Did you purchase your journal or notebook insert? If so, are you ready to create your monthly insert? That’s the one I like to start with to get my year ready to go.
Review of what you’ve learned & discovered
As a quick recap, if you’ve read the posts so far, this is what you’ve figured out.
~ Step 1: realize the fact that you need to get your life and your activities under control in one place. Great for you! If you missed it, click here to catch up.
~ Step 2: decide what you want to capture, knowing this is different for everyone. As long as you know what topics you want to take control of, then you are all set! Click here if you still need to figure this out.
~ Step 3: your choice of what type of journal you want to create or use. It can be as simple as a spiral notebook, a Moleskine like I use, or even a 3-ring binder. I will focus on the Traveler Notebook style, but the process works the same regardless of the vessel you choose.
~ Step 4 is creating your planning space. I will walk you through how I design my three Moleskine cahier notebooks that fit inside my artisan cover. As a scrapbook store owner for seven years, I found my own preference for my covers. I taught classes so my customers could decorate their own and let their creativity shine through. In a future post, I will explain the artisan covers.
My journal of choice is the Moleskine Cahier, squared journal. I buy the soft cover journal in the 5×8-1/4” size and then cut it down so it fits inside the 5×7 cover that I make. The system that I’ve used for several years now that includes 3 journals inside the cover:
It’s very simple and basic, and I won’t win any awards for beauty. But do you know what? I’ve used this method for four years now, and that’s pretty amazing for me to stick with something this long. It’s simple enough that I am able to be consistent with it. If there’s spare time one week to play and add some color, that’s a bonus that makes those pages look even better!
How to create your monthly spread
Following are the details to make the insert of monthly view calendars. Although the official bullet journal system does not provide for this, I find that I need this option. I am one of those visual people who needs to see a monthly view. This allows me to enter events that are 3, 6, or 9 months from now that I need to plan for.
MONTHLY JOURNAL: The first insert that I create is kept in the middle of my cover. This book remains in my cover for the whole year. I use the squared Moleskine cahier journal which makes it really easy to trace the lines with a ruler. Just a tip – have the month’s calendar visible on your computer or a paper calendar. Draw in pencil first, so you know where NOT to make blocks if the week has less than 7 days.
Draw those lines
Front cover: leave blank to decorate later
1) First two-page spread is yearly overview: draw 12 blocks total across the 2 pages. This gives a visual overview calendar for the year where you can write in big events that occur, such as vacation, annual events, etc.
2) Second two-page spread is another yearly overview: draw 12 blocks total across the 2 pages. This is where I enter birthdays, anniversaries, etc so I have the full year at a quick glance. Never miss someone’s birthday or get caught unprepared again!
3) Third two-page spread is your monthly view: draw blocks out across both pages to create your January calendar. I use a pencil to draw five horizontal rows and then with divide each row into eight blocks.
4) Next two-page spread: leave empty – use for planning or lists, as noted below
5) Next two-page spread is another monthly view: draw blocks out across both pages to create your February calendar. Again do five rows with eight blocks in each row.
6) Next two-page spread: leave empty – use for planning or lists, etc
7) Repeat for the remainder of the year.
Depending on your notebook, you may have extra pages that can be used to make lists, trackers, goals, notes, etc.
Your monthly layouts can be as simple or as fancy as your heart desires and your time allows. There are no limitations, and also no requirements. All that matters is that this works for you so that you use it! For instance you can use a simple stamp or sticker for your monthly words. Or if you know calligraphy, you can create a beautifully lettered word at the top of each monthly spread. It’s up to you how much time you spend on creating your inserts.
I always create my monthly view insert first. Write in the number of each day for the month, whether that’s 28, 29, 30 or 31. That way it’s done and ready to go for the year.
For the empty two-page spread after each month’s layout, there are many options of how to use this. Use it to plan for things that will happen that month, whether it’s a family event or a work-related project. I also sometimes write down my favorite song that month or enter notes on a book I am reading. You can do whatever you want – the possibilities are endless!
So are you ready to create your monthly insert? I hope so! I think you will love the practical overview of seeing at a glance what you have going on each month. After you have your monthly insert completed, read this next post regarding your weekly view: https://yourlifeinjournals.com/create-your-weekly-insert/