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January 2020 Bullet Journal Spreads - Coffee Theme

So, for some reason, when I decided to do a coffee theme for my January Bullet Journal, I thought this was pretty hilarious - 'cos coffee is a morning drink and if a year was a day, January would be the morning...? Yeah, not quite sure why I found this so funny... but I did. Anyway, yes, first monthly spreads of 2020, here we go! If you missed the post where I shared my annual pages for 2020 then you can find it, here.

So I knew I wanted to do a coffee theme for the month pretty early on, but I also knew I wanted to challenge myself to put a different spin on it than I usually would - you know if you have something you've drawn a lot and you sort of get a bit sick of how you interpret it? Like, it begins to feel quite formulaic?  Well that's kind of where I was with coffee, and so I decided to combine my coffee idea with my most beloved of themes to work in; botanical, and overall, I'm pretty happy with how it turned out.


So, the first fairly obvious thing on the month title spread is that it is a single page spread and I've just left a blank page. I'm not totally sure how I feel about this, but honestly, in 2020 I want to get back to my bullet journal feeling like a primarily functional space and I just couldn't think of what I wanted on that page. Often I'll do a month overview - but this time around I wanted that as a full double spread, or I'll do a quote, but honestly, having just picked a couple of quotes for my 2020 spreads, I couldn't really find anything that sort of "clicked" that I could put on this page. I guess maybe later in the month I'll find something and then I can always add it in.


Then we have a pretty classic overview spread - and for once, I did remember the correct amount of days in the month! I do have quite a few things on in Janaury - mostly birthdays and cat sitting - so I did want space where I could keep track of them a little better than I usually might. I like the overall look of this spread, it's clean and minimal but the little corner illustration does tie it all in nicely.


The next spread features a couple of different trackers. I actually really like the sort of mis-matched look of this spread with the different orientations and fonts - I think it gives it a really fun feel, while the colour scheme keeps it feeling tied together. For me, a spread like this really sums up the beauty of Bullet Journals - that you can create something so specific, so perfectly suited to your own needs. The left hand page features a tracker for Yoga with Adriene's 30 day yoga journey that will be launching in January. This one is called Home - and I honestly can't wait to take part in it. It's a 30 day program, but on the 1st there is usually an intro video and so I added that into the tracker too.

And then the spread on the right features a pretty slimmed down habit tracker. I do really love habit trackers - I live with anxiety and depression and I find that having a little checklist like this can really help me out, not to put pressure on myself to do ALL THE THINGS, but to help me guide me towards accomplishing some small things if I'm feeling really overwhelmed. That being said, I wanted to keep things pretty simple for this month - so I'm tracking really just things that I should be able to do most, if not everyday. They're not advanced habits, but cumulatively, they should help me feel a lot better throughout the month.


Then we come to the last spread of January 2020. This is a pretty open set of pages designed to be sort of brain dump areas throughout the month. The first page is goal focused and will be a space to mark down anything I want to get done this month, as and when I think of it. I keep a separate Bullet Journal for my business planning, and there are certainly lots of goals in there, but I wanted a little space for more personal goals too. So it could be things like I'd like to read a book a week, or make a dentist appointment, or it could be steps towards longer term goals, like fitness.

The second page is headed "to buy", which in some ways isn't the best title, but hey it fit in the space. This isn't really a wishlist page, it's more a space to write down things I might otherwise forget to pick up, like a specific birthday card (so I don't have to rush in to town and panic buy one at the last minute), or toothpaste... because for some reason I always forget toothpaste.

Layout wise I do like this spread and I like the colours I've used in the little illustrations. I do wish I had put a bit more thought into what coffee elements I was going to use as I ran out of spreads and realised I'd really only drawn cups and a couple of other bits! I would have liked to include a french press and syrup and a bunch of other stuff, but oh well.

