2018 Bullet Journal: What worked and what didn’t

It’s officially 2019 – cue the fireworks and party horns! I am bursting out of my skin with excitement that I can finally officially use my 2019 Bullet Journal. Everyone loves something shiny and new and clean. That’s not the only reason.

My 2018 bujo was my first complete year in a bullet journal. Because of this, I made a lot of mistakes that I can learn from. There are a ton of pages in my bullet journal that didn’t work for me. There were some experiments that actually turned out to be really functional for my future bullet journals. I thought I would run down which specific and general spreads worked for me and which didn’t.

What Worked:


Packing List – I loved this packing list spread. It was honestly such a god send this year. Every time I pack, I open to this page and am able to double check that I have everything I need. I’ve been able to edit it for the 2019 year and take out some redundancy or unnecessary items. Plus my 2019 spread has a little bit of an elevated style. However, this spread works and I was so glad to have it.


Happy Mail Spread – I referenced this spread several times a month in 2018. Living far away from home, I love sending (and receiving) mail and small packages. This spread made it so easy for me to write post cards on the go and have the addresses handy. It was one of the first pages in my 2019 Bullet Journal.


Horizontal weekly lay out – This layout was one I started to use in January and I stuck with it through the entire year. There are a lot of reasons I love it. First, it’s pretty easy to set up quickly if need be. Second, I can customize the sidebars to include habits, to dos and monthly calendars. Third, it’s pretty easy to incorporate decorative elements. It’s definitely the layout I will continue with in 2019.


Individual Monthly Habit Trackers – Full disclosure, the first month I used individual trackers was in December of 2018 but I was shocked at how much more I liked them than a horizontal layout. I love that I can really get an overview of each individual habit. I appreciate that I can identify patterns for each habit rather than days. Although it was interesting to see which habits I completed on which days and how it affected my mood, generally speaking it was relatively obvious. If I was in a shit mood, I did less of my habits. I think it’s more helpful for me to look at each habit and search for improvement.

What Didn’t work:


Horizontal Habit Trackers –  I used these horizontal habit trackers all year in 2018 until December. I don’t think I realized just how much they didn’t do much for me when I decided to switch to individual trackers. I think it’s possible to squeeze more habit trackers in when horizontally laid out but I would prefer quality data over quantity.


Vertical Weekly Lay Out – I started my bullet journal with this sort of vertical layout for each week. I wanted to have categories of things to do. I found there just wasn’t enough space for me to fill in things that I did each day. I had to write so narrowly. Plus sometimes, I just didn’t do that much stuff. So I was so relieved when the horizontal layout was a better fit.


Monthly Vertical Calendar for Events – I have no idea why I decided to keep using these monthly events/days to remember page. I barely touched them. My mind doesn’t work as an entire month, but rather as week to week and which day things happen on. While I think visually, I appreciated having something opposite the cover page, I never used them. So it’s time to change it up for 2019 and use a more traditional calendar.


2018 Resolutions and Goals – I sort of hate this spread in every way possible. I don’t like the style. I don’t necessarily believe in Resolutions. I’ve realized that I like goals which are measurable and achievable. For example, instead of saying “read more,” this year I’ve added a quantity of books (12). While I may have achieved a lot of these goals, overall it’s a page I’m revamping quite a bit for 2019.


Year in Pixels – This one is kind of sad. I was so hopeful to have this super cool finished product come December. I found this just did not work for me. As you can see, I made it mid-way through April which is around when I went to Porto for a week. I just fell off and I know that this isn’t going to happen for me in 2019. Maybe in the future, but for now, this doesn’t work for me.


Looking back on my bullet journal has been a really enlightening and productive thing for me to do. I know that in the future I will continue to evolve my style of bullet journaling but I think it’s a really good idea to step back and reflect from time to time.

Have you got any spread ideas that you tried out and didn’t work for you? I would love to read about it! Let me know in the comments below!

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