Weekly Recap–What Worked, What Didn’t, What I’m Doing Next

My Weekly Recap--What Worked, What Didn't, What I'm Doing Next | thebulletjournaladdict.com
I’m pretty happy with the way last week’s spread worked out for me.  Even though I still didn’t do or track everything that I had put on there, it kept those things in front of me all week. I’m not ready to give up yet on my morning routine that I have down the middle of the left page, so I’m going to try another week of it.

Like I mentioned before, it only took a few minutes of putting posts into my little paper schedule before I realized I needed something a LOT more flexible. So that went digital.

Here’s this week’s spread with adjustments:

With the trackers embedded into my weekly spread, I lost the room I previously had at the bottom for a “next week” space, so I was able to but that on the other side this week. I totally forgot that I wanted to put my lunch meal plan on that side too, so I’ll probably divide the notes column in half and put it there.

All in all though, I’m really happy with the way this weekly spread is fitting into my life! Dare I say I’m getting dangerously close to bujo nirvana? 😉







How I Keep a Bullet Journal At Work

How I Keep a Bullet Journal at Work | www.thebulletjournaladdict.com

A conversation yesterday on Instagram had me thinking about the extreme differences between my personal and work bullet journals, so I thought I’d do a quick run through of the journal I use at work.

I work full-time away from home as a graphic designer and keep a separate journal specific to my job. While I may not be constrained as some are by privacy protocols to keep my planners separate, they are used for very different and distinct purposes, so it just makes sense. It’s definitely not as “pretty” as my personal bullet journal but I don’t have a lot of time to spend on that kind of thing at work.

We use Trello for workflow purposes, so between that and my Outlook calendar, it’s not really necessary to keep a ton of information in my notebook.  But I do like taking physical notes in meetings, and having a place to write a to-do list of things that may not be captured in the regular process. Also, just having an index to go back to is extremely helpful for finding those notes later.

I use a Fabriano spiral-bound, grid-lined EcoQua notebook that I found at our local Blick art store. The pages are thicker (85 g/m2) and have a much smoother feel than my Moleskine.  The grid lines are soft and not distracting at all.

***Note:  Do not use the Fabriano dotted gluebound notebooks, as the pages will literally fall out as you turn the page!

I usually end up using a Sharpie Pen at work instead of my nicer Pigma Micron pens.

How I Keep a Bullet Journal at Work | www.thebulletjournaladdict.com

I mentioned that I like the index feature to keep track of important thing that I may need to refer back to later.  I don’t use it a ton, but am glad to have it for the few things I need it for.

How I Keep a Bullet Journal at Work | www.thebulletjournaladdict.com

I included a future log but haven’t ended up using it that much over my Outlook calendar.  I do use a simple monthly page to outline the upcoming month.

How I Keep a Bullet Journal at Work | www.thebulletjournaladdict.com

I have experimented with several different daily/weekly formats and have found, for me, that this combination of a weekly column and a to-do list works best for me.

How I Keep a Bullet Journal at Work | www.thebulletjournaladdict.com

I put time or date sensitive items on the far left side.  Then I’ll keep a running to-do list in that right column.  On the right page, I’ll either keep notes from meetings or other information.

Sometimes, I’ll keep a running daily section on one side, one day at a time, using as much room as needed for each day.  I colored this one with highlighters because, obviously, office supplies=work, right?  😉

How I Keep a Bullet Journal at Work | www.thebulletjournaladdict.com

How I Keep a Bullet Journal at Work | www.thebulletjournaladdict.com

I wanted to show you a couple of my more random, real and messy pages because I really do believe that a bullet journal is more about being effective than it is about being pretty.  🙂

So tell me, how do you bujo at work?

PS–I’ve converted two of my co-workers to using a bullet journal so you never know who is going to appreciate this system!


Technique Tuesday–Basic Colored Pencil Tutorial

The Bullet Journal Addict Technique Tuesday

Technique Tuesday…catchy, huh?

I’ve had a few people ask me how I do certain things in my bullet journal, so I thought it would be fun to pick a technique each week and go over it.

