For the past few weeks, my desk has looked more or less like this with all my pens and markers all over the place as I worked on setting up my new bullet journal and moving over various collections. I was kind of hoping that my current journal, a dotted A5 Leuchtturm1917 in Emerald, would last me until the start of May so I’d be able to start a new month in a new journal, but I found I was filling up the pages much faster than I expected. At the start of last week I knew I had just enough pages to finish out the week (with a few extra blank pages of wiggle room to spare) and spent much of my free time ramping up the effort to move collections over and prep my new journal for use at the beginning of this week (which was Sunday for me).
Event though I had a few blank pages left at the end of last week, I ended up moving into my new bullet journal, a dotted A5 Leuchtturm1917 in Army Green, on Sunday just because I didn’t want to split my week between two journals. Unlike my last journal, I haven’t decorated the cover of this one yet and I’m kind of on the fence about doing so – I take my bullet journal everywhere with me from my house, to work, to the fire station, and everywhere in between so it’s constantly being taken in and out of my bag. The cover of my old bullet journal was decorated with a stamp and I noticed that, despite the ink pad I used, the stamp faded and some of the letters are completely gone. I’m not ruling out decorating the cover of this bullet journal yet, but I’m also considering other options.
One of the things I did with this bullet journal that I didn’t do with my last one was give it a color theme. Since this journal is an army green color, I decided to go with a green theme and use my army green, green, and lime green Staedtler Triplus Fineliners for creating the headers and layouts for various parts of my bullet journal – this includes various collections migrated over, my key, and future log but not monthlies, weeklies, or dailies since I’ve assigned each month its own color. Any new collections I add to this bullet journal, though, will be set up with my theme colors! You’ll get a look at my color theme as I go more into how I’ve set up this bullet journal.
Index: One of the things I realized in setting up and prepping this bullet journal is that I amassed a lot of collections between January 1 and April 22. In total, I moved over 17 collections and many of them either spanned more than one page or had a spread that took up two pages to fit in all the information. These were collections that I either used or referenced a lot.
In addition to the collections I moved over, I added two new ones to this bullet journal which brings the count to 19. You can see that I’ve just started my bullet journal and I’ve already almost filled an entire page of my index. I index almost everything, though, and with my last bullet journal I finished with just a few lines to spare.
You’ll also notice the different colors I’m using in my index. While I love my Leuchtturm, one of the things I’m not a fan of is how the page numbers are in a column on the left. It’s great for single pages but when I index my months, I can’t fit all the page numbers in the little box. That’s where my index color coding system comes in.
All the page numbers get written in orange (more specifically, Noodler’s Apache Sunset) and then what it is gets written in black. Anything written in blue are my larger collections or things that are either spread out or span multiple pages. You can’t really see it in this page of my index because I only have the tail end of April in this journal, but that’s how I plan to index my months. In addition to the colors, I color in each month with its corresponding color – I only have one line for April, but in my last bullet journal, the nine or so lines that index my month are colored in.
Key: My key has remained pretty standard throughout all three bullet journals with the only real tweak being that I add more signifiers (or as I call them, marks) as needed. You’ll see that all of my page flags for my monthly collections are currently sitting on this page and that’s because I when I set up this bullet journal, I didn’t move over my monthly collections. It didn’t make sense to do so with only a week left in the month and April’s been a bit of a rough month for me – I fell off the wayside updating my trackers (they drop off after the first few days of the month) with the exception of my spending tracker, so it didn’t make sense to move any of them over. For the time being, I’m still using my old bullet journal to update my spending tracker, but these flags will be put to use again starting in May.
Future Log: Up next is my future log which got a big overhaul with this bullet journal. This time, I’m going with a hybrid mix of Eddy Hope’s Calendex system and the Alastair method. If you haven’t heard of either or are unfamiliar with them, you can check them out by clicking the respective links.
In my first bullet journal, I did a future log with all the days of the month drawn out in calendars and marks on each day I had something planned. I wasn’t a big fan of it just because it seemed so crammed and claustrophobic and I had a hard time fitting multiple events into one square. When I moved into my second bullet journal, I switched to the Calendex which worked a lot better for me. I found with that, however, 12 months took up 4 pages and aside from a few events and reoccurring things like bills, I didn’t really have anything planned out that far in advance.
Enter the Calendex/Alastair hybrid, something that I originally saw over at Boho Berry and decided to try. I love the way this turned out in my bullet journal and like how I’ve got the whole rest of the year at a glance. The first four months (April-June) are in my Calendex and the last four months (August-December) I used the Alastair method for. I really like how I condensed a four page spread into two and that I still have plenty of room to fill in events I plan a little further out. On the very next page, I have a list of dates that correspond to the numbers in my Calendex. These were events I already had planned or scheduled from my old bullet journal and to make them easier to find, I threw them on a “Save the Date” spread.
