Key Spreads for your Bullet Journal
If you’re just starting out on your bullet journal journey, it can be a little overwhelming at times! Where do I start? What do I put in it? How do I keep up with it?!! Just a few of the often asked questions by bullet journal newbies!
I’m Chloe, and I’ve been bullet journaling for around 5 years now. My first journal was a gift from a friend who knew I liked to be organised and she’d heard this was a good way of doing it! I had no idea what I was doing and had never heard of a bullet journal. So I googled and found out a bit about where it came from.
At that point I found Ryder Carroll’s website - he created the original bullet journal. His creation was a very straightforward pen and paper system that allowed you to track everything you were doing / planning / thinking whilst keeping track of it all in an Index at the front of the book.
Over time this has evolved into the amazing array of uses for the bullet journal. It’s become a very creative pursuit when you want it to be, and also an extremely mindful activity that I’ve come to value in terms of switching off and being completely absorbed in something that is calming but at the same time keeps me feeling on top of all that I juggle.
So what is keeping a bullet journal useful for? So many things - and in fact, the possibilities are endless really. What works for one person might not work for the next, but for me, that’s where the beauty lies - there is no right or wrong. You create a bespoke planner for you and your needs and you can keep changing it and evolving it as you see fit.
Just some of the things you might consider using your bullet journal for include day to day diary / planner, habit trackers, birthday lists, projects and note taking, creating vision boards, practising gratitude, doodling and colouring, food diary, goal setting, menu planning, packing lists, storing recipes, book lists, what to watch, travel plans….it really is endless!!
Let’s talk about the key spreads to get you up and running. If you’re starting with a brand new bullet journal, and it’s empty, you might be feeling some sense of overwhelm and a fear of the blank page. Sound familiar? Firstly, there is a lot of inspiration to be found online - get yourself a Pinterest board for bullet journals or follow your favourite journalers on Instagram to see what you like and what you want to do in your journal.
First Up….Index. Perhaps the most obvious and easiest place to start. Generally if you’re keeping a bullet journal you will use an index to help you find whatever you put in the journal. The index is filled in retrospectively, so you put something in your journal and then you add the item and page numbers to the index. There is no specific way to set this up, and actually not much to do at all if you don’t want to! But equally you can get as creative as you like.
Monthly Spread. Many people use their bullet journal for some sort of organisation and this tends to split down into monthly, weekly and daily spreads. Let’s start at the top with the monthly spread. Sooooo many possibilities here. This is an opportunity to map out your month ahead and get clear on things like goals, actions, habit tracking and birthdays. For many, me included, it’s also a fun opportunity to get creative. Here are just a few examples of ways I like to create my monthly spreads. The June spread was just some fun with collage and lettering. In January I incorporated a page of ‘highlights of my day’, that is one way of practising gratitude. July combined doodling, stickers, washi tape and some broad goals for the month.
Weekly Spread. This is a fantastic way to get super organised. I love plotting out my week ahead before I finish working on a Friday so I can see what’s coming up, and be ready to switch off at the weekend but raring to go on Monday morning! Again, there are many ways to lay this out and it really just depends how much space you need and what you want to record each week. The example shown is a simple process of splitting a double page spread into 7 boxes and then writing the days of the week leaving you free to note down whatever you want to each day.
Daily Spread. Ideal for making sure you don’t forget things day to day. I’m a fan of using a whole page for a day, but others like to use just a small space. You can track all sorts of things on a daily basis, I tend to go just for appointments, tasks and any other reminders I need.
Habit Tracker. I LOVE habit trackers!!! What a fantastic way to help you actually commit to and stick to getting certain things done. There is no end to what you can track. The most common for me is to track my exercise habits - it gives me extra accountability to get it done when I know I’m ticking it off on my tracker! Other examples might be tracking sleep, moods, water consumption, taking supplements, and reading daily.
Book/Movie List. This can also apply to movies or box sets. I love having a space to dedicate to what I want to read or watch. You get recommendations, hear about things and then it’s gone!! And you find yourself trawling reviews to work out what to read next! Gathering them all in one place is a great idea, and an opportunity to get creative should you want to.
Memories. This one I just wanted to throw in because it’s something I loved doing over the past couple of years. I have a mini printer called a sprocket, and I can post pictures as well as perhaps things like tickets from shows or other reminders of good times. I love looking back through my old journals and being reminded of my memories.
We hope this has inspired you to get started with your journal set up. If you could do with more guidance, why not check out one of We Are Tabono’s upcoming bullet journal workshops? In person and online, choose which works for you and get a 10% discount using the code Inkpot10. To book visit www.wearetabono.com/events.