bullet journalling… six months on

EDIT: There were some questions regarding how I use my monthly pages, so I’ve added this under the monthly plan picture.

I’ve written a good 6 or 7 drafts of this blog post trying to figure out the best way to review the bullet journal system after six months. Being a visual person, this is another image heavy post, so here goes…

To date, I’ve had 5-6 revisions of my system, and even now, I’m still changing a few things around. It’s more stylistic changes (e.g. lettering, labelling, etc.) rather than anything specific to bullet journalling itself. I’m happy with where it is right now, but I’m sure I’ll come up with some more ideas as I go. C’mon, I’ve been contemplating moving it to the Midori Traveler’s Notebook for a good three months, and then the Hobonichi, so yeah, I’m fickle-minded when it comes to organisation/planning

Below is the bullet journal key that I use. I posted this on the FB Bullet Journal Junkies group page awhile back and John Cooper has adapted it to his system as well.

bullet journal key

I only use squares (tasks), circles (events) and triangles (appointments). Fill them in when they’re complete, and half fill for tasks only that are in progress or incomplete. Cross through anything that’s cancelled. Signifiers are the same as Ryder Carroll’s (important, deadline), as well as bullet for ‘notes’. Migrated tasks are usually also accompanied by the date and/or time it was migrated to written in the margins. I also write ‘E’ (email) or ‘C’ (call) for specific tasks instead of writing it out over and over again.

At the moment, I have two bullet journal systems running – one for personal life and one for work life. I reserve the ‘E’ and ‘C’ bullets mainly for work, but the system I’m explaining in this post is for my personal life. I’m not sharing the work bullet journal due to confidentiality reasons, but it’s more or less the same, except I use a Debden daily planner for this, instead of a conventional notebook.

My personal bullet journal is now in a red Piccadilly notebook, which has, again, fallen apart, but I really can’t be bothered to fix. (Sidenote: I’m regretting buying so many the last time I went to Woolworths. This was part of the reasons why I wanted to transfer to another notebook system.) I use the front pages for the following: yearly calendar print out (1 page), monthly plan pages (24 pages), and daily bullet journal. I use the back pages for my random notes, information, etc.

This is my monthly plan page. I dedicate two pages per month for this, marked by a yellow ‘monthly’ tab for easy referencing. These are basically tasks and events that need to be addressed each month. The numbers in the column are the dates of the month these events/tasks occur or need to be completed. This is basically my ‘go-to’ page when planning for my day and a mind dump of tasks when they come up. The red writing is my way of signifying that it has a “due date” or “it’s super important, so don’t slack off and forget!”

month spread

The original bullet journal uses an index system, which I find tedious with having to number pages and then go back to add the items to the index. I use my monthly pages as a place where I can capture EVERYTHING – well, mainly tasks and events. The monthly pages were my way of doing away with the index and still having some sort of referencing system. For events, I will place the date for that month in the margin – e.g. for February 6 I had a PT session, so I’ll write the event and then the date in the margin – and then when February 6 comes up during my daily bullet journalling, I can refer to the margin and locate February 6 events and tasks, then list accordingly. Some tasks don’t have a date attached to it, so when I plan for the next day, I write that date in the margin and then allocate to daily bullet journalling pages. This is what’s worked for me so far and has really helped me with planning for the following day.

This is an example of my daily pages in February.

daily spreadI’ve added what I call a ‘continuation arrow’ at the bottom of the page if my tasks don’t all fit onto the one page, and I need to remind myself to turn the page for more tasks/events for that day.

continuation arrow

The ‘continuation arrow’ is one of a few stylistic changes I’ve made. The others are below



I bought a stencil from Daiso a few weeks ago and use that for my title pages for my monthly pages. I had only pencilled the title pages in, knowing full well that I’ll be changing my mind haha! The stencil also had some super cute weather patterns, so I’ve started doing that, too. This is also mainly because I’ve transferred my logbook into my bullet journal as well.

Below was my first attempt at tracking daily tasks (habits)

Daily tasks bullet journal

This is the modified version of it, and I’m really missing the grid paper. I may have seen something similar to this awhile back from someone else’s blog, so please, if you’re reading this, let me know and I’ll credit your idea in my post (thanks in advance!). I’m going to just add some more columns next to this for April daily tasks(habits). Argh, really wish I had grid paper for this, but oh well!


Lastly, my notes section at the back of the book doesn’t really have much order to it. I like to write on the top corner one word to describe what it’s about, and if there’s a lot of pages I need to refer to, then I use the origami bookmarking, otherwise, it’s fairly free flowing.

notes 2

notes 1

When I first started bullet journalling, my main qualm about it was that it didn’t allow for me to forward plan. I tend to use my iPhone calendar to keep tabs of events because it allows me to share these events with other people who are invited. I do, however, also like to keep these events written somewhere, hence why I have the monthly pages at the front of my book.

