Bullet Journal: Monthly Progress & Minimalist Doodles
How is it June already? Where is time going?
Well, thanks to my bullet journal entries for the last months, I actually know how I've been using my time! Whenever I feel like the first half of the year is running by me way too fast, I remember all those pages that document the projects and art I've been working on and feel a lot better and in control. Ain't that nice.
This motivates me, even more, to keep my bullet journaling habits not only consistent but beautiful to look at and relaxing to work on. Even if I just take five minutes out of my day to write down tasks, the sense of control and purpose it gives me is always surprising.
Review of last month's bullet journal...
Let's look back at May: I went with a simple monthly overview of projects, work, blog ideas, and events. While I keep more detailed notes and make more concrete plans in my daily layouts, this rough overview in my (secondary) bullet journal keeps me focused on the most important things.
I also started to experiment with more colors and different pens (all from my Korean stationery haul) and wow, that's one strange learning curve. Here I am, an illustrator, and don't seem to manage a single journal page without smudges or mistakes...
(By the way, the washi tape and stickers used on this monthly spread are from this "Creative Life" printable)
May - Month in Review, Self-Evaluation, Lessons Learned
I'd kept that simplicity and minimalist approach during the later half of the month especially. A lot of work kept me from doing anything more elaborate, but I still wanted my bullet journal pages to look neat and inviting.
A new "layout" - if you can even call it that - is this Month In Review page above. Just next to my initial monthly spread, I listed in simple sentences:
- Everything that worked especially well or badly...
- Lessons learned during the month
- Nice Memories
- Ideas for future projects
This month in review page was so simple but actually helped me reflect and make some first vague plans for the coming month of June.
What I find important when doing these performance evaluations/reviews/mind dumps:
Don't know what you're going to write ahead of time. I had a couple of notes I wanted to make, but then I actually needed to think back and reflect to come up with the points on the lower half of the page.
Minimalist Monthly Spread in my Bullet Journal
The Month In Review page and the simple layouts I'd used then became the foundation for this monthly spread for June!
While some of the plans are set in stone (commission pieces, regular freelance work that I don't even bother with writing down since it's always the same, a trip to Seoul to visit family and friends...) others are more flexible. This is my outline for the month and what I aspire to accomplish.
My monthly layouts are very much focused on work and blogging/Etsy projects. Personal plans - I'll get back to those!
Freelance Artist & Blogging Organization in my Bullet Journal
There are four different categories on my Monthly Spread:
- Commission Pieces
Youtube is definitely just a footnote, though. The time it takes to make videos - and even just setting up for filming while drawing! - is rarely something that I have and want to use for that purpose. But still, I'm nearly done with editing a new Coloring Page Making-Of, so that got a quick note there.
Commission pieces always take priority (together with regular illustrator freelancing), so they're at the top of the list. While most of the time these kinds of commission pieces don't have a precise deadline, I'm doing my best to work efficiently and constantly. I plan on drawing in a (colored?) time block to the right of each project listed to show how long it takes to finish.
Doodle Art Habit Tracker
Another remnant of May!
I really loved this experiment of a habit tracker with star doodles, but I've made some changes to the design. Switching from vertical (what was I thinking??) to horizontal, for example.
I've also added more categories to fill in, since I've really fallen in love with the accountability a habit tracker gives me.
This is it! My Starry Sky habit tracker - I chose to just use the printable version for myself to make sure that the dot grid is neat and to save time.
If you'd like to try the starry sky habit tracker, I've got the printable file available here.
But before filling in my habits for the coming month, I wanted to introduce you to the other half of my monthly 'tracking' pages. This one is new, although I've done variations of this in the past. I call it my Progress Tracker.
While Habit Trackers are a great way to, well, form and keep to good habits, I wanted a way to track goals and achievements instead of 'just' consistency.
Monthly Progress Tracker Bujo Layout
I used planner doodle stickers to go with the design of my habit tracker. Something about printed files, be it planner page inserts or stickers, seems to even out my haphazard layouts and handwriting.
Four planner stickers to symbolize four different aspects I want to make progress in are arranged on this page.
- Learn New Things
- ~flower~ Doodle that just stands for self-care and personal!
These allow me to break down tasks that span all of the month into smaller portions - that I then can refer to when writing my daily task lists.
The Etsy Progress Tracker will get little markers (I'm thinking of doodled flowers!) for each new listing I create.
The Blog Schedule Progress Tracker is an overview of where I stand with the preparation for each blog post - the ones roughly planned in my Monthly Layout. As you've probably seen, I illustrate my blog posts, so there are drawings to be drawn, photos to be taken, edited - and then, of course, the writing itself.
For my Learn New Things progress tracker, I went with two Korean language categories, one for my portrait drawing challenge, and one for learning new recipes. The last two are self-explaining - I'll just add a little star or flower doodle for each new 'skill' or finished sketch.
Language learning is something I'm not yet sure about how to track. Maybe a quick, tiny note on the time spent doing whatever I was doing? A note on what I learned? It's not like I spend all that much time studying... so there will probably enough space, sad as that is. ;)
The Self-Care progress tracker part is the most vague... I'll probably just add tiny notes or doodles whenever I unlock a new achievement! Like for yoga and stretching, I really want to improve my leg flexibility this month, so I'll write down how that went!
My Progress Tracker is much more intuitive and vague than the Habit Tracker, but I think they'll work really well together as a unit in my bullet journal!
Working Towards Goals: Habit Tracker Habits of Choice!
Where the Progress Tracker looks as the goals and skills I'm trying to achieve, the habit tracker is the way I'm going about those achievements. By working on them with consistency!
Or at least: Visually documented inconsistency.
That's the list of habits I'm tracking, expanded from my old list and chosen to help me reach my goals from the Progress Tracker.
My goal isn't to fill in each of those every day - blogging daily would probably kill me - but to see how I feel on days when more of those habits were kept to, how the self-care ones influence my well-being and stress, which habits stick easily and which ones are a struggle...
So excited to start filling in my habit tracker for June!
This whole creative but (slightly) obsessive part of bullet journaling reminds me of when I was a kid and would give myself points for doing certain tasks, like a game - I'd even write down elaborate systems! I now realize I've been doing habit tracker-like stuff ever since I started drawing comics nearly 15 years ago. Maybe that's why these playful productivity journaling pages leave me so motivated and optimistic? :)