Hello, everyone! My name is Liz (@bonjournal_) and I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to share my bullet journal with you.  Many thanks to Kim for the invitation to write this post, and of course, to Ryder Carroll for sharing his system with the world!

My Bullet Journal Story

Throughout my academic career, I have tried a number of organizational systems, including templated planners, writing lists on loose-leaf paper, and more recently, sticky notes. As I transitioned from graduate school (where I was working on a single, focused project and setting my own deadlines) into a professional position, I realized these systems could not cut it. In my new job, I was leading several projects with defined deadlines and attending meetings all day, every day! Further, my activities were no longer the same from one day to the next. I needed a change!

I came across the bullet journal system in early 2016 when doing a google search on how to plan and stay organized. I soon started following many wonderful bullet journalists on Instagram (@decadethirty, @penpapersoul, @tinyrayofsunshine!) and became hooked. I started journaling according to the traditional system outlined by Ryder, without many deviations. As I became more comfortable with the general concept, I started to really capitalize on the flexibility of the bullet journal system. 

My bullet journal style is relatively minimalistic, although, as you’ll see, nothing brings me more joy than decorating my notebook with flowers and doodles.

Walkthrough

Index

Liz @bonjournal_'s Index in her Bullet Journal

I’ve never been a fan of the index, mostly because searching through a list of seemingly random entries was no better than just flipping through the pages of the journal. More recently, I have been organizing my index by entry type: monthly items (the meat of my journal), special trackers/collections, and tutorials. It makes it much easier to reference old pages.

Future Log

Liz @bonjournal_'s Future Log in her Bullet Journal

My future log is fairly straightforward – I separate the pages into columns for the upcoming months. I list birthdays, appointments, deadlines, and events here. It usually doesn’t get too crowded, because most of my work appointments are kept electronically, so the future log is primarily personal items.

Monthly Log

Liz @bonjournal_'s Monthly Log in her Bullet Journal

Monthly logs are my favorite to set up. They help me tremendously because I very easily get lost in day-to-day activities. It’s nice every four or five weeks to take a step back and think about what I need to get done in the following month. Here is my process: I migrate items from my future log as well as my electronic work calendar. One modification I’ve made is that I put my dates down the center of the page, instead of on the left. That way, I visually separate personal items (left) and work items (right). This is especially helpful now that my son is joining sports teams, working on projects, and going to parties! I could imagine this system being further modified to accommodate several activities (or people) by splitting the pages into as many columns as needed.

Weekly Log

Liz @bonjournal_'s Weekly Log in her Bullet Journal

Although not part of the traditional bullet journal system, I incorporate a very simple weekly log, because I’ve found that it is imperative to maintaining productivity throughout the week. I list only my appointments/meetings in the daily slots (not tasks) as well as high-level goals for the week (finish manuscript, complete project X, etc.).

Daily Log

Liz @bonjournal_'s Daily Log in her Bullet Journal

I look at my weekly log every night to help guide what goes into my daily tasks. At the end of every workday, I spend a few minutes migrating my appointments from my weekly log and use my high-level goals to break down into specific tasks. 

Liz @bonjournal_'s Daily Log Time Ladder in her Bullet Journal

On particularly busy days, I use a timeladder to schedule my taskts alongside my meetings. It helps keep me on track to get everything done! I also track a few things here: water intake, exercise, food, and whether or not I’ve taken my vitamins.

Trackers

Liz @bonjournal_'s Fitness Tracker in her Bullet Journal

I use monthly trackers to follow my health and wellness as well as my household cleaning activities. 

Liz @bonjournal_'s Household Chores collection in her Bullet Journal

These two areas most often get “left behind” after I’ve spent a long day at work and then maximized my time with my family at night. My health tracker used to make me feel guilty. Now, I make the spread every month and only transfer my progress from my daily log every once and a while. It helps me assess my progress without making me feel bad about myself for skipping a day or two!

Project Planning

Liz @bonjournal_'s Project Planning in her Bullet Journal

Every once and a while, I dedicate several pages to long-term project planning. The format of these collections changes each time, but I generally split up columns into quarters (3 months) and list some of my longer-term goals according to the projects/objectives that I have. I reference my project planning pages when I set up my monthly and weekly logs to make sure I stay on track.

