So, are you ready to commit to this new adventure using a bullet journal planner? I’m so excited for you to get started. Just in case you are a little fuzzy, here’s a recap of what you’ve accomplished so far: 1) You decided you need to get certain areas of your life under control 2) You decided what topics & events that you need to capture 3) You chose your size and style of planner/journal 4) Once you purchased your inserts, you did the first two steps of Create & Plan. You created your weekly, monthly, and notes insert journals. 5) Today’s challenge is to determine the actions you are going to take for the third step of your CPR, which is Record.
Record – when and how
The obvious best choice is to do this daily. Your greatest results will come when you make your goals daily and keep track of what you’ve accomplished. The main thing for you to decide is if you want to work in your planner in the morning, or afternoon, or evening. Which will be the best time for you to be consistent and make this a habit you keep up with? After all, who needs another half-used journal, right?!
So think these through: ~ Are you a morning person? ~ Do you work second or third shift and need to do this after you’ve slept, so perhaps afternoon is best for you? ~ Or are you a night-owl and find that evening is best for you to plan the next day? ~ Also, are you going to print photos and save memorabilia to put in your journal? If so, will you print your photos daily or weekly? ~ How about the memorabilia? Will you tape it in each day or will you wait until the end of the week and enter all your photos and memorabilia at once?
It doesn’t matter what your answer is. It only matters that you figure out works for you so you actually DO it each day or each week.
So there you go! Decide which time of day is going to be your best choice for a consistent time to make plans in your journal. Decide if you will write, or add photos, or memorabilia, or all the above.
Now start! It’s as simple as that.
Remember, there’s no right or wrong way to do this. Only that you do what you’ve committed to do.
If you record daily – that’s awesome!
If you decide weekly is best – great for you! Don’t look at what the daily folks are doing and allow it to discourage you.
If you’ve been following along, then your monthly insert should be all done. Way to go! So now you can create your weekly insert and the notes insert. Since I use the weekly insert the most, I keep it in the front of my cover. This may be different for you depending on the order of things that you prefer.
For my use, a two-page spread works great for my week which is what I explain here. So to create your weekly insert, here are the steps.
Front cover: leave blank to decorate later
1) First two-page spread: Draw out 8 rectangles for the days of the week, and one extra, to make it symmetrical. This weekly spread is where I use the bullet journal method. Enter your tasks for each day with a box in front so you can check it off when completed. However, there are so many options available which is the wonderful thing about this system. One week may be completely different from another week – tweak as you go until you find what works for you. If you google “bullet journal” you will indeed go down a rabbit hole of options!
2) Second two-page spread: Leave empty to use later. You can journal your thoughts at the end of each day, or add mini photos and memorabilia from the week. Repeat this pattern of a weekly spread and then empty spread, for as many weeks as necessary in your journal. With the Moleskine Cahier you get three months of weekly spreads, and allows for the empty spread each week. If you omit that, then you will get six months in one journal.
3) Extra pages at the back of the insert can be used for various lists, planners, projects, whatever works for you.
So at the end of each quarter (or half-year), you will pull the completed journal out of your cover. Simply insert the next quarter’s journal (or half-year) in it’s place. The cover always has the current weekly spreads to use along with the monthly view and your notes insert. At year end, your set of journals will be complete with photos and mementos – what a treasure!
You may also like to track certain habits or events, daily or weekly. If so, you can enter them where you prefer. It could be within each week’e spread. Or use the pages at the end of the insert so those types of trackers are all together.
For the third insert in my artisan cover, I write the page number at the bottom edge of each page. I leave 3-4 blank pages at the beginning of the book to use as my index. This insert is used for miscellaneous notes, projects, lists, whatever I feel the need to write down. Decide on a title or phrase that will best trigger your memory later in the year. That title and the page number are entered in the index so those notes can be easily found later. Since this holds a wide variety of information, this is the one insert where the index is a necessity.
And now you have it
To summarize, the Weekly Insert stays in my cover for 3 months and then is replaced with the next insert.
The Monthly Insert and Notes Insert remain in my cover for the whole year.
Hopefully, you now have a good bird’s-eye view of how I use my bullet journal planner. Once that is done and you purchase your supplies, you can create your weekly insert and note insert. I’m sure my CPR method (Create-Plan-Record) will be of help to you with the wonderful life you are creating. After you have your weekly insert and notes insert all ready to go, read this next post: https://yourlifeinjournals.com/are-you-ready-to-commit/
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: 1) Weekly 2) Monthly 3) Notes/Lists
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/