The Results Are In!!!

I used a random number generator to draw the winner of my Blog Bullet Journal giveaway!!! The lucky winner is Willow! 🙂  I will leave you a comment on your blog but if you see this first, please message me with your address!  My email is my.colourful.life@outlook.com

Thank you to everyone who participated, it was so much fun!  I shall be running more giveaways in the future so keep checking back!

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Birthday Giveaway! Only A Few Days Left to Enter!!!!

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As it is my blog birthday today I wanted to do something to celebrate!  I decided to host a giveaway for you all!

I am giving you the chance to win a blog bullet journal that will be designed by me!  I managed to get my hands on a lovely dot grid journal which is the same as the one I will be using for my blog things next year…

It is silver holographic and has 192 pages of 80gsm paper.  The layouts inside will be for the full year, there will also be pages for relevant hashtags, goals, stats, pages or blog post ideas, schedule calendar and other useful pages!

To be in with a chance to win all you need to do is number off in the comments, please check the comment prior to yours and then comment with the next number up from that!

  • The giveaway is open to everyone.
  • The giveaway is open from 29th September to 16th October.
  • There will be 1 winner (I will use a random number generator to draw the winner.)
  • Winner will be announced on 17th October on the blog.
  • One entry per person.
  • I will post out the journal in November.

Good Luck everyone!!!!

Diary, Planner and Journal Update

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It doesn’t seem that long ago that I last wrote my Diary, Planner and Journal Review, and given that it was just 3 months ago not much time has really passed.  The last time I wrote about my planner, journal and diary I wrote about how I was still using my Filofax Malden and had also been using a bullet journal for all my blogging and life needs and not much has changed in that time.

I am still loving using my bullet journal which has become my main planner for all things blog and life related and my Filofax seems to be getting used a little less than before, its main use now is to accompany me to doctors appointments and when I go shopping.

I am really liking my bullet journal more and more every day and think I may have found the best thing for me to use for all of my needs, aside from my blog schedule, blog notes and other social media ideas I don’t have much that I need to keep track of day to day.

I really like that I can change around the layout from one month to the next, I have trackers to help me manage everything blog related, from writing a post, creating an image and even keeping track of when it has been scheduled which is a great help.

I have enough space in it to write down any thoughts and ideas that I have, space to write down reminders of things I need to do and a place to keep a list of things that I would like to do.

I know which layout I prefer and what sort of things I like to have on hand, which pages and layouts I use the most and the ones which don’t work for me.  And, I am fairly sure this is the type of planner I will be using next year too…in fact, I am so sure that I have already got my 2020 Bullet Journal 80% set up already!  The only thing I am not too sure about is whether I am able to resist buying any other planners for next year…only time will tell I guess?

What planners, journal or diary have you been using this year?  Has it suited all of your needs?  Let me know in the comments!

How to Bullet Journal

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I have been using a bullet journal on and off for years now, some of them have been really creative while others have been more functional.  I have now settled into a style that works for me, it’s a mix of creative and functional with the most creative aspect of my journal being the page I dedicate to the month title.

I have never been one for following rules, and the traditional Bullet Journal Method of rapid logging doesn’t really appeal to me so I tend to borrow ideas from diaries and mish-mash them with things that I need in order to function on a day to day basis.

I wanted to share with you my tips and tricks I have learned along the way and how I bullet journal so today’s post is dedicated to this.

First up, let’s talk about the actual “journal”.  I want to start by saying that you really do not need to buy any kind of brand journal, any kind of notebook will do.  It doesn’t matter if the pages are lined, blank, dotted, graph or grid, whatever tickles your fancy will do nicely!  My personal preference is for a dotted grid that isn’t too dark.  Brand-wise, you can go with any, I have used cheap books from Amazon (which have no brand name), cheap notebooks from the supermarket, Lechtturm 1917, Scribbles That Matter, Flying Tiger and one that I picked up in my local TK Maxx.  The brand really does not matter, it’s what you make it be that counts!

Tools

You may have seen people on social media and blogs talking about this pen, that pencil, this washi, those stickers and a whole other myriad of “essential” stationery needs for your bullet journal.  My advice… disregard all that you have read.  Here’s a list of tools you will need.

  • Your favorite pen, ink color of your preference.
  • A graphite pencil.  Any kind will do.
  • A ruler or straight edge.
  • A few other pens in different colors, gel or fine liners work really well as do ball pens.
  • Eraser, accept that you will make mistakes, an eraser will help to remove most.
  • Post-it notes.

Now, before you even start on creating your journal, sit down with a pen and a piece of paper and write down a list of things you want your journal to have and what you want to use that journal for.  Each person has a different list of wants and needs and reasons to use a journal.

The main thing that is needed in a journal is diary space for logging things.  This can take up several different formats depending on what you want to use the journal for.

