Bullet Journaling: A few of my ‘extra’ pages

Apparently January is the internet season for talking about bullet journaling, right? It’s everywhere. It’s borderline cliché. I still love it.

It’s been a long while since I wrote about bullet journaling, and yet almost two years later, and it’s still my favorite way to capture—well, everything. My personal method has ebbed and flowed, and I don’t doubt that will continue, but I’ve finally gotten into a groove and have found what really works for me.

You might have read my bullet journaling post from last year. I’ve made a few changes since then.

I now use different materials. In last year’s post, I made a case for a nice, small bujo (that’s shorthand for bullet journal, by the way). That still has its merits, but turns out it just wasn’t working for my needs.

bullet journal supplies

Here’s my tools of the trade now:

• Leuchhturm1917, squared pages—This has proven just the right size for me, and I like Leuchhturm’s extra bookmark ribbon (for a total of two), pre-numbered pages, table of contents, back pocket, and labels.

• Pitt artist pens—These guys don’t bleed a bit. 95% of the time, I use the S tip.

• Accu-gel Bible highlighters—Weird name, but these pens are pretty much a cross between a colored pencil, highlighter, and a crayon. No bleeding through the page.

I’ve got a new ebook that explains how I use my bujo (plus a few mental tricks) to organize my time, particularly my to-do lists—this system works really well for me, and it’s quelled my stress levels considerably (especially during work). Read more if you’d like a deep-dive on time management.

Here, in this post, I thought it’d be fun to show you some of my “extra” pages, the things I enjoy capturing in my bujo just because.

1. Gratitude

Earlier this month, I was feeling rather down about friendships. So, I started a running list to remind me of the fabulous people in my life, near and far. It’s changed my perspective.

bullet journal grateful

I don’t write more than a name, because this is for me alone. There’s no rhyme or reason to this; when a face comes to mind throughout my day, I jot down their name and whisper a silent prayer of thanks.

I also do the same for the things in my life that make life sweeter. I suppose they’re called blessings.

Last year I was better at capturing at least one thing a day as part of my nightly examen; a sort of backwards prayer. I hope to return to that this year.

2. Goals

This year, I’m trying out quarterly goals—shorter-term, practical goals that feed into more a nebulous, big-picture vision for the year. I think this will be more helpful than a lofty annual goal that might not even be a priority in twelve months.

bullet journal goals

I’ve broken up my three goals for Q1—read 15 books (for a 2017 total of 60), lights out by 10 pm and up by 6 am four times a week, and some sort of movement 20 minutes per day—into checkable squares.

A few notes:

• Two years ago, it would have eaten my perfectionist side alive that my pen smudged when I erased the pencil underneath (this was written before I discovered the Pitt pens). No way would I have posted a picture of it here. Now, I just shrug my shoulders and move on. Do I want it to look nice? Sure. Do I want that more than I want my bujo to be useful? No.

• I’m also allowing more grace in my life for unchecked boxes. My foot is still giving me unpredictable pain, making it frustratingly hard to meet my movement goal. Doctor’s orders have kept me still. Am I giving up? Nope. Am I showering myself with grace? I have to.

3. Media

A few weeks ago I shared this bookshelf idea on Instagram, and it’s been so fun to watch y’all make your own versions. I 100 percent did not make this up, but so far, it really has been fun to fill out.

bullet journal books

I also keep a running list of books that come to mind. This will assuredly go on to additional pages, seeing that it’s only January.

bullet journal movies

I thought it’d also be fun to track movies and TV shows watched this year. These aren’t master lists—we have plenty bookmarked on our lists in Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon, but the ones in my bujo are priorities.

(Like what I’ve accomplished so far in this category? Clearly I’m a mom.)

bullet journal purpose statements

Bullet journaling sometimes has a rep for being all show, little use, but it’s been the opposite for me. It’s all in how you use it. I’d love for my pages to be Pinterest-worthy, but I just don’t have the time. For other people, making art out of their bujo is useful, and that’s great.

For me, I aim for creativity, not museum-worthy art. The act of drawing and lettering is more cathartic than a gorgeous end result.

bullet journal index

I’m also grateful for the indexing concept, where I can jot down ongoing pages of the same category without needing to make space for more pages in advance. If my “work brainstorming” pages are all over my bujo? No big deal—I just need to reference my index.

A few more “extra” pages in my bujo:

  • Goal mind-mapping: a form of brain dumping for my big-picture visions for different categories—health, work, etc.
  • Menu planning ideas
  • Note-taking for classes I take
  • Expenses and budget drafting
  • Notes for meeting with my enneagram coach
  • Notes I take while mentoring people
  • A master list of 40 things I’d like to do my 40th birthday (in 7 months!)

Useful ways to bullet journal

For me, bullet journaling is more than keeping track of schedules and to-do lists. Which is why I pretty much never leave home without it.

More on bullet journaling:

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24 Comments

  1. Anita

    I am one of those strange anomales – I rarely have appointments, I don’t have young children to take to events,and I don’t work outside the home (I have a small crochet business from home). I always chalked bullet journaling up to busy people with lots of things to manage in their daily lives. Some of your ‘extras’ really interest me in trying it though!

    • Anita

      Anomalies*…

      • Tsh Oxenreider

        Yes, it can be much more than appointment-keeping, for sure!

