bullet journal · chaos control · home · life · organizing

chaos control: setting up my bullet journal for 2019

Let me start with an apology. Sorry for the sad photos…we haven’t had much sun the last few days. I struggle at the best of times to get decent pictures, but it’s been extra challenging this winter.

Usually I start my planning in September, as it corresponds to the school year. My current bullet journal, however, was down to the last few pages, so I decided to start fresh for January.

My first (also my current) journal lasted for a year and a half. It took me some time to get into the habit of using it, and I definitely pared down the entries I made. I decided to evaluate the pros and cons of that journal before diving into the next one. The journal itself, while lightweight, doesn’t lay flat; I opted, this time, for a hardcover Leuctturm.

Here’s a list of the things that were not working for me:

  • monthly layout  :: I stopped doing this, as I felt it was rather redundant. I do like to have an overall view of the month, but it was a lot of extra work for little reward.
  • trackers  :: I stopped making these after a couple of months. I just wasn’t using it to its full potential. 
  • index ::  I found I didn’t really use the index. I prefer having tabs for on-going tasks and bookmarks for the current week.
  • goals page :: Ya…that was an epic fail. Never looked at it until I started planning for my new journal.

Here’s a list of what was working:

  • weekly spread  ::  I found a layout that works for me, and stuck with it, with a few variations here and there. On weeks while we are away or have special events to plan for, I make an alternate layout.
  • running lists ::  I like having running lists for homeschool, business, blog, church, projects, etcetera in the front of my journal. I also prefer to tab these for quick access.
  • specific lists :: When I needed a list for specific occasions, I had them either on my weekly spread or on the following page(s) of the week they pertained to.
  • meal planning :: Having my meal plan alongside my weekly plan worked well for me. I was able to prepare for the day ahead, or think about prep during the day.
  • dates to remember  :: This records the significant birthdays and anniversaries.

What I’m adding this time:

  • individual monthly trackers :: I know…I said above that it didn’t work for me.  I really want to focus on forming some good habits, so I’m going to give this another go; although, unless I get a calendar stamp, I don’t see myself continuing this.
  • focus “One Thing” :: Rather than open-ended, long-term goals, I am going to focus on accomplishing a specific task in specific areas for the week.  For instance, I will focus on a deep clean in a specific room.  I will focus on organizing one area, whether a drawer or cupboard or photos or something on my computer.  I also have teaching videos that have been neglected.  So many areas in my life are in limbo!
  • key :: I didn’t really have a system last time. I wanted to keep it simple for my initial run. However, I think I may try to implement it this time around, as I found some tasks were not getting completed or only partially so.

 As I mentioned, I purchased a hard cover Leuchtturm 1917 A5. I actually ordered two bullet journals by mistake. I had put the Leuchtturm in my cart at Amazon while I compared it to the Essentials Large Black Dot Matrix Notebook. I had intended to buy the Essentials version at less than half the price; then both arrived in the mail. Oh well, one will be my art notebook. More on this later. (FYI: my Alberta girl, a bullet journal aficionado, recommends the Little More Dot Grid Notebook, which as the name suggests, gives a little more of everything. It’s slightly larger, has more pages, the pages are thicker, and has a handy dandy pen holder, to boot. Alas, next time.)

I began by setting up the year at a glance pages. This doubles as my future log which allows me to refer back to scheduled events as I set up my monthly trackers and weekly pages. I opted for four pages so I had plenty of space. I make a separate list for dates to remember, that is birthdays and anniversaries.

Next I added my running lists and routines and such. Here’s a sampling.

Next comes the monthly page with my trackers.

Last but not least, my weekly spread. It was only partially filled in when I took the photo, as you can see. You’ll notice that I like a Monday to Sunday setup. I like the weekend blocked together. This works best for me, but you can set yours up any way you’d like.

I found a basic layout with little artwork or colour (other than a few highlights) worked best for me. I also ditched the ruler for a casual look. That means I have only a few tools to get the job done: a Micron fine pen, a Fudenosuke hard tip brush pen and a Zebra Mildliner highlighter. Simplicity. I want this planner to be doable. One of the things I love about bullet journaling is that it’s customizable–it can be whatever you need it to be. Other planners are convenient in that the set up work is all done, but they don’t necessarily suit your purposes. By keeping the layouts simple, I am more likely to get the most out of my bullet journal. I like that a bullet journal is organic, evolving as my needs change.

Are you a planner? Do you love to bullet journal? I’d love to hear how you organize your time!

Check out these awesome sites for bullet journal inspiration:


5 thoughts on “chaos control: setting up my bullet journal for 2019

  1. First of all, let me just say that I absolutely LOVE the layout of your blog!! It’s so stinkin cute !! 🙂 and I also love this post! I admire the bullet journals however I’ve been thinking about getting me a planner for blog! I still haven’t decided yet though but I love your journal. Looks like it helps with organization !!
    I would love to connect with you here in the blogging community! Whenever you get the chance, I’d love for you to come on over and check out my latest post ! https://jessierenea.com/standards-are-absolutely-necessary/ I look forward to reading more daily posts for you! Wishing you lots of success in your journey of blogging!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey, Jess…thanks for stopping by! Thanks for the kind words, too. The best thing about bullet journals is that they can function in anyway you need them to. Heading over to your blog 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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