my bullet journal // the process + my spreads

Saturday, May 20, 2017

hello again, my reader friends.

i thought i would shake it up a little this week and do something a little different! since i'm in the middle of exams right now (a time of utmost importance when it comes to organization) i thought it only right to show you guys my bullet journal (even though i haven't really used it that much this week)

back a couple months ago*, i asked you guys if you wanted to see my bullet journal, and many of you (to my surprise) said yes! however, i did want to accumulate some more spreads before i showed you. but now i think it's finally time. the school year is nearly over and i probably will not be using my journal much except to make lists or actually journal about life, so this was the perfect time to show you!

*geez time has flown so fast!

how it came about

if you don't know what bullet journaling is, i would highly recommend checking out this video to explain it. 

i started bullet journaling at the very beginning of march after receiving a leuchturm1921 journal for my birthday in february.  i realized that i wanted to start doing some type of journaling after christmas, and i really wanted a nice journal that would last a long time, but i didn't really want to drop the moolah on one. as i said, my birthday is in february not that far into the year, so that was the perfect time to get a journal!

the reason i started bullet journaling in particular, is because i was unhappy with my current planner. i didn't love the way it was set up-- there was too little room, and it wasn't quite visual enough for me. bullet journaling seemed like a good option for me because is is so customizable. i can pick and choose the weeks that i actually do need a planner without wasting paper on the weeks i don't (if that makes sense?). i like the fact that i can take up as much room as i want and need with my bujo. the personalization aspect of bullet journaling is my favorite part.

another reason i started bullet journaling is because i was inspired by cheyenne barton's (aka studyrose) bullet journal flip through video (linked). all the heart eyes for her bujo. it's just so pretty <3

behold, my humble journal:

the supplies

fun fact about me: i am stationery obsessed. i love all types of pens and tapes and highlighters and (this is my intj side) i will debate you to the death on the pros and cons of all thicknesses/brands of pens. i do my research very thoroughly.

for my journal, i use a 0.38 mm gel pen, either the cult favorite muji gel pen or the pilot g2. recently, i've been leaning towards the pilot g2 because it is more comfortable to hold. 

i also use the zebra mildliners (also a cult favorite in the studyblr community. side note: if you have not checked any studyblrs out and need inspiration to study, i highly recommend you search some pics up on pinterest or tumblr) for color accents. i usually choose a color theme for each month. i really love the minimalistic design and beautiful mild colors. i'll also sometimes use the crayola supertips markers. for calligraphy, i use the tombow fudenosake pen.

up in the top left, i have a glue tape dispenser thingy which is really useful for attaching papers inside your journal.

finally, i use a heck of a lot of washi tape. i find the vast majority of them on amazon for really cheap. i've ordered these ones and these ones (linked) and they both are really pretty and good quality, if you don't mind waiting a while for shipping from japan.

some of my very favorite washi tapes

starting out

for me, bullet journaling was a trial and error process. it was all about figuring out what worked for me and what didn't. many times, i had to change what my spreads looked like because i didn't get what i wanted out of them.

by now if you've read my blog for a little while, you may have realized that i am 1) a crazy perfectionist and 2) very "aesthetically oriented". basically, i knew that if this thing was going to organize my life, it was going to be aesthetically pleasing gosh darn it. this means that from the beginning, i was pretty focused on making my journal look very aesthetically pleasing, and i was also focused on making it completely perfect. 

in the beginning, i never really wrote directly into my journal and instead glued lots of papers that i spent a lot of time on in, but this was just unsustainable.

a monthly spread meticulously done by gluing sticky notes and papers in
my key and the future log that i never use

a couple weeks in, i decided to write directly in the journal, (try to) accept my mistakes, and just cover them up creatively lol.

trial and error

as i said before, my bullet journal was and continues to be a trial and error process. here are some things that did/didn't work:

  • about a month into my journal, i realized that i didn't like using the future/yearly log and would rather look at my life on a month by month basis (rather than yearly). so yeah, i don't use my future log anymore.
  • however, my key was the first thing i created, and it still works for me very well. it's one of my very favorite things about my journal.
  • in my very first monthly spread (march, shown above), i included a little diary section to write a sentence about my day, but i quickly realized that this was not something i wanted to do everyday all year long. that's something else that didn't work for me. now, i just include a tiny calendar, goals, books read, and important dates (and of course aesthetic photos)
  • as time went on, i started to include more pictures and visual elements. i really like the fact that i can add these!

lots of visual elements wooooo. i love this spread.

