I’ve been looking forward to this writing this post ever since I started this blog. I have always been a planner gal, it’s just taken me some time to find what worked for me. I love making lists and visualizing my schedules, so I thought I’d share my bullet journal spreads with ya’ll!
I have tried using standard monthly and weekly planners and datebooks, and soon realized they didn’t work for my needs. I then moved to the Passion Planner (undated) and was so pleased with that for a large chunk of time. After I finished grad school, the Passion Planner wasn’t really doing it for me anymore. I highly recommend the Passion Planner to anyone who prioritizes an hourly layout within a weekly spread. As a freelancer, I just needed something a little more versatile with space dedicated to content creation.
I use the BooQuool Dotted Grid Journal – I know it sounds like an off-brand sketchy item, but it was so worth the purchase. The pages don’t let ink bleed through, which was a huge plus. What’s the point of a notebook if I can’t use both sides? I also really like that the notebook lays flat, it makes it so much easier to write in!
I feel like my preferences in writing instruments change with time, so this is what I’m into currently. Most of these are available at A.C. Moore (similar to Michael’s or Blick Studio).
+ Blick Studio Pencil – Just an average pencil with an average lead type. I like using a pencil to draft everything in first before I ink it out.
+ Staedtler Eraser – I highly recommend this brand if you’re looking for an eraser. Obviously if you had a pencil with an eraser, you wouldn’t need one separately.
+ Prismacolor Premier Brush Tip Marker – A kind of unnecessary marker I have to bold certain things for aesthetic.
+ Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Pen (M) – A bold pen that’s not a brush tip so I can line things that I want to be slightly bolder than other lines.
+ Precise Rolling Ball Extra Fine Pen (V5) – My go to pen for sketching and drawing. I actually don’t like using this pen for lining, I keep it on hand for lettering.
+ Pigma Micron Archival Ink Pens (05, 005, and 01) – These are my main bullet journal pens. They don’t smear easily and they are actually black and not some weird maroon black. I use the 005 for inner lines and some lettering, the 01 for lettering, and the 05 for headings and main outlines.
+ Clear Ruler – I like using a clear ruler so I can see the lines and dots underneath while I’m using it. I honestly think I got this at Forever 21 (I know, how lame).
Getting started with a bullet journal was kind of intimidating. When I used the Passion Planner, I used a lot of washi tape and colored highlighters, and to be honest – I’m kind of over that. I wanted my bullet journal to be functional, so I went with a minimalist approach to it.
I knew I didn’t want to do a table of contents or index because that seemed super extra to me, but I knew I wanted to track a couple of things that seemed important to me.
This is working well for me right now because I can see all my payments on one page. When I have the random thought “oh yeah, did I remember to pay that bill this month?”, I can come to this page and see if I did and how much it was. I totally messed up on the bottom of the page and covered it in washi tape. Basically, I put a table for income tracking, but then decided I wanted a separate page for that. I also had to color code my car insurance to differentiate it from my health insurance, so I wish those were two separate tables. I also wish I created a “Date Paid” section in each table.
Bullet journals are always a work in progress and don’t have to be this beautiful masterpiece, so I don’t mind it being a little messy. I also put washi tape along the edges of pages that I reference throughout the year so it makes them easier to find within the notebook. I think looks a little more sleek than those sticky tabs.
When I made the switch to freelancing full-time, I knew I needed a practical way to track income that gave me information I needed once tax season comes around. Not only is this nice to just see the amount of work I’ve done in one page, it’s also a great way to stay on top of receiving payments from different companies on time.
I’ve got spots for date, amount received, company, project name, 1099 or W2, and cumulative total. This makes sense for my type of work because I normally get payments throughout the scope of a project (1/3 upon signing, 1/3 when content is delivered, 1/3 upon closing of the project). I kind of wish I put in a spot for payment method (direct deposit, personal check, etc) but so far, this table has been working great for me.
This page has been surprisingly helpful. I originally created it in attempt to keep track of all the jobs I was applying for before I settled into my freelance position. Now, as a freelancer, I use it to keep track of all the potential projects I might have the opportunity to work on. I have a column for the company/client, location, for/project name, contact information of the person I’m interviewing with or talking to, and any notes associated with the project (salary, length, etc).
This has helped me stay on top of following up with people about projects. It’s also nice to see what potential projects are coming down the pipeline so I can plan ahead for any dates that could conflict.
I use a content calendar to keep track of content I generate for Craftswoman Central. Sorry I had to blur out so much content on this one – you’ll just have to stay tuned to know what else I’m thinking of posting!
On the right side, I have a “brain dump” page where I just list out ideas of topics to cover in the blog. Then I’ll place topics next to a date that I want to upload them on, which helps me upload twice a week. I have a column associated with every post that helps me track when I take photos, draft the post, publish the post, and upload it to social media.
I used to use the boxed, standard calendar layout and realized I wasn’t getting as much as I wanted to out of it. I wanted a space that I could see the whole month and write categorized notes about each date within that month.
Here’s my monthly layout from January. I like to have a spot on my monthly layout that I can see the following month’s layout as well. I have columns for events, work deadlines, and reminders. This way, I can see things like meetings, due dates, and birthdays all on one page without crowding a little tiny box for one date. This page is good example of how all those pens come in handy – line weight matters!
I started doing weekly layouts using a full two-page spread. In this one, I have columns for meetings/events, a show I was working on, work related items, and other notes. The other section is super helpful for me as it keeps me on task for things I need to do complete in that week. I also use the other column for meal prep ideas and specific workouts I need to do that day.
I currently prefer this type of weekly layout, where I can place each week on it’s own page. I change up the columns for every week depending on what’s going on in my life. Sometimes it’s really nice to just have work and personal. This particular spread was for my trip to Santa Fe – I crammed in all the dates I would be traveling on one page because I knew I didn’t need that much space for the to-do column and then decided I wanted a packing list for the trip. It’s so helpful to be able to customize layouts to whatever you need for that particular week.
I don’t have any future log or habit tracker pages because I don’t need my bullet journal to function in that way, so that’s all I’ve got for now. I keep my work/paint charge notes in a totally separate notebook, so stay tuned for a post explaining how I do project management layouts and time sheet trackers!
I hope this was helpful and could show ya’ll that you don’t need anything fancy to get organized. Let me know down below or on Instagram if you also use a bullet journal!