Birthdays and Holidays Wheel: Although it’s a bit messy, this is one of my favorite spreads in this journal so far! The old spread I was using took up two pages and took up a lot of white space that I couldn’t do anything about. I found this idea on Pinterest and loved the look of it, so decided to give it a try this time around. There’s a lot less white space with this layout, it fits everything a lot nicer, and it goes well right after my future log on the opposite page as my Save the Dates. If you want to learn more about this spread (including how I made it), you can read all about it here.
2017 Goals and Accomplishments: Next up I have my goals and accomplishment spreads, which got a bit of a facelift. The old spread took up two pages and had so much white space and in looking at it, it was pretty discouraging. I gave myself a whole page for goals and a whole pages for accomplishments and to see neither side completely filled or even halfway filled made me feel like I wasn’t accomplishing anything. This time around, I decided to make the page a little more fuller by splitting it down the middle and using one side for goals and the other for accomplishments. Now, there’s less white space and I can compare everything side by side to see what I have accomplished and what I still need to work towards.
Instead of going through all 19 of my spreads, I thought I’d touch the bullet journal basics (index, key, future log, etc.) and share a gallery of the other spreads that I have, otherwise this post could go on forever. If there’s something you’d like to see in a bigger picture, just click the thumbnail and if you want me to go in more detail about a certain spread, let me know in the comments below and I’ll write a post about it.
Other collections I have in this bullet journal are: Needs and Wants, Saving For, 2017 Budget, Gas Tracker, 2017 Paycheck Log, 2017 Bills Tracker, Special Wash Instructions Table (this is especially helpful because I can just take my bullet journal with me when I do laundry and flip to the page as opposed to have to search for the little tag with how to wash something), Dry Cleaning Tracker, Make Up List and Expiration Dates (also helpful because I know what I have opened and when I need to throw it out), When Did I Last page, Liquor Cabinet (living in Central Virginia, there are a lot of wineries and I’ve built up quite the wine collection. Having them all in a table makes it easier to see what I have, what I have opened, and what I might want to bring over for an event without having to go through my wine shelf and look at each bottle.), Wineries Breweries etc. Log (again, living in a place with so many wineries and breweries, this is a way for me to keep track of not only which ones I’ve been to when but who I visited them with), Favorite Food Places (this is a new spread I’m trying out for this journal), and a Job Application Tracker (also new for this bullet journal, not pictured).
The following is a little collection of some local things I need to know as a volunteer firefighter. This collection actually got a completely overhaul when I moved it over to my new bullet journal because the first time around, I didn’t plan things thoroughly – I tried to fit a list of fire stations (including Station Number, Name, and different apparatuses) on a one page table next to a map of where all the stations were located which ended up looking awkward because I ran out of room and had to use two tables for the list of stations. Putting these spreads into my new bullet journal, I used two pages just for maps and printed out a map of the first due area of my county and printed out a map of where the different fire stations are located in my area. I printed both from resources (my county’s fire rescue site and a map drawn by one of our firefighters) and printed them both at a scaled down A5 size before trimming any white space and pasting them into this journal. The following two pages after the maps are dedicated to the table I had of various fire and rescue departments both in my county and the surrounding counties.
One thing that you’ll notice with my collections is that this week’s spread starts on page 34, followed by Sunday’s spread on page 36. For me, a bulk of the work in setting up this bullet journal was migrating all of my collections over, so I’m toying with the idea of keeping a separate journal to house these collections. The problem with keeping a separate journal, though, is keeping both a collections journal and my bullet journal together with me at all times and while I can carry both in my bag, I kind of want to have both together. That’s where the idea of a traveler’s notebook comes in – it would allow me to keep several notebooks (or inserts) in one place and once I finish a bullet journal, I don’t necessarily have to move over all of my collections until I finish the collection insert of the traveler’s notebook. From the research I’ve done on traveler’s notebooks, it allows people to keep separate bullet journals for a variety of things including work, school, collections, projects, etc. and some people even dedicate a whole insert to future planning. The more I read into it, the more I want to at least give it a try but the only thing that I’m kind of iffy on is that most people use thinner notebooks that aren’t Leuchtturms and I’m rather attached to my Leuchtturm. get the drawback of using a Leuchtturm for a traveler’s notebook insert – at 249 pages with a hardcover they’re a bit bulky and would make a traveler’s notebook bulkier and heavier. For my use, I would probably only have two inserts – my Leuchtturm and probably a soft cover dotted notebook that’s much thinner than my Leuchtturm for collections.
Sorry for how long this became! After spending most of my time getting this journal prepped and ready to go and not posting in a long time because of it, I thought I’d make my first post back a overview of what I’d been working on.