I have spent countless hours watching plan with me videos trying to find the perfect layout, then twice that amount of time and a full forest of paper trying to actually bring that to life on a page. They don’t always turn out as I planned, but the mistakes are what make them unique, right?
But sometimes they turn out perfect. The calendar is just right. The habit tracker is exactly what I envisioned. And I’m left feeling sad that I can only use it this one month.
The particularly frustrating part of this are those small elements that I want on every page, like a mini calendar, or the habit trackers. I want to have constant access to them so that I can keep them updated and reference them easily.
Thanks to watching other bullet journalers, I’ve found I can solve it by using Dutch doors or using stencils to recreate it.
But Dutch doors require folding and cutting away pages to expose certain elements, and this reduces the actual amount of area I have to journal. What’s more, I get a bit freaked out by the prospect of my cuts not being perfect and potentially destroying my journal. And if you spent a lot of time making it, or a not so tiny chunk of money buying it – the last thing you want is to lose pages to scissors!
Stencils have their own problems. There’s a limited number of choices out there to choose from. The placement can still go wrong, and cause you to have to start over. And while stenciling can help me get better and more consistent outlines, I still have to spend the time to do the outlining.
So I started brainstorming other solutions to see what might work and save me some time in the process.
That’s when I came up with the idea of creating bookmarks. A simple place where I can place a mini calendar and/or a habit tracker and move from page to page as I need it for the month. I can use a cute printable, or I can draw the first one out, scan it and reprint it as many times as I need.
To keep them nice and sturdy I back the pages on card stock.
No need to draw them over and over again. No need to cut my journal pages. And it easily moves with me through my pages so I can keep it updated and reference it easily. I’m just sorry I didn’t find something like this sooner!
How to Use a Bookmark as a Bullet Journal Hack
So here are some of my tips on how you can use a bookmark to make your bullet journal easier to use and save you time:
Have I mentioned this? Look, I love having this available and HATE having to draw them. The numbers don’t always line up or aren’t well formed. It’s incredibly repetitive.
I have wasted more time trying to get these perfect than doing anything else in bullet journal, and this is the easiest thing you can replace with a bullet journal. Even if you don’t reuse it you can still save yourself from having to repeat them on every page for the month.
A simple monthly habit tracker fits easily on a bookmark and can save heaps of room in your daily spreads. For me, mood, exercise, water, reading and sleep all fit on a bookmark.
My first example shows a simple grid with the days of the month in the first column and each habit I’d like to track in its own column. This is the first tracker everyone tries and the easiest to execute, just check or fill in each item as you complete it.
If that’s not enough – use color codes, happy faces, stamps, stickers… You get the idea.
These are some variant of the old thermometer charts. Trying to limit your monthly screen time, tracking your budgets or spending, or setting step goals? These can fit easily on a bookmark.
For my second example, I’ve printed a mini calendar and a hexagon grid on the book mark. Then I’ve outlined blocks for each goal or limit.
This month I have decided that I want to have 14 sessions doing stretching/core exercises, so that block includes 14 hexagons. As I complete each session, I fill in one block.
I’ve also decided that I want to limit my video game time to 7 sessions, so it has 7 blocks.
Hexagons are not exactly easy to lay out on a standard dot grid, but when you’re printing your own page that’s not a problem. I like using them for this type of tracker because they break up the monotony of the standard grid and let me get a bit more creative with the patterns and orientation without sacrificing the clarity of regular polygons (Can you tell that I took too much geometry in college?).
I know it’s obvious, but this is right in line with the rest of bullet journaling. Personalize it to you. Make it as simple as you like or go over the top. You can match it to your theme for the month or they can have their own themes, and bonus – you can scan and reprint them easily if you decide you really love them!
Turn it into a monthly tab
So the month is over and you have to figure out what to do with this bookmark. I like to staple it to the first page of the month with the top sticking out like a tab. That way the bookmark is secure and I can quickly find the start of any previous month.