORNISHGEEK10 to get 10% off your own Dingbats notebook.