Bullet journals essentially function as a planner that you create yourself. In the past, I’ve found that I can’t find a single planner that has everything that I need in it. This, along with discovering Amanda Rach Lee’s YouTube channel, led me to bullet journaling. For me, this started around 2018 when I was a junior in high school. If you know anything about the American School System, your junior year is basically a form of torture and should be outlawed under the 8th amendment. During my junior year, there was so much homework that any planner that I bought wouldn’t have enough space for me to write out my assignments. Instead, most of them required me to plan out my day by hour. Since I spent most of my time in school, planning out my day by the hour was absolutely useless. However, with my crazy work schedule, I would need some extra space to write down things I needed for work. This led me to create my first bullet journal.
My first journal was a mess. I didn’t have a shred of artistic ability and I tried too hard to make my journal excessively artistic. At this point, I lost the point of bullet journaling in the first place. My second journal was much better. At this point I was able to remind myself that the goal is to have a space to write down tasks while also being able to track whatever I wanted to (i.e moods, expenses, habits, media consumption etc.). My third journal was exactly what I needed it to be. The only issue with my third journal is that I created it during a global pandemic. This almost nullified much of my use of the book, but when the semester started again, I leaned very heavily on my journal.
I decided that in place of a typical book/movie/TV show review, I would share my 2021 bullet journal setup along with my January spreads. I don’t plan on doing this regularly, because I tend to keep my spreads pretty static, but if you want to see the color themes or some more of the doodles that may come, just let me know! Just a little disclaimer: My journal works for me and what works for me might not work for you. So if you really want to create your own bullet journal, feel free to use mine as a guide but if things don’t work for you, switch it up! Changing up your spreads is part of what makes doing this fun! I tend to keep my planner a bit minimalistic but I’ll eventually add some doodles later. Maybe future setups will be a bit more drawing heavy, but for now, it’s pretty simple.
Now without further ado, here’s my bullet journal!
Okay, so here’s the front of my bullet journal! It’s the Archer & Olive A5 Rainbow On White Cover With Dot Grid Pages. I picked this journal for the 160gsm paper (which means that it basically feels like card stock and everything writes on it beautifully). The sides of the journal are coated in holographic foil in order to create a rainbow effect. It’s beautiful and so far works great as a journal.
My first spreads are typically at a glance spreads where I list out the entire year. This eventually comes in handy just when planning events in the future and creating future monthly layouts. The second spread in a grid spacing spread which essentially helps me space out future grids. For this spread, I split it into half, thirds, and fourths. I tend to only do more than just the half line for the horizontal pages because I use it more. If you need the vertical lines, they’re relatively easy to add once you measure them out.
This next spread is my goals spread. It’s pretty straightforward. I tend to split my goals up by area of life. I believe that this spread has four categories: Academic, Fitness, Social, and Creative. At the end of the year, I’ll go back through all of my goals and check off the ones that I felt like I accomplished throughout the year. The next spread is my bills spread. This one works in conjunction with my expense tracker (which you’ll see later) and I add up all the totals and park them down here. As you can probably tell, there was a few mistakes that needed to be whited out and re-written, but that’s pretty typical in my journal.
Next up is my media tracker. This is primarily for TV Shows that people recommend to me or that I really want to watch. This way I can keep track of everything I’m watching and if/when I need to do a review for it. I’ll probably add book and movie trackers later on.
This is what my typical introductory pages look like each month. This is definitely a bit more simplistic because I had some time constraints when I made this. Usually, I’ll create a quotes page that will follow some kind of theme. For example, this year is song lyrics and last year was TV Show quotes. Then, I’ll write out the month in the front that I’ll use throughout the rest of the monthly spreads along with the color.
This is a typical monthly layout spread for me. It’s pretty self-explanatory. I write out the month and use the squares to write out birthdays and other events that I need to remember, such as trips, appointments and other events.
This is the expense tracker. I basically use the categories in the bills tracker at the beginning to separate my spending. I’ll usually write the date out. The description is usually referring to where I spent money or what I bought if it’s something broad like Amazon. This way I can split it into the correct categories before adding up everything to put back into the bills tracker at the beginning.
Now, we’re moving on to my trackers. I tend to keep my habit trackers pretty easy to mark otherwise I usually can’t be bothered to keep up with them. Usually I keep the goals really simple or they’re things that work with the yearly goals that I wrote earlier. As for the gratitude tracker, I find that it’s really important to write at least one thing a day that you’re grateful for. It helps to keep you positive even on bad days.
My mood tracker is probably the longest and most extensive tracker because I think that being able to track your mental state is so extremely important. I’ve often switched between a graph and a chart like this one. The top of the chart is dated and right under the dates, I rank my moods from 1-7. 1-3 usually indicates a lower mood and 4-7 usually indicates a higher mood. Then, I mark up other emotions that I’m feeling that day. I’ve managed my emotions through this tracker for a few months and it’s been extremely helpful to see how my moods fluctuate through the month. I covered up my examples because I think this is something that everyone should reflect upon and notice. I started off initially by rating my moods and then thinking about what else I was feeling in order to add additional emotions.
Lastly, we have my weekly layout. This is basically just a space where I can write down what I have to do each day, including any timed commitments!
That’s a wrap on my bullet journal! I hope that you all enjoyed! I’ll be back next week with my “Media Wrapped” post next week! Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone 🙂
Wow very interesting Anilia!