bullet journal… over a year on

Image heavy post! I’m OK with readers using my images and ideas but I’m NOT OK if you don’t credit my images and ideas. Do the right thing, folks!

Last year I wrote this little blog post about my experience using the bullet journal after six months. I thought given that it’s now been nearly a year and a half, it was only fitting to share where I’m up to in my journey.

In my work life, bullet journal has worked I’m an enormous treat. I haven’t veered very far from where I was a year ago. I have, however, used something akin to a time ladder of sorts. I copied this from an original entry and changed names, etc. for confidentiality and privacy reasons. And yes, I used my rushed writing, too!

I used this when there are days that I really need some hyper-organisation to my day and a task list just doesn’t cut it. I basically use the next available page, rule two lines down the middle, assign meetings, appointments, etc. to the left of the page, and tasks and notes to the left side of the page. The inspiration came from a planner I saw through a procrastination session – please someone email me if you know which planner I’m talking about so that I can credit it :) (EDIT: the time ladder inspiration came from the creative DIYfish and Bill Westerman’s planner pic). 

This is closer detail of my appointments and meetings:


I have to account for every 15 minutes of my time, so I block this off using the dot along the time ladder and rule a line to the meeting/appointment.

This is a closer look at my tasks/notes side:


You’ll notice that there are notes assigned to a time on the time ladder – that is, the box with a ruled line to a dot on the ladder. There are also arrows from boxes to link tasks with notes – for example, the task where I’ve rescheduled a therapy (Rx) session.

This is a closer look at the bottom of the page:


I mark an “X” on the time ladder for when I finish work for the day. Then I list tasks on either side with “before next visit” and “to do next visit”.

The bullet journal in my personal life has been a tumultuous love affair. There were a few months where I chopped and changed notebooks and planners, and then some other months when I went completely digital *gasp* I feel like I’ve come full circle and have gone back to a ruled bound notebook. I’ve also gone back to my original key and set up – that is, monthly pages with tasks and daily bullet journalling on subsequent pages as well as random notes and collections.

I have added some embellishments. This is my daily habit tracker, and yes, I only have one habit I want to track right now. Keeping it simple has made it more successful to create a habit.


A picture of my monthly tasks page:


A sample of some thoughtful notes:


A simple hack whereby you write the topic/heading on the top corner of the page:


So how are you travelling on your bullet journal journey? What has worked or hasn’t worked for you? I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments :)


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38 thoughts on “bullet journal… over a year on

  1. I really like the time ladder idea – I haven’t seen that before. I’m glad to know that after more than a year, you’re still using and liking it. I’ve struggled a bit with it because when I get too busy, I tend to do less planning, which is when I REALLY need to be doing it. Great post. Thank you for all the great images – it helps a lot.

    1. Thanks for your comment, Kara! There’s no right or wrong way to plan anything really. Good thing about the bullet journal is that it’s forgiving and it will always take you back when you’ve abandoned it briefly good luck on your planner journey!

  2. I love the explanation of how you do the time ladders. I don’t have a lot of days where there’s several obligations in a row, but I have struggled when I do have those. This looks like a great way to handle it. And I LOVE the idea of writing the topic at the top corner of the page! I use an index, but I’m sort of lazy about it. This would be a great addition to indexing. :)

    1. Thanks for your comment, Stephanie and glad I gave you some ideas :) I’m lazy at indexing, too, so this was a nice compromise.

  3. Love your post!! I just started my first bullet journal (it starts 6/1). For your thoughtful notes picture – where/how did you begin to write like that? I love it!!

    1. Thanks Danielle :) I have my grandmother to thank for all those hours of writing practice when I was in primary school. I have a collection of different typography that I like from over the years that I try to emulate. I also get inspiration from Pinterest pins :)

  4. Love your handwriting! Just wondering if you could explain how you use your habit tracker/how you make it? Looks like it could be really useful as I am trying to track certain things. :)

    1. Hi Stephanie! Thank you for your lovely words :) For my habit tracker, the numbers in the boxes represent the dates of the month. For this month, I’m focusing on my logbook habit. I only choose one habit each month to make – I find that this is easier to manage and I have more success. Each day I complete the habit, I block it out in grey. If I don’t complete it, I mark it with a grey ‘x’ and keep going :) I have a main list of habits on a separate page where I keep track of several habits that I’ve succeeded in making. I might post a separate article on this at a later time. Hope that helps and it made sense. Good luck!

