Hi everyone! I’m Chloé, also known as @daintilynoted on Instagram, and I am very honored to be sharing my bullet journal with you today. Before getting into all the ins and outs of my bullet journal, I would like to thank Ryder Carroll for developing this wonderful system and helping so many of us stay organized, allowing us to focus on the things that matter.
My bullet journaling journey started around February of 2017. I had seen the concept around on Instagram and Pinterest, and as a person who is obsessed with staying organized it always caught my attention. I am one of those people who feels the need to organize/systematize everything they touch – it’s almost concerning, really. Yet for some reason I remember thinking bullet journaling wouldn’t work for me, so I never looked into it more thoroughly. That is, until I stumbled upon a bullet journaling video on YouTube.
Like so many others, this lead me down a path of watching hundreds of flip-throughs and setup videos. I am not kidding when I say I would watch videos before I went to sleep (they’re actually very relaxing!) and in the morning I would watch some more while eating breakfast. I felt like I had found this hidden part of YouTube that seemed to be made for me. That’s when I decided to give the concept a try.
I started in a regular notebook – I planned on using the system for at least a month to try it out, before investing in good materials. I’m a huge perfectionist, and very much the ‘go big or go home’ type, so this was really difficult for me. This is why, after using the system for only about a week, I caved and went to a luxury department store to get the best notebook and pens I could possibly find. Not too smart, I know, but hey it worked out in the end!
My bullet journal is what a lot of people in the bullet journaling community would call a ‘minimal’ bullet journal. I would love to have one of those super artsy bullet journals, but that is simply not a style that works for me. In order for me to be my best and most productive self, my surroundings need to (1) be neat, and (2) be nice to look at. These criteria also apply to my bullet journal, and I have found a way to make them both work together (I think?). You will see my spreads are usually neat and simple, with the occasional doodle or quote. I like to use a bit of color to make it look pretty, but I stick to a simple color scheme of muted greys, blues and purples so that it’s not too distracting.
In terms of the contents of my bullet journal, you may find that I use mine in a slightly unconventional way. One of the reasons I was slightly apprehensive about starting a bullet journal at first, is because I use a normal planner and couldn’t seem to figure out how the bullet journaling system could work effectively alongside my planner. After all, some of the key aspects of a bullet journal, such as the monthly and weekly spreads, I already had in my planner. I felt like I was at a crossroads – on the one hand, the bullet journaling system really appealed to me, on the other, getting rid of my planner was a big no-no. But as I soon learned, there is a third road. One of the wonderful aspects of the bullet journaling system is its flexibility. Throughout this walkthrough you will find I have managed to adapt the system to exactly fit my needs.
My key is quite traditional, in that each dot signifies a task, and I cross out the task once I have completed it. One of the ways I have adapted it to my needs, however, is by removing the ‘scheduled’ signifier. Since I use a planner alongside my bullet journal, it didn’t make sense for me to schedule tasks in my bullet journal. I also added some cute symbols for certain events like birthdays or going out for drinks (I’ll admit I use that one quite regularly).
This is one of the most important pages in my bullet journal. I am a huge believer in turning goals into actionable steps, and on this page I turn all of my goals for the year into a bunch of smaller steps to help me achieve them. I keep this page at the beginning of my bullet journal, so that I can easily go back to it.
I usually start the month with a little cover/introduction page, because it helps me feel like I’m starting fresh. It’s also a nice opportunity for me to be a bit more creative with my bullet journal.
My monthly overview is a good example of where I stray from the traditional bullet journaling system in order to make my bullet journal work well for me. I don’t have a monthly log or spread that contains all of my events, appointments, etc. – my planner keeps track of those. Instead, I use a monthly overview that shows all the things I like to keep track of in that month. For instance, each month I pick three goals that I would like to accomplish. These could be concrete goals (finish thesis), or just things that I would like to be more intentional about (get fit). Each monthly overview also contains a brain dump, where I write down any task that I need to get done in that month, but not necessarily on a particular day. I also have a self-care tracker that tracks my sleep, diet and migraines, as well as a mood tracker.
A lot of people use their weekly spread as an overview of events and/or appointments that are happening that week, and use separate pages for their daily tasks. I kind of combine these concepts into one. Since I have my planner, I don’t need a weekly overview of events or appointments. I do however, like to track a few things each week, such as how many times I work out (spoiler alert – it’s not that often). I therefore created a weekly spread that could contain all of my daily tasks, as well as provide some space for a tracker and a few tasks I need to get done that week.
This is by far the spread that has evolved the most and is still evolving. I, for instance, found that the format I used at first made the spread look a little too much like my planner, which caused me to get confused and lose track of the things I had to do. After actually missing an appointment (oops), I realized I needed my bullet journal to look completely different from my planner. To me, bullet journaling is very much a process of trial-and-error. I find out what works and what doesn’t through whether it increases or decreases my productivity.
Since I don’t necessarily need my bullet journal to keep track of events and appointments and the such, collections are where my bullet journal really shines and has made an impact. These are things that I want to track, but that my planner doesn’t allow me to track. I love figuring out how to track new things – it’s a way for me to be somewhat creative with my bullet journal while keeping it neat and functional. Here are a few that I like or use very often.
This is one of my favorite collections. Whenever I see or hear about a movie and it catches my interest, I will write it down here. That way whenever I am lying in bed, wondering about what I’m going to watch, I can just look at this page and pick a movie out of the list. Once I have seen the movie, I rate it on a scale of 1 to 5.
This collection is very simple and to the point, but oh so important. Whenever I find an item that I want, I write it down here instead of immediately buying it. I will jot down the item, the store, the price and rate the item’s priority on a scale of 1 to 4. This gives me the time to really reflect on whether I want and need an item, instead of impulse buying.
I’m not sure if this counts as a collection or not, but I do love it so I thought I’d share! This little doodle shows the yoga poses I like to do in the morning when I wake up. I always forget them so I needed a little overview. (Also, if you’re going to attempt to do yoga, please don’t use these drawings as your only reference. I know absolutely nothing about human anatomy and you could get seriously hurt).
By now you probably won’t be surprised when I tell you I need my space to be clean and organized in order for me to function properly. I strongly believe that a clear space equals a clear mind, and a clear mind allows me to get the most out of my day. That’s why I like to have pages dedicated to improving my surroundings, like this declutter challenge. Something about being able to tick off different categories as I declutter my life just makes it a lot more fun!
You can honestly bullet journal with anything, but these are the tools that I use and love:
– Leuchtturm 1917 notebook (medium A5, dotted)
– Faber Castell PITT Artist pen (size S)
– Tombow Dual Brush Pens
I’d like to end with a little piece of wisdom, in case some of you are debating whether or not they should start a bullet journal. My answer to that is simple – yes, yes you should. I assure you that there is a way for you to modify it to be exactly what you need it to be. With this system you are free to try out anything you want, and if it doesn’t work, you can try something else, until you find exactly what works for you. Also make sure to look up tons of inspiration – follow Instagram accounts, watch YouTube videos, start a Pinterest board! Everyone’s mind works differently, and it’s fun to see how unique every bullet journal is. You’ll find that other people have amazing ideas that you didn’t even think of!
So give it a try – I didn’t know I needed a bullet journal, and now I don’t know how I was able to function without it.