An alternative take on monthly spread for the Bullet Journal
I've been using Bullet Journal for a little over a year now. So far I love this system. It's very flexible and easy to adapt to my style of journaling. I like simple and minimalist layouts. And there is a huge number of followers with lots and lots of custom mods.
For my bullet journaling I'm using A5 Rhodia Webnotebook with dotted ruling. It's quite affordable with excellent Clairefontaine 90gsm ivory paper which has no bleed-through whatsoever, even when using fountain pens. It has soft touch Italian leatherette cover. Its only downside is - the pages are not numbered. I have been using Leuchtturm 1917 notebook before, but I find that the paper is thinner compared to Rhodia's and it shows significant bleed-through.
One thing in the original Bullet Journal system that kind of didn't work for me was the monthly spread. Since I do most of the planning in my monthly spread, I wanted it to be more visual and gave me better overview of the month. So I came up with this alternative take on monthly spread. It's not that different from the original way of doing things.
So let me explain things step by step.
Timescale is just 2 rows of cells representing hours. You can tune the hours for your liking, but this is the setup which worked for me:
At the start of the timescale there are 2 circles, signifying which row of hours you are using when marking an event.
Date/Day of the Week is just like in the original version of monthly spread - a column of corresponding dates and days of the week.
Rigidly timed event graph is a graph where you mark events with specified starting and/or ending times.
Loosely timed event graph is a graph where you mark events with non-specific times, for example, morning, afternoon, evening, whole day etc.
Task list is on the right side of the spread. That is a list of tasks and events for the given month. Just like in the rapid logging, you use dot for open task and circle for event. When you place a digit or a letter in the circle, it means that this event is marked in the graph part on the left side of the spread.
Let's go over the bullet types and what do they mean. Since there are two parts to the graph — rigidly timed and loose timed — each part has its own bullet meanings.
Rigidly timed event graph has the following bullet types and meanings:
If you connect start and end of the event with line, that means that the event is continuos. If there is no connecting line, the event is discrete.
If you put an arrow from the start of the event, that means the event is continuous, without known end time.
Loosely timed event graph has the following bullet types and meanings:
If you connect event circles vertically with wavy line, that means that the event is planned for one of the days between the connected circles, for example, whole weekend.
If you connect event circles vertically with double lines, that means the the event circles are related and the event continues for the number of days between the connected circles, for example, overnight fishing trip.
After learning all the meanings of the bullets, let's put it all together. On the right side you can see an example with a few marked events.
Event #1 is a recurring event, which occurs on every Wednesday at 7:30PM till 9:30PM (square bullets, because hour +30 min.). I usually mark this way my practice events for the month.
Event #2 has two discrete times 8:30AM and 5:30PM (square bullets, because hour +30 min.). I use this type event, for example, to mark times when I leave my car to be serviced and when I pick it up.
Event #3 is on July 1st and starts at 10:15AM (upright triangle bullet, because hour +15 min.) till 11:00.
Event #4 has starting time at 7PM, but it has no defined ending time (hence the arrow at the end and dashed line). I estimated it to end at 9PM (the length of the connecting line). I usually use this type of event, for example, for parties or drinks at the bar.
Event #5 is pretty standard event with defined start and end times in whole hours (12PM till 2PM).
Event #6 has no starting time and ending time. What's more, it is planned on one of the weekend days. This event is used when I want to do something on weekend but don't know no which day and time.
Event #7 is planned on Sunday, July 10th in the afternoon (hence the bullet with top-right quarter filled).
Event #8 is planned on Sunday, July 17th for the second half of the day. (bullet with bottom half filled).
Event #9 is a recurring event with different time definitions for every other occurence (different filling amounts for bullets).
Event #10 is a whole day event with no specific starting and ending times (fully filled bullet).
Event #11 is an example of connected event bullets. The bullets are connected with double line. In this example it means, that the event continues from Friday night till Saturday morning.
Hope this will be useful for somebody :)