Behind the scenes sneak peek: August 24th 2016

peek

So…over the last few weeks (months, actually), I’ve been trying to pin down where I can actually be useful to my community.

I know that many people find discovering their Archetypal Blend (or even just their Primary) immensely life-affirming and useful, but where to from there?

My area of expertise is brand identity design. But the truth is – creating a business that is aligned with who you really are, and fulfils you on all levels, is a multi-faceted journey. You not only need a strong foundation – but you also need to immerse yourself in this way of running a business every day.

I’ve been developing my next course – Noticed – for a while now. Noticed is a course that will teach you how to take your Blend Board, and turn it into an authentic brand identity (and also teach you how to create all the visuals for your business, including PDFs and workbooks etc).

However – following my latest survey, it’s become so apparent to me that many people are just not yet at that stage. They still haven’t answered the big questions, created the strong foundation.

They’re still stumbling on questions such as who am I? What do I have to offer? Who will want it? Why do I want to create it? Why am I even doing this? What’s it all for?

So my plans have changed a little, and I’ve now started creating a new offering – On Purpose.

I’m still trying to figure out what this new offering looks like, but what I do know is that it’s aim is to get clarity around the answers to those big questions (or – if not answers, at least some peace).

I’m thinking about making a five day email course – simple, to the point, and deeply impactful in its simplicity. It will all revolve around that one question: Who do you want to be in your business?

When thinking about this question through the lens of your Archetypal Blend, you can start to go about doing things with intention. From choosing what to do, to the way you do it – it will all be aligned with who you are at a core level, because the intention has come from your Archetypal Blend (and therefore, your soul).

I’m even considering making a little planner-type offering to go with it. A weekly planning sheet for sure, where you filter your ‘Blend Intentions’ into your plans for the week. I might even expand this (if you know anything about me, you’ll know I’m a HUGE planner geek) – I’d love to see it grow into an entire business planning system, that you can just print out and use in a way that suits your lifestyle. I’m currently testing out this weekly planner sheet, and so far it’s been absolutely invaluable.

Anyways – I just thought I’d share all of this with you! If you have any feedback on what you’d find useful, now is the time to share it. I’m deeply committed to doing whatever I can to help you on your journey – and find success, whatever that looks like in your world 🙂

C xo

Feeling invisible? Read this.

invisible

Go big or go home.

Isn’t this the message we’re bombarded with?

That the only way to make an impact is to have a big list? To have a program that fills out? To write a bestseller? 

Going big your thing? You’re awesome. Go for it. You’ve got this! Namaste 🙂 

Having a little trouble with the whole ‘big’ thing? You know…you’re pretty awesome, too.

Allow me to share this little Rumi nugget with you.

“My heart is so small, it’s almost invisible. How can You place such big sorrows in it? “Look,” He answered, “your eyes are even smaller, yet they behold the world.””

One thing I’ve learned over and over during the time I’ve run this business is that the world doesn’t reveal itself to me in the big things – it unfolds itself in the small, and seemingly insignificant, things. 

Every time I’ve focused my energy in the pursuit of ‘big’, I’ve only ever ended up feeling small. 

Every time I’ve focused my energy in making the most out of the smaller things, I’ve only ever ended up feeling useful, and fulfilled.

What are the ‘smaller things’?

Sharing reflections spontaneously. 

Opening up a conversation. 

Sending an unexpected email. 

Creating something – not part of a big master plan, but just because you’re being called to create it, right at that moment.

Moments.

Don’t let the size of things determine what success means to you. 

Bigness is awesome, but it comes with a cost. (Both emotionally, and literally). 

Appreciate all of the smallness. 

It’s the smallest of things that lead to the greatest impact.

 

[bctt tweet=”The smallest things lead to the greatest impact”]

 

Ps. Let’s celebrate small together. What small things can you be grateful for? Come and tell me here – I’ve created a special post on Facebook to connect with you 🙂  

It’s none of your business.

business2

I don’t know about you, but I often worry that my work isn’t ‘enough’.

Although I’m a lot closer to ‘enoughness’ since working closely with my Archetypal Blend, I still have moments where I look at what I’ve created or written and think…wow. Is that the best I can do?

Self-doubt has many things to say in my mind.

“That’s not what people want from you”

“What gives you the right to have that opinion?”

“That’s been said before”

“They’ll hate it”

“What if people have less respect for you after you’ve posted that?”

“You have no idea what you’re doing”

And on it goes. (I’m sure you can relate).

A little while back, I stumbled on a comeback that I now know guarantees to shut my inner critic up faster than it can whisper “you’re a loser”.

(I actually think it was something my Chief Joylogist Erin said to me a couple of years ago, when I was feeling sorry for myself due to my immense inadequacies. Thanks Erin).

Here’s the comeback:

It’s none of your business.

I think it’s so easy to get hung up on…well, everything…and forget that our task is very clear: focus on what’s right in front of you, and forget the things you can’t control.

For example…

Mind: “That’s not what people want from you”

Me: “It’s none of your business”

My task is to make a valid contribution to the world. Whether or not that’s what people want from me is none of my business – my business is purely to do the work.

Mind: “They’ll hate it”

Me: “It’s none of your business”

It is none of my business whether people love or hate my work. Being afraid that someone will dislike what I offer is a waste of time, because all that means is that my work wasn’t suited to that particular person.

Mind: “What if people have less respect for you after you’ve posted that?”

Me: “It’s none of your business”

I can’t control whether people respect me, or not. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, and their opinion is absolutely none of my business.

If you struggle with self-doubt, perfectionism or procrastination, make “It’s none of your business” your new mantra for the next couple of weeks, and see what happens.

