Designing journal spreads can be hard.
Just the thought of coming up with new ideas and layouts, all while trying to squeeze in everything you want to track, can be daunting to say the least.
But you know what? It doesn’t have to be difficult when you have THE cheatsheet of the most effective spread elements at your fingertrips.
In this post I’m going to show you the exact elements I’ve used to create over 500 original designs, so you can fall back in love with your journal. 😍
Ready to get started?! Use the links below to learn more about each element.
Choose an element link.
This Week To-Do
I almost ALWAYS have a “This Week to-Do” section. Sometimes I title it “This Week” or “Now”, with lists of things I’d like to get done this week.
I fill this out before the week begins by transferring my to-do’s that weren’t completed in the previous week. Tasks assigned to a certain day go in the individual day boxes.
Next Week To-Do
If I have an appointment, meeting, or scheduled plan NEXT week, I’ll add it to this box. I sometimes add other goals I’d like to get done in the future in this box.
Habit trackers are one of the most common elements I see in a journal. You can find them on Instagram by searching the #habittracker hashtag. I’ve noticed a lot of journalists love tracking & this is a simple way to see (at a glance) how you’re doing.
I include habit trackers mostly in my monthly spreads, because I like to see an overview at the end of the month. I sometimes include small 7 day habit trackers in my weekly spreads in case I’m tracking something new for the week.
Habit trackers can be easily marked with X’s, but they sometimes are color-coded. I color code mine with colors from my KEY. In my journal, green always represents the best, and the color scale goes down to red (which represents the worst).
For example, if I’m tracking “Eating healthy” for myself, I’ll mark the square green if I didn’t cheat-eat at all for the whole day. Lighter green if I ate healthy, but not perfect, etc. Red means I ate like crap ALL day (which does happen, but I try not to make a habit of it! 🤣).
Sometimes it’s nice to see an overview of the calendar with your current week highlighted or outlined. This is a good, aesthetically pleasing filler if you have a little extra room!
I started out by writing weather forecasts for the week prior to the week beginning.. But now I’ve started filling them end at the end of the day. I’ll draw a little icon showing the weather, and enter the highs & lows in the boxes if I’ve added spots for that info.
Wake + Sleep Tracker
My sleep trackers generally all look about the same (some are horizontal and some are vertical). The general idea is that I’ll write my Wake Up time in the box beside the corresponding day, then I’ll write my Go To Sleep time in the box underneath or beside it.
In the boxes in between, at the end of the row or column (only 6 boxes), I’ll write my number of hours slept.
I’ve been asked how I know my sleep time — I sometimes use this tool to calculate number of hours slept — and I usually wait until the end of the week to calculate them all.
Water Tracker or H20 💦
Do you know how much water you should be drinking?
I’ve heard you should take your weight and divide it in half. Then that number is the amount of ounces you should drink each day!
I try to keep up with this by estimating the amount of ounces I drink per day (I’m so much better about it at work, because I carry around a 20 oz. bottle).
If you ever see the 💧water droplet in my spreads, I’m tracking aqua. You should use it too and add your water intake to full meal trackers as well.
It’s nice to have a spot for tracking what you’re thankful for… even if they are super small things.
I sometimes add these to my weekly spreads, but they can be made into their own full spreads.
Start adding just one box for the whole week for your gratitude. You can write as much or as little as you want, but it’s important to remember what really matters. 😇
Notes or Ideas
This is a good section to fill in any blank spot in your spread.
For example, since I’m a blogger, I sometimes come up with different ideas during the week about blog topics, or tools, or really anything.
I’ll write these down in a “Notes”, “Remember” or an “Ideas” section.
This is a good place to add highlights from your week — write down a few random memories from the week, no matter how small.
You’ll love looking back!
Step Tracker 🧘♀️
Here’s my favorite “fitness” related goal.
We all know most smartphones keep up with our steps throughout the day — and many of us are using Fitbits, Apple Watches, Garmin’s, etc to keep up with this.
The step tracker is usually in my Habit Tracker on my monthlies, and I have it color-coded. Again, green is for the MAX amount of steps, and red is for the minimum. See my key to see my actual code.
Calorie + Macros Count
For all you exercise gurus out there, this is a great spot to jot down your daily intake or what you’re eating!
Aka “What Happened Today”, this is the place for whatever the heck you wanna write!
I usually write a funny, interesting or different thing that happened that day.
Jot down anything that happened in your personal life or in the news.
Speaking of news — this is the spot to add the top story of the day.
Sometimes I’ll have them for days or sometimes I’ll make a box for the whole week (and add a few headlines from the week).
Look to Google, Feedly or Facebook for some headline ideas!
Song of the Week
This is exactly as it sounds. Your favorite song of the week!
It’s always super fun to look back on these. If you’re like me, you’ll have your weeks and months where you’re obsessed with a certain song.
Many journals have a spread for their “Waiting On…” list, but you should include them in your weekly spreads.
Add things like packages you’ve ordered but haven’t received, e-mails you’ve sent but can’t haven’t heard back, phone calls you’re expecting, etc.
Here’s another “filler spot” for when you’re setting up your schedule.
There are so many quotes out there to inspire you, make you laugh, or build confidence.
It’s nice to write down some of the most meaningful in your journal. Trust me. These quotes will lift you up during the week!
Write down something that you’ve learned this week.
Add these during the week AS you learn them or at the end of the week when looking back.
If you’re a doodler like me, your weeklies are great spots to add some decoration to your spreads!
They’re like your personality stamp — they add some personal flair to your bullet journal.
Don’t worry, if you’re not much of a doodler, find inspiration on the web (especially Pinterest) or search “simple doodles” or “how to doodle”… then amaze yourself with your awesome drawing skills!
Get the Journal Companion
Find EVERYTHING I track in the recently updated Journal Companion – you can download it for FREE below! I keep the companion updated with Blank Space Ideas and 100+ Habit Tracker ideas! It’s perfect for beginners and students.