The art of the bullet journal is growing in popularity. I saw them all over my Pinterest feed and because I absolutely love organizing, I decided to make one. I spent 2016 trying to do all those extravagant designs that look absolutely perfect. After a few months of using the journal, I realized that I never really used a lot of those extra pages, trackers, and features.
Since then, I have been working towards simplifying my journal to have only the necessities. I love art and being creative, but having each page be creative and artsy was really time-consuming. As a full-time student, a part-time employee I did not have time to do my bullet journal pretty and include a million pages that I’d never use.
This article is meant to provide brief overviews and photos of the pages I have successfully used and currently use in my bullet journal. These are pages that I suggest for the super busy, not-so-artsy, simpleton.
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#1 Detailed Key Page
This first page is one of my favorites. It is the key page design I used for 2016 and I wish I had decided to keep it for 2017. It’s fairly artsy but doesn’t have to be. This page is tidy and pleasing to look at. It is also incredibly customizable. If you don’t like the icons I use, you can replace them with your own, use less of them, or omit them completely.
My favorite aspect of this page is the simple little key design I drew at the top. This design was hugely inspired by The Time Pilot-Tumblr.
#2 Plain Key Page
This design is my current key page. It is not as pretty as #1, but it is a lot simpler. Honestly, the only real reason I like this page is functionality. There isn’t much to it, so it’s really easy to use. This was a design of my own (which is why it isn’t as pretty as #1).
#3 Washi Tape Page Tracker Key
This is a very simple page that utilizes washi tape. Essentially this page is just another key page but makes navigating through your bullet journal way easier. The tape curls around the edges of the pages so that you can find each page-type without shuffling through the pages.
#4 Index Page
The index page is one that I really liked but did not end up utilizing. I stopped using it, not because it wasn’t useful, but because I did not leave myself enough space to fit every page into it. The positive of having this page is knowing where everything is all at once. The con is that my notebook does not have numbered pages so I had to write them all in manually.
#5 Year Overview Page
I absolutely love this page. It is super simple and a great reference. There really isn’t much to it!
#6 Plain Monthly Calendar
This is exactly as it sounds, a simple calendar—no frills.
#7 Monthly Calendar + Habit Tracker
I currently use this method for a calendar and monthly tracking because I am running out of pages in my current notebook. It is a hybrid of the plain monthly calendar and the third monthly habit tracker design.
#8 Monthly Gratefulness
This is a page idea that I no longer use because of limited notebook space. However, it is a hugely beneficial page to have and is super simple to do. All it is is a plain monthly calendar with a gratefulness header of your choice.
#9 Monthly Habit Tracker Page
There are 3 different monthly tracker pages that I used in 2016 and I love them all. I like to change up my design monthly for fun, and this page was my favorite. I am bad at utilizing this page but find it really motivating.
The first design breaks each habit down into sleek rectangles. The habits are color coded and I use X’s to mark when I have completed each habit for that day.
This second design also breaks down the habits by month. This design allows room for fewer habits than the first design does.
Lastly, this design breaks down the habits by the habit instead of by month and allows for a decent number of habits.
#10 Simple Weekly To-Do Page + Notes Space
This page is a plain and compact weekly to-do page. It is my most-used page because I use it daily. Easy to do up because it is only 8 small boxes.
#11 Weekly To-Do + Grocery List, Meal Planning, & Mood Tracker
I used this daily to-do page in 2016 and I loved it. It allows for daily to-do lists, a weekly grocery list, and meal planning, as well as some self-care. After a few months, I stopped using the mood and meal planning areas and replaced them with a long notes section.
#12 Books to Read Page
This page is only useful for readers. It is one of my most artsy pages but it is very simple. I just used a ruler to made random rectangles with a rounded top edge. The apple is just a circle with a stem and leaf. This design is inspired by Productive&Pretty’s Bullet Journal Book Spread (10 Ideas!) post.
The wish list page is perfect for people (like me) who want, or need, more stuff than they can afford. It’s simple the heading can be designed but doesn’t have to be.
#14 My Collections Tracker Page
Not everyone has a collection to track like I do, but I am including this page because I love it so much! The purpose of this page is to track which Disney classics I already own and which ones I need to complete my collection.
#15 Date-Tracker Page
I track the dates my boyfriend and I have been on, but the date tracker can track essentially any dates. It’s simple and easy to do because it’s literally just a list of dates.
I absolutely love the Essentials Grid-lined Notebook, A5 Size and would highly recommend it. This notebook has a ton of pages, a black ribbon bookmark, elegant black hardcover, pouch on the inside of the back cover, and an elastic band to hold it closed. These features are exactly what I was looking for in a notebook!
I went through 2 other notebooks before I found this one and fell in love. The only issue I found is the first several pages started falling out (I just taped them back in and haven’t had an issue since). However, I bought my boyfriend the same notebook for his birthday and his journal did not seem to fall apart. So, I was probably just too rough on my pages.