A full year with my first bullet journal

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For my 23rd birthday, last January, I got a beginners kit to start your own bullet journal by MUS creatief from my mom and her partner. I was super excited to start and to see what I could make of it. I’ve tried to keep a bullet journal before, but I let my perfectionism predominate. Add to that that keeping a bullet journal became yet another bullet on my to-do list and eventually I just quit altogether. This time, however, it was all different and I tried to let go of my perfectionism and just go with it. Above you can already see a bit of the eventual result, but I will show you some more pics of some lists I (used to) keep and how it all began 😏

At the start of my journey of keeping a bullet journal I didn’t have that much stationery and stuff to decorate my bujo with, which made my weekly spreads and lists quite empty and boring. I’m also not that great at doodling (working on that though!) nor at hand lettering, so I mainly used my bujo for to-do lists and marking down appointments. Thank goodness for websites like Wish – most of my washi tapes, pens and stickers that I currently use are from Wish!

In the pics above you can see some changes that my weekly spreads went through. The first one was how it started, but because I didn’t have that much space to put my to-do’s and appointments I switched to the bottom spread. It’s still the one I use and I’m very happy with it! Some minor changes are that I don’t track my water-intake anymore, that I use washi tape to mark the days and that I only use a black and red pen. This you can see in the photo’s down below!

Where I thought I couldn’t doodle nor hand letter, I’m now much more creative with my spreads. I use stickers; I decorate the spreads with washi tape, instead of just taping the upper side of the page, and I draw a little doodle every now and then. The next step will be to master hand lettering, but until then these washi tapes with the days of the week definitely come in handy!

I start every new month with a page with the month on it. I used to decorate them with wreaths, but my perfectionism was getting in the way of that, so I stopped doing that and just noted down the months. Recently I found back my own creativity again, and started to decorate the month’s pages again. The right photo shows what I did with the page that marks the new year. It shows creativity that I didn’t think was possible at the start of 2018 😂

The lists and trackers I keep in my bujo

General TBR
This is the spread where I keep track of the books that are on my shelves and that I still want and need to read. When I’ve read them I colour them in with a felt tip pen and a coloured pencil. Although I’m currently on a book buying ban, I keep buying books, so I might have to start a new TBR spread soon 🙊

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Monthly TBR
On this monthly page I keep track of the books I want to read per month, and when I’ve read them I tick them off (which is very satisfactory!). I just make a list of all the books I want to read and add the number of pages it contains, so I have a nice overview on how much I have left and if I have up my reading game.

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Habit tracker
Above you can also see how I keep track of my daily habits. I found inspiration for this kind of tracker on Pinterest and it’s such a simple way of keeping track of what you want and need to do in a day! These things aren’t really chores, though, but more things that I want to make a habit of.

Washi tape samples
Since I have so many different washi tape rolls that I love, I want to be able to see which ones I owned when I run out of one. I just filled the left page, so the right one is still a little empty, but I expect it will be filled up soon 😏

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Spreads I want to pick up (again) in 2019

Yearly calendar
I have a lot of appointments that are made a couple of months before the actual dates, so it might be handy to have a yearly overview of all the appointments I have in a year (like dentist appointments and courses). I’m thinking of making a calendar and make a list of appointments and their dates underneath.

Monthly calendars
Same thought for this one as the yearly calendar. I always make the weekly spreads only one or two weeks before, so I think it’s better if I have all the important dates per month together in one calendar.

Reading tracker (hours read per book per month)
I saw this idea in the instagram stories of @lottelikesbooks and I think it’s a fun way to keep track of how many hours you spend per day/month on a book! On the other hand I think it might become a chore eventually to track my reading with a timer, but I’d like to at least give it a try!

Decorated quotes
Now that I’m getting more creative with my weekly spreads, I think it’s also time for me to challenge myself with adding a decorated quote every now and then. I always make note of lovely quotes I hear in songs and read in books, so this is a nice way to keep them as a reminder!

I hope you liked this overview of my year with my first bullet journal!

Do you keep a bullet journal? What are some lists and/or trackers that you keep?

19 thoughts on “A full year with my first bullet journal

  1. Loved this post! I use a bullet journal but I have a separate journal for book adventures. I want to start graphing how much I read (pages over days) at some point. I’d love to see how you pick what you’re going to read during the months!

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  2. Great post! I really like the idea of the TBR shelf being books you own but haven’t read yet. I typically make a list but I love the shelf idea!

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  3. Your spreads are so beautiful! I tried keeping a bullet journal once, but it morphed more into a colorful book of lists. Which is totally fine; that suits me better! One of my favorite things I do is a habit tracker for writing at least 400 words a day. I don’t keep a physical TBR list since I have my to-read shelf on Goodreads, but I adore your colored-in shelves idea. I might have to start doing that!

    Eleanor | On the Other Side of Reality

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  4. I used to keep one, but I also let my perfectionism dominate. Because my job is also quite stressful and I work a lot of hours, I just stopped doing it as it was taking too much time ti draw up all the trackers and daily and weekly and monthly spreads. It really just became a chore. However, I want to try again next year, and I got a new dot journal for Christmas, so I think now is the time!!Your pages are so lovely as well! x

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    1. I’ve tried to keep a bujo when I was studying, but like you I just didn’t have enough time and it ended up as another to-do on my to-do list ☹️ You can make a bujo entirely yours, so just keep it the way that suits you and your schedule best!

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  5. I started a bullet journal last year, but my perfectionism took over and I ended up giving up part way through the year. I started my brand new 2019 bullet journal the other night and I’m looking forward to keeping my perfectionism under control and working towards having a complete journal!

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  6. As it is my resolution to be more organised and better at my time-management, I have been thinking about going in for a planner…but you have shown me that I can make my own planner, with my own customizations…

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  7. Oh, I love this! I have wanted to give it a try but it is too hard for me to be consistent with things :’)


    1. Haha as a kid I always wanted to keep a journal/diary, but I always failed 🙈 So I’m really happy it worked out this time! I hope you’ll give it another try!


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