“A BuJo Junkie” is a term to describe a person obsessed with bullet journaling. I am NOT that person. A bullet journal is not my obsession, but it definitely is my hobby.
I don’t try to force everything inside a bullet journal – I treat it more like a tool to achieve my ideal planning setup.
Back in the olden days, my bullet journal substituted an agenda. I had lots of free time on my hands to draw sophisticated spreads and experiment with different fonts & colors. I loved it, setting up my bujo was part of my self-care routine.
Look at one of my favorite travel spreads, circa 2017:
These days, however, I need a more pragmatic approach: is bullet journal actually making my life easier, or is it just a way to express creativity and I would be better off planning inside a standard agenda?
The answer is: a bit of both! Even though I keep my personal & office affairs inside a store-bought planner, Mama In Transit brand is still managed through a bullet journal.
Why is that?
For one simple reason: I would never be able to find a planner suitable for my personal brand. The way that I work on it is unique, requires a very customized approach, and an even more customized planning solution.
So how did I set up my blogging bujo?
I started with a notebook. My approach was a bit unorthodox, because as a rule bullet journaling is best done on dot grid pages. And I decided to use a lined notebook. Why? Because I had a gorgeous empty one on hand (got it from Gift Shed), which I loved and itched to use it for something special 😀
I immediately plastered my logo on the first page, for that extra motivation to set it up ASAP, and started planning everything out.
Blog posts log.
The first spread is one of my two favorite ones. It gives me an overview of where I stand with my posts. The idea is to list posts which I’d like to publish on the blog within the next 2-3 months and monitor the progress I make on them. I divided my work on each post into 5 stages: Start (when I create a topic in my online WordPress calendar), Draft, Photos, Edit, SEO, Live. This is how the creative process works for me, for you it might look different! I mark each stage with a dot whenever I complete it. Don’t forget to leave a couple of following pages blank to continue the spread later!
The second spread is another one of my favorites: a calendar view of my content for an upcoming month. I don’t use it only for the blog, but also for social media. Colorful dots make it more readable (I have separate categories for: blog posts, insta posts, insta stories, and Facebook posts). At the end of each week, I draw a face to remind myself how well I did with what I planned for. A happy face means I’m 100% satisfied, a neutral face – that it could have been better, a sad face – that I blew it 😀 Weekends are crossed out because I dedicate them to my family and prefer not to schedule anything (also, in Qatar Friday is the slowest day of the week in terms of engagement!).
“Brain dump” (monthly!).
After the monthly content calendar comes the monthly “brain dump”! Those are two pages dedicated to note down any kind of spontaneous ideas I might have during the month, related to Mama In Transit. Post topics, research, social media strategy, etc., etc. After the month is finished, I go back to those pages, analyze them and incorporate them in my planning for the upcoming months. If I have an idea which I’d like to use someday, but not in the upcoming month or two – I migrate it to the next month’s brain dump. 🙂
After the “brain dump”, it’s time for my weekly spreads! Weekly spreads are a living thing. I start with one and a couple of weeks later it looks completely different 😀 This is because I learn as I go, I check what actually works for me in the spread, and what is unnecessary. I also add things if needed. My favorite parts of the weekly spread, which are the core of my planning are:
— Task lists (blog / Instagram / Facebook)
— A miniature calendar to show me where in a month I am at the moment (as silly as it sounds, I like to visualize things).
— Audience stats (blog / Instagram / Facebook), which I fill in at the end of each week, to stay on top of the situation.
Those three items are absolutely necessary for me. The rest is interchangeable, based on what works for me at a certain point in time.
Month in review.
After weekly spreads, it’s time for a monthly review! It is important for me to track certain things on monthly basis, as well as to have some space for my personal observations. I track visitors and page views (for the blog), followers and impressions (for Instagram), page likes and post reach (for Facebook). For all three – the expenses. My expenses are at the moment pretty much non-existent, but I know I will definitely need this category in the future! After the stats, there’s space for the three most important lessons learned in the past month. And after that, my top 5 read blog posts. I am always eager to discover what my audience likes!
Next month’s goals.
Once I finish filling in the month in review, I move on to the next month’s goals. It’s a very simple spread (at the moment, who knows, I might decide to tweak it in the future!). I divide the page into three sections: Blog, Instagram & Facebook and note down three goals for each which I’d like to achieve over the course of next month. It can be anything, from the number of followers to audience interaction or social media activities.
After that comes the next month’s content calendar and the whole cycle repeats itself 🙂
Of course, I’m also going to do a yearly summary, but I haven’t started on that yet as it’s still early!
Are there any spreads that didn’t work for me? Or that I purposely chose not to include?
Yes! If you google “bullet journal for bloggers”, you will find a plethora of spreads that are considered typical for this type of bullet journal. I don’t use most of them because I think they’re unnecessary. It’s either lots of work for nothing, or I figured out a different way to display the information.
Some examples of such spreads are:
A list of blog post ideas.
For me personally, keeping this in a bullet journal is pointless and annoying. First of all, this list is constantly growing and I wouldn’t know how much space I should set aside for it. Secondly, when it grows over 2 pages long, it becomes increasingly difficult to locate posts on the list – you have to read through every entry. Thirdly, you’re not able to remove posts that are already published. You can cross them off or highlight them, but it just adds up to the mess. I prefer to keep the list in a neat word file on my google drive. I can modify it as I go, add and remove items, the search option is there, etc., etc.
A list of hashtags.
The idea behind it is to keep all hashtags relevant to a certain category of posts together. For me, it’s a great idea but NOT for a bujo. The main issue is that you’re not able to do the copy-paste of all relevant hashtags to place them under a post. You need to type them in one by one… Also, hashtags are tricky! You might note one down and a couple of weeks later it turns out that it becomes banned on Instagram. Fun fact: did you know that “Qatar” used to be a banned hashtag for a pretty long time?. You’ll have to cross it out, maybe replace it with another one, and the whole spread becomes messy. I do have a database of hashtags, but I keep it on my google drive, together with a post list 🙂
A post sharing checklist.
The goal of this spread is to tick off every place where you publish/advertise your post. To me, it’s a waste of time & space. This is because of my way of work – I don’t schedule blog posts, but publish each one of them manually (I don’t publish often so it’s easy for me to do that). I then go to Instagram and Facebook and create posts related to what I just published on the blog. Bam! Ready! No need for sophisticated checklists 🙂 I have to mention though that I don’t completely disregard this idea, for the future. If (and it’s a pretty big IF), I ever branch out to more outlets (Pinterest, Youtube, Twitter, etc.), I might need a tool to keep track of that.
Congrats if you’ve made it this far!
Whether you’re just starting your blogging adventure, or you are already a blogger but eager to know more about how bullet journaling can help you – I hope you found this post useful! Feel free to check out my earlier post: Bullet journal or Passion Planner? My planning in 2020.