Bullet Journal Show and Tell

Posted 9 June, 2016 by Trish in Crafty, Life / 38 Comments

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Bullet Journal Show and TellOver the years I’ve tried and failed at many different ways to get organized and to journal my life. I’ve always kept little notebooks with lists and I tried a planner last year, but I could never find a way to keep up that worked for me–or that I didn’t forget about in a few weeks.

About six months ago, I posted about my Big Fat To Do lists and several people mentioned Bullet Journaling in the comments. I looked up the Bullet Journal method and found myself incredibly overwhelmed. There were so many parts–and did I really need an index? I pushed the idea of bullet journaling into the back of my brain.

But at the beginning of 2016, Debi posted a picture of her Fauxbonochi/Bullet Journal and I couldn’t get it out of my mind. It was gorgeous and functional and suited my love of lists.

I started looking at Bullet Journals again and fell down the deep deep rabbit hole on the internet–blogs, YouTube, Instagram. These things are everywhere!

Five months later and I’m LOVING my Bullet Journal. This is the longest I’ve been able to keep up with a planner/journal and I don’t see the end anywhere near. I love that I can house all of my information in one little notebook–in the past I’ve kept a little journal with me at all times for lists (mostly blogging related) but kept separate to do lists. Now I have all my lists, including things I need to do, as well as an occasional diary of events all together.

Starting a Bullet Journal can be overwhelming, so I thought I’d share mine with you to see just how versatile this little gem can be.

Let’s back up first…

What is a Bullet Journal?!

According to the official Bullet Journal website, a Bullet Journal is an “analog system for the digital age.” In the most traditional sense, a bullet journal is a way to rapidly log events, to dos, and ideas. The example provided on the website shows a monthly list as well as daily tasks. The next component–where customization and personality really come through–is collections. Collections are essentially any kind of list you want to keep track of.

Because I’m mostly stay at home right now without a lot on my plate (snort), I really struggled with the best way to set up my bullet journal. Did I need a daily to do list? Would I even keep up with a daily to do? Did I need to see all of the days of the week listed out like a traditional planner? What is the difference between a Daily Spread and a Weekly Spread? I took some deep breaths and realized the following:

The best part about the Bullet Journal System is that customization is unlimited!

Turns out that with little modifications, I’ve been using the same set up since I started. I try to keep my set-ups simple–if you browse through bullet journals on Instagram, you’ll see that some get very artsy. Don’t get too bogged down in the aesthetics of the journal. Add a little bit here and there if you’re interested, but I always remind myself that my journal is for me.

How I set up my Bullet Journal

Ok ok, enough intro–now to the fun part to show you some of my Bullet Journal and how I’ve made this system work for me. You should be able to click on any of the images to enlarge.

Annual Calendar

The Annual Calendar is where I keep all of the main birthdays (mostly family) and important events for each month of the year. I reference this when making my individual calendars each month.

Bullet Journal - Annual Calendar


Monthly calendar

The monthly calendar is a quick snapshot of important appointments and dates like birthdays. I try to keep this spread simple which is why it only takes up one page. Yes I had to do some math to make sure my calendar fit the page. The first time I tried to make a calendar, I miscalculated and ended up with six days across instead of seven. Still trying to figure out what to do with that blank grid!

If our month starts looking busier, I will contemplate using a full two page spread for a calendar but for now this works.

Bullet Journal - Monthly Calendar and Brain Dump

Brain Dump

(See above, right) My Brain Dump list is a quick list of all of the things that I would like to get done throughout the month. I don’t assign dates to these items and they generally don’t have strict deadlines. I add in future dates below the brain dump to remember things that don’t fit on my monthly calendar.

I’m still playing around with how to keep track of future appointments as this will start getting busier for us when Elle goes to Kindergarten in the fall. Some people have a “Future Log” but I haven’t had a huge need for this yet.


Meal plan

Last year I recorded all of our family meals on calendar print outs each month. Now I keep track of all of these in a list form each month. I use a sticky note on the page to plan for the upcoming week since our meals aren’t set in stone and tend to change quite frequently. Blue dots indicate eating dinner away from home or take-out.

