Happy #2020! The first thing I do on the 1st of January (apart from finishing left-over food from our NY dinner celebration) is to set up my bullet journal (Bujo) for the year! If you’re not familiar with bullet journaling, I would suggest you watch this video, or better, read the book The Bullet Journal Method by Ryder Carrol.
Personally I love the book more than the videos, simply because the book gives a better overview of this method (as the subtitle suggested) to “track the past, order the present, and design the future”. I got a lot of nuggets and inspiration from the book to put my life in order, so I would recommend you to read it, even if you’re not going to use the bullet journal method itself.
As usual, this year, I am using my bullet journal mostly for things related to work/project/self-improvement. I don’t use it as a daily/personal journal (the way some people do), because I write and journal a lot (maybe too much!), so I have a separate journal to pour my heart out.
My previous bullet journals have always been so minimalist and straight-to-the-point, but this year I decided to have a playful one, with splashes of colors and illustrations I draw myself. I want to plan and have fun and draw a lot, thus, this is how I set up my Bujo 2020:
The Bullet Journal Notebook
For my 2020 bullet journal, I am using the Leuchtturm 1917 Hardcover A5 Dotted in Navy Blue, with 249 numbered pages.
I love the paper quality and the number of pages in this notebook (serve me well for the whole year). Plus, it comes with two bookmarks (one blue, one striped); so I can refer quickly to 2 sections in my bullet journal.
In this post, I will refer to how I set up my bullet journal using this particular notebook (and how I divided the pages), but feel free to use any notebooks you have to host your bullet journal! If you have a random empty notebook lying around, use that instead! You can even make your own cute dangling bookmark to go with it—see the instructions here.
I decorated the cover with a sticker from Flow Magazine’s Book for Paper Lovers (most of the stickers/note papers used inside this bullet journal comes from that book) and write ‘Bujo 2020’ with a white marker.
Contact Info Page
Next, I drew myself (and my house), then wrote down my name and address on the contact page. I also slapped down some washi tapes I got from HEMA (4 washi tapes for 3 euros!)—that I’ll be using to decorate/flag/page-mark this bullet journal.
The Leuchtturm notebook I’m using comes with 3 index pages, so you can create a table of content of your own bullet journal. It helps you to find certain things/topics in your bullet journal easier.
Page 1. Inside Cover Page
I just drew myself (along with my best friend Nia in her cat form!) and write ‘Bujo 2020’ with colored pencils.
Page 2-3. 2019 Reflection + 2020 Intention
For my 2019 Reflection, I started out by writing some milestones from the previous year. Next, I’ll write down some stuff from 2019, including:
- things I’m grateful for
- things I’ve learned
- people I’m thankful for
- things that went well
I will also write some thoughts about how I would ‘summarize’ 2019. What do I like/dislike about it, what are some of the challenges I’m facing, and what are some of the things I could improve.
For my 2020 Intention, I will start by writing down some areas of life I’d like to focus on (i.e. strengthening my spiritual practice, experimenting with various ways of self-expression, etc.). I will also write down about my ‘ideal’ 2020 here. What are the things I’d like to experience, people I’d like to meet, achievements I’d like to accomplish? How do I want this year to turn out?
Page 4-5. 2020 Overview
At the end of each month, I will write 3-5 milestones or highlight from that particular month here. The idea is to look back at this page at the end of 2020 and being able to see my year at a glance.
Page 6-7. Goals & Bucket List + Note to Self
For my goals & bucket list, I will write my goals for 2020 here, along with some things I’d like to have/experience. You can read this post to find out how I set up my yearly goals—and this post I wrote about why (most of the time) our New Year resolutions don’t work.
The note-to-self page will be filled with quotes & affirmations, as well as empowering words from myself, for myself. When I am in doubt or in need of encouragement, I can flip into this page and cheer up a little. I think of it as my tiny self-help page; a quick fix to brighten up my days and lift up my mood.
Page 8-11. Future Log
Here, you can find the tiny calendar of every month in 2020. I left the bottom part empty to write down some of the things that come up; as well as some tentative schedules/appointments. The things on these pages may happen or may not happen. They are not set in stones. It’s just my way to have a peek into the future and see what is waiting for me. For instance, I’d like to finish the first draft of my new book in May 2020, so I may write it down underneath the month of May in pencil.
Page 12-13. Yearly Stats
There are some things I’d like to track each month this year, so I make this spread to track them and see them all in one go. At the moment, I see two main areas I’d like to keep a close eye on: my finance and my platforms. I’d like to write down the latest stats of these two things by the end of every month and as the year progress, I can also see how things grow (or plummet!) from one month to the next.
