I’ll admit: after discovering Notion recently, I knew I had to reevaluate how I use my bullet journal for the second half of this year (more on this next week). For a while now, I’ve been keeping Collection pages, using a rolling daily format, and more. This time, though, I wanted to try a different approach and see which setup truly works the best for me.
From now until December, I’ll be keeping things much simpler. My main focus for my journal this time around is quarterly and monthly goals, as well as embracing the day blocking method. Meanwhile, I moved my Collection pages (like what I’m currently reading, watching, and playing) to Notion. But I did save a little spot for them on my monthly calendar spread.
Essentially, I’ll be using my bullet journal as a companion to Notion and a traditional journal for the rest of this year to see how that works for me. Then, in December, I plan on reevaluating again going into the new year. This seems to be the best method for my needs at the moment.
With that said, let me introduce you to my new notebook!
Firstly, and perhaps most importantly, I’m using a Dingbats A5+ notebook. This is my fourth Dingbats notebook and as you can tell, I love it so much! It has cream pages, which I’ve been enjoying over white since it’s easier on the eyes. The pages are also 100gsm, which is just right for me. I don’t use paint or colored markers, so I don’t need super thick pages. Plus, I’m not a fan of how they feel. Thick pages feel more like a sketchbook and less like a journal to me, so I stick with 100-120gsm and try not to go lower than that.
This time, I got the brown bear cover again (I had this a year ago, for July-December 2020) because I loved it so much. It’s my favorite Dingbats cover!
This cover page is simple and matches my cover page from my Jan-Jun bullet journal. I typically keep this page as minimal and clean as possible. I don’t add any kind of quote because I tend to save my quotes for my monthly spreads.
Year at a Glance
I love this spread because it looks so clean and uniform. I definitely have this spread in here more of aesthetic than actual function, but I do reference it sometimes when my phone isn’t on-hand. This time around, I made this spread span two pages instead of one and added a little column on the side for notes!
Future Log and Quarterly Goals
Another change I made to this bullet journal is combining my future log with my quarterly goals. Here is where I do all my future planning for major events, birthdays, and holidays when I haven’t quite reached that month yet in my bullet journal.
It’s also a quick and easy place for me to glance at my goals for that quarter. I used to have a goals page at the start of my journal for the whole year, but now, I’ve divided them up into smaller, quarterly goals. They feel much more manageable and attainable this way. This month’s quarterly goals are:
- Refresh my website
- Read (at least) three books
- Write four blog posts per month
- Set up my Ko-fi monthly subs pages
Monthly Cover Page
For my new setup, here is my cover page for July. Simple and crafty, this spread is very similar to all my other monthly cover spreads in my previous bullet journal, so I’m keeping the theme going for the rest of the year (plus I still have dozens of stickers left). My monthly spreads don’t ever have a “theme,” but a mood for the month is at least portrayed here.
This time around, I switched my cover page to the left side of the notebook and adding a running list for daily gratitude to the right. I’m going to try to make a habit of logging my gratitude here instead of on my weekly spreads. That way, I can look back on all of the great things that happened that month all in one place.
Monthly Calendar View
The monthly calendar is perhaps my favorite spread to lay out. It’s so much fun setting this page up! Here is where I can glance at the calendar view of the month, as well as any major holidays or events. At the bottom is my habit tracker, where I can see at a glance my habits and moods for the month. I also saved a place on the left for a quick list of what I’m reading, playing, and listening to.
Finally, here is my reimagined weekly spread. On the left page, I have space for the week’s Focus items, which I limited to at most three. Then I have a column for that week’s social media content and a column for my master task list.
I divided the right page into eighths: one for each day of the week, and a spot for notes. I plan on changing up the right side of the weekly spread when I need to, depending on my expectations for the week. For now, I think an even split will do the trick.
NOTE: With the rolling daily method, I found myself putting tasks on the current day when I didn’t exactly intend to complete it on that day, just so I wouldn’t forget it. Now, I add these tasks to my weekly master task list, then check them off there whenever I do manage to get to them. Tasks listed under the specific weekday are limited to needing to be completed that day, while the tasks on the master task list can be completed or migrated whenever.
After each weekly spread, I just turn to a clean page and do my daily journaling. I found it strangely limiting even when I was journaling with the rolling daily method, so having this area separate from my weekly spread is the best combination of planner + journal for me at the moment. That way, I can write however much or little I want without disrupting my weekly spread. Then, once the next week starts, I turn a fresh page and lay out the week all over again.
Did you move into a new notebook for July-December? What is your setup like and how it is working for you? I’d love to know!
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Megan Portorreal is a professional writer, editor, and creative in the New York City area. In her spare time, she enjoys reading books, writing about her life, and playing video games.