Bullet Journal - Meal Plan


Daily Tracker

I love the Daily/Habit Tracker idea that I first saw on BohoBerry. Some people use the tracker to log/create habits; I use mine to see how often I do something rather than a checklist of things I must do. I admit that sometimes I get behind in keeping track, so guess on some of the items, but it’s a fun snapshot (and I’m a sucker for color).

Bullet Journal - Daily Tracker


Weekly Calendar

At the top of my weekly calendar, I list the events for the week. Below this I rapid log my to do list. These days I don’t have many strict deadlines, but once Elle is in Kindergarten I might have to amend my weekly spread to something that looks more like an actual planner with specific days outlined. We’ll see! For now, this very simple method works just fine for me and if I have empty space at the bottom I use this for quick journaling.

As per the Bullet Journal system, round bullets indicate an event and bullets indicate an action item. Once the action item is complete, I make an X. If I have to forward the task to the next week, I use an arrow.

Bullet Journal - Daily Log



In my various notebooks that I’ve had over the years, I’ve created all kinds of lists–the books that I’ve read/listened to each year, songs that I adore, blog posts to write, blog maintenance, things to pack for a trip. Sometimes these lists end up being blog posts–such as Musicals!

I didn’t want to include allllll of the lists I have in my notebook, but as an example, I have lists for my 2016 things, blog post ideas, Bloggiesta (blog maintenance), cleaning chart for deep cleaning days, craft projects in limbo, fitness goals/status, and more.

There are also a number of lists that I think about making–favorite family meals for a quick glance when I need inspiration, vacation/camping bucket list, things do with the girls around Dallas, household/honey-do list.

Below are some of my favorite go-to collections in my Bullet Journal.

Runkeeper/ #C25K

I love seeing my progress–both in distance and in pace. Hopefully by the time I finish out this particular page I’ll be ready to move onto 10K training…as it’s one of my 2016 Things.

Bullet Journal - Runkeeper


Reads of 2016

The columns: Pages | Paper, Audio, Ebook | Fiction, Nonfiction | Male, Female Author | Classic, Diverse, Graphic Novel, Library, Young Adult, Shelf (owned before 2016) | 1700, 1800, 1900, 2000, 2016 Publication (yes I took these pictures over a month ago!)

Bullet Journal - Book Log


Currently/Because I Suck at Journaling

No really, I use the heading “Because I Suck at Journaling” most of the time and then rapidly log with bullet points things I want to remember (kind of like the short list on my daily log above). “Currently” is a list that I have periodically blogged here under the title “Right Now I Am…“.

Not including the “Currently” lists, I have journaled 11 times since I started this bullet journal. That’s 11 times more than I journaled last year! I find that keeping it really low key works for me.

Bullet Journal - Currently Diary


Oh the Places We’ll Go

Slightly deceptive title as these are all of the states I’ve been to (did you see my debate about it on Instagram?). I’ve toyed with coloring starbursts in the parts of the states we’ve stayed, but who knows. I do need to include Alaska and Hawaii–I’ve been to both! How did I draw this? Printed off a map and traced it–so my New Jersey and Delaware are only as good as what I traced. Ha!

Bullet Journal - State Map


Sources of Inspiration

@TheRevisionGuide (GREAT account for tutorials–I’ve learned how to make all of my headers thanks to her!) |@Boho.berry |@christina77star |@passion.themed.life |@showmeyourplanner|@tinyrayofsunshine


Products Used

After I bought my Moleskin, I discovered that the Leuchtturm seems to be the preferred notebook, but I love my Moleskin and haven’t had any problems with it. I think the bonus to the Leuchtturm is that it has an index and numbered pages–neither of which I use at this point.


So, does this seem entirely insane? Or do you do something similar with your jouranling/planning? I’d love to hear what “Collections” you’d include if you were to start (or have started) a Bullet Journal.



38 Responses to “Bullet Journal Show and Tell”

  1. This is fascinating! I had no idea what a Bullet Journal was before reading this. I really like the fact that everything fits in one notebook. My concern is that it would take too much time. Or that I’d get distracted by trying to make it as pretty as possible. I think I’ll have a look at some tutorials to see more.

