Organize your 2018 with a Bullet Journal

If you follow me on Instagram and/or Pinterest you may already know that I have kicked up my bullet journal notes in the past couple of days. The reason for this is simple: when I started bullet journaling I had no idea what I was doing, except that I was replacing my planner. I was completely taken with the idea and I am a huge supporter of the BuJo movement. However, I was having trouble keeping up with the day to day tracking, even though I was excelling at making sure all of my notes were in one spot. I was also getting extremely frustrated with the size of my bullet journal because some of my layouts just didn’t look good to me given my limited space. For this reason, I decided to purchase a new 8” x 10” bullet journal, and I decided that beginning 2018 with a fresh journal was a great idea.

Yearly calendar from the new bullet journal (left) and the old bullet journal (right). The size difference is remarkable!

Just getting a new journal for a new year really isn’t that big of a deal, however. This would only really matter if the individual (i.e. myself) also decided to learn how to journal better and improve upon the mistakes that I made in 2017 while I was still learning. Not long after I decided this, some of the more used pages of my bullet journal started ripping out. So, I pulled the trigger and purchased a new bullet journal off Amazon and I used the upcoming pages in the current bullet journal for excessive note taking on what I wanted to do differently. Here are a few of the ideas that I got from various Pinners, Instagrammers, and Bloggers:

  • Put permanent spreads in the BACK of the bullet journal so they’re easy to find (this blew my mind, it’s so logical, and yet so not obvious)


  • Actually use the index that you saved pages for in the front (2017made it all the way to page 30, and I ended the year on page 90)
  • Organize things how they make sense to you
    • Example: I had tried three different ways of goal tracking in 2017 that did not work for me. So, for 2018 I decided that rather than using a weekly or a monthly tracker, I would do a rolling tracker. My reward comes whenever the tracker is finished, not if I finish it at the end of each week
  • Make pages for things that you are likely to forget, but want on hand
    • Example: I joined the natural hair movement back in 2015 but had absolutely no idea what I was doing. Today, my hair is the longest it has ever been, but it is still so dry because I still do not know what I am doing. I now have a page in my bullet journal dedicated to hair care and maintenance
  • Plan what you want to do before you do it
    • Admittedly, I always tried this and could never quite follow through completely. When I sat down with my bullet journal, I wanted to make sure I finished what my goal was in the time frame that I had. I now realize that this is the reason I didn’t like many of my pages. Had I taken more time to think about what mattered most, it certainly would have made it and it would have been useful to me.
January daily tracker (right/top) and monthly goals (left/bottom)
  • Schedule a time each day to work with your bullet journal (again, mind blown). I needed to read this. I often pull my bullet journal out once a day, but it’s usually at about 9 AM and I haven’t actually completed any of my tasks and I’m really just looking at it for the sake of saying I did. If, instead, I made an appointment on my calendar every day for, say, 6 PM, I would have accomplished many of the tasks and it would still be early enough for me to catch up on anything I was missing.

Finally, I would like to leave you with important advice. Whether you are starting fresh for the New Year or starting for the first time, remember to set goals for yourself. Having your goals clearly stated and in your face will hold you accountable for following through with them. Decide what is important to you, and decide how you want to incorporate it into your daily life.

2018 trackers and monthly goal (plus a cameo from my gorgeous engagement ring)

Published by She Got The PhD

A web-based soapbox of an Assistant Professor of color in Chemical Engineering; sharing my feelings on books, academia, and current events. I hope you enjoy reading :)

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