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Ultra-Streamlined Style for bullet journal

I might have a little time here and there to do creative designs with my journal. But usually I just need it to help manage the day. What's the fastest way to manage a bullet journal? As with many things in life, it depends. Let me offer an overview of the Universal Journal ultra-streamlined style.


The Universal Journal style intends to help you spend as little time as possible setting up and using your bullet journal. It's counter productive to get burned out on a tool that's supposed to help you avoid burning out. This graphic recaps the basics. Check out some other posts on the topic. Bullet Journal Ultra-StreamlinedEfficient workflowDecluttering your JournalStreamlined Color CodingPrintables
Thanks for visiting Universal Journal. Got any minimalist ideas you'd like to share with the rest of us? Please comment here.

How to use a streamlined monthly log workflow

A lot of bullet journalers like to keep things minimal, and I'm one of them. But this can pose problems, such as where do you put stuff if the minimalist design leaves very limited space? That's the intersection between design and technique: how you layout your journal vs how you actually use it. This is the second in a series on the amalgam of these two things. (see the first installment on a future log workflow)

In Ryder Carroll's introductory video you'll see a minimalist monthly spread. It's pretty much the monthly spread I still use today. So if you want to keep things simple, how do you this and still keep it functional enough to accommodate real life? Easy: short hand.

bullet journal minimalist monthly log short hand spread

In this monthly spread you'll notice my calendar printout in the upper right hand corner of the right page. Beneath that I put a task list for the month. This is a bird's eye view of the month. Nitty gritty tasks or multi-step tasks are handled elsewhere. The printout and task list use only one column of about half the page in my notebook. The left column, still on the same page, is for calendar details. I've given this area the highly creative label of "details column".

On the left page I use close to the same, simple calendar set up Ryder shows. But in each daily row, I'll use only shorthand notes (such as the time and a keyword). In the details column of the right hand page I can spell out any details needed for that item. This way I can keep the calendar minimalist, there is enough room for multiple items each day, I still have all pertinent details, and it all stays uncluttered.

I also use trackers for health, habits, and such. In the Universal Journal ultra-streamlined style, I used to design the monthly spread in such a way as to minimize set up time, which is why the calendar is numbered in the right side of the page. In my current experiment, the trackers were moved to the next spread using custom printouts I designed. This makes less of a hassle in the monthly spread.

There you have it. As long as you stick to short hand in the calendar page, it should be enough to keep a minimalist layout.

What does your minimalist monthly layout look like? Comment here and be sure to subscribe!

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The Universal Journals are printed by Lulu.com Any print on demand service will be limited compared to a traditional printer. As capable as Lulu.com is (with quick turn around, worldwide availability, lots of product options for customers, and more), there are lots of things journalers might want in their Universal Journal that Lulu just can't do. At least not at this time. But this also makes for ideal customization. Make it your own.

Got any other ideas for adding a pocket to a book? Comment here. Be sure to su…