A New Year, Same Bullet Journal, New Layouts
2018 Bullet Journal…
Simple and effective layouts for my bullet journal were always a focus - combined with more elaborate and creative trackers, yearly goal setting pages, and doodle art for special occasions. I like to save time in my daily and weekly layouts since those are the ones focused on to-do lists and actually getting stuff done.
… and 2019 Bullet Journal.
So for this 2019 yearly setup, I took the lessons learned during my bullet journal journey (starting way back here! ) and applied only what really worked for me long-term. It’s simple, minimalist, but with room for whimsical details for when I’m in the mood.
I hope this overview can help you with your own journaling - no matter if you’re still planning your year (it’s a process, after all!) or just looking for additional tracker ideas or tips. I’ve made a couple of free minimalist printable pages, too.
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Goals & Memories:
I’m not showing you my 2018 in review as, compared to the one I created last year, it’s much more personal and private.
But the system remained similar: A mind-map with different areas of my life, listing out what happened, what I learned, what I’m grateful for.
I actually finished that part of my yearly planning routine early, during the winter solstice. After finishing 108 sun salutations I was in the right space of mind to sit down and reminisce. (Read: I couldn’t move and the only thing within reach were my journal and pens.)
This year, I didn’t stop at a mind-map. I filled about three pages in my tiny hand-writing going over my thoughts in a bit more depth. That felt very cathargic, meditative, and inspiring all at once! The combination with the more stream-lined mind map makes the process easier, too.
… and Forward!
Above, you can see the “2019 Goals” Mind Map page. Based on all the looking-back, the looking-forward part came easy to me.
Life - Goals like meditation, simple travel plans, and minimizing my wardrobe even more.
Art - Art, divorced from freelance work. I’d experimented with new techniques and motives in 2018 and look forward to pursuing those in the new year!
Health - With my scoliosis diagnosis, I shifted my focus even more towards health. I’m excited to see where Ashtanga Yoga will lead me and hope to practice both King Cobra and Pincha Mayurasana by the end of 2019.
Shop/Etsy - I really enjoyed creating the occasional bullet journal kit and want to make it a monthly thing in 2019, as well as updating old photography.
Blog/Social Media - A minimum of monthly blog posts and sticking to a more consistent theme on social media are my very manageable goals for 2019.
You can see how I decided on mostly personal categories and how there isn’t even a “work” section at all. Yes, my Etsy shop and art in general are listed there, but I didn’t want to set goals for my freelance illustrator work. I’ve found in the past that this isn’t a part of life easy to influence - it depends so much on chance, on my current clients, on last-minute schedule changes… It’s much more effective to focus on the parts that I can control, like the creation of new products and new illustrations, on the practice of new techniques, which then in turn both attract new clients and make my work better.
My pens for writing and doodling:
Sakura Gelly Roll Pen for filling in the boxes and heavier lines when lettering.
2019 in Numbers - Stats & Projects Layout
The year in numbers spread!
Remember this one from last year?
Sometimes, objectivity is needed. My year in numbers overviews are really just that.
I’ve left some empty space in the bottom right of my journal in case I come up with something else that needs tracking.
The top left statistic is for “Products Created” - by now, I’m already at ten, with new year calendars and planner printables that went up just a tad late on Etsy. ;)
Blog posts written per month… If you’ve read my previous blog post, you might remember that I had to cut down free time spent at my laptop. I already had to spend too many hours each day hunched over illustrations or editing images and blogging was one of the first personal projects to not make the scoliosis-cut. Let’s see how this tracker fills over the year!
I had a “Days of Exercise” tracker in my 2018 journal and found it very insightful. I’d go back over my monthly habit trackers and combine all the exercise-themed habits: Yoga, weight lifting, long walks… and see on how many days per month I was active. Proud to say that I went from an average of 12-15 days per month to nearly daily over the year!
No matter if it’s just a long walk, a restorative yoga session, deadlifts, or a two hour Ashtanga practice - it would give me a look at my overall activity levels, so I’ve included one for this year, too.
Comic chapters take forever to make, especially when I also have a lot of commissions to work on. So instead of just counting the end products, I added a tracker for individual panel drawings, too.
Social Media Trackers
A tracker for Instagram follower numbers versus posts found a place on my yearly overview page, too.
I also added a tiny Youtube video tracker and a random sketch tracker - only sketches that are studies or practice count!
Product & Blog Planning in my Bullet Journal 2019
Who else loves lists?