I don’t use the Chronodex system or the DIYFish colour indexing anymore. I’ve gone for a completely minimal organising system (plus, my bag gets too heavy during the day). I literally carry around my bullet journal, a black InkJoy pen, and a cheap red pen. I have a foldable ruler, a grey Staedtler triplus fineliner, some highlighters, and my Daiso stencils on my bedside table for next day planning. Minimal materials means less to worry about and clearer focus – at least that’s what it means to me.

You’re welcome to comment below, email me, follow me on Pinterest (dee15martinez) or WordPress, Google+ me, or whatever it is you do to spread the word. I’m still of two minds about transferring the bullet journal system to a Midori Traveler’s Notebook, so yeah, someone convince me otherwise :)



65 thoughts on “bullet journalling… six months on

  1. I found your blog through John Cooper and I love it. I learned quite abit about the Bullet Journal and adapted mine to be more like yours. I just put in the slots for the Daily Tasks, such a great idea I can now track when I practice calligraphy and to make sure I read everyday (or try to).

    Thanks for this, I am now a fan of yours

    1. Thank you so much, Robert. I’m glad I can help in some way. Keep me posted on how you’re going with it all :)

  2. Reblogged this on XPauljonasX and commented:

    Als Ergänzung zur gestrigen Vorstellung des Bullet Journals, hier ein paar pfiffige Erweiterungen.

  3. This is brilliant! I’m always looking for better ways to keep track of my work/life. I think I may attempt to adopt this method of planning. Also, beautiful handwriting!

  4. I love your work. Thanks for sharing.
    What does the number next to the date signify? For example, #081 or #145.
    Thank you.

      1. You’re welcome. Let me know how you go :) there’s is also a Bullet Journal Junkies FB group that has loads of resources. Good luck!

      2. I found the Bullet Journal FB group this morning. Great resource. Thank you again! Have a great day.

  5. Thank you for all your partage! I just decide to begin with Bullet Journal because GTD don’t good for me… I just have a question : you have 2 bullet journal : a personal and a professional one. What is the size of the both? Do you take them in the same Midori? Excuse my langage please, I am french and thank you very much!

    1. Hi Moune, thanks for visiting my blog. My personal bullet journal is the same size as a large moleskine notebook, and my professional bullet journal is A5 size. Hope that helps and good luck :)

  6. This is amazing! I’ve wanted to bullet journal for a while but nothing really appealing or made sense. The videos I’ve watched on YouTube didn’t beautify the system. I would mean so much If you could make a video about your journal. That would help so much :)
    Thanks in advance
    Jen x

    1. Hi Jen! Thank you for the super nice words :) I’ve been thinking about making a video for awhile now so maybe I will make one haha

      1. Which hobonichi do you use? I want to try and buy one :) do you have a link. I thought it was the planner but I’m not sure p.s you should definitely do a video. I would watch it over and over.
        Jen x

  7. Hey Dee it’s John from johncooper.me Just wanted to let you know my site is migrating to johnjosephcooper.com so the link you have in this article will be broken. I would love to work with you to resolve it.

    1. Oops, had to re-read this. Reminder to self not read important messages first thing in the morning haha I’ll change the link over when I get home tonight :)

  8. hey there, would it be possible for a favor, I was wondering if you could buy be The daiso stencil that you have, I live in washington DC and sadly I cant find that? is it possible.

    1. Hi Kirti I’ll see what I can do. I’ll have a quick look in Daiso to see if the stencils are still there. If they are, I’ll let you know and we’ll go from there :)

    2. Hey Kirti, there’s a stencil at my Daiso. Happy to send it to you. It’ll be coming from Australia so it might take a few weeks to get to you. Email me your details at dozmtz@gmail.com cheers!

    3. Hi Kirti, thought I’d check to see if you still wanted this stencil? I haven’t heard from you since you posted on my blog. I’ll keep it until Fri 13 June, so let me know.

      1. hey there, sorry for the no reply, I moved to Lima, Peru, however my hubby is still in USA, I will email you the address. Thank you so very much.

  9. Hello Dee, thank you very much, I so so love it, and the book is so so perfect for bullet journalling


  10. I love how you did this. I think the non grid paper looks great, to me. I am sure it makes it hard to have a tracker but your daily pages look amazing. Do you know if that stencil is still available?

  11. What is the online store for the daiso stencil & what is it called?!? I’m trying/dying to find one. Thanks in advance! Please email me the info if you can.

    1. Hi Rachel I’m not sure that the online Daiso has this stencil. I’m in Australia and bought it from the Brisbane city store. I’ve seen it being sold on Etsy once before maybe a month ago but I don’t think it has an actual item name. Sorry I can’t be more of a help. I’ll keep an eye out for it and post a link up here if I come across is anywhere else online.

