I’m not starting a new notebook for the year, but I have set up all my beginning of the year spreads in a new notebook, so I’ll be using two notebooks for the first few months of the year while I finish my Leuchtturm 1917 journal.

My new notebook is a grey Dingbats A5 dotted notebook with an elephant pressed onto the front cover. I used the dear notebook from Dingbats in my first bullet journal and I loved the look of it. After watching hundreds and hundreds of bullet journal videos on YouTube, I decided that my second notebook was going to be a Leuchtturm because I’m a sucker for following trends. And honestly, I was a little underwhelmed by it. By the way everyone talked about it I thought it would’ve been the greatest notebook ever, but I thought it was overpriced for what it was. It is very pretty to look at, but other than that, it was just an ordinary notebook. I must say that I like the two bookmarks that come in the Leuchtturm, and I will miss that when I finally move into my Dingbats because it only has one. I decided to go back to Dingbats because the covers are so beautiful, and there are no pesky pre-printed pages which would just waste paper. I never referred to my index, so the numbered pages and 3 page index was just a waste.

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On the first page of dotted paper, I made a key and a “priorities” section. The key is pretty self-explanatory, it has the different icons I use throughout my journal and the page length and width so I don’t have to count along every time I’m making a spread. I kind of wish I’d made a “grid spacing cheat sheet” as AmandaRachLee called it, where you make a page spread of all of the measurements you may need in your bullet journal so you don’t have to do the maths every time, but I enjoy maths so I don’t mind. The “Priorities” section is where I’m basically putting things I want to do through the year, or things I just need to remember. I wouldn’t call it a goals page, because there’s not really any steps to take to achieve them, they’re just reminders, or things I want to do, but they’re not tasks either. I’m making it sound really complicated, aren’t I?

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Next I have my future log, which is where you write any events that aren’t happening in the current month that you need to remember. The width of this notebook is 28 spaces, so four columns fit perfectly on one page. Not going to lie, when I worked it out, I almost cried, because my Leuchtturm is 26 spaces, which only divides into 1, 2, 13 and 26, so nothing ever fits perfectly onto one page. I’ve just got the abbreviation of the month on the top and then the calendar month from Monday to Sunday, then empty space, then a little sections for birthdays. My future log takes up 3 pages, with 4 columns on each page, as I’ve already said.

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On the fifth page I didn’t know what else to add, so wrote “you’re strong enough” in the centre of the page. This is to remind myself that I can get through my GCSEs in June and I don’t need to stress too much about them, because I’m strong enough to power through and achieve the academic goals I’ve set myself.

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Next is a travel dedicated spread, as I’m hoping to do some travelling in the 10 weeks I have off when I finish my exams. They’ll probably just be day trips, but they’ll be loads of fun. It’s currently empty because I don’t have any plans, but I’m hoping it’ll fill up throughout the year. On the left of the page I’ll write any places that I have visited, for example if I go to Whitby, I’ll write it on the left. And on the right I’ll write anywhere I’ve planned to go, for example, if me and my dad go to Birmingham to watch the football, I’ll write it on the right before we go, and move it to the left when we go.

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After that, I have a page for any blog post ideas I have. Before, I had the spread in my monthly set ups, there was a lot of repetition, because I only make like five posts a month. I split the page in half, so there’s hopefully a lot more room and I won’t have to make a second spread, but I won’t be upset if I have to. I haven’t filled it in yet, I definitely need to have a brainstorming session soon.

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This is definitely my favourite spread in my set up. I realised that I’m rubbish at keeping track of what I’m posting, how much I’ve done for a post. Sometimes I haven’t done any work for my Sunday post when it gets to Friday, and I get stressed and rush the post, and I’m never happy with the result, because I just haven’t had the time to make it high quality. I didn’t do any pencil plans for this spread, I just knew what I wanted and just went with it, and I’m really happy with the result. It’s quite a simple spread, to be honest. I have the abbreviation of the month in cursive and the date of the first and every Sunday in that month. In the middle of each row there’s space for the title of the blog post, and on the right there’s a tracker so I can see how far away I am to completing my blog post. W = Write, C = Check, I = featured image and S = Schedule. this spread takes up three pages as there’s four months on each page.

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Finally, I have a stats page for the blog. I try to not become too obsessed with the traffic my blog is getting, but I think it’ll be nice to see any growth or decline in my blog throughout the year. Along the bottom of the graph I have every month in the year and up the side I have the numbers 0 to 100. I’ll use two different coloured pens to track the views of my blog and the individual visitors. The views will most likely be higher than the visitor numbers, because some people will view more than one page, and every different page that is viewed is one view. I’ll use the extra space at the bottom to make another graph if my views pass 100 in two consecutive months.

I’m really looking forward to the next year in my bullet journal and I hope you’re here to go on this planning journey together.

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