I like to keep a running list (or ten) of ideas for products, illustrations, blog posts, random little projects… and thought I’d leave some space for brain dumps just after the Year in Numbers page.
You can see how I also added columns for the stage each product could be in. For me, that means drawing > digital edits > layouting & publishing - but those might vary if you work on different products than I do.
Collecting Yearly & Monthly Data…
Of course, to be able to fill in those yearly stats, I need monthly trackers!
There are very basic, easy to use habit trackers - I really enjoy those for months during which the rest of my journal is very decorated. The simplicity of the trackers works well with more elaborate weekly and monthly layouts.
I’ve created three simple habit trackers for a bullet journal starter kit.
These should be great for beginners all new to journaling or anyone looking for a bare-bones, adjustable design.
Monthly Mini Calendar Design - To observe how your habits change according to the days of the week. These habit trackers are inspired by stamps and can be used as printable stickers, too.
Elegant Long Stripes Design - For a more minimalist look I love to use these sleek trackers! Either use the full page as-is or individual stripes as stickers.
My Illustrated January Habit Tracker
Since my January is super minimalist already (with family visiting, I knew I had to keep it simple, with just to-do lists and appointment reminders) I went with a more playful habit tracker design.
The Habit House was so much fun to draw and is probably one of my favorite printables yet! It makes my bullet journal look intricate and detailed while at the same time taking nearly no time to fill in.
If you're completely new to the idea of bullet journals or got overwhelmed by the sheer amount of possibilities, I really love this guide that takes you from the very basics of planning in a journal to the more complicated (but fun and creative!) parts like hand-lettering, decorations, and special page ideas. You can also find a lot of incredibly talented bullet journal artists on YouTube that take you through their monthly or weekly planning.
You can get TWO months of Skillshare Premium access for free as a reader of my blog! So if you're about to tackle journals, planning, a blog, a business launch, a creative project of any kind, you really need to check out their vast library of well-made tutorials - I've learned so much myself through Skillshare myself. My calligraphy skills have improved a lot, if I may say so!
With only five habits to track, this was perfect for the new year and for establishing a focused daily routine.
The categories I went with:
Ashtanga (but with the option of adding a tiny ‘W’ for weight lifting in the empty window on my break days)
Etsy - with so many half-finished printables and a lot of sticker designs waiting to print, this category was a must to make sure I’d spread out my efforts.
Instagram - I’d slacked off quite a bit and have to get back into a good posting rhythm!
One Coffee - Reducing my caffeine intake. One coffee per day is HARD, guys.
Walking - The weather is horrible. Either microdust pollution or icy winds. Let’s see how this category goes.
While I kept the habit house simple with just black as my filler color, I’d like to try a more colorful approach in the future!
The printable house habit tracker kit includes a variety of formats to make printing easy, no matter if you use US letter paper or A4 (I provide cutlines) or if you want to use the tracker page in your Traveler’s Notebook.
Yearly Overview: Monthly Calendars & Blank Space for Goal Setting
I used two double spreads for my yearly overview this time. On the left page, a simple printable gives me an overview of each month, while on the right page - which I left blank - there’s room to write down important dates, birthdays, and focus on one main goal per month.
You can grab a free printable with these tiny calendars below. Cut the page in half to get two pages for half-yearly goal setting! You can also cut out each monthly calendar and use them as stickers for quick monthly planner setups.
My January Weekly Spreads
Simple, Efficient, Quick
As I have one big project I’m consistently working on all month anyway, I only needed a little bit of room for my daily to-do lists. Short and sweet was the goal!
I’ve been experimenting with these simple columns for each day, with room for a couple day-specific tasks, appointments, but also gratitude logs or whatever else I had in mind.
I quite like it so far, even though I’ll need more space in the future once my larger projects are wrapped up and I’ll have more smaller goals each day.
Tip: Adding a “General Tasks” or “To-Do’s of the Week” section at the bottom was a great solution for when I wasn’t in control of my schedule. We had family visiting (three generations) and my schedule was a mess the whole time…! Especially once my little nephews noticed that I was awake early in the morning and took that as a chance to get up earlier, too, and hang out near my desk. Using watercolor with pre-schoolers around? No way.
So whenever a day went topsy-turvy I could pick out some of the general tasks and work on those. That way, the tasks listed next to each day of the week were only the most important, time-sensitive ones. All in all, it was much easier to adapt my schedule flexibly this way!
I hope this minimalist bullet journal setup for 2019 gave you some ideas for your own journal or planner!
Thank you for reading!