I haven't set up any weekly spreads for January as honestly, I just don't use them. I have them in my business Bullet Journal and so that keeps me right all day at work, and then anything else I tend to mark in either the month overview, like a birthday party or dinner, or else it goes as a reminder in my phone, like library books being due back. I know that weekly spreads are a core part of the Bullet Journal system and that maybe it's controversial not to use them, but honestly, I want my journal to be functional for ME, and that means not spending time setting up a bunch of pages I won't actually use.

So there we have it, my bullet journal spreads for January 2020 - thank you so much for taking the time to look at them. I would love to hear what theme you've chosen for January 2020? Oh, and also, are there any classic Bullet Journal spreads that you skip out on sometimes?

Supplies Used (these are affiliate links):

- Leuchttrum 1917 Dotted Journal (for 2020 I'm using the shade emerald)
- Uni Ball PIN Fineliners (I use a mix of nib sizes, most commonly 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.5)
- Uniball Signo White Broad Rollerball Pen
- Docrafts Artiste Dual Ended Brush Pens (Vintage Set)
- Docrafts Artiste Dual Ended Brush Pens (Pastel Set)

2020 Bullet Journal Set Up!

Ah, annual bullet journal spreads - my nemesis. Or is it nemesises... it's probably neither. But anyway, for whatever reason, I have always struggled hugely with those spreads at the start of a new journal - the trackers or spaces you want to have functioning for you all year round. The first year I used a bullet journal, I had a lot of free time on my hands and got very carried away with these spreads. I had like 20 pages all set up, and don't get me wrong; I loved making them and they were pretty to look at - but when I found myself having a lot less time on my hands, I lost the thread with all of them and it was just this messed up, half filled in void. So - and I bet you can see where this is going - the next year I set up my bullet journal, I wanted to avoid this happening again and so I thought, screw it, I never used the annual pages anyway... and spent the whole year forgetting the names of films people recommended to me, or having to open my phone calendar to find out what day a month started on.

So, I know what you're thinking; third time's the charm, right? Well, yes and no. This year, I've found myself with not very much time to put into setting up my bullet journal - and to clarify, I'm not glorifying busy, but setting up one's own business does require some hustle - and what's more, because I'm now lucky enough to use a lot more of my creative energies actually for work than ever before, it means when I sit down at 7pm to do some bullet journal spreads, well it has often been crickets. Or clumsy mistakes - or, in some majestic cases, both.

Wow, feel like I've really pitched myself well in this intro - nothing like asking people to check out your work by pointing out everything that is now and has ever been wrong with it! But seriously, I made these spreads with the time that was available to me, and I did the best I could. While, yes, I'm disappointed with how they came out - I wanted to share them anyway because a) the Instagram fueled culture of only posting the highlights of our lives and creative endeavours is fairly poisonous, and b) ultimately my bullet journal is a functional item, and actually, this might be the most functional set of annual spreads I've ever made. So with all that being said, I just wanted to share the spreads I did create and why, as well as to talk about some I've used in the past and haven't included this time around.

Title/Introduction page

In the past, this has been an elaborate 2 page spread for me, with a meticulously researched quote done in exciting hand lettering - but this year, honestly, I just reached for the quote that naturally came to mind when I thought about how I was feeling about 2020. I'm a huge Tolkein fan, and have always resonated hugely with The Road Goes Ever On - so it was nice to find a way to include it in my journal.  I combined it with a little watercolor painting - I'm still at the early stages of learning watercolours, and although in some ways it kills me to have something so "rough" on such a landmark page, it will also be nice to be able to look back at it nearer the end of the year and see how far I've come!

Year Long Calendar

Like I said, sometimes crickets and mistakes! But seriously, this is a spread I actually reference quite a lot - to check the exact date of someones birthday, or what day of the week the 7th is - so I knew I wanted it in here. I think I do struggle with designing pages like this where the layout is more constrained - by having a clear calendar layout - and there's also less space to play with. Also, pro tip - there are in fact only 7 days in a week; that's why my February is a big tippexy mess!

