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I’ve reviewed 14 different bullet journals in the last two years and one brand that’s been on my radar but never tried and tested is Leuchtturm. I’m in many a bujo Facebook group so have seen plenty of other reviews, mostly centering on two schools of thought: ‘it’s the bullet journal brand’ or ‘it ghosts like a son of a bitch, don’t buy one’.
Back in June, reaching the midway point of the year and time for a new bujo, I debated another Dingbats, a new Goalbook, or putting the Leuchtturm1917 to the test. Curiosity got the better of me and I clicked order on A5 berry dot grid notebook to match my Change Journal (I’m not ashamed to admit that the matching element was a deciding factor).
Let’s deal with the pen test first, shall we? I stick with my Stabilo Sensors for the most part, with a splash of a Pen 68 and highlighter, but I tested out all of my favourite pens here so you can see how fountain pens and brush pens compare.
Of course, with 80gsm paper, it ghosts like a son of a bitch, as expected.
I genuinely considered cutting my losses and not even giving it a proper go but I set up my spreads and decided to at least try it for a month.
Here’s a look at my (built-in) future log, using my usual Stabilo Sensor and the Zebra Kirarich glitter highlighters. The Leuchtturm does have a built-in index but I haven’t started using it yet.
One of my favourite takeaways from Ryder’s book is the 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 Method (personal and professional goals to complete in one hour, two days, three weeks, four months and five years), something I now like to start with in each new bullet journal. Check out my January 2019 entry here and see how my July 2019 entry compares.
I then duplicated two of my favourite pages from my last bujo: my mood and sleep trackers (using the Stabilo Pen 68s for colour). These are so easy to maintain on a daily basis.
I debated what to do with my reading tracker, as some of the spreads I set up at the start of the year went largely unused. I have some beautiful reading journals and I also use Goodreads but I decided to keep a minimal tracker in my bujo anyway, using a star reference for books I adored/strongly recommended immediately, and also noting niches and sub-genres – I’m trying to read more diverse titles this year.
I’m also tracking the films I’ve seen this year. I tend to stick my cinema tickets in my bujo for reference but it’s nice to have them all in a spread too. I don’t see half as many films as I used to and hopefully this will be a reminder to make more time for them. I’m still debating whether to add re-watches, particularly what I watch at home with Jenson. How do you track what you watch?
My goals spread is a big one in terms of importance but not in terms of layout. The first part notes the goals I listed at the start of the year, followed by how I re-evaluated them after six months, and my new priorities based on my Forward Thinking journal.
I set up a mini tracker for the month to look at how I progressed with these goals each day in July, hoping that I’d be able to work on at least one of them each day. I hoped to get outside (not just to walk to work or the shops), have fun with Jenson, eat healthily, do something active, prioritise my relationships, and work on my personal and professional development. I also set up a fresh toilet training tracker for Jenson (he’s doing so well!), as well as a sleep tracker which was soon abandoned.
A spread which has evolved somewhat over the last few months is my blog spread. I have a page for my blog schedule, so I can schedule in deadlines and ensure I have one lifestyle, book and stationery post per week, as well as a separate to do list for blog admin, and note ideas for future posts. It’s simple but so effective.
If you’ve read my previous bullet journal posts, you’ll know that I don’t use my bujo for all of my life planning. I keep a diary in my bag for appointments and have a separate day-to-a-page diary for the day job, so this notebook primarily focuses on my blog, goal setting, and daily reflection. I have a simple monthly gratitude page where I note something I’m grateful for every day, plus a daily log, where I note my rants, achievements and treasured memories, as well as something positive for the day.
I didn’t add many extra spreads last month, just my summer bucket list (heading made with STAEDTLER brush pens). There’s not long left until Jenson starts school and I’ve got so much to squeeze in.
My latest monthly review set-up is super minimal and based on @mylinhcam’s May review. I decided to focus on my goal tracker (% days I achieved in each area), plus the age-old reflective questions: what was good, what wasn’t so good, and what can be improved (we do this a lot in the day job). Looking back through my dailies, I could have easily picked more than five good things for the month but I wanted to keep the review to one page.
I’ve since amended my categories somewhat for my August tracker to condense things a bit – yep, that means I’m sticking with this notebook for the rest of the year.
While paper quality is still one of the most important factors for me when buying a new bullet journal, I can see why people like the Leuchtturm1917 dot grids. They come in a range of colours, sizes and layouts, have built-in page numbers, index and future log, two ribbons and an elastic closure, pocket in the back, plus pen loops can be added on and some stockists will customize the cover. That being said, the Dingbats and Goalbook also offer most of these features, have higher quality paper and (I think) they’re better value for money. So, while I’m sticking it out for another five months, I wouldn’t buy another one unless they start doing 100gsm paper.
What do you think? Is paper quality a priority for you? What are your deal-breakers?
Buy your next Leuchtturm1917 bullet journal from:
Craft Stash (£15.99) – get 20% off when you sign up to their newsletter
WH Smith (£16.50) – currently 3 for 2 on notebooks plus 20% off stationery in store with an NUS Totum card
Ryman (£16.50) – also do student discount