Page 14-15. January Monthly Persona + Monthly Check-in & Intention
On page 14, I drew myself as ‘an artist’. Throughout the year, I want to draw myself as different personas, the ‘imaginary’ me who are living a different lifeline or having different professions. ‘The Artist’ is my monthly persona for January.
I read about this alter ego/persona exercise in the book The Alter Ego Effect: How to Change Yourself in 10 Seconds or Less by Todd Herman, as well as in Julia Cameron’s Sound of Paper. The idea is to imagine yourself having an alter ego or a different persona that you’d like to channel, having the kind of life you’d like to experience, with certain characters, personalities, or qualities you’d like to embody.
The goal is basically to ‘get out of your head’ and try to imagine another possible version of you; to open yourself up to the possibilities of being you in a different light. If you watch Netflix’s Sense8, think of it as something similar to that!
A lot of us use our weaknesses to make excuses to do/not to do something, but what if we leave who we are, and ask what our alter ego would do instead? For me, this month, I’ll think of the daily routines, strengths, quirks, or qualities of ‘The Artist’ version of myself, and experience living this month from that perspective.
On page 15, I will do my January check-in; writing about my state of being entering this month of January. How do I feel, what am I happy/unhappy about, what excites/worries me, etc. And then I will write my January intention: how I would like this month to turn out? What are the things I’d like to happen this month so I can feel fulfilled?
Page 16-17. January Monthly List + Gratitude
On my monthly List page, I will write down the books I read this month; some podcasts I listen to or some courses I followed on Skillshare or Domestika. If I watch a really good movie/documentary, I may note the title down as well.
On the Gratitude page, I write down the dates of each day in January, and every day, I will write some of the things I’m grateful for. I have been keeping my gratitude practice close to heart. It’s a very simple thing to do, but it has helped me to stay humble and grounded.
Page 18-19. January Monthly Ideas & Content Ideas
I have such a busy mind, and I get daily sparks of inspiration and ideas that will be forgotten if I don’t write them down. So on my Ideas page, I write the number of each day in January to note some random ideas that cross my mind that day (I may or may not execute the idea; it’s just nice to look back at all those random bursts of ideas!).
Next to it is my Content page, where I will write down some random content ideas or topics I have in mind. I color-code it with pink for Instagram, blue for Blog, and green for YouTube, so I know where I publish/share a particular content (if I decide to work on it).
Page 20-21. January Tracker & Planner + Income/Expense
On page 20, I have my January Tracker & Planner. Next to the day/date, I have a column with 3 habits I’d like to track this month: meditation, movement, and art practice. I know it’s tempting to build and track loads of good habits at the beginning of the year, but I always find it too overwhelming. I decided that I will concentrate on a maximum of 3 things/habits to track per month. In the next two columns, I have my Work Planner and Personal Planner, where I list down work/project deadlines and work/personal appointments.
On page 21, I have my Income/Expense tracker; and it’s pretty straightforward. Just a simple table to keep me accountable for my finance!
Page 22. January Weekly/Daily Planner
This is my Weekly/Daily Planner where everything happens as I go about my days: I log my plans, deadlines, appointments, to-do lists, weekly intentions, ongoing projects, notes… basically anything I need to write down to stay on track and organized. I usually fill up 2 pages every week. If I need more pages to jot down things, I can just tape a scrap paper or a memo paper on this page with washi tape.
For each day, I also write down my ‘effective working hours’ from 10 am to 5 pm, to track and evaluate what I am doing during these (supposed to be) productive hours.
Page 33. January Reflection
I left enough pages for my whole weekly/daily planner in January plus some empty pages for notes and braindumps, until page 33 where I will write down my Monthly Reflection at the end of the month. I will write some highlights/achievements from the month along with how I feel about the month in general. Am I happy about it? Am I proud of myself? What went well and what can be improved?
The template is repeated for each month throughout the year 2020, and I have divided my notebook into equal page counts, so it will last until the end of the year (plus some extra pages for random notes): Page 34 – February, Page 54 – March, Page 72 – April, Page 90 – May, Page 108 – June, Page 126 – July, Page 144 – August, Page 162 – September, Page 180 – October, Page 198 – November, Page 216 – December, Page 234 – Reflection of 2020, Page 235-249 – Random Notes.
Do you bullet journal? Do you have a planner? Do you use any other system to stay on track and organize your day? Let me know in the comments, I would love to hear from you.