I started “bullet journaling” a little over a year ago, and I’ve tailored my weekly layouts to suit my own needs. I put “bullet journaling” in quotes because I do it much differently than the original creators of the Bullet Journal method intended! But, it works great for me. Above, you’ll see how I put all of my semester’s syllabi into my bujo.
I use a graph paper-style (“squared”) Moleskine Classic Large Notebook for my bullet journal (it’s the size of 1/2 page of standard paper). I don’t have any real attachment to the Moleskine brand, but I haven’t found another squared paper notebook that works well. I like it because it doesn’t tend to bleed through the page, it has a nice elastic band, and a pocket in the back. At $15 it’s a little pricey but one of these generally lasts me most of a year so the price is fine for me.
I use narrow glitter Duck Tape to make tabs to separate sections in my book. (This link is wider than the one I have but you could certainly cut it lengthwise). I just fold a piece of tape over the edge of a sheet, sticking out a little to make a tab. I separate out the sections for special pages, like “Date Ideas” and “Vacation Plans”, then another section for my weekly layouts, and another for each semester’s syllabi.
My favorite pens to use for my bullet journaling are Monami Plus 3000 black felt-tip pens. They have a nice fine point, are inexpensive, don’t bleed through, and don’t smudge like a gel pen would. However, they do smudge a lot if highlighting over them. If you have any ideas for a reasonably priced, narrow felt-tip pen that you can highlight over, comment and share your wisdom with me!
For color, I like the Stabilo Point 88 felt-tip pens. They come in a wide range of colors and I like the style of the barrel, looks like an old-school pencil.
So, when I do a weekly layout it has four sections: the days of the week, a to-do list, meal planning, and shopping list. I also like putting an inspirational quote on my layout if I have the time.
On the left side, I put the days of the week, and at the top, the month and year. I generally decide on a theme for the week either of something I like, or by browsing Pinterest–Pinterest is where I get most of my font ideas, I find a font then do my best to recreate it with hand-lettering. This layout on the left had a Studio Ghibli theme. You can also search on Pinterest for doodles to inspire you. Hey–you don’t have to do all the work–you can check out my Bullet Journal Pinterest Board that has a HUGE amount of cool inspiration on it.
Then, on the right, I generally split the page in half vertically and have the To-Do list, Shopping list, and meal planning. You could really put anything you like rather than shopping and meal planning–I just have those because I’m a grown-ass woman and I plan meals for me and my partner.
I put a little box next to each item on the to-do list, and fill it in black when it’s done. I don’t have a sophisticated key like the original bullet journals, I just copy over any incomplete tasks to the next week when I do the new layout.
And that’s it! You can make it as creative and fancy as you like, or as simple or messy as you like. Some weeks I just have to get everything done and I don’t bother making a fancy layout, and some weeks I go all out. Just don’t get hung up on making it perfect! A bullet journal is just a way to get organized in your life, and to have a record of what you’ve done. I don’t really write any details in my bujo (like in a journal or diary) but just with my dates & to-dos I have a sense of what the weeks have been like and it brings back memories of fun events.
One more tip–I find it easiest to keep it neat by using block lettering in all caps for the bulk of my lists, etc. It might take a bit to get used to but that’s how I write all the time now and it’s nice and sharp and easy to read.