I started my Bullet Journal at the end of January 2017 and got so excited about the whole BuJo (real lingo) world, that I wrote this now much-read (for MY blog, at least) post about how to set up a Bullet Journal and why I love mine so much. There’s good information there, if I may say so myself, and I don’t want to repeat it here.


Do I still love the process of Bullet Journaling three months later?


YES! More so! In my original how-to post, I didn’t share much about why I needed a new method of organizing my weeks and days. The short answer is that my use of time had spiraled out of control. Small tasks like picking up the health forms at my kids’ doctor’s office would get moved on my iPhone from one day to the next for two weeks. Bigger goals, the kind that are hard to track consistently or even jot down digitally, went unchecked most days and eventually got ignored. The longer answer is not too different from my friend Rudri Bhatt Patel’s reason for starting a Bullet Journal soon after I did. Similar to Rudri’s well-explained experience, using the Bullet Journal has made me more consistent in working on my goals—both the bigger and smaller ones.

I still use my iPhone for reminders/alerts and making appointments. The Bullet Journal is a bigger picture tool with some day to day “micro” stuff built in. I often tweak the way I use my weekly spreads, but the picture below is what I’ve been using more or less for the past month.

Some of the goals I once recorded on a weekly spread are now in my monthly tracker. An example of how that works is in the photograph on the top of this page. I found that printable sheet at Boho Berry. That site has excellent videos and ideas if you want to see a thorough and artsy Bullet Journal. (Mine is much more basic.) I love how her monthly tracker lets me fill in my own goals. I’ve changed some of those goals each month though I keep my walks and a few other general health items on there no matter what.

In April, for example, I wanted to think more carefully about what words fall out of my mouth. I’m a chronic over-explainer, which gets me into trouble and fills me with regret in almost every instance when I say too much. Therefore, one of the items on my monthly list for April is called “hold back.” When I fill out that chart at night, I ask myself, “Did I hold back at least once today?” That’s how micro a Bullet Journal can be. On my weekly spread pictured above, I am focused on my daily schedule, the mundane tasks (like picking up health forms) and the bigger goals (finish an essay) I want to cross off by the end of the day. If I have to move a task to the next day I will, but I’d rather not rewrite “health forms” five times in the same week. It really does motivate me to just get those piddly but necessary errands done.




I spend no more than five minutes setting up my weekly spreads. The monthly chart is another five minutes (per month) to print, tape into my notebook, and decide what goals to write on the left. Each night I spend one minute filling in those little squares on the monthly chart, and another minute crossing off tasks on the weekly chart or moving them to the next day. I glance at the next day’s schedule and that is it for the night.




As you will see on other posts around the internet in the “Bullet Journal Community” (yes, that’s a thing), we Bullet Journalers like to have collections at the front of our notebooks, which means we leave empty pages before the start of the first month for future collections that may come to mind. My collections so far are lists of the recipes I’ve liked, and the books, shows, and podcasts I want to get to eventually. I made a page for Passover, which was also our spring break, to take notes about what worked and what didn’t in terms of keeping my kids fed and busy. I have a page for random writing ideas, which, as I wrote about in The Sunlight Press, later become part of my intricate and somewhat crazy method of keeping track of ideas. I also now keep a “One Note a Day” page on the opposite side of my monthly tracker, an idea I got from Boho Berry. On that page I write one sentence about each day, usually something positive, gratitude-focused, and something I wouldn’t mind another person reading since I leave my Bullet Journal next to my bed.


The Bullet Journal Supplies I’m Using These Days

This is the notebook I use. I might do yellow next time.

I love these pens and I have these fine-tipped ones, too. It’s completely unnecessary to have both since they’re almost identical. What can I say? I’m a pen fiend! I do think it helps to use color here and there if you’re someone who takes a lot of notes.

A small ruler is a must for me.


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Nina Badzin is a freelance writer, an advice columnist at The HerStories Project, a book reviewer at greatnewbooks.org, and a co-founder of The Twin Cities Writing Studio. She lives in Minneapolis with her husband and four children.