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I have important news for you all. I’m back on the bullet journal bandwagon! 

I used to bullet journal religiously. A flip-through video I filmed for my (severely neglected) YouTube channel years ago, remains the most viewed video I ever posted by a long shot. I fell out of the habit when I started at my current job, about a year and a half ago, mainly because I struggled to keep my work life and blog life separate, but also didn’t know how to combine them in one place.

I picked up another trusty Leuchtturm1917 around 5/6 months ago with the view to starting again, and fell to the same trap. I was getting annoyed it wasn’t perfect, but then couldn’t get through one day at work without a random list appearing, so gave up again.

It wasn’t until I started reflecting on 2019, and deciding what I wanted from 2020 that I decided to pick one up again. Michelle’s 2020 bujo post also helped – the girl is a bullet journal artist! 

I love bullet journalling above using standard notebooks and/or diaries for a few reasons. I like how you can completely customise it, and tailor it to your needs. I like how you can change things up mid month, mid week, or whenever you like without being confined to specific designs and layouts. And, most of all, there’s just something about them that works for me. The general bullet journal system, just clicks in my brain.

So, seeing as it seems to be the done thing nowadays (that, and I wanted to share), here is how I’ve set up my 2020 bullet journal for January.

What bullet journal have I used?

As previously mentioned, I used to be a big fan of a trusty Leuchttrum1917. This time, however, I’ve chosen a Papier notebook. It’s hardback, dotted, and it was the choice of designs that swayed me! And the fact they can be personalised! It wasn’t until I saw Michelle’s post that I even knew Papier did notebooks – I thought they only did cards and invitations etc. So, I head to the website and picked one up. Then I saw, after ordering, Papier give people a cheeky li’l referral code to send to their friends. I put the link on Twitter and Instagram and the blogging world has since gone a little mad…

Long story short, if you buy through my referral link you get £15 off your first Papier order and I get store credit! Then, when you’ve bought, you’ll get your own referral link to send to your pals. Win-win.

In terms of how I’m doing with the Papier notebook, I honestly love it! It folds well, so it’s easy to write on both sides (a pet hate of mine is when hard back notebooks don’t open flat), the paper is nice and thick, and the quality just feels amazing. I’d love it even more if the pages were numbered, and if it had some sort of pocket in the front/back cover, but I can live without those just fine.

Now… how have I set it up?

2020 title page and my word of the year

This is a bullet journal tradition I’ve never done, as I’ve never started one right at the beginning of the year. I just allowed myself to doodle and see what happened, and my chosen word of 2020 is ‘growth’. I’m really happy with how it came out, even though it’s not totally perfect – in 2020 I want to work on creating things that are imperfect and loving them anyway, so this fits that goal ideally for me.

Index

I always try to use the index feature to save myself time, but always seem to give up after ~20 pages and lean towards paper clips/tape tags instead – I’ve already tagged some important pages with washi tape so I can find them easily. We’ll see if I keep up with it this time, but I’m trying to just figure out what works for me and give things a try in the meanwhile. I feel like it could be useful for any future list/reflection based pages, so I’ll keep you updated if anything changes!

Vision board

I’m putting together a small vision board in the front of my bullet journal this year, after really getting into manifestation (thanks to Victoria). I have one as my phone background already, but love the idea of having a mini one in my bullet journal as well. It’s not totally finished yet, but I’ll share it on Instagram when it is!

Future log

I’ve seen this style of future log across Pinterest hundreds of times, but it wasn’t until I saw Michelle lay hers out like this that I wanted to give it a go. In the past, I’ve only done it 6 months at a time – January to June, then when I’m laying out June’s monthly log, I do July to December. This time, I’ve put them both together (across 4 pages) and I think I much prefer it. Having the months so small means there’s plenty of space for key dates underneath them, which I love!

Reflect & Grow

Sophie recently put together a workbook titled Reflect & Grow. It’s set around reflecting on 2019, and setting intentions and goals for 2020. It’s such a perfect thing to have at the start of my bullet journal, that I had to have it in there. I’m looking forward to later in the year when I can reflect on my 2020 goals and see how far I’ve come!

January title page

Honestly, I’m not totally happy with my January title page. But, this goes hand-in-hand with what I said earlier in the post about allowing myself to produce imperfect things. Letting myself be creative without the pressure of everything needing to be just so is one of my big goals for 2020, and hopefully starting a new bullet journal will help me with this!

That said, I love the format. Title page on the right, with key dates and goals on the left is something that feels like it will work for me going forward. Just need to have a sit down and decide on my goals now!

Regular monthly spreads

I’ve cut right down on my regular monthly spreads this time. I definitely used to try too much and not stick to any of it. I’m yet to find a tracker or log that I stick to, so I’m keeping it very simple for now. Unless inspiration strikes in the future, of course!

