A few weeks ago I talked about the number one reason people give up bullet journaling almost before they begin: they get overwhelmed by the endless possibilities of personalization!
After reading that post it would be easy to assume that I abhor planner customizations, but that isn't the case at all. In the years I've spent using a planner based on the bullet journal method I've tried many different cusomizations. Some work for me, so I keep them. Others only complicate my life, so I don't. Some I use for a season, then abandon when they no longer serve me.
For example, I've created a monthly spread that works well for me, but is drastically different from the one Ryder Carroll (creator of the bullet journal method) suggests. On the right-hand page of the spread I make two lists: a to-do list and a list of events, notes, and to-do items that apply to the upcoming month...
On the left-hand page I use the dot grid to create a calendar with 5x5 squares and add mini-calendars for both previous and future months wherever they fit. For example, this spread for Novemebr 2017 has the mini-calendar for October in the upper left and the mini-calendar for December in the lower right.
I keep track of future events/Holidays/etc in a few differnet ways, depending on how far in the future the event is. If the event is more than a month away, I'll add it to my future log, which is another spread I've experimented with and changed from Ryder's suggested layout. In fact, I still haven't settled on a favorite version. I tried something new for 2017 and that clearly didn't work well for me, so I'm trying yet another layout for the first few months of 2018. So far I like it, but we will see if it sticks!
If a future event takes place in the coming month, I'll add it to the list on the right-hand page of my monthly spread. When I create the spread for the next month, I check back here and transfer everything to the calendar on the left-hand page of the new spread.
For example, in October I wrote down a few things for November, including my Baby Shower, Thanksgiving, and a to-do item (finishing my novel). So at the beginning of November when I created my new spread, I immediately added the events to my calendar on the left-hand page and the to-do item to my to-do list on the right-hand page.
I also checked the October to-do list. Anything left undone (noted by a ∙ bullet) I either
crossed out or marked with an > arrow and copied to my November to-do list. Anything partially done (noted by a \ backslash) I either added an > arrow to and copied to my November to-do list, or left alone because I determined that it was "done enough."
I've tried different weekly and daily layouts, but I keep coming back to the sweet simplicity of Ryder's basic bujo method.
This is the beauty of the system — I can make it work for me instead of it making me work harder. It can grow and change with me. I can use it religiously when I'm in a season of intense productivity or set it aside when I need some breathing room.