How I’m Planning For 2018: Bullet Journal Tips

Lists, upon lists *grins like a Cheshire cat*


HAPPY NEW YEAR! I’m back! Kinda. I must admit that this post was actually written pre-NZ as we’re still away when this is due to go live, but seeing as it’s the first of the month AND it’s a new year AND it’s a Monday, it was just too good of a slot for some organisation content to pass up. I’m sure you wild cats are too busy nursing hangovers to think about planning for the year ahead and if you so roll over, grab yourself a Berocca and spend the rest of the day attempting to sleep out the Prosecco shakes – this can wait till tomorrow – however, if you’re feeling bright eyed and bushy tailed then I’ve got more list-making tips than you can shake a stick at. LET’S TALK PLANNING…

You lot know I love a plan. I love a list. I love ticking things off and whenever I feel like my brain is a big ol’ jumble of to-dos and I’m lamenting why there aren’t just two more hours in a day (two hours is all we need sun, come on!), putting it down on paper is an exercise that pretty much instantly lightens my load. I was first introduced to Bullet Journaling at the beginning of the year and within about two seconds of watching my first video on the concept, I’d already bought the planner on Amazon. It’s a simple, written organisation system and although I don’t BJ (WAHEY!) in the classic method, there are some aspects of the idea that I don’t think I’ll ever stop using. Dotted paper is a revelation let me tell you. Now, this isn’t a beginner’s guide to all things Bullet Journal, more just a mini ‘get started’ aperitif, along with some of the lessons that I’ve learnt from using it over the past year, which has been – if I do say so myself – pretty darn efficient.


Research it, then forget it all. There’s a tonne of content that has been created around Bullet Journals, and just organisation in general over the years, so I’d recommend dipping your toe into some posts or videos that spark your interest. Find someone who has a role similar to yours and see how they put pen to paper to get a general gist of where would be a good starting point for you. For me I watched Lily’s video – fellow blogger, love her approach to work – and took notes on pages that she featured and how she planned out her content and to-dos. Then you want to squeeze your knowledge sponge, retaining the good bits that you think are spot on for your needs and drip-drop out the rest. If you fancy slurping up some tips from me, the pages that I find to be most used are: a stats tracker that I use to assess monthly traffic across all my platforms, a page where I list my two most watched videos of the month which are great for spotting trends, my capsule wardrobe review page that I use to evaluate each season and add in what I should pop on my shopping list the following year, and a holiday packing list which I refer to time and time again.

Think big. The one thing I really like about this whole Bullet Journal malarkey is that it encourages big, year-long thinking. That was always something that I’d really think long and hard about in January and then completely forget about until the next New Year rolled around. Bollocks. Here you have the option to add in pages that can act as trackers for certain things throughout the year; be it work-related stats, earnings, savings or fitness goals. Let me tell you, when you get to the end of the year and you’ve actually filled it in every single month, you feel pretty frickin’ fabulous. I would say to keep it to just the essentials that you actually have an interest in, rather than things you feel like you should have an interest in, or else it can feel like a bit of a chore to fill it in each month. I start each year off with a ‘GOALS’ page that details out my financial, fitness, personal and career resolutions for the upcoming year. Then I always add in a stats tracker, a capsule wardrobe evaluation and a YouTube ‘most watched’ page, as I mentioned. I’m thinking that this year I might add in some kind of fitness tool as well. I’m currently trawling @Journalspiration and ‘The 365 Bullet Guide’ for ideas.


How to plan your week. When I first got into the world of work I would dedicate a whole page to a daily to-do, a line by line featuring every single minute task that I was due to finish by E.O.D. It actually took me till lunchtime to write and 95% of the time I’d barely scratched the surface by the time 6pm had rolled around. It wasn’t conducive to my stress levels and it was an inefficient use of time. These days I plan my week either on a Friday evening or early on a Monday morning and instead I dedicate one page to a whole week, noting down just three to six that I aim to get done each way. I’m not doing less per se, I’m just being more effective with my list making, and somehow because the list is smaller it feels like there is less to do and I’m much more likely to get through it all by home time. If I need to add in smaller tasks or errands I work off a post-it note instead, as not to clog up my lists and make the essential, but boring to-dos easily disposable once they’re done.

