Bullet Journal: Three Steps for Correcting Mistakes, Setting Up Your Next Month, and Setting Goals for 2018— Article Four

by Lynn S. Schwebach

This post, article 4, follows my first three articles on how to establish and use a bullet journal. To follow my steps from the beginning, also read articles one, two, and three.

My friend Chip’s journal page for November on the left, and my journal page for November on the right. I did get more creativie for November than on my other pages. (Instead of drawing in my sketchpad that day, I used my journal as a sketchpad.)

After using my bullet journal for a month, I decided that this bullet thing keeps me more organized than not using one. But why? Why not just use an already printed journal bought at an office supply store?

The ability to customize bullet journals makes them more effective. If you don’t like the layout, change it. If you want to add pages with topics of interest to you, just do it. If you want to use the journal as a personal goal-setting device, which I recommend, get busy.

At first I thought I wouldn’t use my journal as a creative outlet, but decided that once in a while, it’s okay to swap my sketchpad for my bullet journal. I also started reading more about Leonardo da Vinci’s notebooks, and I now see so many more possibilities. But more on that idea in a future post!

The next three steps in taking my journal “live” (pardon the usage of a word for a digital project for a very “analog” project) focuses on correcting what I didn’t like when I entered my first month, October.

Here are the next three steps I took in my bullet journal:

  • Adding  more pages and recording them in my index
  • Correcting my messy daily entries and using a different layout for November
  • Identifying a charity (personal goal) to donate a portion of my sales to

Step 7: Adding Pages. Back in article two when I set up my index, I noted that you might add pages as ideas or as topics arose. I decided that I needed “inspiration” pages where I can record meaningful sayings that I want to refer to over time. So I added an inspiration page and left the next page blank for these quotes as well. I then entered the “Inspiration” page number (14) in my index.

IMG-4155 (2).JPGindexupdate

Step 8: As I mentioned in my last article, my daily entries for October turned out looking terrible. They were messy, weird, and most importantly, they weren’t conducive to helping me list my daily tasks and activities in an organized and usable way. So for November, I followed my friend Chip’s idea for daily entries.

October’s weekly entries


November’s weekly entries

This new layout leaves me more room to write my appointments and tasks, and any notes. It also eliminates the messy way I wrote the days of the week over the date.

Using the Journal for Good

My bullet journal journey began over 6 months ago when I met my friend Chip for coffee and saw her working in her Leuchtturm1917. At that time, I noticed a sticky note in Chip’s journal (sticky notes are encouraged, especially when you don’t have a lot of time) that listed big goals for 2017.

Chip’s sticky note in her journal. Bullet three immediately caught my attention.

Bullet three, “Contribute to Women in Business” especially caught my attention. Chip wants to establish an organization or fund to help Vietnamese women in regards to education, entrepreneurship, and other humanitarian needs. So she set that as a long-term goal and marked tasks over the course of the year  to make progress on this worthwhile ambition.

We met last week at a coffee shop, (about 8 months after my first introduction to Chip’s bullet journal) and I asked Chip about the status of her women’s project.

Together with her partners at Centric, the online clothing business she owns and runs, she had meetings with a United Nations representative, as well as members from another organization, the Center for Women and Development, Vietnam Women’s Union. The process of who to partner with continues, but they have decided to develop “Centric Love,” a fund (rather than a nonprofit) to support different campaigns for Vietnamese women. Their first proposed project will help a domestic violence program.

A bullet journal’s power for setting and accomplishing long-term goal setting and planning became apparent to me—not only for business goals, but for helping others. Often these large, worthwhile projects stay ruminating in our brains. By setting them down on paper, setting milestones and meetings, we are better able to bring these projects to life.

Step 9: Once again following Chip’s example (did I mention how much she inspires me?) I set a long-term goal for myself, something I have been trying to “get to” for months—finding a charity to donate a portion of my sales to. Because of tragic, personal loss, my passion centers on finding a suicide prevention organization that will use the money I donate in the most responsible and effective way.  This will be one of my most important goals for 2018.


You will notice that I have two other big goals for 2018, so I am going to limit myself to these three. Goal number one, setting up and launching a new website will take me the better part of a year. Luckily, I have my bullet journal to help me plan out my steps for each month so it does not seem so overwhelming.

From time to time, I will update you on my bullet journal for 2018 and let you know how it’s going. Good luck with your bullet journal! This is an excellent time to get started for 2018. Working with a friend also will help you (and your friend) get started and stay motivated. Compare notes, journals, and ideas. Best of all, meet for coffee and talk not only about bullet journals, but also about art, creativity, and the importance of knowledge—key “coffee” topics for me and Chip.

For another good post about bullet journals, see The Bullet Journal, Minus the Hype, Is Actually a Really Good Planner.

And if you’ve started “planning” your Christmas shopping (not a bad idea for a page in your bullet journal) stop by my Etsy shop or my online fine arts shop  Schwebach Arts  for gift ideas! I am running Black Friday specials on Etsy shop throughout November!

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