Minimalist Bullet Journal Spreads, Ideas and Weekly Layouts

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The best minimalist journal spreads you need to see (2021)

In this Blog, we’ll be covering everything you could possibly need to know about getting your Bullet Journal underway (or enhanced); jam packed with reams of great ideas, including minimalist bullet journal spreads, daily logs, mood trackers, to do lists and much more! 

Whether you have been journaling for years, or you recently fell down a social media rabbit-hole and now have a Bullet-Journal-sized Amazon parcel, winging its way to your house as we speak.

Either way, with this comprehensive step-by-step guide, including minimalist spreads, bullet journal ideas and layouts, we’re confident that you’ll find what you need to either get your Bullet Journal started or to bring some new ideas to your repertoire.

Table of Contents

What is a Bullet Journal?

The bullet journal, (or ‘bujo’) is a planner system devised by Ryder Carroll.

The term ‘bullet’ relates to the layout, planning and productivity methods used – many of which we’ll be covering for you here! And ‘journal’ is more likely a term that you’ve come across before, being a daily record of news and events.

So put the two together and what do you have…?

A bullet journal contains a combination of different elements, including short form sentencing, indexing, monthlies, collections, future logs and dailies, (amongst other things!) It’s basically a planner system and a great way to track the past, plan for the future – capturing your thoughts and plan throughout the day. 

Along with the organisational and planning benefits, there are many mindfulness, therapeutic and mental health benefits to be enjoyed through journaling. Why not check out our blog 101 Journaling Prompts for Improving Mental Health, Anxiety and Depression with Therapeutic Journal Writing. (2021)

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Minimalist Bullet Journal Spreads

Bullet Journal Method

Setting up a basic bullet journal needs to only take 10-15 minutes. The best way to get started is simply with a notepad and a pen!

You will likely want to introduce markers, highlighters and stickers later on, but first things first – the journal and pen is all we need, whether it’s lined paper, spiral bound, dotted or plain, you really can use anything to get going.

Lots of journalers use Micron pens because of the fine line quality, or these light, pastel highlighters to add a splash of colour and extra organisation to their journaling spreads.

Next is the minor issue of dealing with these blank pages! While this can be a little intimidating, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered…

Creating Index Pages & Page Numbering

The Index page forms the backbone of how your bullet journal system will be organised. It’s the first thing you’ll need to set, providing you a quick and easy way to keep the contents of your journal ultra-organised.

To set up the Index pages for your Journal, go to your first two pages, number them 1 and 2, then label them “Index.” 

The Index page is just as you may have seen in books before, think ‘table of contents’ page. Whenever you are making entries in your Bullet Journal or create a new page, come back to your index and allocate a corresponding page number. 

You can add each page number as soon as you have your journal, or number them as you go – it’s entirely up to you!

As your Journal grows, you can come back to your Index page time and again to help you navigate through your journal, helping you to find what you need quickly and easily.

We’d suggest keeping your Index Page simple to start out, but to take your indexing to the next level, you can colour code, or sort it by category. However you choose to lay it out, the index is an essential part of your bullet journal system.

Bullet Journal Future Log

This is for any important life-events, goals or deadlines coming up. It’s important to remember, these aren’t tasks or to-dos, but significant events that are particularly important or deadlines you just can’t miss/dates to remember.

The Future Log sits in the front of your journal as it’s a long-term projection that can be a key reference point to refer back to as your journal grows.

To set up your Future Log, give yourself two blank pages, write ‘Future Log’ across the top and be sure to add this back in your Index, along with its corresponding page numbers (this will be a habit in no time!)

Next, divide your pages into the number of months you need to cover. Depending on the size of your Journal, covering 12 months, or certainly to the end of the year, would be a good idea.

If you’ve given yourself a double page spread, you can divide each page into 6 equal sections.

Monthly Logs and Monthly Spreads

Your monthly spread can be used in a couple of different ways. 