        • Beth Anne

          When I first learned about bullet journaling I said the same thing..my life is boring I don’t need that…then I started and realized how full my life was and how much stuff I was FORGETTING b/c I wasn’t writing it down.

  2. nicole

    Thanks, Tsh, this is so helpful. I am new to bullet journaling and I have been itching for ways to make it MORE. I love the grateful page…

    • Tsh Oxenreider

      You’re welcome, Nicole!

  3. Michelle

    I love this idea! There is something so nice about writing stuff down. 🙂 Thank you for sharing.

  4. Rebekka Maseko

    I love that your bullet journal is plain but practical. I was intrigued by bullet journaling but when I researched it a bit and saw people’s crazy creative artwork bujo pages on Pinterest I was kinda put off – like HOW do people have time for that? ?? But then this year I started my own version of a bujo. Basically I just give myself a page a day to write to-dos, reflections, highlight of the day, verse of the day and my Zulu word of the day (my attempt at learning a new language). I’ve been loving it and I’m finding the analog format really therapeutic (I think cause so many things are digital). Anyways, I absolutely love your blog and podcast and new episodes are a real treat for me 🙂 sending love from South Africa ❤️

    • Tsh Oxenreider

      Okay, can I just say that I love that you have a Zulu word of the day? That’s fantastic. And yes, I had the same reaction when I first heard of bullet journaling and researched stuff on Pinterest…. I definitely don’t have time for that! As lovely as they are to look at. 🙂

  5. C.C.

    I’ve been bujo-ing for several years and don’t know what I did before. Lol!

    Would you consider sharing your master list of 40 things I’d like to do my 40th birthday (in 7 months!)? Because I turn 40 in 9 months and I am intrigued by this!

    • Tsh Oxenreider

      Oh, I could, sure, but it’s personal/random stuff, and I also don’t quite have 40 yet… I’m working up to it. So far, it’s stuff like get another tattoo, write 10K words of fiction, make a new friend, read through the Book of Proverbs five times, paint the outside of our house, etc. etc. Maybe I’ll do a just-for-fun post about it sometime! 🙂

      • Laura

        Fun! I was wondering too. When did you start your 40?

      • C.C.

        Those are great ideas! I need to start a list. 🙂

  6. Sarah M

    I’ve never ‘bullet journaled’ per se, but I *love* some of the ways you’ve artistically represented what I keep track of (movies, books, goals, etc.) and I think it’d be fun to incorporate those. I have had a Big Book for the last 5 years ( it’s huge!) that I keep everything in, but I just got to the last page. I think I’m going to have to find one of these fun graph-paper moleskins. I like it!

  7. Beth Anne

    I have been bullet journaling since March and really like it. Most planners stress me out b/c it has so much stuff in it I’ll never use. But this is clean and easy and I LOVE the extra spreads. I actually use it to take notes when I go to conferences/classes and then I create blog posts on the notes.

  8. Libby Monaghan

    I love the idea of a purpose statement! Both for yourself and your family. That’s inspiring me. This is what I need to explore today. Thanks!

    I tried really hard to make my bullet journal artistic and beautiful like everyone on Instagram and Pinterest but I have found the greatest joy when I let this space be a space where I am unbothered by the mess. I use different colored pens only because I just feel like using another pen. I don’t stick to any one format–in fact for the most part it’s just a bunch of lists! And it is quite nice. 🙂 It’s something I didn’t know that I needed.

  9. Melody

    Can you talk a little bit about how you blend digital lists (for example, I use Wunderlist for urgent to dos and recurring to dos) and your Bujo (I just started this – more for daily planning). I feel like things are falling between the cracks between the Bujo and the Wunderlist.

  10. Jess

    Thank you for writing a blog and sharing with others. I am grateful that you do and that I am privileged to receive this information.

  11. Lori B

    Tsh-
    You’ve got some great ideas for your journal. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  12. Yasmine @MommyCriesToo

    You can still enjoy a BuJo if you don’t have a busy life. Along with basic planning, it can also be a blogging/home/project binder. One mind. One book. That’s the beauty of it.

    I used a planner binder and dot graph paper to make a BuJo I could rearrange within dividers. I miss the feel of a journal, but it’s worth not having to make duplications of pages when you move to a new book. I’m a time hoarder. 🙂

  13. Alicen

    When you run out of pages and start a new book, do you re-copy your movies/shows/books lists?
    I just started a bullet journal last week. Its a work in progress and I’m trying to get the hang of it, and just let it be without worrying about the looks. 🙂

  14. Prerna Malik

    THIS is brilliant…Also, I love how you’ve talked about not wanting to share a smudged photo.. because been there, done that 😉 Thank you for keeping it real, as always!

    Sidenote: in case you’re wondering, yes, I’m bingeing on AoS today 😉

    I’ve been considering using a hybrid version of BuJo with my Passion Planner and both Mandi and you are giving me some really good ideas!!

  15. Victor

    Hi Tsh! Great post! I’ve read it three times! (btw I was at your workshop last WDS!)
    I’m adding the want to read / read and watchlist to my Leuchhturm1917 right now! I really like the idea of this, as the process of writing the titles naturally leads to putting intention around your consumption (and on one end of the spectrum, some people plan their whole year of reading, but I like a little flexibility to add as they come).
    And I love the bookshelf idea as well! (btw your Instagram link is broken)

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