My 2021 Journal Set Up Is Here
If you have watched my Minimalist 2020 A6 Moleskine Pocket Bullet Journal flip though video. Then you will already know my Bullet Journal has quite a simple setup.
I’ve tried a lot of the A6 Moleskine Pocket Journals over the years. I always make the decision and then stick with the chosen type for a whole year a proper road test. The three pack Cahier journals, the 2 pack Volants, flip up reporters notebooks, hard cover, soft cover, starwars editions. But it’s always been a Moleskine. I have more notebooks going back passed 2013 to university but they are boxed up right now.
I use A5 notebooks for specific projects so the project stays self contained. I like Leuchtturms for them. You can see a picture of some on them on in this blog post about how I like lists.
I tend to favour A4 notebooks when I am at work in an office. They never leave the building and always sit on my desk. I’m not fussed about about brand. Even pound-shop is fine as I burn though so many in a year. (This is mainly because I have the rule: ‘If you don’t see me write it down it doesn’t exist’. But for the daily driver: the always about my person, in the back pocket, life organisation, notes over coffee or week planing has to be A6 for me.
This is my Minimalist A6 Moleskine Pocket Bullet Journal 2020 set up.
I always make sure I fill in my contact details. When I see people in mid June or July without their contact details written in, my palms begin to itch.
Key / Index
I don’t use the ‘official’ Bullet Journal symbols. I’ve tried, but I always end up defaulting to the home grown ones I have always used.
You can see what a typical page of my notebook looks like in this post. I have the mental organisation of a Madman. It’s either that or lists.
Minimalist Year Planner
Obviously this is just the year planner page for 2020. No space for notes, just days weeks and dates at a glance. I planned the whole thing out in Google sheets before hand as I didn’t want to mess anything up. Even in pencil.
If anyone wants me to share the Gsheet template for A6 Moleskines, comment bellow and I’ll prepare a sheet for sharing.
Goals & Month Log
Goals are goals. No explanation needed here really. Though I do tend to favour OKR (objective and key result) style life goals than vague ‘Drink More Water’ – though defiantly you should. Go get yourself a glass right now, I’ll wait…
With space being at a premium, my Month Log has to be minimal. This does have some downsides. Up the top is the repeated month details on the left and the Month name on the top right.
Days of the week and Dates go down the middle of the page, leaving room for Morning and Afternoon activities either side. I also have peoples Birthdays/Death Dates written in but they take up a lot of room/space but I think they are important.
Over the page the month continues. I have a space at the bottom of each page for notes or other things that need documenting, either things that have/will happened that month, Hotel addresses, flight numbers etc.
Once the month is finished/over I will fold the page in half and forget about it. (see the video) This means the first full/non-folded page in the Month Log section will always be the current one. It helps with finding things quickly.
I really only use this section as a partial diary. I know a lot of BuJo fans like everything offline, but I have a hybrid approach with a detailed GCal. That also includes travel times etc. Using this as your only diary might be ok if you aren’t very busy.
Future Log + Projects
Above and below you can see that after the Month Logs, I have my 2021 Future Log. Its the same layout as the Year planner but without the days/dates detail. Leaving room things that are happening next year. Since taking the photos already have 2 weddings in on these pages!
I like to leave a little room for projects at the front of my notebook. I have 6 things I’d like to pour time and energy into this year. So I’ve left a page for each one. The first one will be a long read essay. I hope to get it out mid Feb!
At the beginning of every month I always write in the calendar and then fold the page in half. Sometimes I write a Mini Index for the month on this half page too. Inside the folded page I write work related things like time tracking for bill clients. Its also a perfect place for a habit tracker.
The utility of folding the page (I also do this in A5 and A4 notebooks) in half to start the month in the note book only really becomes apparent with time.
As the year goes on you’ll end up with clear psychical delineation where months sit in side your notebook. This is really useful towards the back end of the year if you need to find old notes . Its even more useful if you know went to a conference in July 2016 and need to quickly find/reference the notes you took many years later.
Other Page folding Hax
I have folded the pages of my diary in different ways since I was about 14/15. When a week was completed in my school diary, I would fold it diagonally alternately so you end up with a deep triangle V. Its really weird, I can’t find any photos of this online. I havn’t used a week planner in years so don’t have any examples to hand.
When I’m using A4 notebooks ( I get though 4ish a year if i have a full time job) I’ll have different styles of page dividers depending on the project or whatever.
There’s loads of cool page divider folding examples on Youtube. Some are serious origami.
Whilst I’ve always folded my notebook pages to create dividers etc.
A few years ago I came across a cool minimal A6 Bullet Journal set up that introduces the concept of ‘Modules’.
I really recommend heading over to the article How To Use A Pocket Journal With A Bullet Journal at Bulletjournals.wordpress.com. It’s a really good in depth post on choosing your notebook, setting up a minimal notebook etc
Share your own video!
This is the first ‘proper’ video I’ve ever made. I’m really pleased with it how it turned out. It was cool to have all the things I needed just lying around the house. Tripods, lights, fabric etc.
There are loads of things I’ve learnt:
- Whilst the cloth on the table instantly made the set up look nicer to the eye in person. I shouldn’t have used a off-cut of fabric that wasn’t herringbone as it looks strange on film.
- I wish I’d spent more time fiddling with the white balance before I shot the video. Next time I think I’ll shoot in raw and then colour correct video.
- When shooting video the camera I was using cropped the image so the pencil ended up out of shot.
- I’m going to get a ‘cool white’ LED bulb for my desk lamp so I have a pure white bulb on hand if I ever need to shoot something like that again.
- Next time I think I would write the script first, so I know roughly how long I need to spend shooting each page. Exporting freeze frames or massaging the playback speed to make the footage fit the narration was a nightmare.
- Shotcut is a very capable piece of open source software, if a little buggy. YMMV.
- Making my own background music was fun. I think it turned out alright.
My favourite part of the whole experience was actually setting up the table etc. I’d like to shoot my EDC or perhaps all my Stationary as product photos. I might do this as a little project in the spring when there’s a bit more natural daylight.