The truth is: you can’t control what you can’t control. So, make it your business to focus on the things you CAN control…because everything else is, well, not. (Your business, I mean).

It works wonders for me…I hope it helps you, too!

[bctt tweet=”It’s none of your business”]

5 ways your Primary Archetype can help you get unstuck in your business.

5ways

In an interview recently, I was asked a really interesting question:

 

How can archetypes help people get unstuck in their business or brand?

 

As I tried to form a response in my mind, I realised that I’ve become so used to using archetypes as a cure for all sorts of inflictions in my business, it’s been a long time since I thought about the answer to this question. 

The truth is: your Primary Archetype (and especially your Archetypal Blend, if you know it) can help you overcome almost any challenge in your business, simply by providing you with a shift in your mindset.

So often, the challenges we face are perceived challenges – not actual challenges. It’s the story we tell ourselves about the situation that creates the challenge – not the situation itself. 

Thinking about your challenges through the mindset of your archetypes is often all it takes to shift your mind into a different gear – a gear that’s more aligned with who you really are in your heart – and write a different story.

 

Here are five examples of ways that your archetypes can help you get unstuck in your business:

 

(Please note: if you know your Archetypal Blend, apply both of your archetypes to these methods for even better results. If you only know your Primary Archetype, use that as the basis to think these examples through. If you don’t know your Primary Archetype, you can take my test here – it’s free).

  

1: When you don’t know what to write about.

 

When you’ve run out of things to say, it can be incredibly difficult to break the silence in your own head. Try brainstorming different words and topics that are connected to your archetype. Use your Archetype Guide PDF to help you (there’s even a section in there full of connected words to get you started). 

For example: if you’re an Alchemist, some of the words you write down could be ‘transform’, ‘powerful’, ‘manifest’ or ‘connect’. What potential blog post topics can you think of that fit with these words, in the context of your business? Even if you don’t use these words in your post, use them as the basis for what to actually write about. Could you help someone transform their life in some way? What could you write about that would help them step into their own personal power in some way, or manifest their dreams?

Hint: When you actually begin to write your piece, try to ’embody’ your archetype as you think through what you’re trying to say. Go to that place in your body where you ‘feel’ your archetype the most, and stay connected to that place as you write. It sounds a bit crazy, but it works wonders for me!

 

2: When you can’t choose the right imagery.

 

There’s nothing more frustrating than searching through hundreds of images to find the ‘right one’ that expresses who you are, and the message you’re trying to convey (unless you’re me…and actually find it intensely therapeutic). 

Rather than search for images using a noun (searching for a specific object or subject), try searching with an adjective, instead.

Brainstorm a list of words that you would use to describe how your archetype makes you feel, and try using those words as search terms. For example: if you’re an Explorer, you might like to search using words such as ‘free’, ‘wild’, ‘expansive’, or ‘vast’. 

Hint: Choose imagery based on how it feels, not whether or not you think it fits with your ‘brand’.

Bonus Hint: My favourite place in the world to find imagery is here.

 

3: When you don’t know what to offer.

 

If trying to decide on what products or services to offer in your business is stressing you out, it’s likely that you’re overcomplicating things. In general, the advice out there is to create offerings based around the desires and fears of your ‘ideal customer’ – but I often find that this is a restrictive angle to approach this from, and can lead to overwhelm and perfectionism. 

Try thinking this through from a different angle. Ask yourself the following question:

What comes SO easily and naturally to me, that I just can’t believe I could actually be PAID to do it?

When thinking through your answer, think about it through the lens of your archetype. If you’re a Sage, for example, think about the things that come so easily for you as a Sage. This could be writing, sharing information, reading, researching, thinking rationally, asking questions…etc. 

Rather than start with what you think others want, start with your inherent strengths, and work up from there.

Hint: I have a whole module on Offerings that you might inspire you here.

 

4: When you don’t know what your purpose is.

 

I believe that you don’t find your purpose – your purpose finds you. 

But, in the meantime, it can be incredibly frustrating when you’re trying to feel into your place in the world, and be met with confusion and uncertainty. 

In times when you feel like you don’t know what your purpose is, go back to basics and keep it really simple. 

What is your archetypal purpose? What are your strengths and gifts when you look at yourself through an archetypal lens? 

Use your Archetype PDF Guide to help you think through this. 

Choose one ‘strength’, and create a simple purpose statement that has only one true intention: to keep you sane.

For example:

I am an Alchemist. My purpose – right now – is to help others transform their lives.

I am a Creator. My purpose – right now – is to inspire others to create opportunities for themselves.

I am an Explorer. My purpose – right now – is to encourage others to expand their horizons.

I am an Innocent. My purpose – right now – is to help others appreciate the simple pleasures in life.

I am a Jester. My purpose – right now – is to simply to find joy in my work.

I am a Nurturer. My purpose – right now – is to take better care of myself, so I can be of better service to others.

I am a Realist / Regular Gal. My purpose – right now – is to provide opportunities for like-minded people to connect.

I am a Revolutionary. My purpose – right now – is to ask the big questions that aren’t currently being asked.

I am a Romantic. My purpose – right now – is to help others experience more passion in their lives.

I am a Ruler. My purpose – right now – is to be a leader, and set an example.

I am a Sage. My purpose – right now – is to share information as I discover it.

I am a Warrior. My purpose – right now – is to create awareness.

Hint: Don’t worry if this purpose statement feels too simplistic, or too vague. Its purpose (yep, even purpose statements have purposes) is to get you unstuck, and open the channels for forward motion again. 

 

5: When you don’t know what your ‘brand identity’ should be.

 

Whether you’re DIY’ing your own brand identity, or hiring a designer (like me), trying to decide what your ‘brand identity’ should look like can be an incredibly stressful task for even the more seasoned solopreneur.

