This is one post in a series of posts about My Bullet Journal Journey. I’ve sequenced the posts so that they chronicle my journey and are step-by-step guides for those of you considering starting your own.
- #1 – My Bullet Journal: Taking the Plunge (materials)
- #2 – How to Get Started (terms and basic set up)
- #3 – My Collections
- #4 – Oopsies & Reinvented Pages
- #5 – Tools in the Toolbox
- #6 – Favorite Spreads
- #7 – Things That Didn’t Work
I decided to start a bullet journal about 10 or so days into January. I had no real idea what I was doing, so I’m chronicling my progress through the first year. I also hope it might help some of you who want to start one but might be a little afraid to take the plunge.
I followed the guide from another blogger who was very vocal about her bullet journal. Nereyda got a lot of bloggers on board. And there I was sitting behind the safety of my screen ooohing and ahhhing. For months. I was scared I would be a failure at bullet journaling and I couldn’t compete. Let’s be real: I still can’t compete.
Every once in a while I get a brilliant idea for my bullet journal. And then other times I realize…that totally did not work for me. And I hate it. Let’s not do that again. Gotta find something new.
Things That Didn’t Work For Me
And What I’m Doing Now Instead
When I started my bullet journal in January, I was following the guides of others. I spent a lot of time researching that first month and in large part imitated things I found. So when I started, I thought my monthly calendar along with its companion (left) and the monthly task list (right) were gems. I could track my bills, my blog posts, and my own personal tasks and notes.
Then came February. I set my monthly up the same way, except I changed up the companion (bottom right) due to time consumption. I wasn’t sure how I wanted to keep structuring that page and it changed over the course of the months.
But that task list! Notice how it’s mostly empty? While I loved the concept of this spread, it didn’t end up working out for me. I just didn’t realize it yet. For February I had moved the blog section to the left page and made it the full page, and split the right side between the tasks and the bills. The point of the tracker for my blog was to list out posts I had already completed and scheduled. Then I would be able to see where I had holes in the weeks and which posts I hadn’t completed yet.
That didn’t end up working out. I almost never looked at this page after I created it. And my March one is even more telling. I didn’t even fill in my posts! They’re all still blank besides the type of post!
After March I discontinued the task list entirely. I only continued the monthly calendar and companion with my books, to-do, and goals.
After ditching the task list, I spent two more months not quite satisfied with my monthly calendar and companion. The calendar stayed the same, always on the left side and always the same size. I started realizing the boxes were too small to write for some days if there were multiple events or things I needed to record. And it was hard to see at a glance.
So I decided to use a full spread calendar for June to see how it worked out. And I do like it better! Now my monthly calendar looks like this:
I started the year off setting up some basics in my bullet journal, including a mood tracker for the year. I’ve seen most people call this Year in Pixels. Same thing. When I presented the bullet journal project to my students, they expressed their dissatisfaction with my limited moods and a lot of “blah” days. I was also unhappy with the few mood choices, too. I added a “frustrated” mood, but I kept wondering how to classify my mood when there could have been more than one throughout the day. What if there was one thing that really set me off and pissed me off, but otherwise the entire day was good? Which mood do you pick?
Then I found someone on Instagram who was using a daily mood tracker. And not just one mood, either. They recognized the same things I was wondering about and had multiple moods to be marked each day. At the bottom of their pages, I remember seeing three separate items: situation, temporary, and something else I don’t remember. I thought those were very good ways to put your days and feelings into focus. I just spent 30 minutes trying to find it again. I’ve got to find a system to saving things to go back to on Instagram. *sigh*
I’m still going to be keeping track of my daily mood tracker for the year, but my new mood tracker with multiple moods might help me better select what fits best for the whole day.
I’ve been having a lot of sleep issues for the last ten months or so. It seemed to be getting worse, and I even had a joke of a sleep study done. I decided I needed a sleep tracker when I started bullet journaling.
My January tracker was very basic. I decided to do a line graph. I thought it looked interesting, but after finishing it for the month I realized it didn’t really help me tell my doctors what time I went to sleep and what time I woke up to help me in building a routine. (Pffft. We don’t need no stinkin’ routines!)
I kept the line graph for February, but then got a little smarter in March. I redesigned how I was going to track my sleep by both the time I went to bed and woke up, as well as color coding the amount of sleep I got in two-hour increments. This makes it very easy visually to see both of the important things I needed to know.
The only thing about this tracker was a lot of times I would either get the day wrong or I’d be on the wrong hour line and I’d mess up. So I started tick marking with a pencil and also using a ruler on the sides to ensure I was staying within the day’s vertical lines.
When I came back from hiatus, I started reviewing things in my bullet journal and updating for June. I wanted to try something different for my sleep log. It was WAY MORE work up front, but all I have to do is mark my sleep time using a highlighter and highlight from start to stop for the night! I also included a wider range of times, because sometimes (ahem, weekends, holidays) I sleep much longer than I normally would otherwise.
This will have to be one thing I set up well in advance due to the time it takes. I will miss all the color, though.