I finally got myself a "real" bullet journal for 2018!
Here we are, at the start of a brand new year and a new bullet journal to go along with it!
After starting my first bullet journal last year and many months and experiments have gone by, I'm happy to show you my first complete, thought-through bullet journal setup in a new Midori notebook!
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I combined functional, minimalist spreads with more creative journaling ideas. I hope you get inspired to plan your own year after looking at my layouts and doodles!
If you've followed me on my journey into bullet journaling, you have seen me use very different journals over the year. I'd started with a simple unused Kraft paper sketchbook I'd had lying around. When I got sick of the brown paper, I switched to a small blank notebook that I'd purchased for storyboard sketches but had found the paper to be too thin for actual drawings. Happily using that one over the next months, I still wished to move into a larger format and as, by then, I was absolutely committed to bullet journals as a planning system, I finally caved and got myself a nice, fancy, beautiful Midori MD notebook in A5 for the new year.
This little stationery haul also included a refill, a blank refill that I plan to use as an art journal (more on that below) and two plastic sleeve covers.
While I enjoy blank pages very much for doodles and drawings, I hope the grid paper of the Midori notebook helps me with cleaner minimalist layouts and with improving my abysmal handwriting. Getting better at lettering and calligraphy is one of my goals for 2018.
Choosing the Midori MD notebooks as my journals...
The Midori MD notebooks are less famous than the traveler's notebook inserts from the same company. While the traveler's notebook system looked appealing to me, I know myself too well: I'd forever switch out inserts and getting lost in details. Also, the high format didn't appeal to me as much as a simple A5 notebook.
The Midori notebooks came with the stickers pictured above. While I didn't use mine (yet!) I really like the IDEA DIARY as a title for both my bullet journal and my art journal.
Since I live in Korea, I got mine via Rakuten. You can sign up for Ebates to get a percentage of cash back on your order - since it's the same company, they frequently have very high sales!
But if you don't live in South Korea, Amazon might be the cheaper option when it comes to shipping costs. You can still get $10 via Ebates on your first order through them.
My Minimalist 2018 Bullet Journal
I've really fallen in love with simple, functional layouts for my planning needs, combined with black and white doodle art.
For that purpose, the sleek Midori MD notebooks fit the aesthetic I had in mind. I want to keep my journal as a tool to be organized and save time, while still looking beautiful and being fun to set up every month and every day.
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! :)
Year at a Glance:
2018 Dates and Quarterly Goals
in my Bullet Journal
2017 taught me to stay flexible. This is why I've switched from yearly goals to quarterly goals.
I still have several long-term projects that will take years and vague ideas for the far future, but after the unpredictable chaos of last year, I want to take it slow. A three month period gives me a long-term look without being overwhelming.
I further broke down my goals into a big main goal, a secondary goal, and then some smaller goals for different categories of my life.
BuJo Year in Numbers: Stats & Trackers
Inspired by my little graphs and trackers that I used to evaluate my creative business and blogging progress in 2017, I've sketched in these trackers here for future use.
"Do" Goals vs. "Get" Goals
There are two ways that I use to track my progress: Things that I do, and things that I get.
An example for each:
How many blog posts DO I write each month?
How many pageviews did I GET each month?
Both measure progress, but the second goal isn't entirely in my hands. There's an element of luck involved, of algorithms working out, of something going viral or not...
Another example: Tracking Instagram or Youtube followers.
Yes, those depend on how much I post or how well I plan my content, but to some degree, I can't influence everything.
HOW many videos I post on Youtube, though, would be another DO goal.
The "DO" goals that I track are entirely my responsibility and come down to diligent work.
I like having a balance of these "Do" and "Get" goals/tasks/numbers to track since both are important but motivate me in very different ways.
Project Planning Spread: Progress in a Year
While I've only planned my exact quarterly goals, I do have the mentioned above long-term commitments and plans. Two of those are my blog (soon to be one year old! Yay!) and a comic I've been working on for a while and plan on publishing online soon.