The truth is, you can’t expect to express who you are creatively if you don’t know who you are to begin with.

Archetypes can help you with both of those things. They can help you get clear on who you are, and how to express the ‘essence’ of you in a visual way.

I recommend that you start by creating your Archetypal Blend Board – a visual representation of your brand, that effortlessly communicates who you are (even if you can’t answer that question yet in words). 

Once you have your Blend Board, you can use it as the basis for developing your brand identity – whether you’re designing it yourself, or outsourcing to a creative professional.

For example:

micala

Your Blend Board can provide inspiration for colours, textures, graphics and imagery choices. The amazing thing about approaching your brand identity in this way is that it feels expansive…yet your Archetypal Blend ensures there’s a thread running through it the whole time, no matter how much experience (or confidence) you have in this area of your business.

 

These are just five examples of how archetypes can help you get unstuck in your brand or business – but the truth is, there are infinite ways that you can use archetypal information to help you move past any boundary or sticking point you may be facing. 

 

There are no right or wrong ways to use your archetypes. All I have ever done is simply look at my challenges through an archetypal lens, and considered the potential solutions from my Alchemist/Sage mindset.

 

I really hope that this post has given you some inspiration for how you can use your archetypes in your business. 

 

I’d love to hear from you in the comments below. How have archetypes helped you become unstuck? What is the most random, crazy way that your archetypes have showed up and given you a hand? What methods have you tried for connecting with your archetypes, so that you can tap into your intuition and find the answers you needed?

 

[bctt tweet=”Five ways archetypes can get you unstuck in your business. #strategywithsoul”]

 

Why I’m no longer using my Bullet Journal.

My Leuchtturm Weekly Planner. I purchased the pen loop separately - also from Leuchtturm.

A few weeks ago, I published a pretty epic post called ‘My Complete Illustrated Guide to Bullet Journalling’. (You can find it here).

I could never have imagined how popular that post would become in such a short space of time. 

However, in honour of my love of all things unconventional, I’m following it up with my second post concerning Bullet Journalling: Why I’m no longer using my Bullet Journal.

(Yep. You read that right). 

Not long after publishing MCIGTBJ, I realised that – ironically – that my Bullet Journal was working for me as well as I’d like it to. 

 

Ultimately, for me, whatever system I used HAS to keep me organised. If I feel more confused than before I started, I know it’s time for a change.

 

I see so many people write about ‘planner peace’. Planner peace is finding your perfect system that keeps you on track (and when you do, angels serenade you and cherubs dance around your head playing the official ‘You found Planner Peace’ anthem). 

All joking aside – it is hugely satisfying to unearth a planning system that truly works for you. It provides relief from overwhelm, procrastination, and that frustrating sense that you’re forgetting something.

For me, I’m less about the stickers and embellishments, and more about the practicality of my system. Yes, I do use washi tape and stamps. But these are primarily for practical reasons (ie – to make things stand out so I don’t miss them).  For a long time, I was more focused about ‘doing it right’ (and, in truth, how good my system would look on Instagram) than whether it actually WORKED. 

 

My business has changed lately. I relaunched my brand identity and website design offerings, and the way that I fill my days as a result has changed. 

 

I run a VERY tight ship when it comes to working with design clients. I have to – I pride myself on delivering ahead of schedule, making the process feel like a fun collaboration, and making sure that I work in an optimal state of mind and creativity to produce unparalleled results.

When it comes to design projects? Bullet Journalling just doesn’t cut it. 

I use (and adore) Basecamp for these projects.

My clients are invited to the project, which makes them feel involved in the creative process (not to mention in the loop about where we’re at).

My team know exactly what’s expected, and by when.

Conversations are all kept in the client’s individual Basecamp, so we all know where we stand.

 

You just can’t get that level of organisation from a Bullet Journal. It’s just a fact.

 

I found that I was trying to squeeze my needs into my Bullet Journal, and it just wasn’t working for me. 

 

[bctt tweet=”If it’s not working, change it.”].

I found that I still wanted/needed to have a physical planner to carry round with me. But…a simple planner. Something that doesn’t require much maintenance, and something that didn’t require me to draw out my weekly spreads etc. 

I purchased the Leuchtturm Weekly Planner (available on Amazon) and I LOVE it. 

The weeks are all laid out for you. You don’t even need to add stickers (although I like to add some washi and stickers simply to brighten up my week). You can just dive straight in. 

These planners have all the same wonderful features as the Leuchtturm notebooks (stunning cover colours, great paper quality, a double-ribbon bookmark). They are a little slimmer, and more lightweight. 

They also feature some blank pages at the back, some of which are perforated for times when you need to rip a page out. 

The great thing, though, is that all the hard work has been done for you. You can really make it your own, and use it in a way that makes sense for you.

 

The Weekly Planner might be ideal for you if you:

  • Love the idea of having a physical journal, but minus the creative aspect
  • Love the idea of Bullet Journalling, but don’t love the idea of having to set up your own weekly/monthly spreads
  • Love having an at-a-glance overview of your week, rather than in-depth daily spreads

 

Here are some snapshots of my Planner so you can see how I’ve been using it:

 

My Leuchtturm Weekly Planner. I purchased the pen loop separately - also from Leuchtturm.
My Leuchtturm Weekly Planner. I purchased the pen loop separately – also from Leuchtturm.
This is a blank weekly spread.
This is a blank weekly spread.
I prepare for the week ahead on a Saturday or Sunday.
I prepare for the week ahead on a Saturday or Sunday.
I do sometimes incorporate the bullets into the days on the left, depending on how busy my week is.
I do sometimes incorporate the bullets into the days on the left, depending on how busy my week is.