You can set yourself goals and reminders for key events or meetings that will be happening throughout the month, or you can leave your monthly log with blank space, where you can keep coming back and adding to it as the month progresses, noting down ideas, experiences or events which have taken place. You can then come back to these and reference them easily later on – if you’re feeling adventurous, why not divide your Monthly Log in two and do a mixture of both!

Here is minimalist spread idea for your Monthly Spread;

Step 1. It can be good to give yourself a two-page spread to work with for your monthly log. After you’ve titled your month at the top, add your page number, then list this in your Index Page (do you see the pattern emerging?!).

Step 2. Write the dates, 1st – 30/31st down the left hand side of the page. Adding the initial for each weekday can be good too, (1st M, 2nd T, 3rd W and so on). While this might seem a little extra work, we promise you – it’s certainly worth it!

Step 3. Now on the right hand side of the page, you can write the headers ‘Tasks’ and ‘Appointments’, allowing you to capture the corresponding information under these headings, in-line with the correct date.

But remember, not everyones lifestyle lends itself to a monthly log, so whether or not you include this in your Bullet Journal is entirely up to you!

bullet journals
Minimalist Bullet Journal Spreads

Weekly Logs Vs Daily Logs

There can be conflicting opinions in the world of Bullet Journaling, when deciding whether to keep weekly or daily logs. 

Some people use weekly spreads in place of monthly, but It will likely come down to what you want to achieve from your Bullet Journal and how much time you may have to spend creating it each day/week.

Now, before you get swept up in this dilemma, losing hours of your life trying to decide which best suits you – stop. We’re here to remind you that keeping your journal is supposed to be two things: helpful and fun!

So with that in mind, the most important thing to remember, is to pick the bullet journal system that best helps you organise your lifestyle and in a way that you will enjoy laying it out and maintaining it!

With that said, we have highlighted a few things for you to consider and maybe help you decide if the weekly or Daily Log is for you….

Weekly

  • You usually plan in a weekly format with other planners or schedules.
  • You would rather see everything you have to do at a glance.
  • You would prefer to set up one layout a week, rather than a new one every day.
  • You prefer the ‘highlights’ of a task list, without getting into too much detail.

Daily

  • You have many daily tasks you are keeping track of, requiring more detail in your to-do lists.
  • You enjoy extra space to be creative, (drawings, stickers, doodling etc).
  • Your days may be changeable, giving you the opportunity to add detail as you go.
  • You want additional notes to correspond with each day, kept in one place, on the same page.

Our main take home message, is do what works for you. 

If this is your first time keeping a Bullet Journal, you will likely discover that it will naturally take the shape you require it to, as you go along. If you feel that you need more or less detail, you can adjust accordingly!  

Whichever you choose, we’ve got you covered with suggestions on both logs below.

Weekly Logs and Weekly Layout

The weekly log is a natural step between monthlies and dailies, acting as a general overview of the week, helping you plan the next seven days without getting bogged down in too much detail. This will likely help you structure the bulk of your planning across the week.

You can cover any appointments, key events or tasks in your schedule, along with any deadlines you might have.

There are a number of fun elements you can also utilise in your weekly spreads, and these can vary greatly, depending on what you would like to do. Here is some food for thought on trackers and logs that you can drop in to your layouts;

  • Weather (Either forecast ahead, or capture to look back on)
  • Quote of the week
  • Habit Tracker
  • Gratitude Log
  • Calendar Thumbnails
  • Notes for next week
  • Work Start / End Times
  • Time Tracker
  • Sleep Log
  • Meal Planner
  • Gratitude Log
  • Events/Deadlines

This isn’t an exhaustive list but will hopefully give you a feel for where you can take your weekly spreads!

Here are some simple bullet journal layouts for your Weekly Spread;

7 Day Spread

Perfect for the bullet journal minimalist. Use this spread to give you the most space for each of the 7-days.

Step 1. Take a blank, double page spread and divide each page into 4 equal, horizontal sections. So for this, you will not need to draw any vertical lines down your page, (only across from left to right!)

Step 2. Your first section at the top of the left hand page, will have the month and date range, example July 7th – 13th and a thumbnail calendar, showing where you are within the month. 

