Setting up my Bullet Journal

Setting Up my Bullet Journal for February

I am a big list writer - hence my love of the BuJo.  So I wanted to share my lists with you of what has and hasn't worked in my BuJo set up and what hasn't.

February is here, already?  How did January fly by so quickly?  It really doesn’t feel like a month ago since we were singing Auld Lang Syne and I was promising myself, as I was setting up my Bullet Journals for 2016, that this year would be my year.

For some of us, maybe we lost our way a bit in January and now we’re wondering if perhaps this is not the right thing for us after all.  How many of you set up every possible page after spending Christmas being inspired by our fellow Bullet Journal Junkies?  Oh come on, I know it wasn’t just me.  Now, you’re sat wondering if this Bullet Journal is the way forward.  Perhaps you have even found yourself looking back at other planners, hoping that no other Junkie even suspects you of leaving the fold?

You are not alone.

I am a big list writer – hence my love of the BuJo.  So I wanted to share my lists with you of what has and hasn’t worked in my January BuJo set up.

Setting up my Bullet Journal

What hasn’t worked?

Habit Tracker.  I know, I know.  This is something everyone raves about; I was so convinced that this beautiful little check box system would change my life.  However, guess what?  It didn’t.  It became an extra chore, another item “to do” and it also had the ability to make me feel bad about myself when I didn’t colour in a square or when I forgot to even update it for a few days!  So in February, I am saying goodbye to the Habit Tracker.   I can provide more than enough guilt trips for myself without a visual reminder.  I may revisit this in the future and perhaps even rejig it but for February, it is out.

Gratitude Pages.  Now, the actual idea of writing 3 things a day I am grateful for is still something I want to do.  However, I tried to do the Boho Berry version of having a three page set up dedicated to gratitude each month.  This hasn’t worked for me.  I know that Kara says she likes having it all in one place to revisit but I find that writing them at the end of each day at the bottom of my daily list works better for me.  I just add them to the end of my daily list before writing tomorrow’s list.

Having to keep flicking between pages – to fill out the habit tracker, fill out the Gratitude journal, etc – was just not working for me.  I like the Keep It Simple, Stupid method (KISS) so just writing them at the end of the day makes me happier.  It also helps me when flicking through to have some context of what happened each day (by my daily list) to see why I was grateful for particular things on particular days.

Setting up my Bullet JournalWhat has worked?

Brain Dump.  One of the first things I do when setting up my Bullet Journal, is to spend time writing down everything I can think of that I need to do (people to call, things to buy, appointments to make, letters to write, blog posts to create) has made such a huge difference.  I have a two page spread (having three children with Special Educational Needs brings a lot of “to do” to my life) for each month.

I initially look back at the Brain Dump from the month before and add the items not done to my list for this month. I then look through the daily posts to see if anything has been added there but not completed.  Again, these get added.  My brain dump is like a master “to do” list.   I then check my calendar for the month and add Birthdays, I then add workshops (if I need to create a presentation) and anything else I can see I need to do that month.   I also add steps from my “goals”list so I can make sure they get done.  If anything pops up in an email or a phone call, I also add these to the Brian Dump.

This list is then my point of reference for my daily lists.  Obviously new items occur and I often add these to the Brain Dump for the month if they are not something I intend to work on in the next few days.

Monthly Checklist:  This is a quick list of those jobs you need to do regularly but often forget.  Things like add rinse aid to the dishwasher, put bicarb/vinegar down the plug holes, add blog stats to tracker, change water filters, etc.  My favourite item is “date night with hubby”.  When I am setting up my bullet journal, I schedule these throughout the month in my daily lists so they all get done without me getting over whelmed.

Waiting For:  Having a place to write these items down has proved to be so useful.  I just jot down what I am waiting for, who it is coming from and when I asked for it.  So, for example, if I send an email about the children and need a response, I write down who it was sent to, when and I work out how long I can give them before chasing it up.  Or perhaps I am working on a project and can’t move forward until a colleague gives me their contribution.  Again, this goes in the “waiting for” list.  Try it, I can highly recommend it.

Daily List:  Each evening I write a list of things to do the next day.  I choose from my brain dump and also from my monthly checklist.  I also check my “waiting for” list to see if there is anything I need to chase up.  I try to select two or three of the tasks as a priority.

Daily List for Invoicing:  Another thing the daily list is really useful for is when I have to invoice for work every month.  As we have established, I am not great at having to fill out a tracker or plan each night so I am fairly useless at keeping a note of the work I did, when I did it, etc.  When I thought about the work fr one company I needed to invoice in January, I thought it was about 5 days.  However, I went through my daily lists and realised that actually it came to 8 days.  One thing I am going to try to do in February is to highlight the paid work I do at the end of each day so when it comes to invoicing, they stand out more.

Affirmations:  I wrote down the prompts from Brian Tracy’s 30 day affirmation challenge in my BuJo last month.  I wrote each day’s affirmation on my daily list and found this helped me to remember to keep saying it.   Having to keep turning to the Affirmation page wasn’t working for me – having to remember longer affirmations was just not great on days when lack of sleep featured.

What about you?

What has worked and what hasn’t in your BuJo?  Are there things you will keep and things you will get rid of in February?  I would love to hear from you.




  1. Debs, great to hear how the bujo is going. I set one up at the beginning of Jan, but deliberately didn’t go all out with all kinds of things and let it evolve more, because I know how easy if forget things, sometimes even my daily lists have gone out of the window. Ironically I am trying a gratitude page for Feb, one line for each day – we’ll see what happens! But I agree about brain dumps; they good, plus I have an errands page and a waiting for page which have been super useful. I have started a writing plans page, to help me stay focused, which seems to be good at the moment.

    1. Thanks for commenting Alice, I want to focus on some writing – always been a goal to be a “real writer” so I would love to know how you are using your Writing Plans page.

  2. Thanks for this great post! I have some problems with the habit tracker too, I try to stick to it many time, but everytime this metod make me feel a little guilty. Every blogger love it and raccomande it, but I think it’s not for me, in my opinion isn’t ispiring at all! And thank you for the other ideas, I think maybe I can try Waiting For List

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