In summary – no matter how ‘trendy’ a planning system may be, never be afraid to switch it up if necessary. 

Depending on my business (and life in general), I might switch back to the true Bullet Journal style of planning.

But for now, this adapted version is working PERFECTLY for me. 

It’s simple, clean, fuss-free, and I can see the wood for the trees.

(Which is always a good thing in my book. Literally). 

Let me know what you think of this adapted system in the comments below. Are you thinking of trying it? Got questions? I’d love to see how you plan out your week! 

My Complete {Illustrated} Guide to Bullet Journalling.

A Complete {Illustrated} Guide to Bullet Journalling | #cmbujo

Welcome to my Complete {Illustrated} Guide to Bullet Journalling.

If you’ve never heard of Bullet Journalling before, you’re in for a reeeeal treat.

Before I dive in to the good stuff, just a couple of disclaimers about this post:

  1. It’s looooooong. I’m not going to make any apologies for that, because it’s PACKED with ideas, suggestions and guidance on how to start (or restart) Bullet Journalling. You can devour the whole thing, or you can click on the little sub-menu below to hop to exactly what you need 🙂
  2. The photos are big. I left them big on purpose, so you can get up close and personal with my BuJo.
  3. For the sake of time and brevity, I’ll refer to my Bullet Journal from now on as my BuJo.
  4. As I just started this BuJo a couple of weeks ago, some of it is blank, or doesn’t have much info in it. The pages fill out as the days progress 🙂
  5. Most importantly – DON’T be overwhelmed! This post makes Bullet Journalling look way more complex than it actually is – I’ve just included lots of info to get your creative juices flowing. This really is such a simple system (that’s the whole point!), so once you’ve nailed the basics, you’ll find yourself using your BuJo in your sleep (figuratively speaking).

 

Here’s what I’ll be covering in this guide…

:About Bullet Journalling:

~ What exactly IS Bullet Journalling, and why should anyone care?

~ Who is Bullet Journalling for?

~ Why I love my Filofax…but love my BuJo more

:Essential Supplies:

~ What you need to get started

~ Finding the PERFECT notebook

~ Finding the PERFECT pen

~ Why I used to use a Moleskine…but now use a Leuchtturm

:Optional Extras:

~ Washi, stamps and accessories

:My Bullet Journal Setup:

~ Bullet Journal Overview

~ How to set up your Bullet Journal for the first time

:More Bullet Journal Inspiration:

~ Tips & Tricks

~ Leuchtturm giveaway!


A Complete {Illustrated} Guide to Bullet Journalling | #cmbujo

 

What exactly IS Bullet Journalling…and why should anyone care?

Bullet Journalling is an analogue planner ‘system’ created by Ryder Carroll, a digital product designer based in Brooklyn, New York. 

You can find out the backstory, as well as the original guidelines, at www.bulletjournal.com, but in a nutshell:

Bullet Journalling is a way of taking planning and organisation back to basics.

This is the official description from Ryder:

“The Bullet Journal is a customizable and forgiving organization system. It can be your to-do list, sketchbook, notebook, and diary, but most likely, it will be all of the above. It will teach you to do more with less”

The basic concept is that you take a notebook (any notebook)…and use it to help you get – and stay – organised, clear and productive. 

As solopreneurs, we are not strangers to overwhelm and procrastination. Bullet Journalling is the ONLY system I’ve found to date that truly helps me stay on top of what I’ve got going on, and keeps me moving forward. I attribute this to its simplicity – it’s simple, flexible, and completely practical.

 

**IMPORTANT! Before you read any further, please watch Ryder’s video that explains how the Bullet Journal system works. There really is no-one better to demonstrate it than the guy who created it, so make sure you watch this four-minute video to get a grasp of the basics**

 

 

Who is Bullet Journalling for?

 

Anyone who wants to get more organised…in  the simplest, most efficient way possible. 

Anyone who loves the idea of a Filofax, but can’t be doing with inserts and printables.

Anyone who prefers using a pen to a keyboard.

 

Why I love my Filofax…but love my BuJo more

 

I have always loved Filofaxes.

I love how just owning a Filofax (or several) makes me feel like a more organised person. 

But…I’ve never quite found ‘planner peace’ in a Filofax. 

I really dislike the available inserts for Filofax, yet I also get frustrated printing, cutting and punching my own. 

I love the flexibility of the Filofax (you can’t exactly move pages easily inside a notebook, unless you use a disc-bound system such as Arc by Staples) – but love the simplicity of just turning over a fresh page and getting stuck in. 

The reason why I love my Bullet Journal more than my Filofax is because my Filofax is a breeding ground for perfectionism. I get so caught up in the organisation of the Filofax itself, that it almost becomes yet ANOTHER thing to organise. 

I’ve tried soooo many things to find ‘planner peace’ with my Filofaxes, but eventually I reached the conclusion that a simple notebook soothes my soul more than the idea of having the perfect Filofax planning system.

If you have found yourself getting frustrated with a Filofax, and feeling like it’s just another thing you have to keep on top of, you’ll probably find the BuJo system a REAL breath of fresh air.


A Complete {Illustrated} Guide to Bullet Journalling | #cmbujo

 

What you need to get started

 

Unlike most other organisational tools or planners, the Bullet Journal requires no expensive or special materials to set up. 

All you need is:

~ A good notebook

~ A good pen

And that’s it! That’s all you need to start your own BuJo. 

Of course, there are so many other things you can use in your BuJo (such as washi tape and stamps). I cover these further down the post. But all you really need is a notebook and pen, and you’re good to go.