My content planning pages. Now this is pretty specific to fellow bloggers and YouTubers out there but this way of planning out an editorial calendar has really helped me make sense of what is going live on what and where, at which time, over the past 12 months. I used to squish my blog and YouTube schedule on one page, but these days I split them out over the two pages, so it’s a little more spacious and easy to see when things are due to be published. Whenever I pop up a snapshot on IG stories I always get asked what the code at the top is, so incase you were wondering; on the blog side I have columns for photos, text, blog post scheduling, Facebook post scheduling and tweet scheduling and then I add in a big ol’ tick when it’s live, then on the YouTube page I do the same for whether the footage is filmed, edited and uploaded, the description box, thumbnail, whether the video is scheduled and then two columns for when I’ve added the link into the relevant blog posts and tweets. See? Told you the back end of this wasn’t so sexy. Don’t mind me just ticking off my columns in my purple dressing gown, eating leftover Quality Streets from the tin.


Bullet Journal. I’ve mentioned this already, but this piece of kit has completely changed the way that I plan out my life. It’s a decent size, good quality paper and the dotted paper will win you over in about two days. Ain’t no way I could go back to lined now.

Ohh Deer Post-It Pad. You know when I mentioned post-its earlier? These are the ones that I use and they make me chuckle every single time that I use them, because I’m well mature like that.

Square Brass Ruler. Now the one that I have is actually a gift from Lily that she got from Anthropologie a couple of years ago now, but this one is the same kind of thing and I use my ruler ALL. THE. TIME. I don’t do much in terms of design inside my BJ, but I do appreciate the use of a fine or dotted line thanks to this.

The 365 Bullet Guide. I wouldn’t say that this is essential reading, but it does have some handy ideas for pages that you could add into your planner. I’ve enjoyed flicking through this as I make my schedule for the year ahead, because there’s some solid yearly tracker inspiration in there.

Photos by Lauren Shipley

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  • HarrisonBeach

    Oh it’s good to have you back! Hope you’ve had the most amazing time in NZ & look forward to seeing all the pics/ vids about it!

  • Nicole Constante

    Happy new year Anna! So glad to have you back and rockin one of my obsessions, bullet journaling! <3 Now let me steal these spreads while the virgo in me freaks about the fact that the year starts on a Monday too. Haha!

  • Flo la vita

    I’ve always wanted to do a bullet journal, it seems so much easier to be able to make it yourself and avoid having a few pages you don’t need. But I’m such a messy person so I feel like I wouldn’t be able to keep it neat and then I would stop using it. But I might end up making one in 2018 and (trying to) stick to it xx

  • I have tried this, but it’s just not for me… I picked up a planner that is quite like a bullet journal but still more like a regular planner… Hopefully once I get into the planner I might want to upgrade to bullet journals! x

    • I think that’s a great idea. I think creating every page myself takes up way too much time. I want to use my time for actually doing things.

  • I got a bullet journal for secret santa and I’m so excited to use it! I loved Jamie Paige’s bulletjournal vid on youtube and I have a similar fitness tracker that I put in there as well. Glad to have you back Anna 🙂

  • I love the idea of a bullet journal but find it a little overwhelming. I think it is the perfectionist in me. I am a huge fan of planning and crossing things off a list so I always get inspiration but seeing how other people stay organized!

    Brittany |

  • I love bullet journaling. It is the best way to keep myself organized and store all my ideas and to do lists in one little notebook.

    The Lisa’s World

  • Yaaaay you’re back! (…sort of)

    I hope you had an amazing time in New-Zealand 🙂 (and take your time getting back in the swing of things, you should savour the post-honeymoon spirit as long as possible)

  • I find bullet journaling so intriguing and as I am organisation mad, I’m pretty sure I’d love it if I could get my head around it. I will definitely be checking out some of these links and giving it a good go, here’s to being super organised! Thanks for the inspiration.

    Holly from The Art of Being Holly xo

  • It looks fun, but I also think it will take up too much time. I’ll just buy a pre-made planner and use that. All that drawing is just too much, haha!

  • Good to see you back! Here’s to a 2018 of better organisation skills for all of us, and on that we bow to the queen of organisation that is you!