Year Long Mood Tracker

So, this is one of those spreads that I set up two years ago and completely flaked out on, and for that reason, I almost gave it a miss again this year... but... it's just such a cool idea! What I did do this year is simplify it hugely. Last time around I had like an 18 colour key with intricate mood descriptions, where as this year, I've broken it down into basically a traffic light system, so it should require less thought and therefore time to fill in.

2020 Wishlist

This is sort of an amalgamation of a few spreads from my previous journal - again, trying to keep the functionality, while getting rid of the fluff. I like having a space where I can set some goals for myself - "wishlist" in this context isn't so much about physical things, although a few may appear in here, but it's more a space for like a year long bucket list - experiences I really want to have. I missed this spread last year, as I think there's something really powerful about writing down goals, in terms of helping them come to fruition. I also think it's fun to look back at the end of the year and see, not only what I've ticked off, but also if I've changed my mind on any of the things I was so desperate to do. On a visual note, I was tired when I made this spread, and while I really wasn't wild about the painted flowers, I would have come around to it if I hadn't then drawn in all the writing lines competely wonky - note to self, do not do this job right before bed!

Books and Movies

I definitely missed this one last year! I am always hearing someone recommend a book I might like and then completely having my mind go blank when I'm actually at the library. It's so frustrating! It's the same with films - I'll see trailers, or hear about a film coming out, but then completely forget to go and actually see it. In the past with this sort of spread, I've also included little reviews for if and when I actually consume an item on the list, but honestly, I don't think I'll bother with that this time around - it'll be nice to just have a brain dump space to keep track of ideas.

Spreads that are Missing

So, there's definitely a few spreads I've skipped out on this year and I wanted to just touch on them and why, just in case you're also trying to make some tough decisions.

Dedicated Birthday Tracker

I found that I don't actually need a full spread for this. I'm pretty good at knowing whose birthday is roughly when, sometimes, I just need a nudge on the exact day, and so for me, highlighting birthdays in the main calendar works just fine. Now obviously, if you don't have a clue when birthdays are then this is a problem because with my system, I have to just remember which highlight refers to what person! 

Annual Planning Page

Actually in both my previous journals, and in fact I think in bullet journal convention, there is a space for making plans for the year. A sort of overview of months where you can highlight vacations, concerts, parties, that sort of thing. But honestly, I don't make a lot of far out plans. I'm going on vacation in 2020, for three weeks, so I've highlighted that in my annual calendar... but other than that? I don't currently have any concert tickets or weddings or such planned, honestly, with my friends, it tends to be quite laid back and last minute anyway!

Money and Savings Related Pages

This year, I've decided to separate my business goals out into a different bullet journal. While it's tempting to keep it altogether as I have in the past, so I have everything in one place, it does make my bullet journal feel like a less welcoming place at the end of the day if it's full of work related goals and reminders.

And so there we have it, a not very succinct post about my 2020 Annual Bullet Journal Spreads (or lack thereof)! Have you set up your journal for 2020 yet? Do you have staple spreads you always include or does it change year to year?

Thanks for reading.

Lights in the December Darkness

Hand Lettered Yogi Bhajan Quote

"Travel light, live light, spread light, be the light"

Yogi Bhajan

 Over the past few years, Kenny and I have really moved away from celebrating Christmas - it's not a bah humbug thing really, we both just feel sort of turned-off by the huge amounts of consumerism and waste that go hand in hand with the festivities. Like, in theory, the idea of spending time with family, exchanging a few, simple gifts and eating something super tasty all sounds enjoyable and pretty harmless, unfortunately though Christmas these days rarely seems to look like that, at least in our experiences.

There are still a lot of things I love about this time of year though, and as I walked around the city centre a few nights ago with my sister, I was reminded of another one: the lights. Winter in Scotland can really be a dark and dreary affair - for every day of blue skies and crisp weather, it feels like there's a weeks worth of grey skies and oppressive rain. In December though, the fact it gets dark at 4pm doesn't seem so bad, because then, the whole city centre sparkles!