For the next couple of weeks, I’m going to show some of the colored pencil techniques that I use.  I’ll lay it out step by step and try to share the tips I think are useful.

Today, I’m going to cover some very basic steps that I use. Next week, I’ll go into detail about how I layer colors for even more depth.

1. First of all, I sketch out my design in pencil, refining things until I get it right.  There is usually a LOT of erasing that goes on at this point.


2.  Then, I use my Pigma Micron to ink the outlines. The nib sizes I use the most are 03 (0.35 mm), 02 (0.30 mm), and 01 (0.25 mm).  I do have an 005 (0.20 mm) for very fine detail, but it often is too thin for most things.  My favorite size for most things in my bullet journal is the 02.

I ink the outlines at this point so I can erase the pencil lines after.  If I color everything in before I ink the design, I end up erasing a lot of of the color and the regular pencil will still show up under the colored pencil.


3.  Then, I’ll erase the pencil lines and try to clean up the inked-in lines where I can.


4.  I always start coloring with my lightest color, since it’s always easy to make something darker, but a lot harder to make something lighter.

For this one, I’m going to start with a light yellow-orange.  Make sure your pencil has a very sharp, fine edge.  I use a very light touch, always going in the same direction.


**Pro tip:  Rotate your pencil slightly every time you pick it up, to help the sharpness last longer.

For this bullet journal, I’m using simple Crayola colored pencils.  I have almost a full set of Prismacolor pencils, but I haven’t drug them all out yet, and probably won’t until I start a new bujo.

Since I’m going to blend it with another color, I’m only going about 2/3rds of the way down, making that middle section softer and fading away. This is only one soft layer of the yellow-orange to begin with.


5. Then I add a soft layer of the magenta, using the same technique and going up about 2/3rds of the way.


6. I’ll add another layer of the yellow-orange at the very top (about 1/4th of the way down) and another layer of magenta at the bottom (about 1/4th of the way up).  I’m still using a very light touch, it’s simply just another layer.


7. Next, I added regular orange to the very top and regular red to the very bottom. I’m still using the same light touch, the darker colors just help to add depth (the lighting in my photo is kind of wonky, but it’s not as blotchy on the right side in real life).



At this point, you could use a blending pencil to get it to the blend you’re happy with.

This is the kind that I have:


You can usually find it with the Prismacolor pencil display at your local art store or online here.

8. Next, I decided to add a little color to the banner itself so I used an aqua green for that.


9. Then I added a darker green-blue for deeper shading.


10. Then, finally, I used a deeper pine green only in the darkest areas to give even more depth. Again, you could take a blending pencil to it all to give it a smoother look if you want.


So that’s it!  It probably took longer to type this all out (and probably to read it too!) than it probably did to actually do it, so if it’s something that you’d like to add to your bullet journal, don’t think it’s not worth your time to try!

Now it’s your turn to suggest what kinds of things you’d like to see here on Technique Tuesday.  Share your ideas and questions in the comments!  🙂





Probably Obvious Tip #3

The Bullet Journal Addict Probably Obvious Tip #3

Yes, this is probably the most obvious tip yet, but I’m always amazed at how much cleaner lines are drawn with a ruler.  Ok, not surprised, but much happier with the result.

There’s definitely a time for freehand-drawn lines, and if that’s your thing, go for it.  I do both but, most of the time, even when I think I can manage a nice line between two dots, it’s like I’m suddenly drawing with my left hand (I’m right handed) and it goes all wonky.  It’s pathetic.

The set that I bought is very similar to this one:


I bought it at Office Max for under $5.  Of course, literally the second day of ownership, I lost the straight ruler and it still hasn’t turned up. However, the straight edges of the triangles are still perfect for drawing lines.  I have used the protractor for banners and things, but I end up using the straight edge for lines more than anything else.

Also, I recommend a clear set over an opaque one.  Maybe it’s completely psychological, but I think it’s very helpful to see the area you’re working with as you go.

Do you currently use a ruler?  Or do you think rulers are for wimps?  🙂


Do you have a morning routine?

I think I’ve come to terms with the idea that I am a morning person.  Not the bright, cheery kind of morning person that you want to strangle, but the kind of person that really likes being awake early. The problem is that I have a hard time doing the things I know I should do in the morning, like work out.

