Jumping on the Bandwagon: How To Setup A Bullet Journal

So, I did it! I jumped on the bullet journal bandwagon! I’m sure if you’ve spent anytime on instagram or pinterest, then you’ve seen the bullet journal craze all over. Not gonna lie, at first, I did not see the appeal. I’ve gone through several different pre-set planners and could never keep up with them, simply because the layout never worked for me personally!  Well I stumbled across a couple bullet journal YouTube videos a couple weeks ago and got sucked into the rabbit hole. (aka spent hours upon hours watching different “plan with me” videos) I noticed, in all the videos I watched, that no two planners were the same! Each YouTuber personalized their planner to match up with their, daily, weekly and monthly planning needs. Along with that, I kept on noticing each of them saying how the bullet journaling process was so therapeutic for them and released their inner creativity. So, the point is, I decided to dive in. 
This past month has brought on a lot of changes in my life, both emotionally and business wise. I adapted a completely different sleeping schedule along with deciding to restructure my salon business. (Yes, I do have a life outside of crafting and blogging). I thought that with all these changes, a bullet journal would be perfect for me to organize the many different elements of my daily life in a way that made sense for me! I’ll explain some of the core elements of bullet journaling as we go along, but if you’re a total newbie and have no clue what I am talking about, then I highly suggest you first watch this video by Ryder Carrol (the inventor of the bullet journal system). In that video, he explains the basic elements that go into the system! 

To start off, you’re going to need a journal. While you can use this system with literally any basic journal you find, there are a couple that are super popular in the bullet journaling community because of the special offers they feature. I decided to go with a very popular journal, the Leuchttrum 1917 A5 Dotted notebook. Some of the reasons this journal is so popular is because it features 3 pages in the very front that is dedicated to your index, every page in the notebook is already numbered so you don’t have to, and the pages are thin enough to not be bulky, but are also “bleed” resistant, meaning that most ink will not bleed through to the next page! 
(Quick tip: even though the pages are bleed resistant, there many still be some “ghosting” or shadows from your pen from the previous page) This doesn’t bother me though. Another great feature is that is a hard cover book, and a GREAT size. I can easily fit this into my small purse and that is a very important factor for me. Now, for some people, the $20 price tag of this journal can be a deal breaker, so if that’s the case for you, then any dotted or graph journal will do just fine! Don’t think too much into it, after all, you’re just gonna be writing in it so it doesn’t have to be that stellar. Next, you’ll need some pens and whatnot. I wanted to decorate mine a little bit so I looked to see what others were using and I found that the Tombow dual brush pens and Sakura Micron pens were really popular. So, of course, like a lemming I bought some! I would NOT recommend using sharpies or crayola markers, as these types of markers have a much higher chance of bleeding through to the next page! 
The first page I set up in my book was my main cover page. I wanted this to be cute because well, I’m a girl and like to be basic every once in a while! I just used a basic cursive to write my first name and copied some cute floral design I found from pinterest to frame it. This page doesn’t have to be crazy, just straight to the point and cute. Don’t spend too much time on the actual decorating of this journal because it is meant to help you organize your time, not spend all of your time stressing about if your journal is as cute as others! 
Next, is what is called your “future log”. Now, these pages are not necessary if you don’t want them, but they are popular to put in the beginning of your journal so that you can have an overview of the entire year. You basically just want to write out all the months of the year, and leave enough space to fill in important dates for each month that goes along. By doing a future log at the beginning of your journal, you can easily bookmark it or refer back to it quickly since you’ll know exactly where it is. Since I started my journal in September, that is the month I began with and I went all the way through the end of December 2017. Once, you’ve created your future log pages, you’ll want to write them down in your index in the front. This will help you keep your journal organized, and you’ll want to do this with each entry you make in your journal!
Admittedly, I do not use a journal so much for event planning, since I use a calendar on my phone for all my business appointment, I put my personal appointments on my phone so that I can refer all back to one place. I more so use a journal to keep all my ideas organized in the same place. But that is what is so great about this system, there is no wrong way to do it, as long as it works for you! 
The next page I set up was something that I personally wanted to have in a journal. It is a crystal key. Basically, it is just a list of 6 main crystals that I use around my house or in my personal life for different reasons. Each crystal, to me, is used for a different purpose. So, I wanted a place where I could quickly reference the crystal and use! This page is not necessary at all, but it’s just something I personally wanted and I am pretty damn happy with how it turned out. Instead of a crystal page, some people will add a page about different books or movies they’ve been wanting to read or watch. Or you can even do a page of future goals you want to keep track of! Just think of what is most important to you or what you’d like to keep track of the most. Once again, THERE IS NO RIGHT OR WRONG WAY TO DO THIS! So just do you, boo. 
Following in the theme of my crystal key, I also wanted to add a moon tracker and meaning spread. I personally feel that different phases of my life and moods are linked up with the different moon phases. There are many different apps you can use to track the moon, but I like having a spread of it in my journal so that I can quickly see if I am under or near a full moon as I am planning out other elements of my life! For many people, I know this spread would be irrelevant for them, but if you are a little moon child like me, then feel free to copy this spread because I have found it really useful in the planning out moments so far! 
That’s all I put into the “Front of journal” pages for me, you can add more or less depending on your needs, but once you’ve finished those foundation pages, you’re ready to jump into your monthly spreads! 

