My Minimalist (ish) Bullet Journal for 2018

My Minimalist (ish) Bullet Journal for 2018

Hey how’s it going, my name is Cory Miller and on today’s One-Off episode I’m gonna show you my minimalist…ish… bullet journal for 2018, why I got started and some of the ways that I have it set up. I also want to give a big shout out to my friends Charli and Femke, I’ll make sure I put links to all of their stuff down in the description. Charli actually just came out with her own video for her 2018 bullet journal. They were the two that kind of pushed me over the edge to getting started with one of these things. I’d also had conversations with my friends Jordan and Liz (hey 🙂 ) and what’s interesting is I’d always kind of hesitated about doing something like this for three reasons: the first reason is that I didn’t understand why anybody would put something in a physical format, like in a book, when there were so many apps that you could use to accomplish the same thing. You could have an app your calendar, an app for your to-do list, an app for your scheduling, whatever. It can all be synced and in the cloud and, you know, doing all the stuff. You wouldn’t have to worry about, “Oh did I leave it behind?” “I don’t know what’s going on,” so that was kind of the first thing that set me back. The second was I looked into bullet journaling and I listened to podcasts and I read articles, and it just seemed wildly confusing and over-the-top. There were all of these rules and there were these terms that I didn’t understand and they were using the terms as if I SHOULD understand. It was very daunting. I didn’t know where to get started, I didn’t know how to get started, and so that kind of turned me off. Then the third reason was I had done something like this in the past with with a journal that’s kind of…do I still have that? … I had this book before. This is the SELF Journal, and it’s really nice, I’m sure it’s helped a lot of people. It’s got like this thirteen week roadmap and there’s all these pre- assigned things that you’re supposed to use. It’s all written down and ready to go, but it’s not very flexible. It was always very rigid and that didn’t really work for me, because I didn’t feel like I had the freedom to kind of do what I needed to do in the way that I needed to do it. So those were the main reasons that kind of held me back. Then I watched a video by Charli and read an article by Femke I decided to get started. So I was at the bookstore and I saw this really massive journal. This is a 7.5″ x 10″ I think or 7.5″ x 9.75″. It’s really really big and… I forgot to put the… So this is my bullet journal. This is what I’ve been using for the past couple of weeks and I just wanted to kind of show how I’ve been using it and what my setup is. I wanted to test this out s a tool that would help me get the things done that I needed to do and help me stay focused on what was coming up. I could do some planning and then just try out this new method of doing things. I’ve tried apps and all sorts of things before and I just wanted to try it out, and so far I’ve been really enjoying it. I know what you’re here for: you want to actually look at this thing, so let’s dive in and take a look at my bullet journal. So here’s my bullet journal. This is a larger version of the dotted journal by Moleskin. this is like 7.5″ by 9.75″ I think. I really like the bigger size. My wife’s weekly planner is obviously much smaller, and a lot of people like this form factor but I like this bigger version because it’s just more space for stuff to happen. So first things first, there are a few things with bullet journaling that I kind of took principles of as I was going through and…I admittedly took a lot from Charli (Charli if you’re watching this sorry and thank you) go check out her video. But anyways, so I took a lot from her but I also kind of looked and took pieces of what the the official bullet journal situation is supposed to be. So one of those is an index. Now, I don’t… I started this, but I’m not really sure if I’m gonna keep doing this in the future. It’s just kind of there, I know where everything is and my bullet journal is split up into three sections and so I already know where everything is going to be anyways, but the reason why they have an index is like, if you’re going through and you’ve got, “Hey on page 142 I have an idea for, you know, a website redesign or something like that. Then you would go here to the index and say, “Hey, 142 is where I have the website redesign.” I’m not doing that, so whatever. But anyway so here’s index and then I also have the legend here. This is where I have all of the icons that I’m gonna be using throughout the book. So there’s only a few right now but you can already see that I’ve, you know, I’ve been in this a couple of weeks and I’ve already crossed out this. That’s because as I’m going through this I’m changing things, I’m kind of evaluating how it’s working for me and how it’s making me feel and how it’s making me work and so there are a few things in here that I may change. I may add this just a section here so I can know in the future why I marked it the way I did. And then I actually have the more important section here for myself: colors. So “they” tell you that when you’re starting off in a bullet journal that you’re not supposed to go on Pinterest or Instagram and look up how other people are doing theirs because there’s people who are doing these extravagant drawings and using different pens and it’s all really cool. That’s not what I wanted for mine, it’s just really simple. It looks kind of gross but the main thing that I respond to is color, so I want it to be able to, with this book, be able to flip to a page and know exactly what’s going on at a glance and I can do that best by using these using these colors. So I use these pens, this is just a really cheap pen from Tesco it came with a bunch of other colors so I was like I might as well use it. So green is Sabbatical, orange is event, light blue is I’m on the worship team, yellow is nothing because I couldn’t really see it, purple/blue I guess it is a dark blue is a reminder, pink is travel, and then red is important. So that’s kind of working out for me right now, I may add in the future but yeah. Then the next part is the future log. I’m probably gonna rename it in the future because I hate that name it’ll probably be something like a year overview or something like that and this is just kind of a bird’s eye view of what’s happening throughout the month. Again I took some inspiration from Charli (and when I say inspiration I totally ripped it off) and I’ve got here on the right I’ve got kind of a calendar date view, and then also some primary events that are happening in that month. I started going a little more granular and I kind of regret that, so the first half of the year I’ve already got it kind of sorted out kind of at a high level and then I’ll be able to as I go through that the last half of the year. So this is the future log this is just really quick kind of looking at what’s going on. I’ve got a theme and a focus, which I’ll talk about a little bit later. For every month I’ve got a theme and a focus. After the future log I’ve got a section here, a page for goals for 2018. Again, really simple. It’s just a list: fully launch Vlogology, get an Irish driver’s license, and make 20k from side projects. These are just goals, these are things that I can think of at a high level that’s going to be there. I might add notes later on. So then I’ve got a section for milestones, these are going to be events or things that happen, you know if I earn an amount or if Melody says something, or there’s a big milestone in my career and my work, I’m gonna