I have tried the Miracle Morning, but I stopped after about a month.  I just didn’t feel like it was for me. I felt like I just wanted to go back to sleep after I did it, instead of getting moving and on with my day.

So, when this article was posted in the Bullet Journal Junkies FB group, I liked the similar, simple approach and decided I would try it this coming week.  I also had to make a spread in my bullet journal, of course, to keep it front and center for me.

I’ve known for a while that the morning detox tea was good to have first thing, I just haven’t ever done it on a regular basis, so I replaced the article’s suggestion with that.


I’m also switching up my weekly spread this week too:


I use the far left side for time specific events and appointments and I decided to incorporate my tracker into each day.  The squares with the letters down the middle of the left page are for my new morning routine I outlined above:  (H)ydrate, (R)eflect, (B)reathe, (M)ove, and (D)irt dive.

I keep a running “to-do” list, so with that and the fact that I have a separate bullet journal for work, I really don’t have a need for dailies. I moved the to-do list to the second page, along with the month at a glance, notes section, and a newly added blog section.  I’m still figuring out how I’m going to divide that up.

Do you have an established morning routine that works for you?  What things do you do to help you start out your day?




My first controversial post

I’ve been blogging for less than a week and I’m already going to make a post that may be controversial but is most definitely very opinionated. I don’t want to seem critical or make anyone feel bad, so I say this with all the love I can feel in my heart for a bunch of random strangers/friends/potential friends on the internet…

A bullet journal is not about the stuff.

It’s not about getting more stuff.  😉

It’s not about the notebook, it’s not about the pens, it’s not about the washi, it’s not about cute stickers, it’s not about having a cute binder or case to put all of the above in, and, lest you think I’m pointing a finger at everyone else but myself, it’s not about the doodles or making your bullet journal “cute.”

(Deep exhale)

I belong to a few bullet journaling Facebook groups and in one, lately, the majority of the posts have been of all the stuff people have bought or wish they could buy, as if it’s not a real bullet journal unless you have 500 rolls of washi tape, 50 different pens, and a beautiful case to carry it all around in. I think there’s one layout spread post for every 10-15  purchase posts.

And then, when someone mentions Ryder Carroll, they say, “Who?”

Honestly, I know this may come off the wrong way, and it’s really not my intent to sound like a snob, at all. I promise. And let me say here that I do not know Ryder Carroll. I do not make any money mentioning his name or his product. I do not presume to speak for him in any way. I have to check and make sure I’m spelling his name correctly every time I use it. I just feel very strongly about giving credit where credit is due.

And I’m not being critical of the mods of the group at all. I’m a FB group mod and I know it’s a tough and unappreciated job. It’s just such a huge group, there’s no way to be able to worry about that kind of thing.

Bullet journaling seems to be everywhere lately, from Pinterest to Buzzfeed, so a lot of people have jumped on the bandwagon, and I say welcome aboard, the more the merrier! I personally have become a bullet journaling evangelist, I love sharing my passion with everyone. So just think of this as what I would say to you if we were sitting at my house, and I was sharing my bullet journal with you.

Whenever something becomes popular, there are always companies out there that take advantage of the craze. And it’s their job to make you feel like your project is not complete without their product on it. Even worse, they try to make us feel like our life isn’t complete until we have their product. As if buying more of their things will make us happier (there’s a reason why the minimalist movement is becoming so popular!).

I said this in my very first post, and I mean it even more today (all three days later, HA! 😂). The beauty of a bullet journal is in the system, not the stuff. And, even better, it’s about how YOU use that system for YOUR life.

If that means that you put five different kinds of washi tape on your daily page, so be it, and more power to you, 👊🏻 but don’t think you HAVE to have five different kinds of washi tape to make a daily page. Don’t think it has to be a piece of art for it to be Instagram worthy or useful. That last one was specifically for me, btw.

So, if anyone is still reading this, let me offer this suggestion. Put away everything except your pen and your notebook. If you haven’t already, go to the Bullet Journal site, watch the video and browse the site.

