The new year is well under way and I thought I follow the trend of starting the new year with a new journal. In June last year I started using a bullet journal (see my previous post). The beauty about this system is its flexibility and I learned a lot since using it and adjusted my layouts and what I record it in. So here’s an update.


I decided to stick with the Leuchturm 1917 dotted in A5 – this time opting for a bright yellow. I did change the pens I use – there are so many options but I really like using colour pencils for drawing and highlighting and I use the Staedtler ergo soft 12 pack and recently added the Staedler ballpoint 10 pack & fineliner 10 pack (mostly so I can match colours). For notetaking I use a black uni ball eye needle – fine enough to take plenty of notes in my sometimes tight layouts. A thing I recently discovered and I really wish I would have used earlier is Washi tape. I don’t use if for decoration but to colour code my pages and my monthly calendar. I ordered colours that match my coloured pencils which so far has been working a treat. I don’t have a special small ruler because I tend to do my monthly and weekly logs at home.

Things I’m keeping for my new bullet journal

Yearly & Monthly log: I like to have an overview of busy periods, holiday time, conferences etc and having these twos logs really help with that. My current bujo (that’s what the cool kids call it) lasted 7 months and I’m planning to have a new one every six months – I changed the yearly (future) log to only go up to June but I will add a second six moths log to the end of the journal to get a head start before switching journals.

Weekly log: I love the weekly log – mostly because this is how my brain works & it has been the most effective tool in increasing my productivity. I talked in another post how having a running to-do list made me feel that I wouldn’t get anything done and it was really hard to prioritise – having to break it down into weeks/days really helped me to focus on how much I can achieve in a day and see how much time goes to meetings, writing, lab work etc. I have a tabled layout with times for each day – this really helps to add appointments and events better. I break my day into 3 working slots. 1: between 6.30/7am – 8/8.30am working from home to do reading or writing. 2: 9.30/10am – 12.30pm Office 1 & 13.30pm-4.30pm up tp 6.30pm (depends on work load, events etc) Office 2. And I work from home 1 day a week – but this for another blog post.


Habit tracker: I used to have a monthly tracker just after the monthly log but didn’t really fill it in. To improve on keeping track of habits, medication etc I decided to add a small version to my weekly log that I can then transfer to the monthly log when I have the time. This also means that I have all 6 monthly habit trackers at the start of my journal – which I think should be good to compare months. I use the standard health/exercise related ones but I also have a couple of academic/work ones where I try and keep track of my writing.


Colour coding pages: In addition to the index I colour code important pages to be able to find them faster. This is where the Washi tape has been a big improvement – in my last journal I coloured in a bit of the page but this was quite fiddely. The Washi tape is quick & easy. I also use the colour coding in my monthly and weekly log – this helps me to better plan my activities and I can keep track of how I spend my time.

Fold-out index & colour coding reminder

Blog log: I did quite badly last year with my blog writing so for 2017 I’m planning to write a post a month (alreday failed since this post is late). To keep track of ideas and progress I decided to add a blog log where I can track dates of postings and views of my page. I hope that this will keep me motivated to write something about my research, outreach or postdoc life.

Things I added

So far I only really added 2 new thing and that is a break down of my week days – what time I want to get up, when I’m working and when I’m having a break etc. I’m all about routines and since I recently have been diagnosed with a chronic illness (more on this in a later post) it has become quite important to stick to certain routines to keep my fatigue in check and make sure I exercise regularly. So this routine page has been a big help. Along the same lines I also had to change my diet since I can’t really eat anything processed – I have never been a big fan of cooking but I’m actually enjoying it and the time in the kitchen helps me to calm down at the end of a busy day. To make it easier to stick to the diet and cook yummy food and prep good lunches I added a meal plan. Originally I thought I use a plan that I can re-use with sticky notes but I decided to add it as another weekly log with a section for journalling and sympton tracking – since I’m still trying to find out what works and what doesn’t.

Things I’m dumping & why

Daily log: At the start I liked the idea of planning every day but with a good weekly log this just doubles the work. However I am planning to do more journaling – adding more reflection & ideas etc but not necessarily every day.

Reading log: Again this was a great idea at the time but I haven’t read anything lately and I decided to add this log to the journal I keep my reading notes in – having it in one place makes more sense.