I never used to be someone that kept a journal of any sort. I've always had a diary, but in the practical sense of it being a week-to-view that I just used to note events, birthdays and meetings.
I've dipped my toe into the wide world of bullet journalling a few times, but it never really stuck and I was making it much more complicated than I needed to!
In January I vowed to start again, but do it my way this time. I bought a leuchtturm journal from the small online stationery shop, Nikki's Supply Store. I've heard people rave about these for years, and whilst they're not cheap (I picked this emerald green one up for £16.50, which isn't too bad but more than I'd spend on a standard A5 diary), it is a lovely book with lovely weight pages and numbers on each page.
The problem I've always had with bullet journalling was keeping up with weekly spreads. As soon as I bought this one, I knew I had to fill out all of the diary pages otherwise I just wouldn't keep up with them! This took me a good couple of hours but now I have a full 52 week diary in there, and I can add events and dates to remember in there way in advance.
The 52 week pages only filled half of the book, which I thought was pretty great. I'm using the rest of the book to keep track of goals, and also to fill in specific habit trackers that I like to monitor. I have five trackers at the moment, in previous attempts at bullet journalling I'd take ideas off Pinterest and never actually fill them in because they just weren't relevant to my life. Now my habit trackers are things that I'm actively interested in following so I update them regularly!
For this one, I simply drew out columns for each month of the year, with a box in each column for every day. I have a colour code for the amount of money spent each day, from no spend to £20+. I round my purchases for the day up to the nearest marker, for example if I spent £14 I'd colour that day in green for £15.
This has actually been a really helpful and insightful tool for keeping track of money, and I've found that the more aware I am of what I've been spending, the more I can make sensible choices on whether to buy a certain thing, eat out, and treat myself etc.
As you can see, there's a lot of pink days which makes me happy! It's worth noting that I don't include bills or business purchases on this, just personal, eating out and buying things for other people etc.
This is possibly the thing that I find most satisfying out of anything else. I've always been a pretty good saver, even when I've barely had any income, the goal has always been to at least preserve my savings. For this one I just drew out lots of diamonds and wrote out numbers in £50 increments, starting at £1k. Once I deposit into my savings account, I fill in the appropriate diamonds with little lines.
*Important Note here - I use an erasable pen. Savings will always fluctuate, they're used to pay for things like holidays, emergencies like car problems, and anything in between. That's fine and using an erasble pen means you can just adjust your totals without worrying too much, and it just helps to make it clear in my mind that it's perfectly normal for savings to go up and down.
Social Media Posts
Now, this one probably isn't widely used, but I find it very helpful personally. Managing four social media accounts is pretty confusing at times and it's easy to let one or two go weeks without posting. Similarly to my spending tracker, I have columns for each month and instagram account, and I just colour the relevant square when I've posted. This means I can see at a glance what I've been neglecting and where my presence has been quite heavy.
I also track my follower count at the end of every month so it's great to refer back to this and see if the amount of times I've posted has made a difference!
Now here's one that I've been keeping on top of recently! I always set a yearly reading target cause I'm a nerd, but I rarely acheive it. This year I might actually acheive it. I mean, let's face it, if I don't acheive it this year, reading just ain't for me is it!
This one is a simple bookshelf doodle, on which I write out the names of books I currently own. If I don't own them yet, I don't write them on because this is intended as a 'what can I read next' selection. Once I've read something, I colour it in. It's all very satisfying, honest.
I'll be honest with this one, it mostly serves for me to prove to myself that I have actually tidied something. As you can see, I'm a reluctant tidier to say the least! I also do it so I can be like, why is my cupboard so messy?? And then refer to the last time I tidied it and be like, oh right, maybe becayse it's not actually been organised this year. Oops.
It's also kind of satisfying to tidy something and colour it in, like ticking something off your to do list. Just this to do list is never complete! One day I may actually blitz everywhere and colour a whole month in one go. Don't hold your breath though.
These all keep me feeling like I'm on top of my life, particularly during lockdown. Some are obviously more important than others (like savings compared to reading goals) but they're all super helpful and just a fun little habit to occupy my mind at the end of the day.
Let me know if you try any of them or have any other suggestions!