  • Future log – an overview of several months that you can add information such as Birthdays and other Occasions in little detail.  Usually, this will take up 2 or more pages.
  • Monthly overview – a page dedicated to just one month where you can log upcoming appointments in a bit more detail.
  • Weekly log – this can cover one page or 2 depending on the amount of detail you want to add to each day.
  • Daily log – a page dedicated to each day, where you have the whole page to use for recording things.

Basic Set Up

The next thing to decide is whether you want a divider page between each month.  Once you have answered that question you can then move on to thinking about the running order of your journal.  My personal preference is

  1. Future Log over 4 pages (title on the facing page then on the double page 8 months, and on the reverse another 4 months).
  2. Monthly title page on the next available facing page.
  3. Monthly overview on the reverse of the monthly title page.
  4. Weekly pages for the month over a double page.
  5. Repeat 2-4.

This is your basic set up.

There are so many ways to set up your weekly pages, columns, rows, squares, rectangles…a peek at Instagram will show you so many different ways.  Decide which layout is best for you. I find that rows and rectangles work best for me and alternate between the two every month.

Other Pages to Consider

Some people like to add a Key to their journal, a page of symbols or color coding that correlates to certain items in their journal, it is useful to add this to the beginning of your journal if you want to use one.  There may be other requirements you have for your journal, like shopping lists, trackers and other things.  Some pages you may wish to insert into your basic set up are

  • Trackers.  There are so many different things you may want to track, water intake, medication, sleep, steps, exercise.
  • Shopping lists.
  • Notes.
  • Checklists.
  • Projects.
  • Ideas.
  • Thoughts.
  • Daily/weekly/monthly reflections.

You can add these things in between your daily/weekly pages or at the beginning or end of the month, or you can have a whole section dedicated just to these kinds of pages. There is no wrong or right way when it comes to placement, remember it is your journal.

Making a Start

I like to start by opening a new Excel spreadsheet, in the first column I make a list of each page number (the amount will depend on how many pages are available in your chosen journal).  In the following column, I start to map out how I want my pages to flow, from my Future Log onwards and listing each page as if I were flicking through it.  This step gives me an idea of how many pages I will use and helps me to work out how many pages will be used and for what.  You don’t really need to use this step if you don’t want to.

I then map out in my journal the first few pages, firstly using post-it notes labeled with the title of the page or the date range those pages will cover so that I can get a feel for how the layout will be.  Again this is an optional step but helps me to make fewer mistakes or miss things out.

Creating Your Pages

Now is time to put pencil to paper and map out your pages.  Always, always, always start with a pencil!  Any mistakes you make can easily be corrected, and once you are happy with the way things look you can then commit to your design with a pen, trust me on this…I’ve messed up a ton and pencil is so much easier to rectify!

You can make your pages as intricate or as plain as you want, play around and have fun creating something that is useful and will be used by you!  Use as many or as few colors as you want, be minimal with your designs, be maximal, whatever you fancy!

Collections

I don’t really use collections but I thought it may be useful to mention here.  Collections are series’ of pages that log certain things.  collections can be lists of books to be read, films to watch, bucket lists, travel lists, packing lists, cleaning lists, and rotas… this kind of page is normally placed towards the back of your journal.

Bullet Journal Terms

Here’s a list of terms and definitions that may be useful

  • Future log – Overview of the yea
  • Monthly log – Overview of the current month
  • 2 Page Spread – usually a layout which spans 2 pages, normally a left hand and right-hand page.
  • Key – a series of symbols or colors that are assigned to certain events or tasks.
  • Week to a page – a week that is contained to just one page of your journal.
  • Week on 2 pages –  a weekly layout spread over 2 pages.
  • Tracker – a little infographic for you to capture information on whatever you want to track.

I hope you found this post useful.  Do you currently use a bullet journal?  What are your most useful pages?  If you don’t use a bullet journal, what would you use one for?

 

Diary, Planner and Journal Review

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We are now half way through the year now and I have changed so much about how I organise and plan my time in general, my blog things and other aspects of my life that I thought I would do another re-cap on my diaries, planners and journals that I am currently using.

I started out the year with 6 different planners and diaries that I was using ( you can read all the posts here or click the tag in the word cloud on the right of the screen).

Along the way I have been working out what works for me and what doesn’t.  While I loved the idea of the spiral bound home planner (similar here from Hobbycraft) I found that it was not really working for me as it was just too big to carry around with me.  I realised that, as I was back in work and spent a fair deal of time away from home, that having a planner that I could only add to when I was indoors was not the best option for me.  I found that I was thinking of household things that I needed to do and writing them on post-it notes and sticking them into my Filofax and never getting around to adding them to my home planner.  I do have a few ideas of things I can do with this planner though so that it doesn’t just go to waste…I’ve been thinking of making it into a kind of scrapbook of memories for the year.

I am also not really using my “the Bright Side” diary either.  I started using this diary as my blog diary, so I could keep track of my posts and blog schedule and it worked for a time.  I have found though, that while I loved the size of it as the time, it’s now a bit too small for my needs.  I still love the format though and would consider buying another one next year for general dates and birthdays and reminders instead of for blog management!