write that down here. This is more of like a memory bank, like this is something that happened that was really important this year. So that’s that, and then a real quick section for statistics. I don’t really care about subscriber counts but it’s kind of just something to just to actively track just to have something to look at I guess, and then I’m also going to track books read this year, so I’ll put them all here. Then I’ve got some blank pages, I don’t know why. Now we get into the month view. So this is January, I’ve got my theme up here with gratefulness. I tried to make it kind of look cool and it totally doesn’t. But what I do is, again taking from Charli, what I do is I put all the days here on the left including the days of the week. I have a little marker underneath Sunday to indicate this is a segment of week, here’s a week, here’s a week. And you can see it’s very very messy, and this is because I started bullet journaling here on the 7th and as I’ve gone I’ve kind of added and I’ve kind of played around with stuff and I’ve tried to figure out how to make it work, but and it’ll look a little clearer as we get into as we go to February. I’ve got a section for notes, I’ve got the colors, I’ve got things that are happening throughout the month. This is kind of the high-level planning, and then on this page I’ve got a monthly focus This month was email and I totally did terrible at that but you know it’s just kind of a something that I wanted to focus on, and then each week I’ve got something written down usually on the left I have work stuff and on the right I have personal things. So this is just like here’s some things that need to happen at some point during the week. Again very high level, very sloppy, really quick just going through. And then there is the day level so you can see that January 8th I started off by having everything. It was very granular it was like, do this, do this, do this, do this but as I went I realized as I started doing that, I was getting…there was too much. And then on January 10th there were all of these things that I didn’t do, and that was actually really demoralizing for me because I was like why didn’t I do all this stuff you can see on January 11th it just says chill out that was my only thing to do that day so as it’s gone on I’ve decided that you know with using a little bit of you know changing some of the iconography and just focusing on less of what I’m supposed to do that day and having less I’m supposed to do that day actually makes me feel like I can I’ve got a little bit more freedom during my day of things that I need to do so like if I look at this and I go I didn’t call the DMV today I’m gonna move it to tomorrow, I took out the bins, did not write Vlogology email, you know so I’m looking all this stuff I need to do, you know, I created this, that was good, check that off. So I could just really quickly look back and start at the beginning of my day and then at the end of my day, this is all really really quick I don’t want it to take a lot of time. Then February you can see a little bit better kind of what’s going on with the colors. So every time there is something happening like you know K’s parents leave or she’s doing the Treehouse or she’s traveling to Cologne whatever, I have these blocks that are colored in so I can really really quickly flip to the page and see what’s going on on that day, during that month actually. I’ve got this little habit tracker right here “read at least one chapter” I’m gonna make a little X making sure that I’m reading throughout. This month my theme is curiosity and my monthly focus is reading. So you know that’s kind of how it looks, how it’s going about. Sometimes I sit down for you know a night at a time and I add some more I’ve been manually numbering all of the pages which is kind of a pain in the butt. The other thing that I’m doing is I have the whole book split up into three segments, so the first segment is kind of these preparatory pages with the index and the future log and the milestones and everything like that. That’s segment number one, and then segment number two are the months, so I’ve actually got a pre-planned amount of pages that’s going to be dedicated to months. So I’ll do January and then after a certain amount of pages I’ve put February and then March, and the way that I’m doing that is I’ll do March one page, I’ll do the weeks one page, and then I’ll give pages for, you know, imagine I have five days on each, so five 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, give or take. And then there’s the next month. So really really quick this way I can go immediately to June when Kristiana says, “hey we’ve got a thing on the 11th,” I can say cool I’ll go ahead and write that in on June 11th. Some people work through from front to back and they add stuff that wasn’t gonna work for me. I wanted to do it that way. Then on page 105 this is the page for everything else, well not the page this is the segment for everything else. So after this you know if I have a website redesign idea, or I’ll put all that there or if I’m like here’s a poem I want to write, I can put all that there this is just for everything else, this is for notes this is for drawings this is for whatever it’s gonna take apart from the planning side of things. That’s this final segment here. I even have a little quick notes section here at the back, hey this notebook has 38 columns and 50 rows and just so that I know how many dots there are. So that is a really really quick bird’s-eye view of how I’ve got my bullet journal set up. It’s not, it doesn’t take a lot of time every day there is some setup but that’s part of the charm of it you know I can have each month set up the way that I want it. I can have each segment set up the way that I want it, and make it look the way that I want it to. Within all of that it is really minimal, you know like you don’t need all the colors if that’s not going to be helpful for you but for me it’s all about speed it’s all about you know being able to just glance. So yeah that’s my that’s my bullet journal, that’s kind of how I have it set up and you know it’s been really fun so far. Once I get to the part where I’m just kind of doing it daily it’s really fast, it allows me to to manage my time really well. I’m using it in tandem with Google Calendar because sometimes it’s just faster to just type it in and then add it into my journal later. But it’s been good it’s I’ve really enjoyed kind of the analog side of things and I’m going to do this probably for this year see how it looks see how it feels see how it helps. And…yeah. So there you go! So that is a quick overview of how I’m using my burt…burlet journal? So that’s a quick overview of how I’m using my bullet journal for 2018. I’m probably going to create a recap video later on in the year, maybe halfway through, and then at the end. Kind of figuring out different aspects of it how I’ve been using it, if it’s helped, how it’s not been helpful, things that changed. I’m really looking forward to it though. This has been really fun I’ve really enjoyed this. Hope this has been helpful for you if you are thinking about getting started with something like this, and thinking about going analog. My biggest recommendation is to find a framework that works for you and and figure out how to make it work to your strengths and to how your mind works instead of trying to fit it into what everyone else is doing. Pick and choose different aspects of how people do theirs and just get started. It’s been really enjoyable I’m really looking forward to more of this. That’s gonna do it for this video so thanks so much for watching, I appreciate you, and I’ll see you in the next one!

