bullet journal

My 2019 Bullet Journal Set Up

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I recently got into bullet journaling again after picking up the new Ryder Carroll book on Bullet Journalling. For the last 3 months at university I’ve been using a regular agenda style planner, and though useful for mapping out where I needed to be, there wasn’t much space for task planning. I eventually resorted to using something like the bullet journal system with sticky notes. Which while still helpful resulted in me having to keep track of each individual list.

In the end, I decided I should just take up bullet journaling again. The Bullet Journal Method really helped me with this part, figuring out a system which was minimal and also functional. So today I thought I would share my new bullet journal set up for 2019.



Over the last year, I’ve massively cut down on the number of stationery items I use on a daily basis. This has made it a much simpler process when working in a sketchbook or notebook because I don’t have a huge range of pens and pencils to choose from. I have one pencil from Muji, I prefer mechanical pencils because I don’t need to sharpen them. I also have one Muji gel pen and a Mildliner in the colour grey. I also use a coloured pencil as a make do highlighter.

The notebook I’m using for this particular bullet journal is the A5 MD paper notebook with grid paper. I really love using this notebook, the paper is nice to write on and it handles ink well. I also decided to use calligraphy ink in this bullet journal. I wanted to make my initial 2019 pages stand out but still remain quite minimal. So I chose to add small elements of calligraphy into my set-up. The ink I’m using is the Dr PH Martin’s Iridescent ink in the colour copper plate gold. This ink works really well in my MD paper notebook, it doesn’t bleed through the paper and has a smooth surface which makes writing using dip pens very easy.


Because it had been a while since I last used a bullet journal I decided to take a look through some of my old bullet journals. This was to get an idea of what types of pages I had used in the past. What worked and what I didn’t need. I noticed I had a lot of pages dedicated to my blog. I used to used my bullet journal to keep track of my blog stats, as well as what posts I had scheduled. I knew I wouldn’t need these pages in my new bullet journal, most of that information had been migrated into a Google spreadsheet because it was easier to edit.


I started off by creating a 2018 achievements page. This is not something I’ve done in previous bullet journals. I find sometimes I can forget all the good things that have happened in my life and just focus on the bad. But I had a really good 2018, some people would think passing a test or getting a place at university is no big deal. But this was the result of years of work. So I wanted to acknowledge everything I achieved in 2018. By adding this page to my bullet journal it means I can always refer back if I need a little motivation.


Then I moved on to create a cover page for 2019. The point of this is to separate the new year from the old in my bullet journal. Ryder Carroll suggests that you start your bullet journal in a new notebook each year but I don’t like that. I have a tendency to want my notebooks to be perfect, starting in a new notebook because of some arbitrary date would only make this worse. Also, notebooks are expensive. I compromise by creating some space within my bullet journal to separate out the new year. I kept my cover page very simple, even though I could have written on the actual page I chose to write the year on a piece of GF Smith paper and stuck that into my notebook.

2019 GOALS

This is another page which was really important. Setting out my goals at the start of 2018 was a massive help when it came to actually achieve them. The Bullet Journal Method was also a huge help when it came to defining my goals. I wanted to create goals that would fit into my long term aims. I’ve also found it helps if I set out concrete goals, I say I want to read 25 books rather than just saying I want to read more. Reading more could mean anything, having a set number means I know what to aim for.

I also included another hand-written quote on this page. This quote is a slightly modified version of a Hamilton lyric. Because I only had a certain amount of space on the page I set out the layout for the type in Illustrator before handwriting it. Calligraphy is more than just fancy writing, how the type is laid out and how it fits together is important too. This quote was also written on a piece of GF Smith paper, I could have put it straight onto the notebook paper, but the GF Smith is a really nice surface to write on.


Now that I’ve made my 2019 at a glance page I’m not sure how useful it will be. It’s not really the sort of thing which I refer to all that often. But I still wanted to have it in my bullet journal because I didn’t include a future log. I don’t really make long term plans, and the ones I do have are all saved in my Google Calendar. The year at a glance should be quite useful when it comes to planning time at university. Though I am still going to create separate pages to track my lectures and studio projects as well.


I decided to keep my monthly page very simple. When it comes to bullet journals I much prefer a vertical monthly layout rather than the traditional month on two pages you find in most planners. I’m not sure why but I hate using a month on two pages layout in my bullet journal, I think it’s because I can never get a layout which I like. But the vertical layout is fine.

I prefer leaving a space between each week, it makes it easier for me to see each week individually. Usually, I would try and lay out two weeks on each page, I try and keep both pages almost identical. But because of how the dates are arranged this month it meant I have more space on one page. I don’t mind this, I think the white space looks fine. I could add some sort of monthly task list in this space but I prefer to keep that separate.


And that was my 2019 bullet journal set up. I want to dispel any assumptions that this layout was easy and effortless. It was not. Even though I loved using the Dr PH Martin’s calligraphy ink it was horrible to work with. The ink simply refused to dry which meant I kept making a mess of my calligraphy and had to start again. In all, it took me a full day to do these pages between redoing some pages and waiting for the ink to dry. I love how my bullet journal turned out but oh my god it was a nightmare.


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