Posted in Journal, lifestyle, papercraft

5 reasons to start a bullet journal today

Get organised

Having a bullet journal allows you to write down all your appointments and lists in one place. You can also keep an eye on your habits, moods, housework, spending … whatever you need to. It’s a great place to track how your goals are progressing too.

Be creative

You can make your journal as simple or as fancy as you like. It’s your journal to do whatever you want. You can change your mind along the way if necessary. Not every page or spread has to be the same each time, so you can experiment with different styles.

Record memories

Sometimes you might want to expand on an event in your journal, and that’s perfectly ok. You can just make a quick note in your weekly or daily spread, then reference it to the page where you have written more about it. This is one reason why a bullet journal has page numbers and an index.

Plan ahead

It’s not just a diary, it’s a planner too. You can create a “Future Log” of upcoming dates, create birthday calendars, make a note of your goals, brainstorm blog post ideas, or plan for something specific like a holiday.

Flexibility

Unlike a pre-printed planner, a bullet journal adapts with you. You create the pages and spreads as you need them, assigning them the space they need. You create the index as you go, which makes keeping track so simple.

Go on then! Have a look at my Journal Along With Me series for more inspiration. Once you start your journal you will love it.

A pile of notebooks
Thanks to @HopeHousePress for making this photo available freely on @unsplash 🎁 https://unsplash.com/photos/IOzk8YKDhYg

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Posted in Journal, lifestyle

Bullet Journal pitfalls and how to avoid them or deal with them

You have a lovely new journal and you can’t wait to get started, but then anxiety says “great … but what if you spoil your pages …?”

Photo by Liam Anderson on Pexels.com

Everyone makes mistakes, but I have put together this short list of common errors and how to avoid them:

  1. Smudges – If you are using ink of any kind then sometimes it will smudge. I would recommend using blotting paper on all ink, but especially fountain pens. Press the paper lightly on fresh ink to soak up blots, but also put blotting paper over the top of wet ink and under your hand to prevent accidental smudges as you write or draw.
  2. Using the wrong pen – This is only really a problem if you are sticking to a colour scheme and you have a selection of pens of similar colours, or if you are trying to maintain uniformity in some other way. You can keep track by having a sticky note to hand and making a KEY of what pen you have used. Some manufactured sticky notes can be quite glossy and not all pens will look the same on different types of paper, so you can make your own with a scrap of paper and a piece of washi tape. ~ If you don’t want to write out a key, then you can wrap a piece of washi tape round your pen to remind you.
  3. Spelling mistakes – if you don’t know how to spell a word then look it up or ask a virtual assistant how to spell it. If you find yourself always having to check the same words, then make a note of the correct spelling at the back of your journal.
  4. Ink leaks – some types of ink will leak through the page, especially if the paper is quite thin. Keep a page at the back of your journal to try out your pen first. You could make it fancy with doodle boxes, write a pangram or a quote, or write a list of the brand and type of your pens similar to the KEY idea (2) above.
  5. Drawing grids the wrong size – plan your page in pencil first. You don’t necessarily need to draw out the whole page in pencil, but make a few light pencil marks to help you plan. If you have layouts that you repeat then you can make yourself a cheat sheet to remind yourself of the dimensions.
  6. Carbon paper effect – back in the day, if you wanted to make a copy of a document it would often involve carbon paper. This was an inky piece of paper that you slipped between the sheet of paper you were writing on or typing on and a blank sheet of paper, inky side down. As you wrote or typed, the ink would transfer to the blank sheet, making a carbon copy. If you put the carbon paper the wrong way up, the ink went on the back of your original copy instead! Where is all this leading you may ask? ~ Well, it is to do with coloured pencils. They’re great for making colourful habit trackers etc, but when you turn the page and write on another, the coloured pencil will transfer, like carbon paper. Avoid this by putting a sheet of scrap paper between the two pages so that the pencil goes onto that instead.
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

How to deal with mistakes in your journal

If the list above came too late, then don’t despair!

You could embrace your mistakes by incorporating them into your design …

Highlight them and write “whoops!” over the top. Change them into a doodle. Cross them out, deep breath and carry on.

Or, hide them …

Small mistakes can be covered with correction tape (warning: not all pens write over the top of correction tape or fluid). You can also cover them with washi tape. Gently scribble over the mistake first if you don’t want it to show through the washi.

Larger mistakes can be covered with another piece of paper, magazine cuttings, stickers, etc.

Massive mistakes can be hidden by sticking two pages together. Absolute last resort but not recommended at all is to remove the page, but this can weaken the book spine and other pages may fall out.

Final note: just relax and enjoy. Eliminating distractions and taking your time will help you become a better writer, but if you make a typo or another mistake, it really isn’t the end of the world.

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Posted in Journal, lifestyle

Journal along with me | February Monthly Spread

Here I am using my A4 lined notebook from The Works. It’s spiral bound, so it opens flat or folds completely back on itself, and that’s a very helpful thing. It’s also easy to tear out a page if you make a terrible mistake … which is exactly what happened to my first attempt at this monthly. Happy endings though, as I like this spread more than the first one.

A4 notebook bullet journal monthly spread

I have stamped the title but everything else is my own writing. I planned the spread with a pencil and ruler, then added the pen. After I had waited an extraordinary amount of time for all the ink to dry, I gently erased the pencil marks and hurrah no smudged ink.

I would always recommend a few light pencil marks to begin with as it does reduce the likelihood of making an error.

