Tuesday, June 13, 2017

A Bullet Journal That Works For Me

Lumière & Lens, Bullet Journal, Weekly List, Food Diary
Setting up my bullet journal each week.

I started using a Bullet Journal towards the end of last year with the aim of improving my organization, productivity, and motivation.  If you dig around on the Internet, there's a prescribed way of setting up a bullet journal.  No shade on the guidelines, but I didn't find a lot of the recommended modules particularly useful.  After trial and error, I've found a Bullet Journal format that works best for me! 

I carry a lot in my backpack to work so I wanted an easily transportable notebook.  I've been loving the grid notebooks from Muji.  They're only 30 pages so I can easily slip one into my bag and I don't mind replacing it every few months.  I use about 2 to 3 full pages per week so these Muji notebooks are completely sufficient.  As for pens, I'm fond of Stabilo pens; they come in a lot of colors and are very pigmented.  A small T-square is also useful for drawing straight lines and grids.  Now, on to what I put in my journal!

A Weekly To-Do List.  Every Sunday morning, I sit down and draw out the grid for my weekly tasks.  I have a lot going on and like to have things visually laid out.  My appointments are written out in bright ink.  While I don't jot down work hour, I make to-do lists for tasks that might slip my mind such as ordering an important chemical, reactions, or things that need to be reviewed.  Having a week visually planned out prevents appointments from sneaking up on me.  

A Food & Exercise Diary.  I weigh myself every morning, track my digestive patterns, and write down everything I eat.  I note the type of exercise I did and where it was performed (days at the gym tend to be harder than working out at home).  I color highlight the exercise I've done with the goal of doing it 4X a week.  The block of color is a quick visual gauge of how close I am to achieving that goal!  Sometimes, seeing just two blocks motivates me to exercise because of how much I enjoy filling out the chart.

FYI, I don't count calories, macros, or obsess over food -- I really enjoying collecting data!  This diary has been immensely helpful in seeing when I'm eating too much garbage or processed food.  I also plan to plot my weight, do some statistics, and correlate how it fluctuates with my exercise habits. 

Lumière & Lens, Bullet Journal, Habit Tracker

A Habit Tracker.  If you're anything like me, you might spend just a wee bit too much dining out.  Really, all my money after bills and savings just goes to food.  Like having the color block on my exercise, a habit tracker is a great visual tool to quickly see how I'm doing.  For example, by nearly three weeks into May, I've done well on exercise, but poorly on not spending on food.  I was consistent about lab, but less so with practicing music.  I was consistently NOT working on my fine art (bad!), but spent time seeing friends!

These were the three journal habits that work best for me!  I also like to keep lists with square bullets to color in when completed that include blog post and photography ideas.  Some recommendations that didn't pan out include the future log, the table of contents, the index, or in general, the elaborate drawings/scribbles I'd see in other bullet journals.  I tried them, but wasn't inspired to keep up with them consistently!  However, a thin notebook is really easy to carry around for note taking at a moment's notice. 

How about you?  Do you use a bullet journal? Is there another organizational method you would recommend?


  1. I don't use a bullet journal or any journal ever since I finished university. Towards the end of uni, I used to create my diaries and little did I know that this would be such a massive thing now! These days, I simply don't have that much happening in my life so I generally can remember everything that is happening.

    nat // dignifiable

  2. I've seen a lot of tutorials on how to set up a bullet journal. I haven't tried making one yet because I know I am a klutz when it comes to settings the lines @___@. It looks so cool though!! Having a slim notebook for bulleting sounds good because it gives you an opportunity for any changes sooner than later. UGH, I wish I knew about the T-square years ago when I was still at school!! I would draw my lines manually and it's a hit or miss.

    It's cool that you even track your exercises in there as well! I do see it as a motivating tool. I know I enjoy my food too much and counting calories would ruin me XD. I think it's cool that you enjoy collecting data. I love looking at data. That's why whenever I'm driving, I would have the MPG graph up even though I don't really care if my car is a gas guzzler.

    I'm trying to get back to the habit of organizing myself. I'm going to give digital org tools a chance BUT THE BULLET JOURNAL LOOKS SO TEMPTING!!

  3. The habit tracker is such a great idea!! I can't believe I have never thought about it before. And the layout give you such a good overview of how well you are performing for the month. I really love it.

    I wouldn't have the patience for a bullet journal though. I just write to-do lists on days where I have a lot to do and that is about the end of my organising. I have very bad organisational skills haha

    Emily | http://emilytrinh.com | http://emilytrinhcreative.com/blog

  4. I would like to have an agenda and take it so organized. I have tried a couple of times to start an agenda without any success. Thanks for share with us

  5. A habit tracker is something that definitely did not work for me in my version of the bullet journal. It's not something I reach for everyday, so that made my daily habits very hard to track.

    7% Solution

  6. Oh confession, I can't do bullet journaling. But I actually follow 3 different instagrams and a couple of tumblrs all about it. Anddd I really like your way of bujo'ing. I actually have not tried the habit tracker yet. And I actually really try that. Thanks for the inspo! :D

  7. I've tried bullet journaling (or BuJo, as my cousin calls it).... I lasted two days. I do appreciate seeing posts about it though. Yours is lovely, Alyse! I love Stabilo pens as well. You should check out Uniball Signo 0.28 pens - they write so beautifully.

  8. this is highly detailed and i love it! i especially like the habit tracker part. might use it in my bujo in the future. i'm thinking to start bullet journaling sometime soon now that it hits 6 months mark already. time flew too fast omg. the food and exercise section is highly inspiring too. not to be super health conscious but more of, mindful, i guess? knowing what i put in my body for a week is enough to make me wanna go eat more fruits and veggies. thank you for sharing, alyse! x

  9. I love looking at other people's bullet journals, but honestly don't see it working out for myself in the long run. In general I'm more of a digital person, especially when it comes to tracking tasks and such (even if I like to write things down occasionally)! Yours is really nice though; your handwriting is so pretty!

    Sam / My Beauty Cloud