Then, open your notebook to the last two pages and start writing why a bullet journal appeals to you. What part of that original system do you want to use? What need will it fulfill for you? Are you going to use it as a planner? An art journal? A dream book? A brain dump? A combination of all of the above and more?

After you’ve done that, then, open it back to the front and go to town. Do what makes you happy with your bullet journal. Just remember, the most important part is the words you write, not the stuff you buy. ❤️

Now, random strangers/friends/potential friends on the internet, please excuse me while I finish my Instagram-worthy doodles. 😉




Probably Obvious Tip #2

Bullet Journal Probably Obvious Tip #2

 {Quite often, little tips go through my mind that are probably very obvious, and yet I still manage to make the same mistake over and over. These are so small that they don’t deserve a full blog post and I’m too impatient to wait to have several to post together.  So, I will just post these as small posts, randomly as I encounter them.}

When you draw a line from left to right, your hand will cover your ending point and you have a greater chance of over shooting it. It may feel counter-intuitive, but you will draw a neater line if you start on the same side as the hand you are drawing with.




Probably Obvious Tip #1


{Quite often, little tips go through my mind that are probably very obvious, and yet I still manage to make the same mistake over and over. These are so small that they don’t deserve a full blog post and I’m too impatient to wait to have several to post together.  So, I will just post these as small posts, randomly as I encounter them.}

I shared this one at the end of my 5 Tips post, but it deserves its own Probably Obvious Tip post with a little more explaination.

Whether it’s a new monthly, weekly or daily spread you might be trying out, or some kind of fancy header for a collection, use a nice mechanical pencil (so you always have a fine point to work with) to map out where you want everything to go.

It’s much easier to erase your lines or lettering when you’ve realized that you’ve counted wrong and everything is off centered, or there’s a much better chance of avoiding spelling errors in a header when you sketch it out in pencil first.

Also, be sure to pick up a good eraser so you don’t rip up your pages.  I use a kneaded eraser like this:


You can pick one up at any art supply store or in the fine art section of Michael’s, usually with the pencils. It’s soft, kind of like silly putty, and you stretch it out over and over to clean it,  so it’s also good for stress relief.  😉  It also doesn’t wear away like the pink eraser at the end of a pencil would.  If you don’t want to go the kneaded eraser route, just pick up a white eraser like you might have used back in elementary school.

My mechanical pencil and kneaded eraser are just as important to me in my bullet journaling supplies as any of the pens or rulers I use!

5 Tips for Starting a Bullet Journal


Welcome to my little brain dump on the web. 🙂

I’ve been keeping a bullet journal for a little over 3 months now, so I want to share some of the things that I’ve learned to hopefully save someone some time and maybe a little heartache.  I’ve kept a running list (in my bullet journal, of course) and decided to expound on these tips as my first blog post.  There are a lot more tips than just these five, but I’ll need something for future posts, right?  😉

I’m not going to go into Leuchtturm vs. Moleskine vs. comp book vs. anything else in this post.  I’m also not going to go into pens or washi tape or stickers or stamps or any other decoration aspects.  I’m not against any of those things and have used them in my own, but…

Honestly, the beauty is in the system, not so much what you use or how you decorate it.  You don’t have to be an artist or crafty in any way to appreciate a bullet journal. All you need is a notebook and a pen.  The rest is just extra.

I use a softcover Moleskine for my current (which is my first) bullet journal and I love it. I’m almost halfway through it now and have thought about trying the softcover Leuchtturm1917 B5 for my next one because it’s a little bigger, page size wise, but it does have fewer pages, so I’m still undecided.  That may also be a future post.

I also keep a bullet journal specifically for work in a spiral-bound Fabriano, grid-lined notebook.  This means the daily pages in my personal bullet journal are a little on the light side, but my personal bullet journal is the one I love the most.  It definitely sparks joy in my life! (Thank you KonMari.)

So here are my first set of tips for how to get started bullet journaling.


Go here. Watch the video.  Click on all the links.  Take notes. Look at the blog entries.  Understand the framework of the system.  If you’re worried that is too structured or too simple, don’t worry, this is ultimately going to be yours. This is just where this whole bullet journaling thing started and it’s just smart to understand the concept.