This series is specifically about journaling on a budget and simple spreads for beginners … BUT … I did get a Leuchtummmmmmm* Journal with dotted pages for Christmas – yay! If you would like to nosy at those pages then I have dedicated a whole new Instagram account to it 🙂

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*It’s Leuchtturm really of course!

Posted in Journal, lifestyle

Journal along with me | Gratitude

One of the most important lists to have in your modern day journal is a 

gratitude log

Giving thanks for the small things can go a long way to having a better day.

Chloe from Chloe Chats explained to me that even if you are having the worst day, to look for something positive may help you deal with the negatives.

I suppose it is true that if something really terrible is going on, hopefully someone will show you some kindness, therefore giving you that something positive to focus on.

Recommended reading:
Chloe Chats – Book Review – 365 Days of Happiness

“Think Happy, Be Happy” is one of the things I really struggle with and I have written about it in these posts:

A gratitude log will help you keep track of the positives, and you can reflect on them as and when you need to. It would be a good habit to get into, so I suggest if you are going to create a habit tracker later on, then definitely put gratitude on the list.

You can write whatever you like on your gratitude log, so long as it is a positive. It can be smallest thing, but that doesn’t matter, because all those small things will add up. 

This page needs no excuse for lots of cute decorations and doodles, so get extra creative! Experiment with writing inside heart shapes, clouds, bubbles, balloons …

Posted in Journal, lifestyle

Journal along with me | Habit tracker

habit tracker

A habit tracker is basically lots of cute boxes you colour in to keep track of when you do something, or don’t do something 😉

There are so many things you can use it for, such as keeping track of

  • moods
  • healthy habits
  • household tasks
  • exercise taken
  • food and drink
  • blog planning
  • spending money

I track habits over the period of one week usually, and the following week I might track different habits, depending on how the previous week went.

There is absolutely no point in continually tracking something you are not doing. Instead, work out why you are not doing that something (if it is definitely something you want to do) and see if you can reorganise your routine to include it. Is there something else you can drop instead? For instance, I try to track my blog commenting, but if I go a few days without visiting other blogs, then I would consider not writing blog posts one day and commenting on others instead.

Posted in Journal, lifestyle, papercraft

Journal along with me | Creating a future log

One very obvious reason for having a planner or [bullet] journal is to be able to see ahead.

Upcoming events and tasks are recorded in a future log. You can create one for any period of time you choose. You could make one for the whole of the coming year, or for the month ahead, or anything in-between!

I would recommend starting with the month ahead.

A future log is useful for remembering things like birthdays though, so jump right in to the year ahead if you want to be very organised.

Decide how much space you need for each day. You don’t need much detail at this stage because you can put more detail into your weekly spread as it comes round.

You could divide your month/year into columns for different things, depending on how busy you are. Mine is very basic.

Remember to update your index

My example above shows a full six weeks and has space for notes or a quote at the top. I’ve used my favourite calendar stamp in the top right. I can use this as a tracker or to highlight important dates …. Or just to cross off the days as they happen.


I do hope that you are finding this series helpful. Please share your planners and journals with me.

My Journal Pinterest Board


If you would like to collab with me in 2019, please fill out the form below, include your email and website and the subject you would like to write about, and I will reply as soon as I can.

Posted in Journal, lifestyle

Journal along with me | Positive affirmations for your first pages

In my post about creating a weekly spread, I suggested you skip the first few pages of your new notebook. Now it’s time to write on them!

One of the things you can use these first pages for is to write some positive affirmations, to remind yourself of the special place you hold in this world.

I’ve turned to my Twitter gang to bring you some beautiful ways for you to tell yourself you are the best.

Geraldine from the blog Geraldine Talks

  • My thoughts matter
  • I will continue to learn and grow
  • I refuse to give up because I haven’t tried all possible ways
  • I am doing the best I can and that is enough
  • I believe in whatever I’m doing and no one can take that away from me

Alison from Little Blog of Positivity

  • Even in the midst of chaos I can always maintain my inner peace
  • I accept me just as I am
  • Every day I have the power to choose, and today I choose to happy

Write down one or all of these quotes, and add some of your own if you wish – then read and repeat as often as you can.

Comment below with your favourite affirmation if you have one!

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Posted in craft, Journal, lifestyle, papercraft

Journal along with me | Creating a weekly spread

In the first post in this series, I wrote about buying a notebook.

Now you have your book you will probably want to start writing in it straight away, but that can be quite daunting.

My best advice is to skip a few pages

Leave yourself some space to come back to. I will make some suggestions for those blank pages later in this series. Number a few pages then start writing on page 3 or 4.

I suggest you make yourself a simple weekly spread first, because you can get your immediate time organised straight away.

Even if you’re starting your journal in the middle of the week, it doesn’t matter. Draw yourself a grid for seven days.

Beginning on the Monday, write the dates in and fill in your appointments for the week, including those you have already been to.

Add a to-do list with check boxes ☑️ so that you can keep track of your important tasks. At the end of the week, transfer any unfinished tasks to your new to-do list for that week.

I have created a space to write important reminders for the following week too.


The next step is to create an index. I start mine in the back of my notebook. On the left hand side of the page, write the title of your spread eg “weekly spreads” and next to it put the page number. When you add more weekly spreads, just write the page number next to the title, so it will look like this:

INDEX
Weekly spreads ….. 3, 10, 15

Update your index every time you create a new page.


If you would like to share your “before the pen” pages with me, I would love to see them.

Journal weekly spread

Either leave me a link below, or comment on my pinboard 

related content:

which notebook should I buy?