    P.S. I’ve got my very first 10K race coming up next week, I’ll let you know how it goes! :)

    • Time is definitely a factor and something I meant to mention in this post. It does take a bit of time to set it up–but you can make it as basic of artsy as you want! But as an example, I didn’t get my weekly to-do list written until Tuesday afternoon and I still haven’t filled out my tracker for the past 9 days. LOL! But I’ve still managed to keep up with it more than any other system. And YAY 10K!! Good luck!!!

  2. Oooh, I love this post! Even though it makes me feel somewhat voyeuristic, I so love getting a peak at people’s bullet journals. I adore your “Currently” page to pieces!!! I think absolutely the most wonderful thing about bullet journaling is how everyone can make it work for them, and how no two different ones will ever look the same.

    • LOL! Well it was YOUR sharing yours that made me take the plunge. So how’s that for voyeuristic. ;) And yes, I love how unique bullet journaling is!

  3. I think I do keep several of these lists, but I can see the appeal of having everything in one place! I’m not sure I’m convinced yet, but you and so many others seem to love them. It’s certainly floating around as a possibility in the back of my mind!

  4. Wow thanks so much for sharing your bujo with us! I’ve seen it on Instagram and whatnot but wasn’t sure if it’s for me. Still am not sure! Seems like quite a bit of setup to do. But I like the look of your daily tracker. And love how you’ve got that “currently” page set up!

  5. I’ve just started bullet journaling this month! I am keeping it super low-key too (even lower key than yours, black ink only and no banners, just titles.) I like your habit tracker, and thanks for linking to inspiration.

    My struggle is to-do lists that are too long, because I’m keeping everything in there – personal, home/kids, blog, and work. Though my Google calendar at work takes on a lot of the work stuff.

    • I do NOT use mine for any work-related stuff and I still use a wall calendar in the kitchen for our appointments and social activities. I DO use mine for collections, trackers, and brain dumps. I don’t make to-do lists (shhhhh, don’t tell)

  6. Oh and my collections are: books read, books DNF’d, book I’d like to read, blogging ideas, and some work-related ones.

  7. I am here immediately after updating my bullet journal this morning. I tend to finish off yesterday and plan today first thing in the morning.
    I love the flexibility of this and that I can pick and choose what things I want to use. I don’t do any monthly or weekly stuff because The Hubster and I have shared Google Calendars so all appointments and events go there. I do use a monthly tracker for recurring tasks that need to be done more than a couple of times a week. I have sort of evolved into typically having a half page per day of To Do’s and a bit of journaling. Occasionally I add photos printed with my Polaroid Zip but that’s mostly for events and traveling. I’m not sure whether I journal in my BuJo or Bullet Journal in my journal. Either way it’s working and has since January 1st. I’ve never stuck with any kind of journaling this long.

    I use a traveler’s style notebook so I have several moleskine journals in it some grid, some lined (for some reason I don’t like dotted) – BuJo/Journal, Reading Journal, Commonplace Book, and Brain Dump/Collections/Lists journal.

    I LOVE @TheRevisionGuide – I’m lousy at most of what I’ve learned from her but I keep trying.

  8. Ti

    I am a huge planner girl but it takes me so long at the beginning of the school year to get all my dates in. There’s no way I’d ever do it if I had to draw out all of my calendars, etc. It looks like a lot of work and I am a bit OCD too which means if the lines aren’t perfect or the space is too small I’d probably rip it out and do it again which means, even more time. That’s me though. I know many people who prefer this method for journaling but for planning I am not sure I could make the most of it.

  9. Beautiful Journal! I love the idea of bullet journals, but I am so comfortable with my “regular” planner. I do love the idea of personalizing it, the lists (BTW, love your meal planning list, yummm). But I’m seriously thinking about doing this maybe for next year.

  10. Ooh! I love my bullet journal, and yours is wonderful. I especially love that map!

    Maybe I’ll post a couple of photos of mine this weekend. I don’t get quite as creative with it as you do, but it would still be fun to show off. ;-)

  11. Thanks for sharing your bullet journal. I was curious about it ever since you mentioned in a previous post. I might have to look more into this. I’m not sure if I’d do it or not.

  12. Some of my collections are shows & movies we want to watch, packing list for camping, photography apps I want to explore; list of to-do’s for the lace workshop I run every year

    Some of my tracking charts are when we changed smoke detector batteries, when we bought gas for the grill, non-essential spending (money tracker)

    I’ve been half-assedly BuJo-ing since last fall but only recently caved and bought a dotted journal — so I’m seriously giving it a try.