Once again, I started this journal out for September, and decided to keep with the theme of crystals. A monthly cover page is totally NOT required and is so extra. But I wanted to do it as a part of my journalling process because, it has been YEARS since I have drawn or painted, and I have to say, I am so glad I did. I forgot how much I loved it and it really helped me clear my mind. 
Since I already use a calendar for my business, I didn’t see the point of drawing out a full calendar for these pages, instead I used the original Ryder Carrol method of a vertical calendar and I just split it between personal and business use. On the next page, I forgot to take a picture of it, but I just put down some social media trackers for my blog, instagram and pinterest so that I could just see how well (or not) I did for that month and what I can change. I also added a small portion to the bottom for my etsy store so that I could track that progress as well. I also thought this would be nice for me to add because, months down the road I can look back at the numbers and see how much has changed! 
Now, this next page is called a “habit tracker” and to be honest, I was really hesitant to add this. I didn’t really think it would be helpful or productive for me, but then, I just kept seeing everyone on YouTube LOVING it and I thought I’d give it a try. I put down a few habits that I’d like to keep on top of and remember to do on a weekly or daily basis and we’ll see as the month progresses if I still like it, but for now, I kinda like it…I’ll update you with my final thoughts. Some people also will do a mood tracker next to or under their habit tracker, so that you can see how your habits affect your mood. I decided to skip it for this month, since its my first time! Didn’t wanna overwhelm myself with too much!
The next page is probably the most important to me, and most of the reason that I started this whole journal because I needed a VERY ORGANIZED way to track my bills. Seriously, this adulting thing sucks sometimes and bills are probably the worst part about adulting. Obviously, I took this picture before I filled it out because, trust me when I say, you do not want to see my entire list of bills, but now that I do have it all filled up, I feel so much stress taken off my back and I don’t feel like I am forgetting about ANYTHING! The worst feeling is when you forget a bill and get hit with that late fee. So this page perfectly takes care of that issue for me! 
So, this next spread is usually where I see alot of people putting in weekly calendars. But, since I mentioned (several times now….) that I use a calendar on my phone, I didn’t see the point in wasting paper. So, instead I added basically a notes spread. Notes for my blog post idea or website ideas and then a Miscellaneous page for all my random thoughts or notes. I will probably add a few more of these because my favorite thing about a journal is to write down random notes, or to do lists (that I never get around to checking off ) BUT, hopefully this journal will help me feel more motivated to check out every damn TO DO on my list! 
And that is it! I want to state right now, that I AM NOT AN EXPERT! I am really just a newbie that wanted to share my likes and dislikes with all of you! I also did a bunch of research on it before I started and have different approach to it since I don’t just use it for tracking my events! I am really exited to see if this process helps me stay more or less productive in the coming months and how it evolves as I use it! I’m also thinking about maybe sharing this with you all once a month, when I first set it up. Let me know if that is something you’d like seeing, and maybe, JUST MAYBE, I can make it a regular occurrence 😉 I would looooove to see how you guys bullet journal, so if you post on ig, don’t forget to tag me @girlirae, so that I can see your process! OR, if this post has helped to inspire you to start your very own journal, PLEASE let me know, because I would totally love to see! 
As always, if you have any questions or just wanna chat feel free to reach out to me! I love making new online friends! 
You can find me here:
Instagram: @girlirae

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