 

How to choose the PERFECT notebook

 

As you’ll be using your BuJo for probably at least a couple of months (depending on how much you use it), it makes sense to choose a notebook that can stand up to the strains of everyday life. 

Size: 

Probably the most important thing to think about when it comes to choosing your BuJo notebook is size. I personally find an A5 (half-letter) size notebook is perfect, although I know of others who use letter sized, and others who use Midori (personal) sized notebooks. Size really doesn’t matter – but what does matter is that you choose a size you’re most comfortable with.

Cover:

Another thing you might like to think about is whether you’d prefer a hard or soft cover notebook. I personally prefer a hard cover, as I like to throw my BuJo in my handbag when I head out. With soft covers, I find that the edges are more susceptible to curling and tearing, so I like the protection that a hard cover offers. If you plan on adding pages or sticking things into your BuJo, a soft cover may be more suitable, as there is more give in how much the notebook can expand.

Binding:

Hard-bound, spiral-bound, ring-bound – there are many different types of notebook to choose from. Again, choose something that you feel most comfortable with. I personally prefer a hard-bound book format, as I just love the way it feels! I have tried to incorporate my BuJo into my Filofax, and although it didn’t work for me, I know many people who have done this successfully. 

Paper quality:

I would ALWAYS recommend spending just a little more on a quality notebook (and I’ll share my favourites below), as paper thickness and weight can make all the difference. I personally hate bleeding and shadowing, so using good quality paper can stop your ink looking ugly and messy. Experiment with what feels right to you, and remember that this notebook should last you a while, so it makes sense to buy the best quality you can afford.

Paper style:

Most notebooks – especially Moleskines and Leuchtturms – are available in a variety of paper styles: plain, lined, gridded and dotted being the most popular. Gridded and dotted tend to be the most versatile, as they’re extremely handy for tracking and sketching. If you don’t really plan on tracking anything in your BuJo, lined may be a better option for you. I personally use dotted.

 

How to choose the PERFECT pen

A Complete {Illustrated} Guide to Bullet Journalling | #cmbujo
Pen sampling by Kim @tinyrayofsunshine | tinyrayofsunshine.com

 

Pens are a BIG deal in the BuJo community! Some people are extremely particular about which pens they stick to for their BuJo (and I must admit…there is something strangely sexy about gliding a fountain pen over crisp white paper).

The way to choose the PERFECT pen for your BuJo is to experiment. Try lots of different types to see what works for you, and what you feel most comfortable with. 

I personally love my Pilot Frixion pens. These are erasable pens (perfect for crazy creatives like me who change their minds every five seconds 😉 ). The only downside to Frixion pens, however, is that if left in the heat the ink disappears. You can bring it back, but the ink isn’t archival quality (which may not be so great if you’re planning on keeping your journals to reflect on in years to come). 

Many people swear by Staedtlers, and others love the Sharpie Pen. 

Again – experiment, and try to choose something that flows freely and easily. I have a page at the back of my BuJo that I call my ‘scratchpad’ – when I want to try out a new pen, I doodle on that page to get a feel for how the pen writes, and how much ink bleed there is.

 

Why I used to use a Moleskine…but now I use a Leuchtturm

 

Moleskines have long been considered the ‘writer’s choice’ when it comes to quality journals. I have enjoyed many a Moleskine over the years, and still love and appreciate the craftsmanship that makes them such beautiful notebooks to use. 

However.

In the last six months, I’ve found myself jumping the Moleskine ship, and instead have been using a Leuchtturm 1917 notebook.

I LOVE Leuchtturms.

Aside from the fact that the paper has a much more superior feel to the Moleskine (which I think feels a little flimsy), here’s why I abandoned Moleskine and opted for Leuchtturm…

Size: The Leuchtturm A5 (half-letter) is a touch bigger than the Moleskine Large…and for me, it makes the world of difference. That little bit of extra space does make the Leuchtturm easier to hold (for me, at least), and I just prefer the slightly larger size.

A Complete {Illustrated} Guide to Bullet Journalling | #cmbujo
Comparison of a Large Moleskine to my A5 Leuchtturm
A Complete {Illustrated} Guide to Bullet Journalling | #cmbujo
Comparison of Large Moleskine with A5 Leuchtturm

Index: As you’ll see in the setup section further down, an Index page is an important part of the Bullet Journalling process. With a Moleskine, you have to draw out your own Index page at the front…however Leuchtturms have done the hard work for you, and have included a three-page Index section that’s ready to go. 

A Complete {Illustrated} Guide to Bullet Journalling | #cmbujo
Index page in my Leuchtturm

Page numbers: As with the index pages, Leuchtturm have made life even easier and added page numbers to the bottom of each page. Numbering each page is essential to the Bullet Journal system, so this little touch just means there’s one less thing to do in terms of setup of your pages.

A Complete {Illustrated} Guide to Bullet Journalling | #cmbujo
Page numbers inside my Leuchtturm

Bookmarks: The Leuchtturm comes with two bookmarks, not one. I know this sounds like such a trivial thing to mention, but I personally find this SO useful. The two bookmarks are different designs (one plain and one patterned), and I tend to use the patterned bookmark to help me flip to the current week, and the plain bookmark to help me flip to the current day.

A Complete {Illustrated} Guide to Bullet Journalling | #cmbujo
Leuchtturms come with two bookmarks

Colours: I ADORE the colours that Leuchtturm notebooks are available in. I have always felt that Moleskines tend to be a little bland and unremarkable when it comes to colour, so I really appreciate the vivid, bright selection of Leuchtturm colours. I personally love ‘Emerald’ (which is my current BuJo you can see in this post), and I also love the Orange and Pink. (I do also covet the Gold, which I’ll be moving onto after this one 😉 ). 

