You’d think it wouldn’t be as scary the second time around. I mean, I’ve spent the past seven months using a bullet journal, but no—the new blank book sitting before me stared me down with mocking eyes.
Technically, there’s no reason to fear a new journal. After all, there’s no wrong way to bullet journal. With that said, the fear is real. So let’s walk through three steps to overcome the blank book intimidation and dive right in.
Step 1: Analyze what worked, what didn’t, and what to try
A few weeks before the end of BuJo#1, I started a spread to make notes on how I wanted to lay out BuJo#2. The spread had three sections: keep, ditch, and add. The benefit of creating this page before starting the next book was that I could return to it as new ideas crossed my mind.
My three lists were as follows:
The “Keep” List
- Annual calendar
- Books to read
- Monthly spread with mileage
- Monthly memories page
- Monthly tracker page
- Blog post ideas
- Big Hairy Audacious Goals (BHAGs)
- Cheats and passwords
- Zen art challenge
The “Ditch” List
- Questions to ask—I seriously used this page once!
- Gift/wish list—also used once
- Ongoing projects—never referenced
- Things to sell—referenced once?
The “Add” List
- Blog/business expenses spread
- Income spread
- Hex codes and image sizes
- An “If—Then” page
- Color coding for easy reference
This list emboldened me to finally crack the spine and move on to step two.
Step 2: Determine your layout
One of the scary things about bullet journaling—especially for a perfectionist—is the risk of messing up a page because, well, we’re human. Because of this, I used post-it notes to mark what I wanted where before actually uncapping my pen. This gave me the freedom to leave some pages for later without messing up my plan.
My goal in putting my most-used collections at the very front of the book is ease of use. While the index is always handy for finding what I need, knowing that most of these collections are in the first 10 pages makes it even easier.
Step 3: Put pen to paper
Can I get a shout from all my perfectionist friends? This step is so dang hard!
Here’s the honest truth: you’re going to screw something up. It’s inevitable. Embrace it and move forward. If you’d wanted a perfect planner with flawless pages, you’d be using a pre-printed one. Am I right? 😉
A visual walk-through
Here are a few pictures of the first several pages in BuJo#2. If you’d like the full details, there’s a link to a YouTube video below.
The Tools I Use:
For those who are curious, the following are my current favorite tools for bullet journaling.
*This section contains affiliate links. This means I receive a small commission (at no cost to you) if you purchase something through the links provided…and I only post products I’ve tried and believe in.
Leuchtturm 1917 dot grid notebook in A5 size
Faber Castell PITT Artist Pen—superfine
Colored Pencil Blender by Artist’s Loft
Pigma Micron pens for Zentangle
A traveler’s notebook from Red Pen Travelers to hold my bullet journal, a folder full of supplies, my annual calendar, and a blank book for doodles
Want to see the video flip-through of my new bullet journal setup? You can view it here.
Have you started on your second (or third or fourth) bullet journal? What are some steps you took in preparing for the new book?