Bullet journaling: Just in time for 2018

By K

I’m a type A person, so I need a good planner. And as a polyamorous person with a house, job, and freelance gig, there’s a lot more to keep track of. Who’s sleeping where? What obligations are we going to? Who’s attending what party?

A year and a half ago, I started bullet journaling. It’s been super helpful to keep track of everything, but also to write down memories, goals, books and more. Since we’re about to close out 2017, it’s the perfect time to jump into a new planner. Bullet journaling is an analog way to keep track of… everything and anything.

There are lots of good guides out there on getting started, so I won’t go too deep into the basics. I experimented for a good six months to figure out what I needed and what didn’t work. Here’s what I’ve found to add or subtract from the basic bullet journal foundation pages.

My basic pages

Calendar: I skip the 6-month page. After a year of making it, I realized I never look back at it and it’s pretty empty. Instead, I make a year calendar page on the left side and put the biggest things for each month on the right in the same general zone as the calendar blocks.

Look closely and you’ll see where I used white-out tape.

20171221_165411The only poly changes I’ve made to the normal week calendar pages it to place a little initial and heart by who is spending the night with me at my house. To decide this, we usually send a group text near the beginning of the week to feel out everyone’s schedules. Sometimes I also make note of any activities we did that day.

Gifts: A common page for many journalers, but I find it essential for poly folks because we have more people to get gifts for at holidays and birthdays. It’s nice to have a place to take notes throughout the year when someone mentions liking something.

Bucket lists: I make one for each season. Summer has two pages because it’s hands-down the best season. Boo fall. When I achieve an item, I color in the doodle and make a note of the date. For those less artistically inclined, a simple list will do. We try to do these bucket list activities together.

80% of my fall list was pumpkin-related.

Desk movement tracker: I developed this tracker myself. I use it to mark how many squats, push ups, and miscellaneous exercises I do at my desk daily. It also tracks how long I stand at my standing desk. Each check mark means five reps. Each tally means one hour. Filling up those little boxes is good motivation for me.

Looks like I’m most motivated on Mondays and Fridays.

Other pages I use include a book list, a housework/cleaning list, a to-do list for my schoolwork, and a habit tracker.


Go for pens. Lots of pens. I started with pencils because I was worried about making a mistake. But it just doesn’t look as good and can smear. Plus that’s what white out tape is for.

Journal: Moleskine dot grid journal
Pens will bleed through the pages on this journal a bit, but not so much that it bothers me. This journal works for me because of the size, cover quality, and the inside pocket (in which I stick paper-type memories like ticket stubs). I cover the front and back with tons of stickers, of course.

Pens: Sakura pens
These pens are my life. I use the teeny 01 for writing and line work and a 05 for labels and thicker lines. If you’re not sure what you’ll like, they sell sets of them. This set linked above has a cool white pen that would be great for accents, though I haven’t tried it out yet.

Colors: Stabilo pens
I use these thin-line vibrant pens for accents, headers, and tracking progress. They’re beautiful and long-lasting. I’ve added to my main collection with a set of neon ones.


Coloring in: Tombow Dual Brush Pens
These markers have a brush tip, which is great for coloring large areas, and a smaller tip for details. I just got them within the past week and so far I’ve used them for lighter backgrounds and highlights.

Organization and flair: Washi tape
This Japanese tape is very popular with bullet journalers. I use it on my individual week pages for a little color and I use it sideways, wrapped around the page, to label important pages so I can easily turn to them (which you can see on the above 2018 calendar page, the bit of pink). They make a ton of styles, but I like the thinner options. Metallic ones are really great, too.

So shiny!

Do any other poly people bullet journal? Have you made any specific changes to your journaling habits to help with your relationships? I would love to hear suggestions in the comments!

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