62 thoughts on “My Minimalist (ish) Bullet Journal for 2018

  1. This is great! You may have convinced me. I find that digital is extremely helpful for getting things organized, but then I admittedly rarely look at it.

  2. Hi Cory
    I hope you are keeping well.
    I personally find using a journal like that is adding to your already busy day I personally think you don't need it but it's my opinion. Keep doing it if it helps you but you need to keep time for your family

  3. Such a great example of how to personalize this method to work for you! It doesn't have to be "beautiful" and artistic to be a personalized bullet journal. I look forward to seeing how it works for you long-term!

  4. Thanks for sharing Cory. Really liked the simple setup of your journal. Bullet journaling is a "personal" thing for each individual, so a setup might not work for everyone, so make it work for "YOU". Thanks again.

  5. I'm quite different. I get a lot of ideas, and I want to be able to just turn to the next empty page and write it down AND to be able to find it again. I also write notes so they mustn't get mixed. The index is how the whole thing works for me (apart from the dailies, which I don't put into the index because I won't be needing to find them later)

  6. What I do is If you have a spread for future six months (future log) at the beginning of the bullet journal, and then someone says, we have a halloween party in October 15th then you just write that in the future log. When it's the beginning of October you just check what you have got for that month and move the tasks and events from the future log to your october month spread.
    That way I don't have to pre-draw every month and that way I will always have the right amount of pages and not blank pages between the logs or notes, and that way it doesn't matter if I end up using the page for something else that I pre-planned to use it for. Or if I mess up, it won't be a big deal.

    Even though I like drawing and colors, I've noticed that color coding too much causes problems. Sometimes I don't have the right colors nearby. Sometimes i color using the wrong color. Sometimes I forget which color was which.

  7. Thank you so much for this video! As a minimalist plus someone who is not creative with art, I prefer the simple Bullet Journal. I really like your idea of the three sections. I bought a journal in…ummm…December 2017 and still haven't begun because I was so overwhelmed watching all the videos that made me think one had to be an artist, calligrapher, tracker of every single personal aspect of my life, have a specific brand of pens, etc. until I entered overload, took a step back and said "chill out – I'll begin this when I'm ready."

  8. I've done quite a bit of writing over the last year or so and I have been thinking of doing something like this. I may give it a shot, great video too!

