What Spread Ideas Should You Put in a Bullet Journal?

BuJo pages should help you reach your productivity goals

Table of Contents

I love buffets but also feel overwhelmed when I see the plethora of mouthwatering selections. I mean, SO many goodies, SO much appetite – and yet, ONLY so much stomach. Talk about analysis paralysis!

One of the daunting struggles when it comes to bullet journaling is choosing what spreads to put in it. After all, there’s a grand buffet of BuJo ideas out there. But there are only so many pages in your notebook and only so much time.

So how can you start tailor-fitting a bullet journal to YOUR life – without feeling the pressure of having to sample every pretty spread on Pinterest? By prioritizing goals and functionality over presentation and aesthetics.

This post will highlight the most useful, most goal-oriented bullet journaling spread ideas that can transform your notebook into a productivity booster.

The Most Important Tip When Considering BuJo Spreads

Ryder Carroll designed the bullet journaling method “to track the past, organize the present, and plan for the future.”

In other words, your bullet journal is a tool that should measurably enhance your life in the most efficient way possible. It should streamline and simplify, not complicate and clutter up. This means you need to determine what your goals are for your BuJo, then only include the spreads that serve these goals.

But the trick is you don’t have to figure all this out at once, such as when you’re just getting into this method. In fact, the rule of thumb for bullet journaling longevity is to start only with the basic modules and add spreads as you need them.

I’ve organized all the best spread ideas into convenient categories for you below. I’m sure you’ll be able to find what you need for your own goals among this universally effective collection.

Core Modules – The Must-haves

In nerd talk, the core modules of the BuJo are like its operating system. Everything else in your bullet journal hinges on these core modules. There are four of them: the Index, the Future Log, the Monthly Logs, and the Daily Logs. Be sure to include them all!

The Index

The Index is an organizational tool that helps you to easily locate information in your bullet journal. It bundles a scattered topic together so that you don’t have to flip through page after page to find what you need.

Here’s a pure example of an Index, tailored solely to its ambitious master. Credit: @itskaitlingrey

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The Future Log

The Future Log tracks all of your major commitments beyond the current month. But it’s more effective than a bare-bones calendar because of a system called task migration. To learn all about this core module and how task migration transforms it into a productivity hack, read this post.

Here’s a fantastic Future Log layout from Mark at Men Who Bullet. Each box contains a birds-eye mini-calendar of the month along with writable space. Credit: @menwhobullet

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The Monthly Logs

Like the Future Log, your Monthly Logs map out what you’ve got going on, as each month happens. Whereas the Future Log focuses on milestone events, “Monthlies” usually include more routine information such as work shifts, class times, errands, and so forth.

BuJo enthusiasts love channeling their creativity through Monthly Logs. Check out the Steampunk vibes given off by this spectacular design. Credit: @ogarniete

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The Daily Logs

Your “Dailies” are where the day-to-day planning takes place. This is where you jot down any noteworthy thing that comes to mind in the “language” of the bullet journal. Daily Logs are usually laid out as segments that correspond to each day of the week.

Here’s a simple yet striking Daily Log in Jesse’s minimal bullet journal. Credit: @lines.and.lettering

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Habit Trackers

Setting goals is easy but achieving them is not. Fortunately, habit trackers take your defined goals and break them down into manageable, patterned fragments. No wonder everybody loves these spreads!

Sooner or later, you’re bound to have a habit tracker of some sort in your notebook. Here are the most popular versions:

A Mood Tracker

Honestly, who of us doesn’t need one these days? A Mood Tracker can help you decide whether you need to change your habits or not. Populated with the right information, it could identify negative triggers in your life and guide you to take progressive steps to eliminate them.

Mood Trackers are usually visual, such as this monthly mandala layout designed by Casey. Each radial represents 1 of potentially 31 days. A color-coded system charts your mood. And there’s adequate space beside each day for notes.

A Sleep Tracker

Sleep Trackers can give you insight into your slumber by measuring sleep duration, timeframe, and quality. It’s one of the best analog devices you can maintain in your bullet journal.