  • my weekly spreads where i wrote down my daily homework, tasks, etc changed the most because i needed something structured but not too strictly formatted. it took a few tries but i think that i have it nearly right.
an evolution of weekly spreads:

a little too busy for me...i tried...

as you can see, i kept the "deadlines" box

to the left is the weekly spread format that i like the best currently. on the right is  a study schedule i never finished...

more pictures

because i feel like i've been jabbering a lot yo.

examples of photos i might glue into a spread

well, i don't really know what else to say. these were just some little tidbits of info about my personal bullet journal, but if you want me to write a post about how to actually start your own, i will! 
i could also do a  full flip through video / monthly set up video to fully talk through my process if you guys wanted! (it's a just a little hard to explain everything in writing)

if you have any questions about my journal feel free to ask me in the comments! do you use the bullet journaling system? what are your opinions on it?

xoxo, madeline


  1. Okay, Madeline, let me first just say: STOP. STOP BEING SO AMAZING, OKAY??? Like loooook at that handlettering! I thought I was good at it but then I see your sand NOPE. Hoooooooooow. And your BuJo is so aesthetic??? I'm going to start one in January 2018 (gotta start #fresh yo) and I want it to look aesthetic. LIKE YOURS. asdfghjkl *fangirls*

    may @ forever and everly

    1. ahh thank you <3 you are so sweet!! i was gonna wait and start one in the new year, but then i just wanted to start right away!

  2. Wow, I absolutely love your journal! I'm definitely pinning some of these photos :) my favorite spreads are May and "this week".

    I have a sort-of bullet journal? It's kind of a mix between a list book and an art journal, I guess. I use all colorful pens and washi tape, but it's in a lined journal. And I don't really use it as a planner like most people seem to; it's mainly for lists of music I like, my favorite words, books I'm reading, and things like that. It's super fun, though!

    Ellie | On the Other Side of Reality

    1. thank you :) may is also one of my favorite spreads!
      i really want to start art journaling at some point but your journal also sounds amazing! i think that this summer since i don't have any school to plan for i might start doing something like that!

  3. YOUR BUJO IS SO BEAUTIFUL!! I wish mine was as nice and sleek as yours. I've been going for about 6 months and am still figuring out my style (+ learning how to draw and write neatly hahaha).

    ZEBRA MIDLINERS ARE THE BEST! I love using them, especially with the great range of colours. As for pens, I haven't got any gel pens yet but I really want to invest in some for the main writing in my bujo. It just looks so much nicer than the artline pen I've been using. I also want to invent in more washi tape, stickers, and things to add more personalisation to my journal.

    1. samee...i'm still figuring out my style! my spreads are always changing and i can only write neatly about half the time lol.

      i totally would! i find that the supplies i'm using makes me want to bullet journal more!

  4. Your BUJO is beautiful!! I never really thought about gluing/taping pictures in, vs trying to draw/script everything myself - genius!

    1. ahh thanks!! i didn't think about it either until i saw others doing in on instagram and whatnot!

  5. Those zebra midliners are sooo pretty, I've been seeing them all over Instagram! YOUR BULLET JOURNAL IS SO PRETTY, it makes me want to start one. I use the GET TO WORK BOOK because it's big enough for me to add all my lists, and also I'm so bad at using my "creativity" to design spreads, haha.

    1. i know! i love their minimalistic packaging! aww you're so sweet! thank you :)
      i also struggle sometimes in designing spreads and i usually consult pinterest and tumblr for inspiration!

  6. Your bullet journal is #goals OMG. *swoons* Seriously, teach me. xD

  7. Ok first of all your bullet journal is gorgeous and wow I love it so much also all of your washi tape everything about this post is beautiful

    second of all: ahh you got a new domain and I wasn't aware I'm so sorry I haven't been stopping by more! I was just checking my email and thinking hey...where's Madeline been lately, I need her bookish updates, and then I realized you'd gotten a new blog! I'm so sorry for not following right away, I'll be doing that right now. I missed you :)

    1. ahh thank you :))

      no you're totally fine! i changed my blogger domain and confused everyone a few weeks back lol. it's the same blog just a new and improved name! (which i love so much more!) missed you too girl <3

    2. missed you too-- love the new name as well, it fits your blog perfectly I must say <3


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