kicking off 2018 with a bullet journal

Tomorrow is the first day of a new year. I’m hoping for a better year politically and socially. 2017 wasn’t disastrous on the personal level, but it had a lot of ups and downs. I had several “oh shit, shopaholic” moments, but I’ve also recognized I have a problem and am trying to change these negative habits. I’m starting a spending fast in January to save money to pay off debt. I want to dedicate an entire post to the concept, but essentially I commit to not spending any money on unnecessary items. For a year. What I deem necessary is up to me, and I may allow myself a nice coffee once a week, but giving myself too many exceptions defeats the whole point of the fast.

To help track my goals, like the spending fast, as well as record important events without spending a lot of time writing a diary entry, I’ve decided to start a bullet journal. It’s a fairly new type of journal-keeping method (earliest posts I’ve seen on it are from 2016), but it’s very intuitive and focuses around list-keeping which many people, myself included, do already. You start with a blank journal and set up an index in the beginning. You have nothing to fill it with yet, so you’re essentially blocking off pages for it. Then you start adding pages, like a future log (fancy way of saying important things coming up this year), year-at-a-glance calendar, month-at-a-glance, and day-by-day entries for the month. Each page gets a number and then topics with corresponding page numbers go in the index. One of the things I really love is that it’s sort of a planner + journal that is completely tailored to you. Don’t feel that a year-at-a-glance calendar is useful to you? Don’t create one!

I always find that pre-made planners end up with large amounts of wasted space. I don’t need 7 lines for a day where I don’t have anything going on and I spent the entire day in bed watching tv (it happens). In a bullet journal, I can choose how much room is given to each day’s entry. And it doesn’t have to be the same amount. I’m going to experiment with only adding the next day after I’ve finished the current one. That may or may not work for me, but another thing I like about the concept is that you can try something out and then change it next week if it didn’t work out. Because next week is still blank pages.

Anyway, there are a lot of articles out there that explain bullet journals better than I can (or want to) and have great examples of extra pages or fancy things to add. At the end of the post, I’ll add a list of the resources I used so you can read more into it if you want. But let’s get into the meat now. What I actually put in my bullet journal.

I bought a Leuchtturm 1917 journal from Barnes and Noble because it was hardback, dotted (my bullet journal preference), and purple. Leuchtturm makes a book specifically for bullet journalling, but it costs more than the regular journals and the biggest difference is one extra bookmark ribbon and some included instructions on bullet journals. I can get my instructions for free on the internet, thank you very much. Also, it didn’t come in purple. I have a Sakura Pigma set of black pens in different sizes, so I used the 01, 05, and 08 to set up my journal. The 01 was particularly useful for being able to write a date inside one square.

Bullet Journal - Leuchtturm 1917 |
Bullet Journal – Leuchtturm 1917 |

The L1917 already has an index as well as numbered pages, so that’s taken care of for me.

Bullet Journal - Index |
Bullet Journal – Index |

I created a Future Log on page 1, although I don’t have anything in it yet.

Bullet Journal - Future Log |
Bullet Journal – Future Log |

Page 2 is a year-at-a-glance calendar. This took the most time and planning of any of my pages, but I only have to do it once a year. And it’s cute. I set aside page 3 for appointments, particularly medical ones. I may add a page later on for tracking my active medicines and strengths.

Bullet Journal - Year-at-a-glance |
Bullet Journal – Year-at-a-glance |

Pages 4 and 5 are for 2018 goals and achievements, respectively. I want to put resolution-style goals here, like publishing my cheese videos regularly, writing ## words per week, that kind of thing. I’ll be able to look back at the end of the year and see how well I stuck to my goals (or didn’t) and what I need to work on or re-evaluate.

Bullet Journal - Resolutions |
Bullet Journal – Resolutions |

Page 6 is a tracker for my spending fast. Because it’s going to last the entire year, I wanted to give it its own page. There’s room for notes, too. Things like “1 fancy coffee per week.” 😀 Page 7 is blank because I didn’t have any other special pages to add and wanted to start January on a facing set of pages.

Bullet Journal - Spending Fast tracker |
Bullet Journal – Spending Fast tracker |

Page 8 is January-at-a-glance, a list of the dates and days of the month so I can quickly see what’s happening. The facing page has tasks for that month. I’ll probably end up listing appointments here so I don’t lose track of them but don’t have to make their daily entries early just to record the appointment. I’ve already decided to change one goal in that I’m going to record my hoarding videos but I’m not going to publish them right now. It’s just too much extra work right now, but I want to have the raw files in case I want to do something with them later.

Bullet Journal - January 2018 |
Bullet Journal – January 2018 |

Page 10 is the last page I’ve written on. I’ve added a heading for January 1 and added one line to it. When I’m finishing writing for Monday, I’ll add the heading for January 2 and keep going. When I reach the end of the month, I’ll do another month-at-a-glance and tasks list for February and start over. While I did a little decoration on the first few pages, I quickly decided that I wanted to focus on the substance and can doodle in it later if I feel like it.

Bullet Journal - Daily Entry |
Bullet Journal – Daily Entry |

So there it is! My kick off for 2018 and attempt to stay organized and on track. Have you tried a bullet journal? Did you like it or switch to a different method? If you do bullet journal, just how fancy do you get with decorating the pages? I’ve seen some amazing journals, but I feel like I’d spend more time decorating than writing if I went down that path! I’m sure it gets easier with practice. Any goals for 2018 or New Year’s Eve plans? We don’t have anything planned, but I’m going to propose a midnight feast to the spouse and maybe we can stream the ball drop in New York City.

See you in 2018!


Bullet Journal Resources

WTF Is A Bullet Journal And Why Should You Start One? An Explainer

How to Bullet Journal [VIDEO]

Bullet Journaling 101: Everything You Need to Get Started

How to Bullet Journal: The Absolute Ultimate Guide

23 Bullet Journal Ideas That Are Borderline Genius

How to Create Your Best Year Ever: My 2017 Bullet Journal