Step 3. Label the following 7 sections with their weekday and date. Whether you do this across the top of each box, down the side, at the bottom, the style of writing, colours you use, all add personal flair, and are personal perks of bullet journaling! 

Step 4. And remember – number your pages, head back to your Index Pages and be sure to fill them in accordingly.

Weekly ‘To Do List’ Spread

Use this spread to give you some extra space to create reminders and To-Do lists.

Step 1. Take a blank, double page spread, come half-way down the double spread and draw a horizontal line, from the left hand-side of the page, all the way to the far right-hand side.

Step 2. On the left-hand page, (above your horizontal line), draw 3, equally sized, rectangular boxes, making them as large as you can in the space available.  

Step 3. Repeat step two, over on the right-hand side of the page, above the horizontal line.

Step 4. Now that you have 6, equally sized boxes across the top half of your spread, you can write the days (Monday – Saturday), in the top of each box.

Step 5. You can divide the last box in two, if you would like to Journal on Sunday too!

Step 6. In your daily boxes, you can now capture any key scheduling needs.

Step 7. The bottom half of the left-hand page, can now be titled ‘To Do’, giving you plenty of space to capture your checklist for the week ahead.

Step 8. The bottom half of the right-hand page, can now be titled ‘Reminders’. Maybe a friend’s birthday, some planning time that needs to be set aside, or a phone call you need to make.

Step 9. Number your pages, head back to your Index Pages and be sure to fill them in accordingly.

Note. You can fill in these fields to set up your week ahead or add to them as you go!

Two Page Perfection

In this spread, you will have one side for your daily Journaling and the other for activity logs and much more!

Step 1. Take a double page spread. On the right-hand page, draw 7 rectangular boxes, (one below the other), of the same size.

Step 2. Label the top of each box with the corresponding day.

Step 3. The left hand side is your playground! Here are some ideas;

  • A thumbnail calendar of the month
  • A quarter of the page boxed off for ‘Notes’
  • An inspirational or motivational quote for the week
  • Your daily affirmation at the foot of the page
  • A section of the page boxed off for doodling

Step 4. Number your pages, head back to your Index Pages and be sure to fill them in accordingly.

Tip. If you would like your Daily space to be a little larger, draw 6, slightly larger boxes and divide Saturday and Sunday in to one box!

Table of Contents

Daily Logs and Daily Layout

Your Daily Log is at the heart of your Bullet Journal, focusing in on each particular day of the week, giving you space to create, add extra detail to tasks, generate notes as the day goes on and just generally help to make your more productive!

Maybe you would like to keep track of appointments you have each day? You can also write down your goals, make plans or record important ideas.

You can review your Daily Log at the end of each day and see which tasks are complete and perhaps reallocate any that weren’t, over to tomorrow.

Here is a simple summary of some things to include in your Daily Log;

  • The Date
  • Tasks to complete that day
  • Meal Plans
  • Important reminders
  • Goals to achieve
  • Habit tracker
  • Appointments and meetings
  • Doodles
  • Empty section to jot down notes and ideas
  • Weather

Keep playing with what you include. A good tip is to try and limit your entries to ones that will help you stay productive and on track for the day. You can always add or remove things for each day as you go, so don’t be afraid to try new things!

The best time to lay out your Daily Spread, is the night before, or first thing in the morning.

Here are 5 minimalist spread ideas for your Daily Spread;

Timeline Layout

This spread idea will help you map out your day hour by hour and stay more productive and organised.

Step 1. Take a blank page, write the date and day at the top.

Step 2. Down the left hand side of the page, write each hour, from when you plan to get up, to going to bed, one line after the other. 

Step 3. You can enter any key appointments or parts of your day you already have planned. 

Step 4. Some ideas for entries could be – Dinner dates, self-care slots, meetings, work start/finish times, social media windows, bedtime.

Additions Layout

This spread idea will help you map out existing plans, allowing space for additions and ideas as your day develops.

Step 1. Take a blank page, write the date and day at the top.

