Welcome back to this series, How To Start A Bullet Journal! In this post, we are going to create our first monthly, weekly and daily spreads!
Now, you may not want to use this many spreads for your planning. In this post, I am going to explain the benefits of each, and how to set a simple spread up. At the end of this post, I am going to share with you how I combine these spreads to maximize my productivity and organize tasks to help me achieve my goals. I am hoping by the end of this post, you will have some clarity on what spreads you will want to include in your own Bullet Journal!
This post will only contain one simple layout for each! They only took me a couple of minutes to draw out, and can be customized based on your needs!
The Monthly Spread
What is a monthly spread, and how it is used?
The monthly spread is an overview of your whole month. This can be in the form of a large calendar, or with your days listed down the page vertically, just as we did in our future log.
Most people who use Bullet Journals, or any planner for that matter, tend to like having a monthly spread where you can plan your month out. Some things you might want to plan on your monthly spread include, but are not limited to;
- Your Exercise Plan/Routine
- Meal Plan
- Goal Task List
- Goal Deadlines
- Personal Task List
- Work Task List
- Cleaning Task List
- To Buy List
- Events/Important Dates
- Pay Days
This is just to give you some ideas! Please don’t feel like you need to include any or all of this on your monthly spread. These are just some things I have found useful to have available on one page in the past. I find that every month, I have different things going on, and therefore, none of my monthly spreads ever look the same. For example, if I only have one birthday that month, I might just include it in the calendar box. However, if I have 5, I might list them all alongside the calendar to avoid cluttering it.
How you can use this particular monthly spread.
The spread I am going to show you in today’s post is only my second time using it! I used it last month, and I really enjoyed the simplicity of it! It was easy to set up, and even easier to maintain throughout the month. Plus, there is a lot of opportunities to dress it up with stickers or doodles if you want to!
I essentially recreated the same spread over two pages, but feel free to use only one page if you don’t need that much space! I used one page for my home and personal planning, and the other page for my blog and business planning. Some ideas of how you could use the second page are;
- Track important dates and deadlines for work
- Write down your work schedule, goals and tasks
- Track important dates or events for your kids (this could be for their school, their extracurricular activities, play dates, etc)
- Using it for a daily gratitude log (you could write out what you are grateful for each day, whether it be one word or a short Journal entry)
- To track a daily task that is helping you work towards a goal
- Exercise Log/Plan
- Monthly Payment/Pay Day Planner
Please also feel free to rearrange the different elements on the spread to suit your style!
Drawing the monthly spread.
I like to start all of my monthly spreads by creating a simple header with the month at the top of the page. That way, if I am flipping through my journal, I can easily tell what month I am looking at. I did a little bit of faux calligraphy, as I like to dress up my lettering a little bit. This is optional of course!
Next, I list out the days of the month vertically, just like we did when we created our Future Log. Make sure to leave yourself enough space around this area to write stuff down. I like to use this section to record appointments, events, holidays and birthdays!
Next, create a small little calendar-style box to provide a snapshot of the month. I put this just to the right of my header, so it is out of the way. This has no particular function for me but provides a nice visual of the month.
Below my small calendar, I put two banners. One is for my monthly goals, and the other is for my monthly tasks. You can change these to be whatever you need!
On the next page, I wrote out a header to indicate what the second portion of my spread is for. Since this page is to track my Blog, I titled it Blog. You will want to title it, depending on what function this second page will serve for you (ie; Work, Gratitude, Goal Tasks, etc).
Below the header, I again listed out the days of the month vertically. For the remainder of the page, you can add whatever elements will suit that spread. Perhaps you want to add a motivational quote. If you will be using it for Journal entries, you may want to leave the rest of the space blank so that you have room to write.
Since mine is for my blog, I created two little boxes to track my Social Media numbers. Below that, I drew out two banners, one for goals and the other for tasks that would be related to my blog.
The Weekly & Daily Spreads
Weekly and daily spreads are very similar. With one, you are planning out your week, and with the other, you are planning out your day. The trick is determining which system will work the best for you. And this could change from week to week, depending on your circumstances.
While I do not have the magic answer for you as to which one you should choose, I have used both myself and can perhaps provide some guidance!
Using a weekly spread only.
If you choose to use the weekly spread alone, you would essentially plan out most of your week ahead of time. I usually do this on Sunday mornings, as I plan my weeks from Monday to Sunday. Please pick whatever day works best with your schedule.
When I have used weekly spreads, I tend to plan following this general thought process;
- Meal Plan- I will take a quick inventory of what I have, and determine what I can make based on the inventory I have
- Grocery List- Once I have determined my Meal Plan, I make a grocery list to pick up whatever I am missing for those recipes. I will also include anything that we have run out of, like milk or lunch snacks.
- Housework- In future posts, I will show you how to create a cleaning task spread. I will go back to this spread and pick out what tasks I need to complete that week. Otherwise, just walk around your house, and pick out a couple of cleaning tasks for yourself.
- Workout Plan- I like to create some variety in my workouts for the week, so I will just plan out a couple of ideas for exercises I can do that week.
- Things To Buy- This is where I write down things I need to buy that I wouldn’t buy at the grocery store. Maybe some toilet paper, or a new book I have had my eye on.