Anyway, enough about what I am not using… let’s take a look at what I am moving forward with…

 

My Filofax Malden in personal size is something that has stuck with me and I don’t envisage that going anywhere soon!  I like that you can add pages and take them away, have sections for notes, add dividers and all manner of other things.  It is such a flexible system that can work in so many ways!  It comes everywhere with me and I use it to record appointments, make notes, write in my household chores, everything that is important goes into this.

I have also switched to a bullet journal for all my blog things.  (You can read about my set up here).  I used to use a bullet journal a few years ago (I had a dedicated Instagram page for it) but it all got a bit too overwhelming for me as I was pushing myself to be creative on all the pages and make them all arty and pretty.  I did love the flexibility that it allowed me, adding different trackers, space for notes and planning and lots of other things too, and this flexibility is perfect for what I wanted in a blog planner.

I am still using my Happiness Project Journal and writing down a line a day and my Gemma Corell blog ideas book.

What planners, journals and diaries are you using this year?  I’d love to know so leave me a comment!

Blog Bullet Journal

My Blog Bullet Journal

I mentioned in my Monthly Goals for May post that I had recently set up a Bullet Journal for my blog.  I found that the little diary I had been using didn’t provide me with enough space to plan out my blog schedule and add many notes.  I had been using a bullet journal in previous years for my general life which worked really well for handling different elements of my day to day life and thought that a bullet journal may work better for me and my blog than my current planner.

I happened to be perusing the aisles of my local Flying Tiger one week day while waiting for my Mum and found a cute little dotted journal that would be perfect for the task of a blog planner.

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The journal itself is A5 with a rubbery feel hard coated cover which has dotted punch out detail and an image of the star constellation Ursa Major (which is also known as The Big Dipper, the Plough or the Saucepan!) in a silver print.  I chose the pink colour although there were several other colours to choose from!  I can’t remember how much I paid for the journal but I think it was around the £6-£8 mark which I think is a fairly reasonable price to pay!

The inside front page is blank and the rest of the note pages are dot grid in a grey tone print.  The pages are not numbered though I don’t find that to be a problem as I don’t really use an index system anyway though it would be easy enough to hand number them if you so wished.

The note pages themselves are of a thicker gsm paper than a Lechtturm and I would say that they are very similar to those of the Scribbles That Matter pages.  The paper is smooth and lovely to write on with no catching of pen nibs or pencils!  Pencil lines rub out really easily with no damage or marking to the pages and ink seems to dry fairly easily and quickly.  There is hardly any show through from one page to the next, the only shadowing I had was from using highlighters and going over the highlighted parts a few times, but a quick swipe over with a highlighter does not show through at all.

On to the set up…

The first page in any bullet journal that I set up is dedicated to a key which can be symbols or colours for different things.  I kept my key simple with a colour code for each of my blog categories (which are the same as the colour code I use on my blogging spreadsheet).  I use this key in my journal so I can see at a glance what posts fall on what days and have a variety of different post categories through the month.

The following double page is used for my yearly overview which is basically the year from May to December laid out in grid format where I colour code each posting day with the colour of that posts category.  This layout means I can plan ahead any posts that I want and spread out the topics so that they are not all similar through the month.  I added a strip of washi tape to the edge so that the page is easy to find (and to hide the unused grid dots…)

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Following this page I then have my Monthly Overview page which I use to plan out the posts I want to write.  I add the working title to the day I want to publish the post on.  I use this page as a working planner and also to tick off posts that I have written and scheduled.

 

Next up is my Monthly Title Page.  I like to put my title page on the right hand page as I find it easier to locate that month when flicking through the journal.  I have kept the page pretty simple, with a square containing the initial of the month, so that I can write any ideas of things I’d like to add to my blog in the month that I have not yet scheduled into my monthly pages and am still thinking about.  This helps me to keep the ideas in my mind and gives me something to work on in the month and develop.

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I added another monthly overview page after the monthly title, this isn’t really necessary though I have been using it as a forward planner for items that I want to make a regular feature in my blog.  I’m not sure if this will be something that I will continue with as, at the moment I’m not really using it.

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The next series of pages are taken up with my Weekly Pages.  I use one page for my weekly blog notes and the other for any extra things relating to my blog.  I have also added sections for my social media accounts so that I can jot down any ideas that I have for them that are related to the blog.

 

And my final pages for the month are my monthly goals page and a page I added for social media.  I thought that having my monthly goals page written out at the end of the month would help me to construct my Monthly Goals blog posts a little bit easier, at the moment these posts show my Goals for the month just gone and whether or not I have completed them and then list my goals that I am hoping to achieve for the following month.  The social media page is an experiment and I’m hoping to track how many times I post to these sites and how many followers I gain or lose…

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What sort of planner or planning do you do for your blog?  Let me know in the comments!