Bullet journal 101 – planning pages

Thanks again if you took the bullet journal survey. If you still want to weigh in, go right ahead – I have one more post planned besides this one, but if there are more questions left on the survey link, there might be a third post this month.

If you’ve never done a bullet journal and you want to try….but you feel intimidated by the fancy ones you see on Instagram (clearly not mine!), I’d say if you do nothing else but a few standard pages, your life will feel at least ten times more organised.

Take some time and think through your needs

  1. Do you think in terms of daily or weekly planning?
  2. Do you prefer to get things done during the week or on the weekend?

If you’re like me and you think of getting your stuff done over the course of a week, then you’ll do weekly planning. I actually still recommend this option to most people because it takes off the pressure from achieving something every day. I personally don’t mind if I have a day or two of slothfullness because I know I have 7 days to get things done; not only 1.

However, if you like to get a few things done daily, and you won’t beat yourself up about a few days of non-achievement here and there, then by all means, do a daily to-do list.

To sum up, these are the pages I suggest you pick from for your basic bullet journalling.

1. Monthly review of the month that’s just passed

Use my standard 4 questions – what went well? what didn’t go well? what have I learned? what can I let go of? Of course, you may add more if you want but we’re keeping it simple

2. Goals for the month

Keep it simple to 10 or so items. I think in categories so I have socials, family, fun, health, house.

3. Life admin list

This is a master to-do list and has all those things you currently need to take care of – hair appointments, car stuff, electrician, and so on. You could incorporate this into your goals for the month if you won’t get overwhelmed. I like them separate so I don’t feel drained when I look at my goals list.

4. My weekend to-do list

This is still my favourite list.

I make one every Friday evening and as I’ve written before, it has to have 3 categories. Please click that link so you can see a real person’s to-do list. It is not Pinterest perfect because it is a tool to get things done.

Fun fact – way back when (Dion and I have been married 22 years and we’re both strong J’s, and upholders, so we love planning), D and I used to make a little list every Friday evening on the back of a used envelope. I think I was too poor to buy cute (unnecessary) stationery back then.

5. Daily to-do list (my work from home list)

I cut out on my commute (a whole two glorious hours) when I work from home so I can either get more work done which is the case most of the time and especially the last 3 – 4 months, but at other times, I keep a list of things to do around the house during my breaks. I usually have about 6 tasks that are all super quick things to get done. Either that or I get some errands done.

If I don’t have a list, I find that it’s easy to simply scroll instagram instead of being productive.

6. Weekly list

I make my weekly list (because I do weekly planning) in my Moleskine planner. You can see the specific style of diary I prefer to use in the pictures on this post.

Beth and I chat every Thursday evening so that’s when I do my weekly planning for the week running Thursday to Wednesday.

I attach no schedule to these things at all unless they’re time-based activities, like my weekly flamenco dance class or book club.

Basically, I glance at the list every two days or so and do them when they suit how busy my day is, or not.

In case you’re thinking this is very “loose” of me, that is true, but over the years, I’ve more or less settled into a loose rhythm, like Mondays is my main writing night, Tuesday is dance class and reading when I get home, Wed could be photos or podcast club, Thurs is Beth/ coaching/ starting on a small thing on my weekly list (to build momentum),  Friday and Sat are reading nights again (that’s how I read so much) and Sunday afternoons are blogging, planning, reading 🙂

For your own planning purposes, which of the pages mentioned above would suit your lifestyle?

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  1. Kirstin says

    Thanks Marcia for the interesting post! I did the bullet journal survey but I cannot remember which questions I asked… I assume one of my questions was around monthly/weekly goals – looking at habit goals versus project goals as I am always struggling to plan these well in my bullet journal and not have too many goals.
    Reading your post, I do have one question for you: Do you write your weekly planning and goals in both the Moleskine diary and the bullet journal? And how do you link your monthly goals to weekly planning and goals?
    Thanks again,

    • Hi Kirstin, sorry for the delayed response 🙂

      The survey was anonymous so I can’t help you but many people asked about monthly weekly goals 🙂

      To answer your question, I suspect I probably need to write a post and pull it all together 🙂 The quick answer is:
      – Moleskine – weekly goals (monday to friday) and planning my schedule. You can see what it looks like here, and why this format is suitable for both scheduling and weekly goals
      – Bullet journal – weekend and my WFH day/ monthly goals brainstorm

      Hope this helps but please keep asking – I want to help!

  2. Terisha says

    Bullet Journalling is still hit and miss for me. The days that I do bullet journal, are my most productive days. But a lot of the time, I feel like I can remember the things I need to do and then don’t write it down – my less productive days. Now with my failing memory, I realise that I need to get into the habit of writing everything down. I usually do a daily list. And whatever doesn’t get done moves to the next days’s list (whenever the next day may be 😉 ). I am often referring to my books to buy/read list in my bullet journal when out in book shops.

    • I wonder (and please feel to set me straight!) if you shouldn’t move more to a weekly planning rather than daily planning scenario. I’ve found with so many clients that daily planning leads to more feelings of failure/ overwhelm/ despair and those negative feelings of stress disappear when they move to weekly planning.

      Could you try? Let me know!


  1. […] you haven’t seen the last post on bullet journal, have a read here to find out all the pages I use for […]

  2. […] If you read this post, you’ll see I mention the goals review and goal-setting here too. This is just for a quick brainstorm, key points, etc. to jog my memory. […]

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