A Complete {Illustrated} Guide to Bullet Journalling | #cmbujo
Orange & Emerald Leuchtturms

A Complete {Illustrated} Guide to Bullet Journalling | #cmbujo

So long as you have your notebook and pen, you’re good to go. 

But…for many people BuJo Junkies, your Bullet Journal is so much more than a planner: it’s an outlet for creative expression. 

Your BuJo is a place where you can experiment with fun stuff like washi tape and stamps…minus the pressure and perfectionism. 

Some folks go a little crazy decorating their BuJos. I personally like to keep mine on the minimal side, as too much decoration distracts me from the main purpose of the planner (ahem…staying on top of things). However…I do love a bit of colour, and I love to use washi tape and clear stamps. 

There are all sorts of things you can pick up from craft stores to bring your BuJo to life, and I recommend playing around and ENJOYING finding out what you love. If zero decoration is your thing, great! If you find you have an obsession with washi tape, it’s all good! 

Here are some hints and tips on how to spruce up your schedule:

WASHI TAPE: Washi is probably the cheapest and easiest way to make your BuJo your own. It’s basically masking tape, but looks waaaay nicer! It comes in many different shapes, sizes and textures, and it’s not unusual for you to need to find a specific home in your workspace for your washi to live. 

My favourite brand of washi tape is MT – you can find it on Amazon, and if you Google MT Masking Tape.

A Complete {Illustrated} Guide to Bullet Journalling | #cmbujo
My modest collection of washi

STAMPS: I’m not really big on stamping, but I do like a bit of stamping action in my BuJo. It took me a while to get my head around the right supplies I needed, and I made a few mistakes along the way, but now I do enjoy playing with my stamps on a Sunday evening.

I like to use clear stamps. You buy the stamps in a sheet, and attach them to an acrylic block…then ink up and stamp away!

I learned the hard way when it comes to ink. If you are planning to use stamps over the top of washi, something like StazOn is a good bet. If you’re wanting to stamp onto the actual paper itself, though, you may be best opting for a chalk based ink, such as Dew Drop VersaMagic, as this won’t bleed through the paper like other solvent-based pigments.

A Complete {Illustrated} Guide to Bullet Journalling | #cmbujo
Clear stamps, acrylic block and chalk ink
A Complete {Illustrated} Guide to Bullet Journalling | #cmbujo
My collection of stamps, which I’ve picked up from Amazon and other craft stores here in the UK
A Complete {Illustrated} Guide to Bullet Journalling | #cmbujo
Stamps in my BuJo

STICKERS etc: You can pick up some really beautiful stickers and embellishments from most craft stores these days, and on Amazon. I love Heidi Swapp stickers in particular. Stickers can be a great way of highlighting special events, or things you want to make sure you don’t miss, such as birthdays and holidays.  

A Complete {Illustrated} Guide to Bullet Journalling | #cmbujo
Some stickers I love to use

PEN LOOP: This is one thing I really can’t live without when it comes to my BuJo. It drives me crazy to not have anywhere to keep a pen close by, so this pen loop from Leuchtturm is a lifesaver (not literally, but you know what I mean!). I got mine from Amazon, and they are available in colours that match the notebooks themselves. You simply peel off the adhesive backing, and attach to the back of your notebook. At first, I wasn’t sure how well the pen loop would hold up, especially after continued use…but they really do stand up well! 

A Complete {Illustrated} Guide to Bullet Journalling | #cmbujo
My Leuchtturm pen loop

A Complete {Illustrated} Guide to Bullet Journalling | #cmbujo

When it comes to setting up your BuJo for the first time, I highly recommend that you watch Ryder’s video to get a grasp of the basics. There are so many ‘adapted’ Bullet Journal systems out there that it really does help to see the system in its native form. You can then adapt it from there as you need to. 

In addition to watching Ryder’s video, here are some examples from my own BuJo that will hopefully inspire you to get yours up and running.

INDEX PAGE: I must admit, I don’t use the Index page as much as I probably should, but it’s still really useful to have as a reference. I personally prefer to identify my key pages using tabs (I’ll talk about those later in the post), however having an Index means you can easily find certain pages. In my first BuJos, I used to enter all of my pages into the Index; now, I just enter important things I want to be able to reference quickly. I don’t generally index daily pages.

A Complete {Illustrated} Guide to Bullet Journalling | #cmbujo

 

YEAR AT A GLANCE: The first page of my BuJo isn’t something that’s included in Ryder’s original setup, however I find it invaluable for quick reference. I have a ‘year at a glance’ page, where I can quickly look up dates for the whole of 2016. I was inspired to do this page by an image I found on Pinterest, though I can’t find it now. If you have seen it, please let me know so I can attribute it! This is my version…

A Complete {Illustrated} Guide to Bullet Journalling | #cmbujo
My Year at a Glance page

 

FUTURE LOG: One of the challenges with the Bullet Journalling system has always been future planning. As it emphasises logging and planning ‘as you go’, traditionally there wasn’t much accommodation for future plans to be made. Ryder has recently updated the system to make it easier to log future events, and he suggests that your first ‘spread’ is your ‘Future Log’. This is simply a convenient place to log any events that you want to make a note of that are coming up in the following months, and it looks like this:

A Complete {Illustrated} Guide to Bullet Journalling | #cmbujo
My Future Log

PROJECTS TRACKER: Straight after my Future Log, I have my Projects Tracker. This isn’t something that is included in Ryder’s setup, but I like to have an at-a-glance view of how my months are shaping up with design projects and mentoring. I have tried soooo many ways to keep on track of client projects, and I really find that this simple method is so quick, easy, and gives me a birds eye view of what my workflow looks like (NB: the photo is blurred to protect client privacy):

