2016 in Review: My Bullet Journal

This post was supposed to go up yesterday… but, well, it didn’t… Here it is a day late… 

2016 was the year I started my bullet journal.  Okay, if we get technical, I experimented with it briefly during the holidays in 2015 so that I would have a better idea of what I liked for the start of 2016, but really it was started in earnest in 2016.

For my first two goals of 2016 I was basically wanting to start using a bullet journal in earnest to organize my life and to also create good habits.  So, while these “goals” were only #1 and #2 on my list of goals, and #1 was really vague and not “SMART”, goal #2 actually consisted of various goals that grew and changed over the year.

Goal #1 – Bullet Journaling

To review this goal for a specific pass/fail type result would be very difficult because, as I mentioned already, it was not a “SMART” goal, so I had no definition of the end result.  However, I have indeed stuck with my bullet journaling and can definitely say that I feel it has helped me stay organized and focused, as much as is possible with a scatterbrain like myself.  (Ooh, shiny!)

I reviewed my bullet journal set up, back in September, and honestly it hasn’t changed much, and I don’t foresee any major changes in the near future because it is working for me.  I don’t think that “using my bullet journal” will be a goal for 2017, but it will be what helps me keep with my goals and I am definitely not going to stop, so I figured I’d give it another review for the end of the year…

Future Log:

At the beginning of my new bullet journal notebook that I started in May, I had a 12 month future log.  But now that we are about to start 2017, I’m wanting to start planning things for further down the road, I’ve added in a new 3 month future log for the next 3 months of the year.  I’m not 100% sure that I won’t find this 3 month future log a little silly if I have to skip around through my book every 3 months to find the future log, but maybe the next one that I make will be a longer one.

Bullet Journal - Future Log

Monthly Layout:

My monthly spread hasn’t changed from the very beginning.  I lay out the days in a vertical format and fill out everything that is planned for that month.  I find this visual representation of the month is really working for me, so I am keeping it that way going forward.

Weekly Spreads:

As I mentioned in September, I am really enjoying the vertical weekly spread.  I like being able to lay out the week ahead and get a plan together for the week.  And the vertical daily sections are roughly laid out in terms of the order of how I will do things (or plan to do things) that day.


The only time I’ve switched it up since September is when I was away for work for extended periods.  I’ve discussed it before, but when I am away at site for work, I tend to not do much other than work long days, so there is no point having a bunch of room for to-do items.  I can only really fit one or two things.  For those weeks, I crammed everything in to a single page spread, rather than spread them out on to two.  It worked well, and I think I will do that again the next time that I am scheduled to go away for work (should be coming up in the near future).

Other Spreads:

I don’t think I’ve shared much of the other stuff that I’ve put in my bullet journal ever.  I shared my training plan when I was going to do another half marathon this past fall.  But I’ve put lots of random lists or notes in my bullet journal.  For example, when we went to Quebec this fall for my friend’s wedding, I made a packing list:


I also created a blog planner for December.  (It doesn’t always help me get things done on time, but at least I have an idea of what I’m going to try and post about.)

December Blog Planner

And I’ve made a few spreads to help organize my thoughts on hosting some holiday parties.

Goal #2 – Good Habits

As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, my second goal for 2016 was really a collection of smaller goals.  And throughout the year, those goals have changed as my priorities or my circumstances change, or if I wanted to adjust my focus a bit, but generally they have remained the same.

The goals in my habit tracker were often related.  Or the results (or lack of results) were connected.  If I didn’t get to bed by 10:30, then the likelihood of me getting up at 5:30 was pretty slim.  If I don’t get up early, then I can’t get some fitness in before work, or I end up not getting to work before 9am…

Anyway, I’m not overly concerned that I haven’t mastered all these habits to 100%.  The fact that I have this table that I try to update every night means that if I decide to go to bed without first cleaning up the dishes in the sink, it is most likely a conscious decision to do them in the morning because something else had priority that night.  I’m not trying to be perfect.  If I were, my blog would be call “the perfect me”, but no, I am just trying to be better.  And I definitely have gotten better at a lot of the habits that I tracked throughout the year with my habit trackers.

I was doing monthly reviews of my habit tracker at the beginning of the year, but that died off, and then I did a review of my habit trackers in September, so I’ll just go over the results since then very briefly.

