Bullet Journalling, Layout

Experimenting With Layout

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Last week, I jumped right in after a long hiatus with a review of the Scribbles That Matter notebooks, noting (hah!) that I’d given up my Leuchtturm 1917 official Bullet Journal (A5) in favour of the STM B5 notebook (which appears to have been discontinued as it’s no longer listed on their website!).  That was a huge leap, as I’m sure you can imagine, but in keeping with the beauty of the Bullet Journal system as it was intended, I needed to do what was going to work for me, and what worked at the beginning of the year no longer served me.

I had not, however, worked with a journal so large before.  I’d always enjoyed the A5 size, feeling that it was both easily transportable and had, at the time anyway, sufficient space for all of my needs.  What really motivated me though was seeing a picture of a portrait oriented habit and mood tracker, one I desperately wanted to emulate.  From there, it was only a quick jump to deciding on having a page a day layout as opposed to combining days on one page as I’d been doing.  I wanted to be able to make notes, have a gratitude log for each day, a daily tracker for each day, and a place to log my daily oracle card draws on, yes, each day.  As you can imagine, this took some wicked experimentation!  The Habit Tracker, however, was easy, as you can see here:


I really view this first STM as my experimental bullet journal.  I had loads of ideas for it, especially dedicating the first half of the book as a Book of Days quick reference style thing.  I never did get around to filling those sections in and quickly realised that if I did so and kept that format, I’d be migrating just…so much stuff.  And it would be just…so much work.  Besides that, I didn’t miss it!  That tells me I likely would have barely used it and essentially, I would have ended up doing all of that work for naught.

That said, the majority of my experimentation was with my daily layout.  First, I tried a vertical time bar with notes about appointments and dedicated time periods – a time line more than a time bar.  I sectioned the pages off with my tasks and appointments at the top, my daily card notes, then my daily gratitude log.  I even tried to add a journaling box, and played with my symbols a bit as well.

That lasted about half a month, but as I looked back over all of the blank “Journaling” boxes, I realised I was really just wasting space.  I also wanted to re-introduce my “Daily Do’s” back into my bullet journal so I could move some of the repetitive, daily tasks I tracked to that – and have better accountability as to whether or not I was doing right by myself.  I decided to give up on the timeline, go back to my normal time bar at the top, and take the space to the left of the page for a Daily Column instead.


I also entered into November deciding to give up a weekly layout.  I tried that for an entire month and decided that while it was nice in theory, I really needed space where I could add tasks that needed to be done that week, but not necessarily today.  So in December, I played around with some different weekly ideas until I settled on a one-page layout that seemed to serve me well…but I can tell you that I know for sure it’s going to change again in January! (More on that in a minute).


I also elected to move my gratitude log back to my monthly spread in December instead of tracking it each day in my daily spread.  In it’s place, I put in a self-care tracker similar to my Daily column.  I got the tracker from The Witch of Lupine Hollow’s self-care journaling sheet – but couldn’t fit everything I wanted to from that sheet into my daily, so I elected to just use the daily self-care checklist for December.  I already know that I’m going to change that to a monthly tracker in January, and possibly move back to a 2-page weekly spread since I’ll have more pages to work with given that I didn’t take up the first 29 with wasted space.


I added a daily tides and sunrise/set bar to my dailies for December too, and I think that I’ve finally settled on a layout that will work for a while.

I think I’m settled with experimenting for the month of December and have a good idea of how I’ll be moving forward in my new STM to ring in 2019.

All that said, what happened to my Traveler’s Notebook?  Wellll, that’s going to have a new life in 2019, but you’ll have to wait a couple of weeks to find out how!

Do you like experimenting with your layouts or do you prefer to keep it simple and standard?  Let us know in the comments – and I’ll see you next week when we’re talking about migrating journals for the new year!