Step 2. Down the centre of the page, write each hour, from when you plan to get up, to going to bed, one line after the other. 

Step 3. On the left hand side of the hours you have entered, you can enter any key appointments or parts of your day you already have planned. 

Step 4. Down the right hand side, you have space to enter any new plans for the day, or bookings you might make as you go. 

Note. This can be a really good daily spread for multi-tasking – you may have ‘lunch’ written on the left hand side as a pre-planned event, but on the right can add ‘prepare notes for afternoon meeting’.

Tasks Layout

This simple Daily Spread, will help you check off those important tasks as you move through your  day.

Step 1. Take a blank page, write the date and day at the top.

Step 2. Below your date heading, write ‘Tasks’.

Step 3. List the key things you want to achieve for the day ahead, with a tick-box beside them.

Step 4. Tick off your completed tasks throughout the day.

Step 5. Review your task list at the end of the day & migrate any uncompleted tasks to tomorrow!

Habit Tracker Layout

Combine both your task list and the habits that you’re currently tracking each day.

Step 1. As with our previous two Daily Spreads, take a blank page, write the date and day at the top.

Step 2. Down the left hand side of the page, write each hour, from when you plan to get up, to going to bed, one line after the other.

Step 3. With the remainder of the page, the left hand side will be used as we did before, for key appointments and reminders that will be happening at specific times of day, or to add new plans and entries.

Step 4. The right hand side of the page (top to bottom), will be used to track habits. Try listing new or existing habits you are looking to maintain. This could be eating fruit at lunchtime, a trip to the gym or maybe some self-care.

Step 5. Draw a small circle, next to the habit you have listed and when you complete it each day, colour it in! This will give a great visual prompt to re-enforce the new or existing behaviours.

Step 6. At the end of the day, you can review your habit tracker and see if you managed them. If not, maybe think about tweaking something else in your day, to either create some more time, or give you some practical ways to try again tomorrow!

Mental Health Layout

Use this layout to best support your mental health on a daily basis with your bullet journal.

Step 1. Take a blank page, write the date and day at the top.

Step 2. Leaving the top 3rd of the page blank for now, move down the page and on the left hand side, write each hour, from when you plan to get up, to going to bed, one line after the other.

Step 3. You can enter any key appointments or parts of your day you already have planned, opposite the hour system you have just written.

Step 4. Moving back up to the blank section you have at the top of your page; include some sections that are good for the soul! This can be a simple tick-box, to ensure you are making time for yourself each day, or maybe a circle you can colour in when you have completed the activity.

Below are some ideas of what to include…

Step 5. 

  • A daily Mantra 
  • An Inspirational Quote
  • A Gratitude List
  • Daily wellbeing activities (yoga, meditation, breathing exercises)
  • Physical activity tracker (walk, gym, bike ride)
bullet journals
Minimalist Bullet Journal Spreads

Mood Trackers

A bullet journal mood tracker, is a page in your journal that allows you to track whether you are feeling happy, sad, angry, bored, anxious, elated – really any mood at all! You can create a monthly mood tracker by writing down the dates for the upcoming month and adding a colour key for the moods you want to track, then fill it in each day.

This can serve a couple of different purposes. Firstly, if you’re not doing so great (maybe your boss is on your back, or you’ve had an argument with someone), by capturing your mood in your journal, it will quite likely release some pressure and give you a boost. 

Also, by having your moods tracked in your journal, you can look back and see how certain things made you feel and if there are any patterns – things that are making you happy or sad. 

This can help you decide which things you might want to increase in your life, or in fact, do less of! 

Bullet Journaling Bits

Here is a list of some items you may want to take a look at once you get started. But remember, as we mentioned, you really don’t need this stuff if you’re just getting up and running – it’s up to you! 

Minimalist Bullet Journal Spreads - Summary

Well there you have it! Good luck and we hope you feel more than ready to take your place alongside bullet journalists the world over. 

To find out how you can support your mental health through journaling, please take a look at our blog 101 Journaling Prompts for Improving Mental Health, Anxiety and Depression with Therapeutic Journal Writing. (2021)

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