I’ve always enjoyed the idea of having things organised and in order, when in reality the means to achieve this were just too complex, required too much effort and every planner I began using would get forgotten about, landing itself in the bin at the end of the year with barely the first two months utilised. It wasn’t until 2016 when I discovered bullet journalling, that I began to see just how important, worthwhile and necessary planning my day, week, month was. Plus just how beneficial it would be for my mental health, self-growth, education and just life as a whole. Writing prioritised to-do lists not only gave me intentional direction, but also the feeling of accomplishment, knowing I’d achieved something beneficial that day. Being able to see where your time is going, set goals and break them down over time using a simple yet sufficient system can have tremendous effects on your life; professionally and personally.
I first began my research into bullet journalling after I saw a ‘journal flip-through’ video on YouTube. I instantly fell in love with the flexibility and creativity that it offered. I researched further and discovered the creator of the bullet journal system, Ryder Carroll. He has basically created an analogue system which enables you to very easily track your past, organise your present and plan your future. In his video he explains the reason behind the bullet journal and exactly how it works.
I used this system for nearly 2 years and it had a great impact on achieving my goals, prioritising my life and saving me a lot of time. All over YouTube there are beautiful videos on bullet journal spreads which honestly look like works of art. Spreads such a spending logs, sleep trackers, night routines, the list is never ending. I wanted to try it all, but as much as I enjoyed decorating my bullet journal with quote pages, patterns, colours and doodles, this never lasted long and it became a chore to draw out my new trackers and spreads every month. I found myself trying to simplify my spreads month after month. I’d found a planning system flexible enough to allow me to create a design I was happy with and I loved the basic idea which Ryder Carroll had introduced. I was getting caught up in all the fancy designs and the complex index, that I barely used, that I decided to research further into other planning systems.
I decided to strip it back and just concentrate on planning my months, weeks and days. No more mood trackers or spending logs. I found filofax planners on Pinterest and I loved the ring binder system. I decided to merge this with my minimalistic bullet journal design, keeping most of the bullet journalling concepts, the key, future log, monthly log and weekly log, however I scrapped the index and used tabs and dividers as a filling system instead.
You can find where I got my Filofax materials on my previous blog post, January and February Favourites.
Here’s a run through of how I stay organised using a simple, pretty and effective Filofax planner with integrated bullet journal concepts. Don’t forget to hit the like button and subscribe to my blog for more posts like this 💕
My future log is the first thing I see when I open my Filofax. A 12 month spread showing me all my important events at a glance. I use this spread to note down events and deadlines that are set in stone and aren’t likely to change throughout the year e.g. holidays, birthdays etc. I can refer to my future log each month as I plan my monthly log and transfer any important dates across so that they aren’t forgotten.
The monthly log section is basic but contains all the necessary sections that I need for planning. Even though I don’t go all out on the fancy writing and decoration anymore, I still like to make the spreads a little pretty. I keep the design the same but use a different coloured liner to distinguish between each month. This month it’s blue.
After transferring any important dates from my future log, I fill in any other dates e.g. appointments and trips. Beside the dates, I section off each week and briefly jot down any bills and expenses for that week, being a student I’ve had to become a professional at budgeting! 😂
In the top right corner I box off 3 goals for the month. I like these to cover personal, work and uni, so I write 1 goal for each. I used to write 5 but I quickly learnt that it was better to accomplish 3 rather than beat myself up over not hitting all 5. Planning is about prioritising and knowing your limits, don’t try to fit in more than you can handle. Prioritise a few key goals which will move you closer to your long term goal and anything you accomplish ahead of those 3 is a bonus.
Beneath the goal section is my brain dump. Here I can quickly jot down everything I need to get done that month so that it’s out of my head and onto paper. These may be things that need doing in preparation for an event that month or next, in which case I can refer to my future log for upcoming events. This list comes in handy when I’m filling out my weekly logs and setting my daily to-do lists, then throughout the month as things are completed I can cross tasks off using the bullet journal key.
X = completed
> = moved into the future
Ruled out = tasks that aren’t relevant anymore
O = Event
• = tasks
– = Notes/reminders
After trialing weekly spread after spread, I discovered this design on Pinterest and I love it. Using a grid system and my brain dump, I write down my weekly, to-do’s, events and appointments then allocate specific days for each task and cross them off as I go using the same bullet journal key. I particularly like being able to see my week as a whole, this lets me see which days I have free and which are my busiest, so that I can arrange my days appropriately. At the end of the week I tick off the tasks that I’ve completed and cross of the ones I missed, these are then either passed onto next week or ruled out if the task isn’t relevant anymore.
Along with a couple of apps and my iCalendar, this is my basic planning system for 2018. Please let me know in the comments how you plan and work towards your goals…⬇️
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If you’d like me to create FREE printables for your Filofax planner, let me know by hitting the ‘like’ button at the bottom of this post ⬇️💕