May Bullet Journal 2016

Howdy everyone!

April was a slew of experiments, as is my style, and May is no different. Well, it's a lot neater - which I love! 

That tends to be the case when I start up a new notebook. I go through a Bullet Journal about every couple of months and since it's month 5 of the year, it's time for a new one! This is Bullet Journal number 10, or Bullet Journal X! Super excited about it. This is one of the official Bullet Journal notebooks from Ryder Carroll, inventor of the Bullet Journal. I love all of the details and so stoked to crack open a new one. Preparing it by breaking it in first, of course. 

Let's dive in.

Deep Green

The color theme for this month is an awesome deep green. It's Faber-Castell Moss Green ink sample from Goulet Pens.

Since all of my fountain pens are inked up and I like to use them until the ink is gone, my boyfriend graciously let me borrow one of his beautiful fountain pens.

I inked up his beautiful Waterman Hemisphere with a medium nib. It is a juicy nib! I love it. It lays ink down quite beautifully. 

Future Log

I decided to go with Ryder's future log on the left and the Alastair method on the right. Seeing how empty the left side is, I could have just done it all with the Alastair method. Ah well, lesson learned. 

Welcome Page

I love this idea, it is simply an awesome way to welcome a new month and transition.

The words at the bottom are something that came to mind that I thought would be lovely to write down.

May Monthly Log

I've really come to appreciate the original Monthly Log over time. When I first began I wasn't entirely sure how to use it or how I would fit in all of my events and whatnot. Later on I found out that Ryder uses Google calendar (as do I) and he only writes down a few noteworthy events and logs snippets of notable things that occurred. The latter point is what made me realize why it is in a list form: to give you enough room to write just a bit. 

To add my own twist I tend to mark the weeks with a sideways triangle to help me visualize the weeks a bit better. On the tasks side I use icons for certain things such as letters, cat event, and an hourglass (waiting on, idea from Josh Medeski. Fill in the bottom when you've received what you were waiting for). 

Do you love the lettering for the titles as much as I do? I found an alphabet through Pinterest I took inspiration from and emulated it roughly.


There are several projects I'm working on that are on their own spread in categories. It is set up as four different projects with a list of sub-tasks for each. I'll work on these throughout the course of the month. 

Time Log

It was late at night when I started setting up May so I wrote sleep first and then I went with it.  

Here you get to see how I am filling it in. Sleep is in light blue and everything Tiny Ray of Sunshine is in yellow. The diagonal lines are so fun to fill in each day. I truly enjoy the process of updating it every day and looking at patterns over the course of the month. Logging in my time this way also helps me stay accountable to my goals and helps me adjust my sleeping patterns. I keep track of my time throughout the day with Jiffy and then I update my time at the end of the day...except for sleep, I update that when I wake up.

The lettering for this is another gem from Pinterest, this one has to be my favorite.

Gratitude Log

As I mentioned in April's review, I rather enjoyed filling in the log whenever with as many things I was thankful for, so I am continuing that going forward. This time instead of an item per line, items will be noted side by side. 

This is only one spread this time and if I need more room later on I'll thread it.


Since I enjoyed updating my time log so much I decided to give this tracking idea another go to help me keep track of certain things better. This is one of those ideas that's been around a lot longer than the Bullet Journal, an idea I saw resurface time and again in printable land back before this fantastic system was shared with the world. I tried iterations of it long ago and at the beginning of 2015 had created printables for myself to cement some habits such as flossing! It is a good idea and saves a lot of time. I had stopped using these kind of trackers because I had it in my mind that I had to do all the tasks every single day, which with a certain number of them made me feel bad when I wasn't perfectly getting all the things done every single day.

It wasn't until Kara (Boho Berry) shared her thoughts behind it as a way to save time rewriting things daily and to see when something was done that alleviated that pressure. Getting to see the patterns and holding yourself accountable is pretty interesting and it's intriguing to see which things aren't getting checked off as regularly and assessing whyAwareness is huge factor for this idea's success and that appeals to me. I've always believed awareness and reflection is key to making meaningful changes and improvements in your quality of life. 

To boost the tracking idea a bit, on the last row for 'article' I am writing down the name of the article. This is an issue I've run into time and again where I would only write down a number goal for how many articles I want to publish, but then I didn't have an easy way to reference the titles of the articles. Problem solved! :) Other applications of the idea are writing down the book you read, how many words you wrote, something you learned, even a snippet of something you're grateful for could work! I'm sure the possibilities are endless. 

For the PWMC row, the boxes are drawn in pencil to indicate when it's my turn to post the prompt on the Facebook page late in the day. The pencil mark will get erased once I fill it in as usual. 

Meal ideas & Food logging

Meal ideas

I love this, it makes rapid-logging meal ideas so quick and easy! I realized this format would work best on a monthly scale and considering I tend to eat the same meals over and over again, I added the numbers on the right side to indicate the amount of times that meal was had. I had initially thought the numbers could correspond to the weeks, but then I figured amount of times had total would be easier to keep track of. The rapid-log nature of this list will help me vary up meals and add to it as desired. 

Food log

I have tried out so many iterations of food logging in my Bullet Journal and whenever someone asks how they can get started food logging, I always point them to this idea I came up with or this one as a way to log on a monthly scale to keep it all in one place. Those ideas were originally inspired by Ryder's awesome Weekly Food Log idea.

