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Starting your bullet journal journey means becoming familiar with a few terms you might not have heard before. One of those things is a bullet journal monthly spread. So what is it?
A bullet journal monthly spread (also called a monthly log) is an overview of the month ahead. It is an easy way to see your whole month in advance. You can add in important events and things you’d like to get done during the month.
In this article we’ll help you learn what a bullet journal monthly spread is, how to use it through the year and even show you some examples to inspire your own monthly spreads.
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Why Use a Monthly Spread?
A monthly spread is where you can highlight important events and tasks for the upcoming month. It is similar to a future log, but is only for one month so you have a bit more room for more detail. It is there to help you organize your month.
Monthly spreads allow you to:
- See events, important appointments and upcoming birthdays etc in one page.
- Quickly check for availability in your schedule.
- Be reminded of your goals for the month.
- Ensure you don’t miss out or forget about important or special things.
How to set up a Monthly Spread
Although you can design a monthly spread on one page of your journal, a lot of people choose to have this spread over two pages to allow you a little bit more room. Either way, you can then open up your bullet journal and see what events and appointments you have coming up, especially when you are trying to schedule more.
To set up your monthly spread, think about what information you would like to see in your monthly overview. Common things included are birthdays and anniversaries, holidays, events, important meetings (not everything in your daily schedule – save that for a weekly spread), deadlines and specific tasks. Students can also use it for exams and assignment due dates.
Once you know how much information you need to include, decide how you want to set out your monthly spread. Do you want one page or two? Are you going to do it in a column format or design a calendar? You can get inspiration by looking at other peoples bullet journals. There are plenty of examples on this website or you can head over to Instagram to get more.
Another thing to think about is do you want to separate your personal life from your professional stuff. Some people choose to do this by having separate columns for each aspect (such as personal, work, kids etc). Others use color to differentiate, with a color chosen for each facet of your life, allowing you to see at glance whether something belongs to personal or professional and then create a color key to remember which is which. And some people just put it all together and don’t worry about separating at all.
Then all you need to do is start creating. If you’re not sure of your layout, start by using pencil to allow you to erase anything you think is not going to work for you. You can always go over it in pen and marker later once you are happy that you have a design that will allow you to be organized.
You might get overwhelmed with all these amazingly drawn or complicated designs when looking for inspiration. Remember that a bullet journals first mission is to get you to be more productive, and a monthly spread is to give you a quick overview of the month. Simple designs are often the best way of achieving this task, so don’t think that it needs to be immaculately drawn.
The beauty of a bullet journal is that you can fully customize it to your needs. This means a monthly spread can be designed to accommodate whatever you need for the month. You also don’t have to have the same design for every monthly spread. If you know you have a busy month coming up and need more room, then design it that way. If the next month is quieter and you feel like doing something more paired back, the choice is up to you.
Create the monthly spread you need to be at your most productive.
Monthly Spread Examples
There are an amazing number of examples and inspiration for a bullet journal monthly spread. Here is a collection of different designs, and types of monthly spreads so you can get a feel for what might work best for you.
Remember this is no wrong answer – bullet journals are about personal preference and designing something that will get you organized.
Column Type Monthly Spreads
If you’re trying to separate your stuff from the kids, or your personal and professional, or even both, then columns can be a useful tool.
This one has the dates in the middle and then columns on both sides to separate.
Another option is to put the dates on one edge, and then columns from there. Either way it is a practical solution so you can easily see at a glance what part of your life you need to focus on.
One Page Monthly Spreads
Simple monthly spreads can easily be put onto one journal page. All A5 journals should fit a whole month down the page.
This one is decorated at the top and down the side. It also has a line to split each week to easily see what’s coming up at a glance. Another option is to colour the weekend dates so that you can differentiate the weeks.
Two Page Calendar Monthly Spread
This simple layout shows the calendar with tasks and goals to one side. You can write necessary events in the calendar and still have an area for goals and tasks that may not have a specific date, but you want to accomplish during the month.
Decorated with some plant drawings for a pop of colour, this is a beautiful clean spread.
You don’t need elaborately complicated designs to create something visually pleasing. This design uses just a calendar for the monthly spread.
Decorated with butterfly’s to add a visual touch.
Another option is to have a basic calendar and then divide your pages into events, goals, to do, tasks etc. This allows you to divide things up into areas, but does not give you the advantage of seeing things on their day.
Dutch Door Monthly Spread
If you want to go a bit fancy, incorporating a dutch door into your design not only looks great, but, like in this example, can save time by always having a calendar, goals and tasks for the month no matter what page you’re on.
This sort of idea takes a bit of planning and creating, but can be very useful.
Using Monthly Spreads in a Bullet Journal
Like every spread in your bullet journal, it only works if you use it. Put in any birthdays, anniversary’s etc coming up that you need to remember, ensure any events you are attending are in there too. Then start to add things like medical appointments or things you want to be able to see at a glance.
When it comes to your daily schedule, remember that this belongs in your weekly spread (or even a daily spread if you want to go that far), rather than monthly. This is simply an overview of your month and you don’t want to get bogged down trying to get everything in there.
Let us know in the comments what your favorite type of monthly spread is.
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