Inspired by my star constellation project planner spread, I'll be adding stars for each blog post written and each comic page posted, respectively. The constellations will be formed by grouping similar themes or chapters together.
Hopefully, this spread will be chock-full of stars at the end of 2018!
Monthly Goals & Projects Mindmap
After that minimal yearly setup, we're already at monthly plans!
Like for my blog and webcomic yearly project tracking pages, this is a star constellation mindmap to keep me on track for the month of January.
Organized into Project Groups and Small Goals
Without getting too hung up on details (again, flexibility is key!) I grouped similar tasks and goals together to form future constellations.
This is really just to get an overview and to track my progress by filling in the stars with my Muji pen once the task is completed.
Already, I had to add three more commissions to that specific category and the month is getting quite busy!
I've also got a lot of blog posts pre-written and half-edited for January thanks to NaNoWriMo last year. I hope you like my bullet journaling posts because there are lots to come!
Bullet Journal Setup: Habit Tracker
Then, of course, there's a habit tracker! What would a bullet journal be without one? I've come quite a long way with these.
There are so many ways to use habit trackers and I'm in love with what I call a Dual Tracker.
Splitting the habits to track into two categories makes it easier to set priorities or to see patterns through the month.
I've split them into "Daily Habits" and "Tasks to Track", but other ideas to use the moon & star habit tracker would include:
- Morning Routine and Evening Routine
- Health and Productivity
- Personal and Work
- Creativity and House Keeping
You can find my printable Moon & Stars Habit Tracker here and a more detailed look at my outer space inspired bullet journal layouts here.
Then, it's time for weekly spreads
with a focus on productivity!
A simple system of eight boxes per double spread gets me through the week.
The first box contains an overview of tasks and projects which I can then apply to the individual days.
I try to not fill in the actual to-do lists for each day more than a couple nights in advance. All too often, I'm waiting for client feedback or get a surprise project sprung on me that then destroys my carefully laid plans.
- I'm trying to practice simple calligraphy - the daily entries here help a lot!
- Different categories in my weekly overview to keep me focused.
- More stars and patterns to organize my to-do lists.
My 2018 Art Journal Setup
... which is partially a bullet journal, but focused on yearly collections and pretty doodles.
As mentioned in the beginning, I got a blank paper version and a second plastic cover of the Midori MD notebook to use as an art journal.
How is this different from my actual bullet journal?
Not all that much, really.
I want to get into the habit of daily journaling. Diary entries, little sketches, stuff like that.
But my bullet journal is a productivity tool, focused on work and art projects I want to progress.
This art journal is more haphazard and a creative outlet.
Yearly Collection: Books Read in 2017
But that's for last year, you might say. :)
I loved my book tracker from 2017, and was devastated when I spilled water onto the page! It was just a couple of drops, but enough to smudge some of the tiny drawings.
So when I set up this art journal for 2018 I re-drew the book doodles. I also made a printable you can use in your own bullet journals or planners - two versions, actually, that you can use on their own or combined depending on your TBR goals!
It's a nice way of looking back at my favorite (and... less favorite...) reads and plan my TBR for the future.
Overall, the book tracker page looks much neater in this new version!
The larger format of the Midori MD in A5 also made it easier to draw details.
Also, I was able to group together series I'd read spread out through the year.
Having this look back at 2017 fit with the theme of creativity and whatever-I-want for this art journal. I can't wait to create a similar page as I read in 2018.
Movies to Watch, Books to Read
in my Bullet Journal
And here we go! I added a half page of movie titles, too. It includes old releases I want to watch again, new releases I missed out on in cinema (I only got to see two movies in the cinema in 2017!) and some upcoming movies I can't wait to see.
The book tracker for 2018 is only a half-finished doodle. I'm currently re-listening to the audiobook version of Uprooted, one of my very favoirte "comfort reads" that I like to re-read while drawing. It's so inspiring and I always discover new details in the writing I hadn't noticed before.
That's it for my bullet journal setup for 2018. I kept it simple but with enough room for me to get some creativity flowing and doodles doodled.
How did you get ready for 2018? Do you plan on journaling?