Bullet Journaling 101: Lessons Learned

As I mentioned in my last Bullet Journaling 101 post, I recently set up a brand new journal and in the process of doing it, I realized that I had learned quite a few things going into this particular journal and I wanted to share them with you guys – hopefully, it’ll give you some ideas and tips on how you want to set up your journal!

You Still Mess Up

Going into this journal, I knew I wanted a way to keep track of how often I pampered myself (as it’s a goal of mine) and so I set up a very simple tracker that would give me space to color in a scare for every time I pampered myself (and in my planning, I had determined that it would only count as a pampering session if I did it all) but I quickly realized that sometimes, I don’t feel like shaving my legs or using a body peeling while in the shower but I’ll still do some of the things that count as pampering myself.

congratulations on your epic fail.gif

Which is when I decided to set up a new tracker that shows me the upcoming months as a whole and gives me the space to mark whenever I do a certain thing to pamper myself. Say, one day I shave my legs and do a facemask after taking a shower – I can mark that in my tracker and this way I can also see when I did something last and realize that it’s about time I took some care of myself again.

The first tracker I set up is never going to be used and is just going to sit in my journal the way I first set it up and that’s okay. I’d rather realize that something wasn’t working than forcing myself to use something I wouldn’t enjoy. So, if you find that something just isn’t working for you – start over! Create a new spread and do it the way you think it will work better! Don’t be afraid of messing up. 🙂

Color Schemes

Honestly, I didn’t think I would come to love having set color schemes as much as I do right now!

I have a dedicated color to track my reading goals and then use a rainbow of colors (in a set order) for my page, book and habit tracker and it’s so pleasing to look at? One of my favorite spreads in my current journal is hands down the one below.


And by having determined which colors I want to use in which order when tracking the books I read, I also realized that I can use the same order for my habit tracker and keep things consistent that way too. Plus, it’s much more aesthetically pleasing to my own eyes when I don’t use the colors randomly – it looks messy really quickly!

Something else that I do is choose one color for all of the headers in my monthly set-ups this also allows me to use a coordinating washi tape color to mark the pages of each month (for April I am using a pink marker and a pink washi tape to go along with it).


Running To-Do Lists

With how my life is at the moment, I don’t need to set up weekly spreads that allow me to write down tasks daily which is why I just create running to-do lists whenever I need them and then work my way down them as I go. I’ll migrate or cancel tasks as I go along too!

Personally, I am not a big fan of to-do lists that are SET IN STONE for a particular day (if it can be avoided), so having these running lists works much better for me and I’m much more likely to actually do what I write down.

Whenever there is a deadline attached to something it’s almost like my entire body just goes ‘Nope.’ and refuses to do anything related to that particular task. Picture my brain doing this:

fuck this shit.gif

And yes, I realize that this approach probably isn’t going to work forever but it does right now so it’s what I’m going with. Afterall, it’s my journal and my life that I am trying to organize right?

Space For Journaling

Confession: I own way too many notebooks and I used to keep telling myself that I’ll use them to journal more often. But nothing ever happened. My journals are still as empty as they were months ago when I said I would use them more often.

Which is why I decided to give myself space in my bullet journal to do some journaling too. Once again, I don’t have set days when I need to journal or anything. I’ll just do it when I feel like there is something that I want to make sure I write about so I remember it down the line (which reminds me that I still want to journal about the day when I got my Leah eARC, because GOOD LORD THAT WAS AN EXPERIENCE IN AND OF ITSELF).


I’ve actually already journaled a few times this month and it’s so nice being able to just flip back a few pages and read about how I was feeling during a particular weekend. And by having my journaling in this journal, I also make sure that I actually do talk about my feelings because the journal is right there and I have it in my hands at least once each day!

So, if you want to journal more but haven’t found a way that works for you, maybe try it this way and see if that works out!

No Limits

This was definitely also a bit of a rule in my old journal, but I would often feel a bit guilty about having such a ‘messy’ bullet journal because I wanted it to be nice and organized at all times. Which, don’t get me wrong! I still want that but I also realize that it’s much more fun to be able to do anything I want in this journal!

theres no limit to what you can do
listen to Beyoncé, people!

For example, if I’m doing something in my journal and have an idea for a blog post out of the blue – why shouldn’t I write it down then and there? Or if I’m trying to outline a post, why not do it in my journal? Why get a separate piece of paper when I have some right in front of me?

And actually, this very blog post was a result of me planning and outlining a different post in my bullet journal! Plus, I’ve also done some brainstorming for my May set-up because there were a few things I wanted to change for next month’s set up and I even brainstormed some ideas for a DIY cover change for my current journal – and it’ll be all right there for me to look back on down the line too!

lets chat 1

How about you, my fellow bullet journal junkies? Are there any lessons you’ve learned when setting up new journals? And if so, what were they? Do you currently have spreads that you just simply don’t use anymore because they don’t work for you anymore? Do you just leave them be or do you cover them up somehow? Let me know in the comments down below – I can’t wait to hear from you! 🙂

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10 thoughts on “Bullet Journaling 101: Lessons Learned

  1. I don’t bullet journal, but I do write in a normal journal and tape in ticket stubs, photos, etc. whenever I have them. I love the process of trying to write a little every day– it really helps to clear my head and it’s so fun looking back at past entries. ❤ Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. A running to-do list!!! Holy crap Swetlana, I think you just saved my life here 😂 I always write new (almost daily) to-do lists on little pieces of paper and at the end of the week I end up with SEVEN of these little pieces because I’ve completed some of the tasks, but definitely not all of them. I feel like if I set a running to-do list maybe just for the week, or create a weekly goals spread without assigning them to just one day, I’ll be much more likely to get things done! I’m totally like you where my brain is just like NOPE when it sees that I HAVE to do something today 😂 thanks so much for this tip ahhhh!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love that you shared all of the lessons you learned, they will definitely come in handy when I’m setting up my bullet journal 💗 I’m super afraid of messing up, because I really want my journal to look perfect (I’m too much of a perfectionist 😅), so I think that contributes to me not having done anything yet. I’ll really try to move past that though … somehow!

    Personally, I do daily to do lists, but I might try out running to do lists! Lately I’ve been wanting to change things, because daily lists can be a bit restricting to be honest :/

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah, that must suck! I can sometimes be a perfectionist and that’s just going to work against me more than I ever could and it’s quite annoying! I hope you’ll be able to deal with it though and still set up a journal! I mean, you could always cover up a page if you made a mistake, right? I’ve done that before too! I had messed up the cover image for a month, so I just grabbed a blank page of paper, drew the picture on there again and then just glued it on the page that I messed up!

      You should absolutely give running to-do lists a try! They give you so much more freedom and I LOVE it!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think by choosing a simple layout and not putting pressure onmyself to make it super pretty and complex, I will be able to silence my inner perfectionist! That’s certainly a good idea that I will keep in mind when I make a mistake, so thank you 💕

        I’m currently trying it out! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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