This year, I’m making an effort to separate my 9-5 work life from my blog stuff and general life. Hence why this whole bullet journal is very blog focussed!

I love having a page a month where I can jot down any ideas and inspiration that comes to me, so that’s what my general ‘ideas’ page will be for. The only other regular monthly spread is my collaboration tracker. I find it so much easier to track this on paper, so it’s just a place where I can remind myself of what I’ve quoted, what blog posts are due when, and when invoices are due each month.

Weekly log

Finally, we have my weekly logs. Honestly, I’m expecting this to change a lot. Depending on what I have on each week completely decides on how I lay out a week. Sometimes it’s like this as an even double-page spread, other weeks I have one page of dates while the opposite page is one, weekly to-do list, others are just the weekend and some are just the week. This is what I love about bullet journals, though!

This is also why I have the ‘next week’ section in my weekly logs. I rarely set up further than a week at a time, so it’s just a place I can remind myself of things that need doing at a later date.

I think that’s everything! Overall, I’m really happy with how I’ve set up my 2020 bullet journal so far, and I’m looking forward to seeing how it will evolve in the coming weeks and months. 

Do you have a bullet journal, or have you ever considered it? I’d love to know how yours are set up, and what you swear by in yours!

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  • I love it all, especially the wee space doodles on January! They’re adorable.
    I’m trying to bullet journal for the first time so I have a lot to figure out haha,
    Cora | http://www.teapartyprincess.co.uk/

    • rhiannabowe@googlemail.com says:

      Thank you! Honestly, I say this to everyone but my best piece of advice is to not feel too pressured for it to be “perfect”. I’d say try anything and everything you’re interested in, and if it doesn’t stick just don’t use it again! My first bujo was filled with ALL SORTS! Sleep trackers, savings trackers, expense trackers, if you can track it, I had a page dedicated to it. It wasn’t until I realised I didn’t actually use any of them that I simplified! Do what works for you, and enjoy it :)

  • Freya says:

    I’ve tried setting up a bullet journal quite a few times in the past, but like you I could never stick to it because I was way too much of a perfectionist and eventually hated whatever I’d already set up. For some reason I also always created pages that I ended up not using at all, just because I’d seen someone else do it and thought it looked great. But your post has honestly inspired me to give it another go and to fully do it on my terms this time, without perfectionism and without brainlessly copying what someone else is doing. So thank you! (Oh, and yours looks absolutely BEAUTIFUL btw.)

    • rhiannabowe@googlemail.com says:

      I did exactly the same when I first started! If you could track something, I had a page dedicated to it!! It wasn’t until I realised I didn’t HAVE to do everything I saw on Pinterest that I started properly enjoying it, and it started really working for me. Let loose, do whatever you like, but make sure it works for you and you’re enjoying it!

  • Sian says:

    I started bullet journalling last year and promptly gave up with it when I worked on spreads too far in advance, then got waaaay too picky about how it looked. I threw perfectionism out of the window at the end of last year, and have naturally been coming back to it since! I’m hoping to use it as a grounding tool to carry through my days!

    • rhiannabowe@googlemail.com says:

      Omg yES I did the same mate! I used to draw up at least a month at once, and now I just do it weekly – it’s so much easier for me to plan that way, because I can change each week depending on my calendar and depending on how much time I have. And it means random lists are actually sort-of chronological, rather than weeks in advance (if that makes sense!) – it’s so much more fun when you try and stop being so perfect, isn’t it??

  • Anika says:

    Great set-up! I had no idea Papier did bullet journals but love the cover of this one. I also really like the title page, the doodles are cute! :)

    Anika | chaptersofmay.com

    • rhiannabowe@googlemail.com says:

      I didn’t either, until I saw it on a friend’s blog! And they’re so nice! I bought myself a separate notebook, too haha!

  • LOVE this!! I’ve been Pinning away like mad for new weekly log ideas. I’ve already set up the opening pages and my January pages, but really want to be a little more creative in 2020. Thanks for mentioning my post as well lovely!! x

    • rhiannabowe@googlemail.com says:

      Always, doll! I keep seeing so many bits on Pinterest that I want to try – my list is huge haha!

  • Saffron Watson says:

    LOVE LOVE LOVE this! I started a BUJO a few years ago and loved being creative and experimental and need to do this again! Thank you for a great post with inspiring ideas…also how are you do talented at doodling???

    • rhiannabowe@googlemail.com says:

      Aw thanks love haha! Years of art and design has ingrained it into me!! It’s nice to have somewhere to get some creativity out, to be honest. Instagram is one thing, but there’s nothing quite like being creative on paper for me!

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