September

In my last review, we were half way through the month already… The habits that I was most pleased with were my getting to work before 9am (which I missed only twice the whole month!) and drinking 8 glasses of water (or tea) a day (which I missed only 11 times).  I am most disappointed in my bujo review and my exercise.  But I am wondering if my bujo review habit might be a little skewed.  It’s not that I didn’t review my bujo, but that I didn’t do it right before bed to review the day.  I think I want to perhaps review my evening routine and get myself a new one to focus on.

October

October was a month filled with travel (both work and pleasure) and illness (nasty fall cold or flu).  The habit tracker sort of shows that with not much colour and a lot of black X’s.  I am most pleased with my drinking water habit because it basically stayed the same with all the chaos.  And I am definitely most disappointed with my exercise/fitness.  I think this is the first time I’ve ever had a full row of X’s (habit #2 – morning fitness).  Ugh.  No wonder I was feeling out of shape.

November

November had some small improvements from October, but probably mostly because I wasn’t away as much.  I didn’t improve on the exercise/fitness much, but there were a couple mornings that I did something, so it wasn’t a complete blank line.  I am most pleased with my getting to work before 9am in November (habit #3).  I think I was getting in to a better routine, and I only missed that goal 3 times in the month, but now I just have to figure out how to fit in more running in the mornings.  The habit that I’m most disappointed in again is the exercise/fitness.  Common theme it seems to be…

December

December isn’t quite done yet, but I’m off work for the rest of the month, so my schedule is all wonky and so best to just review it now… I am still very pleased with my water consumption.  And this month has been really good for having our lunches made the night before so that we can hopefully decrease the amount of lunches that we need to buy.  And once again, I am disappointed in my commitment to fitness.  I’ll have to make that my priority for 2017.


Do you bullet journal?  Or do you have a different way to keep yourself organized and focused on your goals?

 

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6 thoughts on “2016 in Review: My Bullet Journal

  1. What is your secret to drinking enough water every day? I struggle with this so much! I started a bullet journal in August, and it has absolutely increased my productivity and focus. I use it to plan out my week’s to-do lists in advance as well as monthly goals and random notes that need a permanent home. If you have the time and resources for it, signing up for a studio fitness membership is the best decision I have made for my health & wellness. I have consistently worked out for 55 minutes, 3-5 days/week since February. I’m hoping to see if the discipline transfers to individual, self lead workouts, but for now I’m just satisfied that I’m working out in general.

    Liked by 1 person

    • My secret to drinking water is that I do it mindlessly… I have a water bottle with a straw, and, for whatever reason, I find drinking out of a straw fun, or something… I work at a computer all day every day, and with the straw water bottle, I can just mindlessly suck on the water while I work without it really distracting me… Next thing I know, the bottle is empty and I get up and fill it again… I struggle on the weekends or days when I’m not working…

      I’m so glad that you are bullet journaling too! It’s been a huge help to me to keep all my random lists and notes in one place, rather than having them scattered and getting lost. Have you shared your bullet journal online at all?

      I used to have a membership to a gym near my old house, but we moved away from that area of town and so I didn’t keep it. It might be what is needed… I know that part of why I’ve struggled lately is because I haven’t got a good routine down since we got the puppy. It’s definitely going to be a big thing for me to work on in the new year.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I don’t currently use a bullet journal, but I’m considering it. I am curious about what kind of notebook you use. I don’t think I’ve seen one that has those very light grey dots instead of lines. Also, how long does it take you to create each page–for example your monthly page or weekly pages? Finally, do you think that the process of creating the journal–as opposed to using pre-printed sheets for example–is part of what keeps you on track?

    Your printing and journals are so pretty. I think it’s awesome they work so well for you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much.
      The notebook that I currently use is the Leuchtturm 1917 that a lot of bullet journal enthusiasts recommend. They come in various versions (lined, grid, blank or doted) but I like the dots the best.
      It may take more time to make my own pages, but I think the process is fun for me and allows me to have some creativity and change things up whenever I want. I’d say that the blank weekly layout takes me about 10 minutes, but then I take more time to think of what I want to do for the week and what plans I have, and so that takes more time. The monthly pages are pretty quick too. Maybe 10 minutes for the blank layout. But, just like the weekly spreads, the time comes when I start to think about all the things to fill in, or make decisions on what my habits for the month will be. Let me know if you have any other questions or if you try bullet journaling yourself!

      Liked by 1 person

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