Bullet Journaling


                                                       2018 YEAR-AT-A-GLANCE

I wasn't sure about adding this.  I didn't think I would use it enough as long as I had monthly calendars in my bullet journal.  But surprise...surprise!  I have found that I do use it more than I believed.  I find myself reaching for it when I want to plan vacations, concerts, special dates that are coming in the future and it really helps when I want to track my paydays.  Being retired and only getting paid twice in the beginning of the month, this calendar helps me to see what's coming up that I have to plan for ahead of time.

This calendar may not work in your bullet journal but as I have been saying from the beginning of this experience...practice, practice, practice.  Make your bullet journal work for you.


                                                         TABLE OF CONTENTS 

This page is very self-explanatory so I will not go into it in much detail.  Suffice to say, I like this as a way to keep my bullet journal organized as well as an easy way to find what I am looking for in it.

How you set up your Table of Contents is a personal choice.  I found that having page numbers first and then title of the pages second works better for me.  I didn't like the look of using one color for everything.  Kind of boring and I want to make my bullet journal as creative and colorful as I can (an ongoing goal).  So although page titles are all in black, I changed out the colors of the page numbers (See picture below).  I used colors that go with the month.  I did not change page colors on the individual pages.  Those are still in black but I am thinking maybe I will change those as well.

An important thing to remember is that if you are using multiple pages for one topic, you should keep those page numbers open until you use them.  Then add them to the table of contents.

A downside is if you use marker, ink or something else permanent, a mistake could make your page look messy.  I know because I did that first time around and found that whiteout and marker look terrible.


                                                   "TATA" AND "INTRO" PAGES

I wanted to add something creative to my bullet journal and when I saw an example of these pages, I knew this was a way.  As previously stated, I am not very creative and one of my goals for this bullet journal was to develop that part more.  Although these pages have been called by many names by other bullet journalers, I call them my "tata" and "intro" pages.

My "tata" pages are a creative and fun way to say goodbye to the year or to the month..  The page isn't difficult to create.  Basically you are just saying goodbye and then adding a design to it.  The same goes for my "intro" pages.  You are saying hello to a new year or a new month.

Think of these pages as creative dividers.  You can make them as simple or design-filled as you want.  You can use a color theme or a design theme.  For example, to introduce the month of October, I used the colors black and orange and a Halloween theme.  For December, you could use Christmas colors as well as designs.  For a year long theme, pick some colors you like to use often or create a design which will be in your bullet journal throughout the year.

A bullet journal is a way to organize so much of your life but nothing says it can't be fun and inspiring.

It seems that everyone including me starts the new year off by stating what they are hoping that the new year brings in a better way than the last year. But I realized that I don't really take a good look at the previous year.  I just assume from the big things that stick out in my mind that last year was awful and it needs to get better this year.  It seems like a way to depress myself so I am going to change that...and I am going to use my bullet journal to help me.
                                                       2017 IN REVIEW PAGE

Before going on to saying goodbye to the old year and welcoming the new year, I have decided to create a page in my bullet journal to celebrate and commiserate the events in my life in the past year.

To begin, I started making a list of all the good, bad and so-so events of 2017 in no specific order, just wanting to get them down on paper (of course, since 2017 isn't over yet, I have been writing things down as they happen.  That way, I am prepared when I set-up my 2018 bullet journal.  I like being prepared).

Once this is done, I will start brainstorming (there's that word again) what kind of a layout I want to use for the page.

Even though it is not 2018, I am trying to ready my new bullet journal for the new year by working on pages that will work for the entire year.  This is my idea of being prepared and organized.  I am not suggesting this would work for anyone else.  Others might find it more beneficial to wait until the new year is here.  I find this more of a time saver for me.

                                                              COVER PAGE

I begin my 2018 bullet journal with a Cover page.  This is not something suggested by all bullet journal fans.  However I thought this would be an inspiring way to welcome the new year as well as the beginning of a new bullet journal.  This would be the first way I made the bullet journal personal to me.

For this page, I had a number of choices on my list.  I could begin with a design that matches a predetermined theme for the year, a favorite quote, a photograph, etc.  I decided to create samples of cover pages using the items on my list.  I asked myself which one was me, which one would inspire me for 2018.  After I made my choice, I went to work on creating the one that would be the beginning of my bullet journal.  Since I am using a binder for my bullet journal, I wanted this page to last the full year of 2018.  So I put it in a clear sheet protector and then into my binder.  Having this cover page as my first sight when I opened my bullet journal would get me so excited to continue that it would be just another added incentive to keep my bullet journal going.

