Through my year of bullet journaling, I’ve learned one thing: It will always evolve. As you work your way through a bullet journal, you start to come up with your own systems that work for you. Some things will seem like a great idea, but fall flat later. For me, it was tracking every single thing you could think of so I could remember it. However, I wouldn’t remember to track the things I should remember. The one thing that did stick for me was color coding my life. Not only did it help me remember things at a glance, but it made my bujo easier to navigate.
I color code in two separate ways in my book. The first and quickest way I color code items is with page flags. It helps me navigate my bujo easier than referencing the index for a certain page of notes. Looking at my reference guide (technically my key,) below, you can see I separate my pages into six categories.
Green is a yearly page, Hot pink is a monthly spread, and yellow is the start of a new week. With these in place, I can quickly reference a particular month without having to flip to my index. It also let’s me see where my weekly spreads begin since I don’t log those in my index.
I also mark my work notes in Orange. This makes it easier for me to quickly flip to last week’s notes from a meeting for reference as I tend to be the minute taker for our sessions and will have to flip back to various pages quickly. My personal notes are flagged in blue. These can range from blog ideas to the floorplan for my house, and I typically only flag personal notes that are referenced often. Lastly, I have shopping lists flagged in purple. I don’t really use this any more, as I’ve switched my shopping lists to post-it notes stuck to whatever day I’ll be doing the shopping. This way, I don’t have to tote the book into the shops, I can just grab the post-it and leave the book in my bag. Remember, I said things evolve.
Now going back to my Reference page, you’ll see that it sits conveniently beside my year at a glance. There’s a good reason for that. I color code life events as well. This code makes its way through all of my spreads, yearly, monthly, and weekly. It’s a quick reference, without having to write lengthy notes on a spread about an event that can just be saved for a daily page.
Pink is for a birthday, Hot pink is for a payment, Orange is for my vacation and paid time off, Yellow is for holidays, green is for a payday, blue is a special event, and purple is for an appointment.
This code first makes an appearance in my year at a glance. Typically, since I use my bujo for both work and personal lists, I can fit four months comfortably in a medium Leuchtturm 1917 journal with 249 pages. I set up my year in an altered version of Eddy Hope’s calendex. My main purpose is not to make notes, but to add in blocks of color as events come along. (I do have a follow up spread with actual notes of the event, like who’s birthday it is or what bill I’m paying, etc.)
My year at glance, lets me quickly note my monthly spreads as well. In the beginning, my code rested beside a monthly calendar as a quick reference for that month. However, as things have progressed, I’ve dropped the calendar. I just didn’t use it. So, I combined Ryder Carrol’s original monthly spread with my coded Calendex for easier reference this month. As you can see, the color code still is in full force.
Again, the color code appears on a weekly page as well. This happened when the column I used to track the water I was drinking became something I didn’t care about. Now, each weekly spread has the option of a quick note of color reminding me to reference my follow up yearly notes spread when planning my day.
LESSONS LEARNED ABOUT MY SYSTEM
There have been a few issues in using page flags in my bujo, however. Not necessarily with the system itself, but the actual page flags. In the beginning, I was using post-it page flags. While they worked perfectly fine for a while, two things started to happen. One, the adhesive started to wear off, and my flags would just drop off of a frequently referenced page. Sure, it could be fixed with a little cello-tape, but then the inevitable happened. The post-it flags were, of course, made of paper and after a month of my book being tossed into my work bag everyday I’d find that they began to rip and just look ragged.
I thought I had found my solution in some plastic page flags I found at Paper Source. Unfortunately, as you can see in the picture above, the color seems to be rubbing off on them. So it’s back to the drawing board once I’ve finished out this year. If you have any suggestions for page flags, by all means, leave me a comment below.