Drawing & Flower Tutorials

Liz @bonjournal_'s flower tutorials in her Bullet Journal

My bullet journal obviously keeps my life organized, but the real joy comes from the art that I am able to incorporate. I have always drawn and painted, but usually in dedicated notebooks that I never carried around with me. The result was that I was drawing less and less.  Now, when I have a few minutes of down time, I turn to a blank page and draw a flower or two. When I come to that page for planner activities, I simply design my spread around it. About once a week, I post a step-by-step process for how to draw flowers (Note from Kim: check out Liz’s floral tutorials on her Instagram! They’re beautiful!). The best part is watching people uncover a talent for art that they didn’t know they ever had!

My Bujo Supplies

Leuchtturm 1917 Dot Grid or Scribbles That Matter Dot Grid

Tombow Fudenosuke Hard-Tip Brush Pen

Pentel Energel 0.7 mm Pen

Stencil by InkbyJeng

Final Words

Liz @bonjournal_'s Bullet Journal

Before I go, I’d like you to know that your bullet journal is your own. It is unique and lovely. It doesn’t have to be perfect, or contain beautiful art, or take up all of your time. My journal fulfills all of my needs – organizational to creative. How does your bullet journal serve you?

About Liz Pierson

Liz is an analytical chemist, currently developing oncology medicines in the pharmaceutical industry. Liz lives in northern New Jersey with her 4-year old son and her husband. In her free time, Liz loves to draw, paint, and play the piano. You can follow her bullet journal on Instagram: @bonjournal_.
  • Julie Fleming

    Beautiful and organized. Thank you for sharing. Your system also reminds us of the importance of taking time to reflect and plan each day.

  • Wanda A

    your adaptation of the index is brilliant! that’s one I’m sure to start using.

  • I’m a newbie bullet journal keeper. I really like it’s flexibility and I’m watching mine evolve some by trial and error. I’m an enthusiast of the Zentangle method of meditative art and the bullet journal combines perfectly with that side of my brain. I use dotted grid A5 pages in a looseleaf notebook. I realize that’s not “pure” bullet journaling, but it helps me organize things so I can find them quickly.

  • Dani Askin

    I’m new to bullet journaling and still trying to figure out what works for me. Honestly, I don’t have a lot of time to spend creating beautiful layouts. I really love your system and will be integrating many of your ideas into my own. Thanks!

  • Erin Keyes Riches

    OMG, I love the idea of organizing the index! It drives me nuts, trying to wade through my index trying to find a particular thing. I am definitely stealing that for 2018. I also really like your future log and monthly log ideas. Thanks for sharing!

  • Nathalie Dupuis

    Merci pour ce partage. J’ai particulièrement apprécié la page dans laquelle tu décris un dessin. une idée que je reprendrai. Très beau bullet journal.

  • I love your journal! I’ve been bullet journaling for around 7 months and this has inspired me to include more drawing, which I’ve let lapse over the years! It’s also given me some great ideas to improve my spreads. Thanks so much for sharing! 🙂

  • wairererose

    Thank you, there are so many great ideas here. I’m about to start a new book and have had some change ideas already, but will sleep on this and review it tomorrow to select which ones to try.

  • Suzanne D

    Thank you! I love your note at the end about making the journal your own – it should fulfill your needs.
    I also like the project planning layout. I have been playing with a couple of different versions. And the timetabling; it might be another tool to help time block out my workday.

  • Gabrielle McCann

    Wow – that is just so beautiful!

  • Love this share! Gorgeous pages that are super functional – I will be adopting some of your ideas into my own. Especially loved that you put the monthly log down the centre of the page. That makes so much sense to me!

  • temporalnotes

    Love your monthly log idea to put the numbers down the middle and divide personal and professional that way. Mine is looking messy I think it will work better that way!
    I’m going to start using a number of your ideas, your journal is so gorgeous! But also super practical too. Thanks for sharing!

  • If someone asks me about great post for weekend, which probably create a wonderful mood, definitely it woud be yours! Tx for sharing, you have pretty creative style of writing!

  • Bethany

    Thank you for taking the time to share your system! I’ve been bullet journaling for almost a year now and I’m still having a hard time figuring out the best layout for my needs. Your tutorial is really helpful to me and I’m going to incorporate a lot of your systems into mine. I love how you doodle on a blank page and then just incorporate the doodles into your log when you get to that page. Lovely. Thank you!!

  • Amanda

    !!! I’ve been following your Instagram for a few weeks now and am super excited to see you’ve gotten a blog post! Thank you so much for sharing, your balance between creativity, functionality and time allotted for bujo-ing is a great inspiration!

  • Andrea P.

    I love everything you posted! Thanks for sharing 🙂