I am an organized person.  My favorite saying is "A place for everything and everything in its place".  I wasn't always like this.  Growing up, I was a disorganized mess as most children and teenagers are.  I believe it started when I got married, had my first son and went back to college for my teaching degree.  My husband worked shift work at the local iron ore mine which meant that a lot of responsibility for running the house and raising my son was on my shoulders.  Add to that, going to the university part time for a bachelor's degree.  My life was very full and busy and needed to be organized.  After graduating, Organization became even more important as I was running the house, raising 2 sons and teaching on a full time basis.  Friends would joke that I was the teacher with ocd in the building.  I don't know about the ocd diagnosis but without organization I didn't function very well.

Because of my need for organization, I was constantly on the lookout for planning and management tools to make my life easier.  I went through many ideas but none seemed to retain my interest enough to keep going.  Some were just too difficult and time consuming to even begin, some consisted of themes or topics that had nothing to do with my life and left very little room for alteration (there is no such thing as a one-size fits all journal).  I needed something that was easy to start, interesting enough to keep my focus and be able to adjust it to make it my own and fit the needs of my life.  While surfing the internet (a favorite pasttime), I found bullet journaling.

                                                     What is Bullet Journaling?

"A bullet journal is a highly customizable system for taking & organizing notes. Those notes are used to organize your schedule, ideas, goals, and other aspects of your life." -- pageflutter.com

The great thing about this type of journaling system is that it can be adapted to your individual needs. I looked at a large number of sites about bullet journaling.  Some things I liked, some I didn't.  It all seemed very overwhelming...too much information to process.  Just as I was about to give up and look for a new system, I found a site that broke things down in an easy, elementary way.

If you wish to view this site, go here    https://www.bohoberry.com/category/bullet-journal/bullet-journal-101/

Kara, the publisher of "Boho Berry" suggested to begin with the technique of


This was such a great easy way to start and it was something I had taught my students to begin with when writing a story.

                                    “What do you need your system to do for you?”

Make a list of any and all ideas that pop into your head. Don’t judge any of your thoughts as they come; instead just write them all down free-form onto the page.  So I looked at the types of pages that others had put in their bullet journals and listed those that could be adapted to my life which, as brainstorming does, led me to think of items that would fit me.  It did not take long for me to come up with a list that covered almost all of my separate piles of organization.  I was thrilled and excited at the prospect of having an organizational tool that kept everything in one place.  No more separate folders, boxes, drawers, notebooks, etc. for each category of items.  Here it would all be in one place.  I was in organizational heaven!


A second suggestion I took from "Boho Berry" was to PRACTICE.  I don't know about anybody else but if I spend good money on a pretty journal, I am very leery of making mistakes in it.  So practicing sounded like a good idea to me.  I had an old empty notebook in a box full of supplies that I should have gotten rid of but I tend to think of everything as "I will be able to use this someday" stuff.  I decided I would practice in this notebook and start my bullet journal in 2018 and use the rest of this year (2017) as my PRACTICE year.

Any updates I write about for the next few months will be about how my practice bullet journal is going and how I am preparing my bullet journal for 2018.  Below is a picture of my practice journal.

I think practicing was a good idea because I know that I would like some pages, dislike others, cross things out, write over some others and pretty much make a mess.   Even at the beginning of this time of practice, I realized that there were things I didn't like and wanted to change. For instance, the pages were bound in the book which meant that pages that wouldn't change on a regular basis could not be moved from one month or year to the next.  So instead of a bound notebook for my bullet journal, I went with a pretty, 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 binder.  Now some bullet journal advocates would say that the binder would be too cumbersome to have with me all the time but the small size of the binder fits right into my purse (I have never been a fan of small purses.  I like to be able to carry everything but the kitchen sink in my purse much to the consternation of my husband).

A picture of my 2018 bullet journal binder is below.

If you would like more information on the Discbound System Notebook I am using for my bullet journal,  I recommend the following website.


Another discovery I have made while practicing was that my designs were not as fancy or intricate as those in bullet journal examples.  I admit it, I am not a very artistic person.  So I decided to stay with simple designs until I felt more comfortable moving into something more detailed.  That decision eased my worries as to what my bullet journal would look like in comparison to others.  As you can see, a bullet journal can be made over to be truly your own.  Pages that are important to one person may not work for you.  Something that you want in your journal might seem unnecessary to someone else.  This is another advantage to the bullet journal.  You can definitely make it to accomodate you and your needs.



  1. Oh my gosh, I just got one of these. Actually my second one, since my first was a mistakey mess. I think mine will actually be quarterly. I havent started being artisitci with mine, but that is surely the next step. Do note that my blog Living Richly in Retirement is now at www.richlyretired.blogspot. come on by, and if you have me in your side bat, just fyi. It s a very, very long store.

    1. Well, just think of the first one as practice that way the mistakey mess doesn't count. I would be interested to know how you are going to set up your bujo quarterly. Sounds interesting. Will make sure your blog is up to date on my side list. Thanks for reading.