There is something so beautiful about light; in the literal sense, the twinkling fairy lights bringing a feeling of warmth to the rainy Glasgow streets, and also in the abstract; that in our words, in our behaviour - in just smiling at people in the streets, we too can be light.

I've been struggling a bit lately with feeling like I'm not doing enough to help others - truthfully I'm not earning what I need to be to sustain myself and so I struggle to donate much to charity, or to sacrafice much time to volunteering. I don't like that feeling - and I am going to take steps to remedy it on a larger scale in the new year. But, I also like to remind myself of this concept of "being the light". Even tiny twinkling fairy lights can cheer up a rainy night, just as even smiling at people can. If you see someone looking great, if you love their hair, if you thing their nail colour is stunning, tell them.

Bake cakes for a local charity morning, say "Hi" to the new person that has moved into the building - smiles are contagious, kindness catches on. One smile becomes another, becomes a "good morning", becomes a shared experience - and I truly believe that it is in these little acts, these little sparks of light, that the magic of Christmas, the brightening of winter, can be most truly felt.


Glasgow, UK

December 2019 Bullet Journal Spreads - Minimal, Watercolor and Botanical!


December Bullet Journal Inspiration Title Image

I know it's cliche, but I'm going to say it, so let's just get it out of the way - how is it December already?!? Where has 2019 gone, for real. I can feel myself getting all emotional here, but I need to hit pause on that because we do in fact still have one month of Bullet Journaling to go before we get to start making all those dreamy "2020 Planning" spreads *drools*.

If you follow me over on Instagram ( @meekymoojournals), you might already have read some of thoughts on my December spreads in the captions, but I wanted to clarify some things and kind of condense the scattered information here, in a blog post.

I hit a brick wall when it came to putting together my December 2019 bullet journal spreads - for a while I thought it was creative block, but eventually I realised it was more like the opposite. December is probably my favourite month to illustrate for - even though I don't really celebrate Christmas, I love so much of the imagery that proliferates at this time of year - cookies, and trees and presents and hot chocolate... and about a million other things, right? Well, I think that was the problem, I wanted to include ALL OF IT in my Bullet Journal, because hey, December only comes around once a year - the pressure was ON. This mindset led to me essentially just freezing up - no idea I had was "perfect" so I just wouldn't sit down and do anything.

Once I started to unravel all of this, I realised that this overwhelm I was feeling with Bullet Journal theme choices, was actually pretty representative of December as a month. Even though Kenny and I don't really celebrate Christmas, we come from families who do - and so there's parties and meals, cards to write, people to see and putting up childhood trees - I'm sure we're not the only ones. December becomes an intense month, and yes, while a lot of it is happy and bright and chocolate - it is still a lot, especially for someone like me who deals with a significant degree of anxiety and depression in day to day life.

So I decided instead to unburden myself from all the December pressure in my Bullet Journal and actually create a very minimal, simple, clean space to think in. I spent time painting some pretty rough winter leaves - which as well as being aesthetically pleasing, was also a very relaxing way to spend an afternoon. And then beyond that, I used exactly two pens for everything else. I don't have much in here this month - and in some ways that's a bit of a bummer; so many wasted illustration and layout opportunities - but in another way, it's nice to end the year with a bit of space to check in with myself, to take a look at some basic, healthy habits to keep centred on, throughout the chaos of the festive season.

December Bullet Journal Title Page OverviewDecember Bullet Journal Calendar Close UpDecember Bullet Journal  Hand Lettering Title

December Bullet Journal habit tracker and watercolor plants

December Bullet Journal mistletoe watercolor

December Bullet Journal  fir branch in watercolor close up
December Bullet Journal  Weekly Overview

December Bullet Journal  Weekly Spread Note Page

Glasgow, UK