July is here, and I finally took some time to sit at my desk with a good Netflix serie to plan for summer in a brand new notebook! I didn’t share my bullet journal set-up yet around here, and this is the perfect time to show you the system I use on a daily basis. So today’s post is a review of the Bullet Journal set-up I’ll use for the next 3 months!
My bullet journal set-up is really close to the system that Ryder Carroll created, but I tweaked it to better fit my needs and the way I plan: in contrast to the genuine Bullet Journal system, I use 4 notebooks on a daily basis. It may seems a lot, but each of has a special use and place in my organization system.
The siamese twins
My bullet journal itself is a softcover notebook with 120 pages (Leuchtturm A5 Softcover) and all my spreads related to planning and my running collections fit in it (I use one notebook per quarter). It’s the notebook I use the most, as it holds my daily tasks lists and I always have it on hand.
My second notebook is a basic Muji notebook (A5, squared), that I carry along with my bullet journal in a single Leather cover. I simply slip the Muji notebook in the back cover flap with my Leuchtturm. It holds all my long term collections that I use for more than 3 months (yearly goals and finances, routines…).
My bullet journal is slip in a leather notebook cover that also holds my Muji notebook for long term collections
Beside these 2 notebooks, I’m going to add a new notebook to this collection for Q3. It’s a Habana notebook from Quo Vadis (it’s a bit bigger than a A5, with a squared grid). This new member of my planning squad will be dedicated to the blog and hold all my projects and ideas in one place. There’s always a part of my brain working on my online projects (and it’s pretty busy these days!), so I needed a notebook to document and manage them.
The wild one
The last member of my team is pretty little by its size but is of great importance in my system. It’s a tiny spiral bound notepad that I always carry with me (it fits in any bag from my backpack to my tiniest purse). It allows me to jot down any idea or task that pops up in my brain when I’m on the go. Everything that I write in it goes then in my work or personal bullet journal.
My planning squad at its minimum when I’m on the go:
a tiny notepad for ideas and tasks and my phone for appointments and events
Now that you have the big picture, it’s time to dive into the main topic of this post, and to give you a tour of my personal bullet journal. I just finished to set it up for summer, hoping it will help me to achieve some of my projects (and I’ve got plenty!)!
Bullet Journal tour
I’ve already been writing about my index pages in a previous post about managing content in the bullet journal. As soon as I opened this notebook, I tweaked the index. I got all the sections of it ready: my planning spreads index and the categories for everything related to the collections I’m going to create during the next 3 months.
In this new notebook, I decided to create 3 categories to organize my collections, according to the 3 categories I use for my quarterly goals.
I’ve always been struggling to use the index in my bullet journal, and I mainly rely on the edge indexing to find any content I’m looking for… I hope that having everything ready in advance will encourage me to update it regularly and not only when it’s time to archive my notebook.
Actually, I don’t use the future log part of the bullet journal. It never really fit my way to plan… I’m managing all events and appointments on my phone. This way, I can log any appointment or event on the go and share my schedule with my boyfriend. As we both have a lot in our agendas, for both personal and work, it’s easier to get organized with a shared tool.
My system is based on quarters. I find that 3 months is short enough to plan ahead, and long enough to start big projects.
The very first pages of my bullet journal are therefore dedicated to all my quarterly goals collections. For Q3, I created 3 main collections:
- A Q3 goals spread, with 3 categories: home projects, personal projects, self care improvement. I also wrote my blog related goals just as a reminder, as they are also in my blog bullet journal.
- A master task list for each of the category above. These 3 collections aim to turn my projects into action plans. For each goal I want to achieve, I made a task list to help me figure out the steps that I must go through before getting to the final result.
Just after these task list, I left a blank page that I intend to use as a “achievements and failures” log in order to document my progress.
- Projects plan: I’ll use this spread to plan (almost) all the tasks of my various master lists week by week over the quarter. At this point of planning, I refer to my digital calendar to check on trips, deadlines and events that may affect my plans: experience taught me that it’s impossible to achieve 3 big tasks if I’m travelling for work (learned it the hard way!).
These three collections are the cornerstone of the project management system in my personal bullet journal. When I sit to set everything up and end with an action plan for each of my goals, I really feel that I can make them happen. I then create additional collections as needed to strengthen this big picture.
My monthly log is based on Ryder Carroll’s planning system.
I dedicate 2 pages to my monthly plan with a vertical calendar that allows me to log any event or appointment. I added 2 columns at the right of my schedule in order to have some space for week by week tasks list. The first column is for any personal tasks and the second one is dedicated to my blog plans. The spare space is for monthly goals and master task list. For this quarter, I’ll try to reach 4 big goals a month to achieve my quarterly projects objectives!
Beside my schedule + monthly plan, I have two other monthly collections:
- My editorial calendar layout is very similar to the one I use for my monthly log. This double page helps me to stay organized and manage the blog and Instagram posts. This way, I can take time to shoot good pictures and avoid writing my post in a rush (it usually doesn’t end well!)
- My budget spread: I hesitated before including this spread in my July set-up… I’m quite reasonable with my budget and to be honest, I’m too lazy to log all my expenses as they come. But I’m going to give it a last chance before I decide if I drop it for good or not!
As I was explaining to you here, I can’t imagine to have a planning system that won’t have a weekly plan part. I used to combines a weekly log + dailies, but I’m now using weekly log which includes my daily tasks list and events. I’m sticking with this tried and true set-up, with some tweaks to help me prioritize my tasks.
My first July weekly log has 3 sections: a master task list (with a personal and a blog category), a table that holds the 5 working days to-dos and a separated spread for the week-end.
For each working day, I have 3 boxes in my daily log (from left to right): the first one is for events, appointments and editorial calendar reminder, the second is for my top 3 tasks (inspired by @lifebywhitney), and the last one is for any other task.
My weekly log for the first week of July, before the pen, and the last week of June with the same set-up
The “focus” section allows me to define 3 top priority tasks. I hope that this trick will help me focus the tasks I really want to get done this day. After a whole week of use, I find this idea pretty effective! The space left for all my other tasks is tiny though, and I don’t know what to think about it: on one hand, I feel like it’s a disadvantage because I may run out of space to write all my tasks, but on the other hand, it forces me to have a sharp task list that I can actually tackle in on day.
I also decided to bring back some trackers in my planning routine. I’m having hard time to take care of myself and to set new habits so I hope they’ll help me to stay on tracks!
My bullet journal set-up and planning system for Q3 is pretty much the same as the one I use since the beginning of the year. But I can’t say everything was perfectly working and planner peace is definitely hard to find, so I tweaked it a bit for Q3 so that it will better fit my needs. I especially changed how I manage my quarterly goals: I dropped the progress bars and I hope that my master tasks lists will better help me to reach them.
Starting a new notebook is always super exciting, and I really feel like everything is possible! And if some parts of my set-up don’t work, I’ll just have to turn a page and experiment new ideas!
– Leuchtturm 1917: Medium, softcover, dotted
– A5 Muji Notebook (squared)
– Quo Vadis Habana notebook (squared paper – gift from the brand)
– Free printables stickers available in the Library
– Erasable Muji pen (0,4)
– Muji pencil