  • I love the idea of this and I’ve tried it so many times but I just can’t do it! 🙁


    Victoria 🙂


  • Emily Hammond

    I’ve been after a bullet journal for a while now and feel after this i’m sold, determined to have an organised 2018!

    Emily x

  • This is actually my first year bullet journaling (I spent a few hours yesterday and today setting up some pages) and I can’t wait to see how it works for me! I had tried using trello for work, and random to-do lists, and a traditional diary but ended up feeling disorganized. And, I noticed I liked parts of one system, and some of the others, hence the appeal of the bullet journal.

    My tip so far: As a bit of a perfectionist, it was hard for me to be ok with the errors and changes that are sure to occur BUT I reminded myself the whole point is figuring out what works for me. And even if my bullet journal isn’t the most instagrammable, if it works it works.

    Looking forward to seeing how your journaling comes along! I plan on doing a post myself at the end of one month of bullet journaling with what I’ve learned.

    Amber | Last Day In August

  • Ana Teresa Pessoa

    I totally love Bullet Journaling, it changed my organisation life. I must say I am quite proud to be posting a similar post to my favorite blogger on the same day!
    Happy new year!

  • Even though I tend to have my to-do lists online, I bought a dotted paper book to start writing down a few things physically. It must be the season…

    Anne|Linda, Libra, Loca

  • I also do weekly planning, but I sometimes add to dos for the current day if there is a lot to do. The way I do it actually comes from a geek-out about bullet journaling during a conference about software development (me and the other guy got some strange looks :D). He said he writes a “Today I learned …” below his daily to dos every evening to kind of keep track of how far he comes and to remind him that he is always improving, even on days that might not seem too productive.

    I really liked that idea, so now I always use the first blank page after weeklies/monthlies for “dailies”. Sometimes I only have my “today I learned” below the date, sometimes I add in tasks that occur during the day. This way, I can fit about 8 dailies on one page and don’t use up too much space.

    By the way, the link to journalspiration (I guess you meant the instagram account?) is broken and the post-its are sold out, so the link goes to a 404

  • Elisha Maè Iveson

    Lovely post Anna – I’ve enjoyed filling out my 2017 bujo so much and can’t wait to get my teeth into another 🙂

    Elisha-Maé |

  • Skinity

    Great post Anna. I love to read all the “get organised” posts!

    Just wanted to mentioned that I purchased very similar ruller in Liberty on sale for £2.5.


  • Fab post Anna, I completely relate to having a jumble of a brain sometimes. Having a few tips to get things out of my brain on paper is exactly what I need.
    Look forward to lot’s of fab content in 2018!
    Abi xx

  • I’ve just started my bullet journal this past December and although, I can get a bit carried away with organizing it all, I am really enjoying it. It allows me to create the perfect place for me to organize my blog, my academics, personal goals, and more and I’ve never quite had that with any pre-made planner before.

  • Aaishah

    I really want to start a bullet journal this year so this post has provided me with some much needed info.

  • D. Tangled

    I really want to start a bullet journal, I think I’m just going to have to go for it and stop over thinking it! Thanks!!

  • Lisa Autumn

    You are the queen of organisation! Love it Anna!

    xx Lisa |

  • Charlotte

    You have to watch Jasmins bullet journal videos on her youtube channel teaandtwigs (! She has the best bullet journal! It may not be your style but its so beautiful put together

  • Cat

    I love myself a good organization post! Bullet journals are always so cool!


  • I got SO excited when I saw this post! Just yesterday I started my bullet journal and honestly I have no idea how I didn’t get on this sooner. Lists are just my favorite thing in the world, hahaha! Thanks so much for the great tips and advice!

  • Jasmina Bharwani Puri

    I’ve been thinking of getting started with writing journals myself. Thank you for the tips! ❤

  • I loved reading this, Anna! It’s really inspired me to get organised this New Year.

    Lynnsay x

  • fantasy violet

    thank you for the tips!

  • Anna Waligora

    that was so helpful!

  • Freya Fleming

    I’m still trying to figure out how I want to use my BuJo and this post is a massive help (together with Lily’s videos, as you mentioned), thank you!