  12. Hi Dee, been reading through your blog since my last comment..
    I attempted bullet journaling for about a week, I think it was bothersome to have the index and page numbers and yes, i really didn’t like how it doesn’t allow for future planning because for me, isn’t that the whole point of planning? (as a workaround i could probably pencil tentative dates/appointments for it will be allocated) also I wanted to explore here, how do you arrange your pages? first the monthly calendar, then the monthly tasks, then the monthly daily tracker and then daily pages?

    So anyway, after trying the bullet journal and finding i couldn’t plan any better than my usual reminder/task on the phone system, I’ve switched over to DIYFish inserts for the Midori format for this week to try. I love the visual calendar, there is a weekly view (so you can allocate events/appointments) and there’s both a monthly chart and a weekly chart to track tasks (i use it to track my journalling, exercise, blogging days etc), a ___ planner (which is another weekly format which i use for the detailed blogging notes) and next to it, a ___ list (which I use for bullet journal style brain dump list – although there is not enough space for possible dates or other signifiers). There are also daily pages where I can have more control over my 24 hrs in a day planning, track my water intake and lots of space to doodle or random notes. (Its a little too much space for someone who doesn’t have ANY planning experience so i really don’t know yet what to do with them).

    I’m still exploring to see which system will work for me. Maybe I can rope you to transfer and use DIYFish for the Midori ? (hehe) The link is here: https://www.etsy.com/listing/196314026/oct-trial-mtn-v22-regular2014-midori?ref=shop_home_active_12
    And maybe I can learn how you use your system in the DIYFish format..


    1. Hi Lisa, thanks so much for taking the time to reply! I have tried the DIYFish system, but it didn’t work for me, although it does allow for very thorough planning. I think my life isn’t as chaotic as before, so I don’t have a very high need for it. I love what Fish does and she’s super innovative in her creations, but change of pace and lifestyle has probably been what’s directed me towards the bullet journal. Also, I’m an incessant hoarder, so it’s been a 5-year goal of mine to try to live a more minimalistic lifestyle :)

      I’ve since changed my set up to a weekly-based one and have found it a bit easier to manage. I still essentially future plan in both my weekly bullet journal and my iPhone. I know it’s having to input it twice, but I’m just pedantic like that haha

      It sounds like you’re really loving exploring your planning options, and it’s always great to hear/read about people’s own planner journeys. What other systems have you tried so far? What have you liked/disliked about them?


      1. Disregard my questions. I found the link you provided in the comments. It is the exact same folding template. Thank you for sharing your great ideas!

  13. Have you tried tracking progress on multiple projects using the bullet journal? Sometime like the Ben Franklin habits, but for entrepreneurial projects?

    1. Hi Mirror Man! Yes I’ve been using the bullet journal to track progress on multiple projects for work. Unfortunately, I can’t share my pages due to client confidentiality but I’m hoping to put up a mock up of how I do this. Have you tried it at all? How successful were you with it?

  14. Hey Dee, I’m new to this whole bullet journaling thing. Your blogpost has helped me to come up with some ideas of my own. Thanks very much.

    A quick question, when you said you have the monthly pages in the front. Did you mean dedicating 12 sheets (or remaining monthly sheets) in the front and then go into daily/weekly planning?

    1. Hi Ridwan, glad I can help in some way and welcome to the world of bullet journalling :) for this bullet journal I dedicated 12 pages in the front then went into my daily planning. Hope that helps :)

  15. I’ve been trying to figure out how to make a bullet journal for some time now and what I’ve tried so far isn’t working for me. I’ve been going to a bunch of different sites and blogs to see if they have something that would be comprehensive and informative enough to help me get started. Yours has been the best so far because you go through more than others. The frustration was starting to get to me. THANK YOU SO MUCH.

    Also, do you have a link or picture of the stencils you bought for the weather? I really like the few i saw on your post and want to buy them for myself.

    1. Hi Ray! Thank you so much for the lovely kind words and thrilled that I’ve helped you get over some of those barriers for your bullet journalling journey. Would love to know how you’re going after a few months if you wanted to share :) send me a quick email at dozmtz at gmail dot com and I’ll send you a picture of the stencils. I bought them at a Daiso store here in Australia but I think they may be available on Etsy and Amazon. Good luck on your bullet journalling journey :)

  16. Hi,
    Thanks so much for sharing with us your bullet journals! I am going to start trying one for my home and work separately.

    You say u use a bujo for work but in a planner – is there anyway of seeing an example?
    Thanks so much!
    Danielle :)

    1. Hi Danielle thanks for stopping by my blog :) I’ve since stopped using the bullet journal in a planner but I can try to find an old example and put this up in a post. Thanks for the suggestion :)

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