  5. Hi Dee, Really like your handwriting on the Mindfulness image. Did you take any handwriting course? Just curious. :)

    1. Hi Ridwan! Thanks for stopping by my blog and for the lovely words :) I didn’t take any handwriting courses at all. There’s a blog post I posted up about some handwriting questions I’ve had along the years – check it out :)

    1. Hi Margaret! Thanks for the interest :) I’ll be posting this up in the next few days. I’ve been inundated with work the last month or so, and it’s been hard finding time. Stay tuned! I’ll post it up soon!

  6. Hi, Dee –

    I’ve just in the last few days come across the subject of “Bullet Journaling”. A few years ago, I ‘went digital’, but something has always been missing, and I realized it was the simple act of putting pen to paper. I also found with the zillion apps I had that I never really referred back to them, and even though I have a few that do a very good job of reminding me, pressing all those tiny keys just to jot an inspiration, let alone what app to do it in, has left me cold. Thank you so much for sharing your experience and tools. One other comment: Your handwriting is unbelievable! The most perfect I have ever seen! Thanks again.

    1. Hi Linda, I know that you mean about all the apps when it comes to organising yourself in the digital sphere. My husband is very much the digital planner, and I just don’t know how he does it. I’m glad that you’ve found a system that well for you :) And thank you for your lovely words about my handwriting. I would love to see how you’re going with your bullet journal journey, if you’d like to share? You can always email me or send me a DM on Instagram (@decadethirty) Have a great day :)

  7. Hey Linda. You’re journal is so inspiring! Will definitely borrow some ideas and see how they work for me. One question — what pens do you use? Especially for your fancy script on the Mindfulness pages?

    1. Thanks for the lovely words :) I use a simple ballpoint pen for the fancy script on the Mindfulness pages. It’s a Uni Jetstream 101 0.7 nib and it’s faux calligraphy. You can always have a look at copying some scripts that you might like from Pinterest sites as a starting point :)

      1. Your handwriting is so beautiful it seems unreal – like typewriting instead! . . . I’ve never had very good handwriting but now with arthritis in my hand it has become even worse. I would give anything to be able to write the way you do. (Maybe that is one reason i can’t find my ‘planner peace’ – because of the handwriting issue.) I make a lot of mistakes lately too like dropping a letter out of words, so now i do a good bit of writing with a Bic Velosity pencil so i can erase as needed.
        I’ve just discovered you & your blog (came here from the Bullet Journaling website) and am going to devote today to binge reading your entire blog :-)

  8. Such a helpful post. I’m really trying to get back to more paper and pen and I love your examples. Thanks for sharing. Off to check out more of your posts. (found you via Pinterest).

  9. I found this on Pinterest and love the organisation and writing. I know what you’re in school for because I was in your place 15 years ago. Being an SLP is just the best job ever.

  10. Hi Dee,
    I’m a bit late in posting, but have only just come across your blog as I am looking at Bullet Journals for me to use now.

    Great blog and thanks for sharing.

    Ref the ladder thing, the closest I can imagine for this is a Time Manager daily page (see here http://shop.timemanager.com/shop/uk/calendar-set-2016-1537p.html ). I have used this system successfully for years.

    Then I left it to go digital, with predictable results!

    The TMI has some great things which could fit with BJ – Dont Forget, Regular Tasks, Key Areas etc.

    The great thing about BJ though is that you don’t need too rigid a structure, you just use the next page …

    1. Hi Paul :) Thanks for the lovely words and also for sharing the Time Manager daily page. I use something similar to this for my work planning at times. I find that seeing how my time is managed worked better for me especially when I have to book in appointments in advance, and also manage projects. I have to agree that the bullet journal has worked a treat with my personal planning though. Hope your bullet journalling is working well for you :)

  11. Hello Dee! So inspired by your blog an thankful for all that you’ve shared. Just love your penmanship, and will start practicing to make mine shine. Could you please let me know if you have practice sheets for the cursive writing that is used on you ‘thoughtful notes’ page . Thanks again!

    1. Hi Karen! Thanks for the lovely words :) I currently don’t have practice sheets for the cursive writing, but I am working towards releasing a series of practice sheets in my Etsy store in a few weeks time, along with some freebies on the blog. Happy handwriting :)

  12. I bullet journal and have always struggled with how to plan out my day when things get busy. I LOVE the time ladder idea. I’m going to try it!

  13. I have watched way too many you tube videos on planning, and feel somewhat overwhelmed with the variety of planners. None of which have left me feeling satisfied as I want freedom and structure (I know, confusing right!). Having seen your time ladder on Pinterest, it has been a breath of fresh air. This method provides an economical and functional alternative, as I felt like I was working for my planner and stopped using it. Just want to thank you for sharing and helping me achieve planner peace.

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