When things are chaotic, having your plans written down–like in a Bullet Journal weekly spread–can really help.
It takes the chaos out of your mind and gives it form. When you can see it, you can process it effectively. And having an “at-a-glance” capture of your week is a helpful resource. Trust me, your brain will thank you!
But where do you start with it?
Start looking up samples on Pinterest and Instagram, and the sheer volume can take you from inspiration to exasperation. (The very thing you wanted to avoid.)
While it seems like there are endless ways to approach a weekly spread for your bullet journal, all the ideas actually fall into just a few categories. (We’ve sorted the ideas to help you focus in on the approach that works for you.)
So, here’s the short list of ways to do it — so you can stop “planning to plan” and actually start planning!
Ways to set up a weekly spread for your bullet journal
Bullet Journal Weekly Spread Approach #1 – Lists
This approach is very simple to pull off, while still giving you the option to add an artistic flair. Here are some fantastic examples of this approach to bullet journal weekly spreads:
Bullet Journal Weekly Spread Approach #2 – Boxes
Similar to the days of the week with lists approach, this one carves out real estate on the page for each day visually separating the information. We like this approach because it helps create focus on a single day’s tasks, while still providing an overview of the entire week.
Bullet Journal Weekly Spread Approach #3 – Dashboard
Sometimes it isn’t enough just to see task lists and appointments. Sometimes you need a dashboard that shows you everything you want to know about your life in a week.
This at-a-glance look is more than just your schedule or tasks. It might also include features like habit trackers or meal planning.
Bullet Journal Weekly Spread Approach #4 – Dutch door spreads
We’re a big fan of Helen Colebrook at Journal with Purpose, who uses Dutch doors in her weekly spreads.
If the primary purpose of your bullet journal is weekly planning, the Dutch door technique is a brilliant way to expand the “real estate” for your weekly spread. It takes a bit of time to set up, because the method requires cutting some of the pages, but the results are both practical and beautiful.
Bullet Journal Weekly Spread Approach #5 – Morph a pre-printed planner
So technically, Bullet Journaling is usually done on blank (or dotted) pages, but there are a lot of Bullet Journalists out there taking a hybrid approach in their planning techniques and morphing a pre-printed planner to include Bullet Journal techniques.
Bullet Journal Weekly Spread Approach #6 – Go vertical
It’s fairly intuitive to lay out your journal like a book, but sometimes you just need a little more space. If this is true for you, try turning your journal ninety degrees and using a landscape layout.
How to know what to include in your Bullet Journal Weekly Spread
Everyone’s life is different. Seriously, even your own life is different from season to season.
With that in mind, here are four questions to help you figure out which elements you need to include in your weekly spread to focus it on your life right now:
- What do I often forget to do?
- On Sunday night, what do I need to know about the upcoming week?
- What would relieve stress if I could see it at a glance?
- What would be helpful to reflect on or review once the week is done?
A Bullet Journal can be the place your mind trusts to hold information,(which keeps it from pinging you endlessly with random reminders). Design your layout to make it easy for your brain to chill, knowing you’ve got this.
How to create a weekly spread to make space for what you are missing
The world we live in has a habit of rearranging our priorities with urgent distractions. A bullet journal can help you design your life in a way that creates space for what matters most to you.
Is there something important to you that you never seem to have time for?
What if you could use your weekly spread to support you in making space for it?
- Want more room for creativity? Create a blank space in your weekly spread to doodle or sketch something each week. Or maybe just embellish the borders to add an artistic touch every week.
- Want a bigger focus on gratitude? Add a space at the end of each day to note what you are grateful for.
- Want to be more consistent with an activity (like reading, or running, or drinking more water)? Track that in your spread!
There is something powerful about writing down what we want.
It helps us make it happen.
Helpful tools to create your own weekly spread design
You can design your spread with just a pen and a journal, but there are tools that can help you make it more fun.
Once you have the basics of your spread laid out, washi tape is a great way to add a splash of color and creativity. (Read more on ways to use washi tape here!)
Pick up this collection of Washi tape on Amazon.
or use this fun roll of Days of the Week washi.
One way to keep your spreads consistent from week to week is to use a stamp for the months and days of the week.
Purchase these Spellbinders STP-008 Clear Acrylic Stamps on Amazon. Don’t forget that for acrylic stamps you will need stamp blocks. (And don’t forget the ink!)
Stickers are just as much fun now as they were when we were kids, and can be a simple option for decorating your weekly bullet journal spreads.
Get this set from Paper House Productions on Amazon.
A set of brush pens can help take your weekly spread to the next level; they’re useful for creating headers, quotes, and callout boxes.
Buy this set of Tombow Dual Brush Pens are our favorite! Get them from Amazon.
This magnetic ruler by Nakabayashi is such a fantastic journaling accessory. It folds over a page like a bookmark and helps you create a large straight edge when laying out pages.
Find the Nakabayashi Magnetic Bookmark at JetPens.
Using a bullet journal weekly spread in the real world
It’s one thing to look at gorgeous Pinterest and Instagram, examples, but quite another to use your Bullet Journal weekly spread in the real world.
In short, it’s going to get messy.
Get over it.
But if you just can’t, here are a few strategies to save a weekly spread that has gone pear-shaped:
- Use a white label sticker to cover over a misstep and write on top of it.
- Cover a piece of errant information with washi tape. (Either enjoy the pattern or use a solid color and write on top of it.)
- Cut a portion of the page off Dutch door style (see above: Approach #4).
- Use a label maker, correction tape, or liquid paper to cover a line.
Keep in mind that your bullet journal is a workhorse, and not a show pony. This is personal to you. Put it to work!
Ready to choose an approach and test drive it?
The best way to create a spread that works is to test drive an approach, then see if you stick with it. Sticking with an approach is the ultimate test of whether or not it is supporting you in a real way. If it’s useful, then you’ll rely on it daily. If it’s a chore to keep up, then something about it isn’t aligned to what you need.
At which point, you scrap what you started with and test drive a different approach.
You can do this! And in just a few weeks, you’ll have the layout that works exactly right for you right now.
So many great ideas! I like the small passport sized sideways on use of the pages best because it’s small and neat and practical. Hope the social distancing isn’t too proving too onerous. And yes, you definitely need to keep posting!