  13. I am super impressed with you! I was just trying to figure out what a bullet journal even was so this was timely for me. I love the idea but I would never have anything so coordinated and pretty. I do need to try to get organized so maybe I’ll fall into some of your links over the weekend!

  14. I’m not much of a journal writer but I’ve been curious about the whole bullet journal thing and this looks like so much fun! Plus I kind of like having a record of what I’m doing, want to do, thinking about, and all kinds of other stuff. And it just so happens that I have a notebook that would be perfect for this setting around empty that I bought by accident. Thanks for the inspiration!

  15. Jenny

    This Bullet Journaling is getting crazy! I still haven’t jumped on the boat but I can see the appeal.

  16. I LOVE looking at other people’s bullet journals! Mine is pretty low key, but I just found Boho Berry a few weeks back and my inspiration has been sparked! I love I started keeping my brain dump to-dos on a long-ish post it so I can move it around with me. And that way I need to keep it under control a bit.

    PS I am also a coloring book drop out

    • Boho Berry is what caused me to fall DEEP into that rabbit hole–though I have noticed from Instagram that many planners are starting to look just like hers. If you’re on Instagram (or even if you’re not), check out https://www.instagram.com/therevisionguide/ – She has great step by step tutorials on how to create banners. Really helped me a lot! And great tip about the longer post-it. Think I have some that are just a little smaller than the journal that would work great (I’ve been struggling with how to incorporate my blogging to-do in the bujo)

  17. Ooh thanks for sharing! I use a bullet journal mashup for work. For home – I still haven’t found a paper based system that fits my lifestyle.

  18. So pretty! I find Bullet Journaling so intimidating. Everyone’s handwriting is so neat. And they keep the lines straight. I’m afraid of giving up my stickers and boxes for My Happy Planner. They force neatness on me. I’ve tried it once. Maybe I should try again.

    • The dot grid really helps keep things straight without looking too boxy–plus I use a ruler for straight lines. :) It is fun to do, but I understand it isn’t for everyone.

  19. Great post!! I didn’t want to use too any exclamation points but I love this post. I use two notebooks, journals, one is pink and the other blue green (which is irrelevant to comment here) and I use it to reord meals, books currently ready, books I want to read, movies, activities, goals and the like.
    Should I post a photo on Instagram? Nahhhhh…..yours is prettier!

    Thanks for hooking up with me again on Twitter again. I missed my connections & sucked that I had to start up anonymously due to family. Meh.

  20. I love your journal! As for the time thing, I think it only takes as much time as you want it to take. Some days I have lots of time to work on it, and other days I just go day by day and quickly write out a week. Other days I’ll take book notes in it, or make collections, or be artsy about it. Sometimes I journal in it, too. I like how versatile it is!

  21. Jennygirl

    Oh this is what is meant by a bullet journal. Yea no not something I would do right now, but I can see why it can be addictive. yours is quite beautiful and you should be proud :)

  22. First things first! You haven’t been to VA yet! You have to come here and we should meet!!

    I have been bullet journaling only for 3 months but love it so far and it’s the only to-do system that has worked for me. My husband also started at the same time and he is a convert too! Mine is mostly lists – not much color or drawing but only because the only time I get to actually open my BuJo is when I am at work. Sad. I desperately want to set up my day’s spread every morning or the previous evening but it rarely happens.

    Love this post. I am a sucker for BuJo Show and Tells and am thrilled that you published this!

  23. I love this post so much. I’m a planner nerd and I use my Erin Condren planner daily to keep on top of blogging and fitness. Your bullet journaling has really inspired me to add more elements of that though. I really love the monthly list, that is something I really must add. And like you I love colour and I love getting a little creative in my planner.

  24. I love the idea of this, I love the look of this. But I just know I would fall behind almost from the start with having to draw out everything myself. I just know me – I’d be all over it the first month, maybe even into the second and by the third month, I’d just be scribbling stuff in as fast as I could. Kudos to you for sticking with it!

  25. Aryn

    I am definitely ganking your book tracker (with a couple tweaks) for my 2017 journal. And then I’m going to tweak it more for movies. <3