- Errands- Record any errands you know you will need to run here. This includes grocery store trips, post office stops, etc.
- Goal Task Lists- I am an avid Goal Setter. I will use this space to list out every task I want to complete that week that works towards my various goals.
I then check the tasks off as I complete them throughout the week! See above for an example from my old Bullet Journal of what that might look like.
Using a daily spread only.
If you choose to use daily spread alone, you are planning on a day by day basis. I usually do this in the evening before I go to bed. I use the time to reflect on how my day went and planning what I need to do the next day.
When I have used daily spreads, I tend to plan following this general thought process;
- What meals do I want to prepare tomorrow?
- Do I need to stop at the grocery store for anything?
- What tasks do I want to complete tomorrow? This can include housework, errands, etc.
- What workout do I want to do tomorrow?
You get the idea! The other thing that I add to my daily spreads is a journal entry. I really like to try to journal every day, and using daily spreads provides me the time and space to do that. See below for an example of my daily spreads from my old Bullet Journal.
Using a weekly spread in conjunction with daily spreads.
I am hoping by now, you fall into one of two categories. You should either know 100% which spread system you would want to use, or you are thinking to yourself, there are aspects of both that you like! If you fall into that second category, then here is where you will want to pay attention, because you can combine both!
Many people actually combine these two spreads into one! So on one page, they will do their weekly plan. This could include their meal plan and their housework list. Then on the next page, they would divide it up into seven equal spaces, and use one space per day to plan their day. This could include task lists, an exercise plan, and a journal entry.
Again, feel free to change it up based on your circumstance! This is just an example.
How you can use this particular weekly/daily spread.
The spread I am going to show you in this post is going to be a combination of the daily and weekly spreads! Not only does this tend to be the most common spread I see in the community, but I also see it as the most beneficial. It allows you to utilize the aspects of both systems to create something that works really well for you!
Of course, if you only want to use the weekly, or you only want to use a daily, I would highly suggest rearranging the elements from my below example to work for the layout you want. I have also included some pictures above from my old journals with each layout to give you some ideas! (Please note that these are my older spreads, and are not minimalist. They are still great for reference though!)
Drawing the weekly/daily spread.
I always start these spreads by writing a header, which contains the dates of the week I am planning for. Placement of the header is entirely up to you, but I like to put mine on the top left corner of the left page.
For your weekly planning elements, I suggest you create lists, each with its own header to indicate the topic. You can draw the spaces for these lists out ahead of time, or you can create them as you create your lists. When creating this spread, I created the spaces as I created my lists (With the exception of my meal plan and grocery list!)
To give your headers some separation from your lists, you could highlight the text, or underline it with your pen. I used a light grey Crayola marker to highlight my text.
When creating your lists, you will want to use the signifiers you created in your Key, so that your Bullet Journal is consistent. To learn more about creating a key, please see this blog post, How To Start A Bullet Journal – Index & Key.
Next, I divided up the right page into 7 equal boxes for my daily portion of the spread. I wrote the day of the week in the top left corner of each box and highlighted with the light grey Crayola marker. If you don’t have any markers, don’t worry! Simply underline the text with your pen! This page will be left blank as you will write your tasks, events, ideas, notes, and anything else you want on a day to day basis!
How To Use Your Spreads In Conjunction With Your Other Pages
Now that you have created your spreads, it is time to start planning! This is where we need to combine the spreads we have made already to ensure nothing is missed.
When you go to plan your monthly log, you will first want to refer back to your Future Log. Make sure to include any holidays, birthdays, appointments, etc. Once you have everything transferred from your future log, you can write in anything else that you want to be included. Remember, you can come back to the monthly spread throughout the entire month to add to it! It is not a one and done deal, so don’t feel like you have to have it perfect!
Next is to do your weekly or daily planning. Here, you will refer back to your monthly log, and record anything of significance. We wouldn’t want to forget to wish someone a Happy Birthday. I know I have before. But never again! Anyways, getting back on track here. Once you have recorded all of your weekly tasks, you can begin to plan the rest from there.
As time goes on, you will develop a planning routine that works for you! Don’t feel overwhelmed by this process! Take one day at a time, and just do your best!
Now that you have created your first planning spreads, you are ready to start creating your collection layouts! If you want to learn more about collections, please see this blog post, How To Start A Bullet Journal – The Collections. In the next post, I am going to show you a couple of really simple layout ideas for some commonly used collections.
There will be times in life where even these simple spreads will be too much! Perhaps you had an unplanned event come up. Perhaps you got the flu. Maybe you just have no energy left at the end of the week! I totally get it. I have been there. It is times like those that I really love using Bullet Journal printable’s that I can just print, cut and add to my Bujo. I have created several Bullet Journal printables, and I am constantly creating more! (It is a bit of an addiction of mine!) To gain access to these FREE bullet journal printables, please subscribe, and the login information will be sent to you via email.
If you have any questions, please leave a comment below, so that I can be sure to answer all of them!
Until next time!
How To Start A Bullet Journal – The Series
The Monthly, Weekly & Daily Spreads (You Are Here!)