At the beginning, keep it simple!  Put down the basic elements first, then move on to the crazy stuff like doodles and washi tape.Other places I got inspiration from before beginning:

•Boho Berry
•Tiny Ray of Sunshine
•Searching “bullet journal” on Instagram, Pinterest and Tumblr.

There is a LOT to look at so don’t get overwhelmed.  Make a Pinterest board or start collecting inspo however you’d like, but don’t think it has to look like all of those pictures when you’re just starting out.


…then the future log, than the monthly spread.
I know.  It’s scary to make the first mark in that brand new book.  What if you do something wrong??  We’ll get to that.  But for now, if you don’t already have the index designated in your notebook, this is the best place to start.  Just start putting your pen to your pages and it gets easier as you go.

**Also…Kim at tinyrayofsunshine.com has a great reference guide you can print out here.

How I did it:  I have a moleskine, so I have the opening spread with the inside front cover and my contact info.


Then, the next spread is my One Little Word for the year and a year at a glance calendar.


Then, I have four pages set aside for my index pages.  It will probably be too many, but I wanted to err on the side of too many rather than not having enough.


After my index pages, I have a year’s worth of a future log, also pretty much like on the bulletjournal.com site. It’s nothing fancy, just putting it down.  It’s also pretty empty, apparently my life is very boring.


There are a lot of good ideas on Pinterest and Instagram for how to lay this out.  I’ve already decided that I want to do my next future log differently than I currently have it.  It’s ok, you don’t spend most of your time there anyway, so just pick a way to lay it out and move on to your monthly spread.

I did my first monthly spread pretty much like Ryder does on his site.


But I decided that I liked having more of a traditional calendar so I changed it up the next month.


Which brings me to point #3:


It’s super normal to want to a do whole month’s worth of weekly spreads right at the start or want to fill up as many of those beautiful dotted pages as possible, but that’s counter to how a bullet journal works best.

Until you’ve used it for a while, you don’t know what parts of the system you’re going to use and which parts aren’t for you. The thing I didn’t like about a regular planner in the past was that I felt like I wasted so much space if I didn’t use it every day.

Theoretically, with a bullet journal, if you don’t use it one day, you just write in the next day and  on.  No space wasted. No planner guilt.

Be patient (not my best quality, so I get it) and just work a week out (or maybe even one day out) at a time.  You have your monthly spread and future logs for future planning, use those for things that come up.

How I did it:  I have the left side of my weekly spread for appointments and a running “to-do” list.  The right side is specifically for the days of the week and any notes pertaining to each day. Since most of my day is spent at work, using my work bullet journal, I don’t need a lot of room for daily entries.


I tried 5 different weekly spreads before I came up with the one that works best for me.  And what works for me, most likely won’t work for you, so you need to try different layouts until you come up with one that you love.

Again, why it’s so important not to work too far in advance.  You’ll either end up feeling stuck with pages you hate using or waste the space, skipping them because you want to try something new.


I find the pages that I use the most are pages that aren’t forced.  Don’t feel like you have to have a ton of collections at the beginning or have to have a full list of books to read.  Leave some of those spots blank and keep your bullet journal with you to capture inspiration or recommendations as you get them.



Perfectionism is paralyzing. It really is. So stop worrying about being perfect.  Make a mistake.  Or two or three.  Don’t think you have to throw out your bullet journal because you’ve made a mistake in it.

Some people laugh when I say that.  Others nod their heads because they know what I mean. These are my people.

Work your mistake in to your design, cover it up with some washi or a doodle or…wait for it…turn the page and start over.


Thanks to Joan Runke for this perfect graphic.

You can do that??

You can do that.  This is your bullet journal and you can do whatever you want with it.

One more little bonus tip for you.  I know it might be obvious but I don’t always even do it (and I often regret not doing it):


Whether it’s a new monthly, weekly or daily spread you might be trying out, or some kind of fancy header for a collection, use a nice mechanical pencil (so you always have a fine point to work with) to map out where you want everything to go.

Ok, there you have my top tips for starting a bullet journal.  What are some tips that you would recommend?  Leave them in the comments below!