We love this particular Sleep Tracker because it combines all of the important data in such a user-friendly way. Credit: @medstud.ies

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A Diet Tracker / Meal Planner

Whether you’d like to lose weight, monitor your food intake, or take the guesswork out of meal prep, there’s a BuJo spread for that. Consider these excellent setups:

Wow! THIS is what meal prep should look like! A spread like this in your bullet journal could regulate your sugar levels AND your cash flow. Credit: @cheapscaitcreates

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This daily Food Log is quite basic on its own, but it belongs as part of a sophisticated set of insightful gauges. While this spread admittedly requires an iron will to maintain, it will pay immense wellness dividends, especially if you have a problematic gut like me! Credit: badgut.org

Productivity & Stress Relief

The bullet journaling method is itself a tried-and-true way of boosting productivity while reducing stress. But for robotic performance and extra-strength cortisol removal, try these spread ideas:

A Brain Dump Page

By far the most underrated BuJo spread idea – in my books, anyway. The method of brain dumping has been around for decades. A proper brain dump should involve more than merely writing down your stream of consciousness.

A Brain Dump spread should start out simple and end up messy. At the same time, you should be able to categorize everything you jot down, either via subheadings or color-coding. Credit: @piasbujo

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A Pomodoro Tracker

A what?? The Pomodoro Technique is a time management method devised by an Italian named Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s. An overwhelmed university student at the time, he decided to break up his study sessions into fixed intervals based on a tomato-shaped kitchen timer. Pomodoro means “tomato” in Italian and this is where the technique gets its name.

It’s dead simple:

  • Set an alarm or timer for 25 minutes and commit to one task
  • Enjoy a 5-minute break once the interval is up
  • After 4 Pomodoros, take a longer break, perhaps for 15 to 30 minutes

Pomodoro Trackers are easy-peasy to set up. You simply need to tally how many Pomodoro sessions you’ve completed! Here’s a FREE resource by Cristina of SaturdayGift.com.

A Running List

A Running List is better than an ordinary to-do list for two reasons. First, it consolidates all of your tasks into one “master” list so that they’re easier to manage. Second, it keeps pace with YOU rather than you having to keep up with IT. Here’s a video explaining how it works.

Becky’s Running List spread is as functional as it is elegant. Credit: @bujowithbecky

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Motivation & Inspiration

Both motivation and inspiration come from movement, discipline, and work. Discipline yourself to move and work, and you’ll get amazing things done! These spreads can get you started:

A Quote Page

Every bullet journal addict gets into these at some point. Quote Pages serve not only as powerful reminders but also stir up creative juices.

Here’s a minimalistic reminder we all need. Credit: @miloejoanne

An Ideal Routine Page

Writing down your perfect routine can take indecisiveness out of a hesitant mood. As much as you’d rather hit the snooze button, you can brainlessly let the Ideal Routine page guide you along. Remember, movement leads to motivation!

Andrea is an expert at planning the perfect day. She also knows a good-looking Routine page such as this can give you that extra push in the morning. Credit: @planforproductivity

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Goals & Planning

Life’s grandest aspirations are eventually reached via incremental accomplishments. These remaining BuJo spreads make it fun to chase your aspirations, one increment at a time:

Goal Bingo!

Tanya came up with a brilliant idea to turn her goals into a game of Bingo. As seen here, she sets it all up in a neat grid, then reminds herself of the goodies awaiting her victories. Credit: @twinklytanya

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A Bucket List

Planning for the future wouldn’t be complete without at least one Bucket List page. Shannon’s summer is aspiring to be an unforgettable one! Credit: @journal___cloud

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A Packing List

A bullet journal Packing List can ensure you never forget your chargers again while on the road. Casey designed a super-cute spread where each piece of luggage is represented by a pocketed list. Check out how to make it here!

I’m biased toward my wife’s Packing List, of course. But there’s no denying this is a superb spread as well. Credit: @lifeofajugglingmom

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Leo Cai

Leo Cai

Leo Cai, the one solely responsible for the inception of this Mickey Mouse operation, has at least garnered the acceptance of Casey Cai - his wife. He used to view himself as an avid writer back in high school, with grandiose dreams of making a living using words. That never culminated because, as he himself puts it, "It's more practical to stock bakery shelves while striving to become a professional photographer".

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About Us

We’re Leo & Casey Cai, and Journaling Diaries is our outlet for sharing what we’re learning from the lightweight, nearly disaster-proof hobby of journaling. So far, we’ve found that journaling isn’t merely a shameful tool for hard times or a poor memory. It’s enriching & fun. Whatever, whichever, however – as long as it involves journaling – we’ll be covering it all here. Thanks for stopping by!

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