A Complete {Illustrated} Guide to Bullet Journalling | #cmbujo
My Project Tracker

ILLUMINATION TRACKER: My brand identity design service – Illumination – has various stages of the project that I need to keep a track of. I have tried all sorts of apps and online tools to help me keep track, but nothing compares to keeping a manual tracker in my BuJo. I have my scheduled clients along the left, and across the top are the various milestones for each project. Every time I complete a milestone, I check it off. I also have the start date and deadline on the right, along with notes, for easy reference. I LOVE having my design projects laid out so clearly in this format – I can see exactly where I am, at any given time: 

A Complete {Illustrated} Guide to Bullet Journalling | #cmbujo
Illumination Tracker

RUNNING TO-DO LIST: After my Illumination tracker, I have a running to-do list. I didn’t really need two pages for this list, as it’s just general things I know I need to get done at some point. The GREAT thing about the Bullet Journal is that there is no wasted space – you just turn to the next blank page and fill it with whatever you need to. In this case, I have a reference for what counts towards my five-a-day. 

A Complete {Illustrated} Guide to Bullet Journalling | #cmbujo
My (as yet empty) running to-do list

WEEKLY SPREADS: This is where I think I have quite radically departed from the original Bullet Journal system. In general, Bullet Journals have a spread for the month, and then you start a new page for each day, logging your tasks and notes as you go. These are your daily spreads. 

I personally much prefer to have my week on a spread, because I like to think in terms of what I have on each week. 

The whole point of Bullet Journalling is that it’s meant to make your life easier, and for me…I just can’t do without my week at a glance. Some people create just one weekly spread on a Sunday for the week ahead on the next available double spread of pages. I personally like to create all the weeks of the month in one go, all together. I like the fact that my weekly pages are together, and laying them all out in just one sitting is so much easier than creating one a week. 

My weekly spreads are probably the main thing that I do decorate in my BuJo. I like to give each week a different washi, and I like to use my stamps. I’ve played around with layouts over the years, and I feel like I’m starting to really settle into these now. If you’re looking for some inspiration on weekly layouts, this is a wonderful resource.

Here are some examples of my weekly spreads:

A Complete {Illustrated} Guide to Bullet Journalling | #cmbujo
Weekly Spread
A Complete {Illustrated} Guide to Bullet Journalling | #cmbujo
Weekly Spread

 

As you can see from my current weekly spread (below), it usually starts off quite empty at the start of the week. I add things as they come up during the week, and it *usually* is quite full by the end of the week. 

I actually made a mistake on the bottom right corner of this spread, and rather than rip the pages out, I just covered it with some Heidi Swapp scrapbook paper, washi-taped it in, and wrote an inspirational reminder. That’s the great thing about the BuJo…nobody care if you mess up, as it’s (usually!) for your eyes only!

A Complete {Illustrated} Guide to Bullet Journalling | #cmbujo
Weekly Spread

 

MONTHLY TRACKER: There are certain things that I like to track throughout the month, such as medication, diet, and business goals. These objectives tend to change each month, so I don’t have a set list of things I ‘track’ – I just add them in as I feel like it. Here is my tracker for January:

A Complete {Illustrated} Guide to Bullet Journalling | #cmbujo
Monthly Tracker

 

That’s about it as far as my setup goes! 

The only pages I’ve not shared here are my daily pages. Every day, I start a fresh page with the date, and I write out the things I have to get done that day. This really is more about being conscious of my time, and grounding myself in the day. I do this first thing in the morning, while Poppy is eating her breakfast – that way, when I get back from the school run I’m ready to hit the ground running. 

Part of the original Bullet Journal system is ‘Migration’. This is where you take any incomplete tasks and migrate them over to a new day or month. I personally don’t migrate my tasks all the time – I just start a blank page each morning, and centre myself in what I know I need to do. 

Sometimes, my daily pages become filled with notes, or brainstorm pages. I free-flow these pages, and don’t think about presentation at all. Whatever’s on my mind, I simply jot down on my daily page. If it’s something I want to come back to, I’ll put a page flag to remind me that this was something worth revisiting.

 

How to set up your Bullet Journal for the first time

 

Hopefully you’re feeling all inspired and fired up to create YOUR own Bullet Journal. 

I’ve told you everything you need to get started (all two items – a notebook and pen!), but when you’re sat holding your new notebook in your hands and open it up to the first blank page…you may FREEZE, and not know what to do first.

Here’s the thing about Bullet Journalling:

It’s not meant to be perfect!

It doesn’t matter how much of a perfectionist you are – learning to let go when it comes to planning and keeping track of your life is seriously the best move you could ever make. 

There are going to be things in your journal that don’t work for you…and that’s fine. As you keep using the system, you’ll soon figure out what works and what doesn’t – it’s all about trial and error. 

With that said, it can still feel ridiculously daunting to make that first move in a new notebook. 

My advice would be to watch Ryder’s video again, and just start practising the basics (if it helps, tell yourself that this first notebook is just an experiment – no pressure!). 

Set up your first BuJo as per Ryder’s instructions, and just notice what helps you, and what doesn’t. The more open you are to experimentation, the more quickly you’ll find your BuJo groove.

Within a short space of time, you’ll be rapid logging like a pro. It does take a bit of practice, but don’t get overwhelmed by doing it ‘right’. Find out what your style is by trying out new things, and don’t be afraid to make it your own 🙂 


A Complete {Illustrated} Guide to Bullet Journalling | #cmbujo

 

Tips & Tricks

 

Here are a few of my own personal favourite tips and tricks, and a few inspirational ideas from the Bullet Journal Community.