This food log is inspired by the monthly log calendar side. It has B L D S T columns for Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Snack, Treat and then a small area to log the food I ate. Simple and easy way to have it all together for the month. 

Daily Log

Daily Logs this month are a combination daily task list and running list. A simple day and date in the margin with the green ink and the rest in my favorite gray ink. I'm trying to give the original system of migrating only monthly a go. As usual, I rapid-log tasks, notes, and events as they occur. This way I can focus on any task I like from the previous days while keeping in mind a plan for the day. Since Ryder's method mentions migration occurs on a monthly basis, that's a concept I'm keeping in mind. I fill in the event circle when an event has occurred or something 'eventful' has happened. I am also toying with rapid-logging ideas and nesting tasks underneath to act as a running list of my thoughts. We'll see how it goes.

Usually I make a fresh list every day, right now I'm trying not to rewrite tasks to see how that goes to save me some time. Since everything I want to do has already been written down, there's less need to rewrite them daily. Instead, I'll check them off wherever they currently are, no matter which day I actually accomplished them. It's a little thing, but for a long time I've enjoyed checking off tasks on the day I actually accomplished them. But, since I would sometimes check off tasks on previous days anyways, I'm going to go ahead and give this another go. I remember doing this back in December and I loved it. A small simple header will allow me more room to write down tasks and such. So far I am loving it! I am only writing down new tasks that come to mind and it is pretty liberating knowing that all the tasks I want to get done are written down already. 

At the beginning of the day I'll work on the tasks from previous days and jot down any things that come up in the form of tasks, events, or notes. 


Questions I foresee coming up or that I want to touch on:

Why do you set up some collections at the beginning of the month?

Two main reasons: A) I like to flip through them like a book and B) It keeps these important things that span a monthly basis all in one place. Since the idea is to look at the monthly log first, I glance at that to see what I have going on and then proceed to flip through the next few pages to update logs and review my plans. Daily reviewing by rereading everything in those first few pages is critical to making progress. Those pages are jam-packed with important topics that I enjoy keeping up with. After all of that, I get to my daily log and review open tasks and write down any new ones that come to mind. Sometimes I make a daily plan, but usually what I find most helpful is simply getting those tasks out of my mind. 

Why not add all of the the things in these initial collections to your daily logs?

It's a matter of preference I suppose. I like seeing certain things all in one place such as gratitude, food logging, time, tracking, and large-scale projects on a monthly scale. A lovely example of some of these mixed into the daily logs is from Ryder, I love his daily logs! The way he does it truly resonates with the concept of rapid-logging and I admire that. I want to give them a go sometime, his style is my absolute favorite! I am who I am and creating these initial focused collections helps me focus on a topic at a time (which helps with my scatter-brained tendencies) and most importantly it brings me joy so that's why I do it the way that I do. As Ryder wrote in his wonderful article on the correct way to Bullet Journal, as long as it makes you happy, you're doing it right :) 

Do you also create other collections later on mixed in with your daily logs?

Yes, those are usually different kinds of collection for various projects I'm working on or notes I take or ideas I'm toying. Anything that comes to mind that I can see expanding to more than a few lines, I'll create a collection for. It's about doing what works for you. 

Did you stop doing the 'signifier magnifier'

Yeahp, I tried that out in March for a little while and then I stopped doing it because I noticed I rarely referred to it. It was simpler to flip-through to find what I was looking for. I really enjoy the process of flipping through my Bullet Journal, I think of it as a calming adventure.

When do you Index?

I update the Index whenever, usually at the end of the month, every several pages, when I'm looking for a specific collection, and when I finish a notebook. The Index is a powerful tool because it gives you a snapshot of everything you have in your notebook. After a long time of playing around with the Index and going from indexing every single topic including the dailies to only collections, now I only Index what I'd like to refer to later on. That way I make it easy for future Kim to find what she's looking for. Nowadays I use a mix of index hacks that I shared on the wonderful Bullet Journal blog to keep myself organized. 

Why fountain pens instead of regular pens?

I gave up looking for a regular pen I enjoyed writing with. I like using some regular pens for certain activities, but for everyday writing a fountain pen brings me great joy. The experience of the ink laying down consistently on paper is my favorite. It's a little thing, but I do believe that if you enjoy using the tools you use, you're more apt to use them because you look forward to the experience as a whole. This also answers the question of why a Leuchtturm1917 instead of another notebook or a less expensive notebook...I enjoy the experience of it.


Let's talk about style for a moment. I love adding a touch of color for the headers. It's something that I discovered makes me really happy. I also discovered that I prefer sticking to a main color for writing with and rapid-logging. My preference is a lovely gray ink because it's not as harsh as black. You can see how beautiful the variation of color, or shading, is on the tracker. I like experimenting with new font styles to keep things fresh and interesting for myself. As you saw in January, February, March, and April, the neatness of my pages varies drastically and they can get pretty messy. Among the chaos I like to present the month-long collections at the beginning of each month looking lovely and crisp as a way to center myself. I look forward to a new color theme each month and getting to try out new things. It's all about what works for you. I like trying out new things all the time so having a flexible and forgiving system is what makes the Bullet Journal perfect for me. :) 


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What's your set up for May? 

I'd love to know! You can even share photos in the comments if you'd like :)

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