  9. But the inventor of the bullet journal was a man. No disrespect, but the original version is the most simple and practical one. Women/girls have made a mess out of it. Check the pure one here, unless you don’t know it:

  10. Thanks for sharing. Love using my Bullet Journal as a quick simple way to get stuff down quick and plan stuff in minutes. Simple. Easy. Doesn't need to be flashy or fancy, I'm a dude! 🙂

  11. The best thing is that bullet journals can be modified for the user. It can be as simple or as advanced as we need it to be.

  12. You took some freedom away from yourself when you preplanned the pages to start a month. That is what the future log is for. To not have to follow a preset.
    You can decide each week or month how much space you need/want.

    What I do, because I like to have collections in the back is to start them from the back. Becase of that I also do not reall need an index.

  13. Have you checked out the channel by Ryder Carroll, the creator of the bullet journal? I think you would find it helpful. Takes out all the pretty stuff (which my brain can't handle) and makes it functional. Good luck with everything xx

  14. I'm so glad I came across this video. Love the 'Everything Else' and dedicating a certain amount of pages for each month. I'm going to try these ideas in my bullet journal. Thanks for sharing. All the best…

  15. Cory, kudos for a very informative video and well presented. I am still trying to get organized with a paper bullet journal and I am not sexist but all the bullet journal videos by women are just "artsy-fartsy" show off videos of their decorating, coloring, designing abilities with washi tape, stickers, colored markers, etc. Yours was refreshing in that you dealt specifically with minimalism, the mechanics /nuts & bolts of planning and organizing your day-to-day life. Good job..!!

  16. Loved this – I've felt so inadequate watching all the arty bullet journals whereas mine is just functional. One suggestion – I work from the front of the journal for all the monthly, weekly, daily stuff and then start at the back for all my "other stuff". That way I finish when the book is full and it works well.

  17. I've just watched a few vlogs on this subject and yours is the only one that has inspired me to start a bullet journal …. and cheers for Charli's link, she's great too! Thanks mate. I'm ready to get started

  18. I’m looking into starting a bullet journal, a simple one! I’d love an update to how it’s been going for you! Thanks for sharing 😊

  19. Thanks for your video. I’m watching a lot of bullet journal ideas trying to sift through what I think will work for me. Your video was very helpful. I took a class on time management years ago. They said when you set your todos for the day only put in what you realistically think you can accomplish that day. That way you have a better chance to check off all your todos for the day.

  20. Thank you! Everyone is on this thing and I'm like what are you people doing. Then I understood it but I'm not sure its time beneficial. So this was helpful

  21. Dude. Your explanation of your original confusion was like fresh water to my soul. Every time I land on another video showing how to make stickers just baffles me. Super creative and cool, just leaves me scratching my head. I am wanting to manage information,tasks ,projects,goals……..not how to color,do calligraphy,and learn to draw. Am I just crazy? Thx for video!

  22. Love your non-artsy, still cool looking journal! Discovering guys talking about theirs here on youtube was a blessing. I have pictures I painted myself on the walls, but my to-dos need to be clean and organised! Thank you for the insights 🙂

  23. I really like how simple but informative your journal layout is. It covers everything basic, I like the "fancy' ones too but yours is very practical

  24. I stated mine in October and made a fancy page for the begining of the month… That was the last time I did that. I also glued some stuff in because I was using markers and didn't want bleed through. It was fine for a few pages but I didn't like it. Now I use a pen, and have almost abandoned bujo organization. ATM… I just have a long to do list I read through and cross off as I go.

    Also can I say, I love how guys say *page*… Idk… It drives me a little bonkers all the girls make "spreads." Na… They are just pages. 🙂

    I had habit trackers and I'm on a break from them right now. I do like using a bit of color, and headers. Its evolving.

  25. Shout out to the inventer of the Bullet Journal method, Ryder Carroll. Look up his videos if you want to know how and why you do the things you do in a bullet Journal. Better yet read the book and it explains fully the reasoning behind the whole concept. I just want to point out that this is not a bullet Journal it's a planner made in a bullet Journal book. There's a big difference. I'm not trying to be critical I'm just pointing out to anyone watching this video that they need to look up Ryder Carroll to see how a real bullet Journal setup looks and functions.

  26. The one thing that I noticed about putting my stuff in a digital space is that there were so many distractions. Every time a text or alert came through I would be distracted and focus would be lost.

    Bullet journaling allowed me to be creative and actually retain things I had learned over time. For me, journaling has kept me accountable for things I want to accomplish.

    Great vid. I feel like you explained your reasons for holding out on journaling but I’m glad you decided to try it out 💪🏼

  27. I was overwhelmed by all the pretty and doodle-y bullet journals online, so I find your version really neat. But how to you organize "everything else"?

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