KEY PULLOUT: 

The ‘key’ is a crucial part to the Bullet Journalling system. As you saw in Ryder’s video, the icons help you distinguish events, tasks, notes, appointments etc quickly and easily. You can either use the original BuJo key, or design your own…whatever works for you! When you’re first starting to use a key, try creating a little pullout to attach to the back of your notebook. Once you get used to the icons, you won’t really need it, but it’s good to have as a reference:

A Complete {Illustrated} Guide to Bullet Journalling | #cmbujo
My Bullet Journal Key Pullout

 

PAGE TABS: 

During my first year of using a Bullet Journal, one of the things that frustrated me the most was not being able to find important and regularly-used pages quickly and easily. Sure…that’s what the Index is for, but that seemed like too much hard work to keep flipping to the front page all the time 😉 

This in itself caused me to abandon my BuJo on many occasions, as the whole point of the exercise was to leave me feeling more organised…not more confused and scattered.

Last year, however, I had the light bulb idea (!!!) to, um…add sticky tabs! (How it took me so long to realise this I have no idea). I purchased these re-positionable tabs from Staples (they are the Post-It brand, and although expensive they are REALLY hard-wearing) and I absolutely love them. I just write on them with Sharpie (or stamp wth StazOn) and I can move them about as much as I like. I generally have my main tabs on the right, and important quick-reference tabs such as ‘Current Week’ and ‘Food Diary’ along the top:

A Complete {Illustrated} Guide to Bullet Journalling | #cmbujo
My re-positionable tabs

 

FAVOURITE TIPS FROM THE BUJO INSTAGRAM COMMUNITY:

Here are some of my favourite tips and tricks from the Bullet Journal Instagram community. Why not follow these lovely people so you can get even more inspiration directly into your Instagram feed?

Just start! You won’t know until you try:

#letteritjanuary // #thelifeinbetween

A photo posted by Tawni Sattler (@thelifeinbetween) on

Experiment with layouts! My FAVOURITE site for layout inspiration is www.tinyrayofsunshine.com – Kim has created posts with so many different ideas for layouts, and it’s just such an awesome resource to find a way to make the system work for you:

#bulletjournalchallenge What are you considering trying out in your next #BulletJournal? Or next month? ☺

A photo posted by Kim (@tinyrayofsunshine) on

If you love the simplicity of a notebook, but love the feel of a Filofax, why not buy a folio-type cover? This can provide a great space for keeping stickers/page markers/important documents, and can provide extra protection if you like to throw your notebook in your purse or handbag:

Day 16 & 17 in my #hobonichi

A photo posted by ModernMissJournaling (@modernmissjournaling) on

Experiment with colour coding to help you find things more easily:

#PlanWithMeChallenge #day17: hacks. I'm new in #bulletjournaling so I don't have many hacks yet, but I just did this little #colorindex in my #bulletjournal last night. The colors have no specific meaning, I have a #colorcoding system apart from this (I gonna show it on… ummm… #day19 I guess), this one I just wanted to be in a happy rainbow style. 😉

A photo posted by Timi (@timi_kincsesfuzet) on

Be as creative (or not!) as you like! Use your BuJo in a purely utilitarian way, or more as an outlet for creative expression and exploration:

Conversations. #day11 #healing #positivity #accountability #love #create #thewanderingbedouinjournals #dubai #uae #unitedarabemirates #quirky #eccentric #bulletjournal #plannerlove #leuchtturm1917 #zigcleancolorrealbrush #fabercastell #bujo #maryartisanchocolates #tea #happiness #meditation #art #blessed #beautiful #unique #yes #pilotvanishingpointM #chocolates

A photo posted by The Wandering Bedouin (@thewanderingbedouin) on

Join a free challenge to get started! @tinyrayofsunshine hosts a fabulous monthly planning challenge, as shown here by Kara from Boho Berry @boho.berry | bohoberry.com:

I've spent the morning getting totally pumped up for November's #planwithmechallenge ☺️ #Repost from @prettyprintsandpaper… BAM. @tinyrayofsunshine Kim and I are at it again. Join us for the 4th #planwithmechallenge to reflect, experiment, share your planning system with others looking to share or refine theirs. 1. Follow along with me @prettyprintsandpaper and Kim @tinyrayofsunshine if you'd like 2. Repost the challenge to spread the word to other pals 3. Share your photo response to each day's prompt and elaborate more if you can, adding #planwithmechallenge (and other relevant hashtag) to your post 4. Check out the hashtag and engage with others in the #plannercommunity – ask questions, encourage, connect That's it! Can't wait to get started. 😎 #planwithme #plannerlove #plannernerd #plannercommunity #planner #planning #midoritravelersnotebook #mtn #foxydori #fauxdori #plannergirl #bulletjournal #bujo #instagramchallenge #novemberplannerchallenge #plannerchallenge #kikkik #eclp #erincondren #inkwellpress #filofax #thehappyplanner #happyplanner #planneraddict

A photo posted by Kara | Boho Berry (@boho.berry) on

 

You did it!

You actually made it to the bottom of what has to be the longest post in the entire history of blogging. Ever

I really hope that you’ve enjoyed all of the ideas and resources I’ve shared, and that you’re ready to give this wonderful system a try.

If you have ANY questions, I’d love to hear them in the comments below! I respond to each and every one, so if you have anything you’d like to pick my brain on, leave me a comment below and I’ll get back to you asap. If I don’t know the answer, hopefully I’ll at least be able to point you in the right direction. 

 

{UPDATE! Whilst I ADORE Bullet Journalling – and everything in this post is just as relevant – I’m not longer using my Bullet Journal. You can find out why here}.

photosig