Changes to My Bullet Journal, Oct 2023

Changes to My Bullet Journal, Oct 2023

I’ve been using a Bullet Journal – in the original, minimalistic sense, for about 5 years. I’ve experimented and adjusted, but I’ve never really written about my experiments. I made some big changes this month, and I thought I would share them.

New Notebook

For all the time I have done Bullet Journaling, I have used the recommended LEUCHTTURM1917 notebook*. It was the first notebook I ever used with good quality paper, and I loved the dot format, which allowed me to create my own forms and pages without having to draw over anything already on the page.

But the notebook has been too small to take a full year, and too big to do a half year. Not to mention it is expensive – $25 a shot – and if you get the official Bullet Journal version, the price jumps.

I started a new notebook in February. I was out of pages in September. I wanted something that was going to last for all of 2024 as well as the last quarter of 2023.

I did some research and found a better value* in a notebook, with more pages, and thicker paper from Gosirim. 320 pages to the other notebook’s 251. 100 gsm paper to the other’s 80 gsm. And the Gosirim has numbered pages, which a lot of the dot notebooks do not have.

It also has an elastic pen loop. which the Leuchtturm did not have.

I’m very happy with this purchase, and while the cover isn’t the color shown on Amazon, I am OK with it.

Monthly Page Changes

For the past two notebooks (so about 1.5 years?) I have a four page spread at the beginning of the month. The first page is a running one-line summary of the day, as suggested in the bullet journal instructions. The second was a tracker of daily habits. The third is a tracker of sleep, mood and (sometimes) weather. And the fourth was a grid in which I tracked which projects I worked on.

I realized that I never updated the daily habits or project trackers regularly. I go three to seven days and then try to remember. The sleep isn’t as big of a problem because the data is tracked in an app already, and I transcribe it so I can see patterns.

I decided to do away with the daily habits and project tracker – and move them to habit tracker apps.

I am more likely to update an app before bed than I am the notebook, for the simple reason that I added the habit trackers to the same screen as my other nighttime apps: Calm, Fitbit and my alarm clock.

Month Markers

I wanted a quicker way to find where a month started in the notebook without having to look at the index.

I decided that a tiny piece of washi tape folded over the edge of the page where the month starts would work best. I can see it from the edge of the book, and quickly move to that month.

The washi tape I am using is 1/4” and I got it from the Dollar Store. It serves the purpose.

Future Log Change

The instructions for the bullet journal have you divide four pages up, three sections per each page, and give one section to each month in the year.

This has always been hard for me. I have a lot of things happen in March – namely my husband’s entire family has birthdays that month.

I decided to make the future log more flexible. I modeled it after the Alistair method of task tracking, having one page for each 6 month span, and then columns in which to mark which month each event was in. The closest I could find on the web to this is the following: (I’m not putting my own on the web because it contains too much PII)


More Planning

Because of the lack of space in the old notebooks, I was always hesitant to make collections pages. I am putting forth more of an effort to write things down in this new notebook.

I have a page for books recommendations, a page for tracking charitable giving, a log for my contact with the Veteran’s Administration, and a list for tracking which episode of a TV series I will watch next.

For my week off from work this month I have made a list of things I would like to tackle at home.

Wrap Up

I am very excited about the changes I have made for the new notebook. The quality of the notebook and paper are such that I feel good writing in it every single time I put pent to paper. Moving the habits and projects to apps mean I don’t have pages to set up that I won’t use. My future log is more flexible, and I am doing more planning. It’s a good setup.