Bullet Journaling is becoming a big thing right now. Buzzfeed is covering the movement, and there are no end of inspirational videos on Youtube if you search for bullet journals. I even did my own Bullet Journal walkthrough video this last week. But there are SO many different ideas out there that it is way too easy to get caught up in looking at other people’s ideas and feeling like you’ll never be able to keep up. The truth is that “true” bullet journaling is as simple as it gets. No frills or fuss involved at all. And that works really well for some. But if you’re a creative person who really wants to make your BuJo something truly special, I’ve broken down the ingredients for a kick-ass BuJo spread.
I’ve started with a weekly spread, as I think it is probably the most common setup. But if there’s anyone who wants me to break down daily or monthly spreads, let me know, and I’ll do my best to break them down, too!
First up, I ALWAYS have a Month-at-a-Glance calendar before my weekly spreads. Being able to see a full month in advance helps when you need to see any plans quickly and how they may interfere with other things that day. I used to do the month over two pages, but I find it’s much simpler to just do it on one page. If you’re using a Leuchtturm 1917 journal like me, it’s really easy to do 5×5 squares. They are small enough to fit on the page, but large enough that you can still write inside.
I also do a separate tracker for the month. You could just as easily track things weekly within your weekly spreads, but I find it MUCH more satisfying to see a whole month’s worth of colors filling up the rows. It is also easier to notice patterns and see problem areas when you track on one page. As you can see, my August was interesting – on some habits, I excelled, but on others I tanked hard. I realized that the ones I did poorly on were ones I didn’t care about enough. So I left them off of September’s tracker, and I’m much happier for it!
Now, on to weekly spreads. Here’s are the seven elements you need for a successful weekly bullet journal spread.
This is especially important for planning ahead. I generally do a whole month’s worth of weekly spreads at a time, as it is easier to plan the whole month that way. But it can get confusing if you do not know which month and day you are looking at. Make sure you find a way to incorporate the dates of the week you are on. In August, I placed the week’s dates at the top in big letters. For September, I simply included a mini calendar in the upper corner with the particular week highlighted.
To Do List
Sometimes you have a ton of things needing done, but they don’t necessarily have a due date. Whether it is blog posts, shopping lists, correspondence or anything that isn’t happening at a specific time, I think it is essential to have an ongoing to-do list ready to rock. Not only is it helpful to remind you (you can add to it all week long, as you remember things), but it is oh so satisfying to cross things off once they’re completed!
This isn’t an essential element, but I can’t recommend it enough. When you take the time to think about and write down happy thoughts/memories/gratitudes, you will actually feel happier. Not only that, but writing them down means you can go back through months or years later and remember what happened that day. It’s a wonderful thing to keep you feeling motivated each day.
While your monthly calendar will show you any appointments or scheduled activities, the weekly spread is the place to put the details of those events. You can add details of the time of an appointment, whom you’re meeting with, and any other details such as location or phone numbers needed. So ensure you have enough space to write out what you need!
Much like the “happy thoughts” element, inspiration is totally optional. But I find the most successful people in life are those who surround themselves with inspiration and positivity. I love to include pertinent quotes, poems and other things on my weekly spreads. If I can find a specific quote that is meaningful for a specific date, then I will include it. I also love to doodle things that make me happy and feel good.
We can get so caught up in everyday drudgery that it can be difficult to take time for our own pursuits. I like to use my weekly spread to work on the things I’m passionate about. For instance, in August I did a hand lettering challenge, and I tried to make sure that each week showed some fun hand lettering. I also have been really excited about zentangling, so I have tried to include bits of it in the background on my pages. Whatever your passion, try to include it in your bullet journaling.
I know that bullet journaling is meant to be simple and unobtrusive. Black pen, white paper, bulleted lists. That’s it. But I think the vast majority of people do not find this way useful. I know from interacting with other bullet journalers that they use their BuJo as much for creative pursuits as for organization. And I think that’s brilliant. I am much more likely to look at my weekly spread often if it is full of character – colors and designs and fun stickers or rub-on transfers! It is so motivating to see your own creative mind at work.
With all of these elements in your weekly spread, I guarantee you will find it a whole lot more useful in planning your life. Is there anything you would add?