How To Use And Set Up A Yearly Review Spread In Your Bullet Journal
Hi friends! Emily here from the 2022 Ambassador Team. You may also know me from Planned and Planted blog or Instagram. As we close out the year and prepare for a new one, it’s time to start thinking about one of my all time favorite bullet journal spreads to create: my yearly review spread.
What is a yearly review spread?
Well, it’s exactly what it sounds like - it’s a spread in your bullet journal where you create a visual review of your year. This could include all kinds of things, from the music you listened to, to special trips or memories from the year, to an overview of how much you read; the list goes on! You can include pictures, doodles, memes, timelines.. whatever you want!
Today I’m going to share with y’all exactly how I make my year in review spreads in my bullet journal. Here’s what we need to get started:
Supplies For A Yearly Review Spread
- Archer and Olive journal
- Sketching pencil and eraser of choice
- Pens - I typically use a combination of Pigma Micron pens and 0.38 Pilot G2 Gel Pens
- Optional: colored pens or markers - try the Archer and Olive Callioigraph brush pens!
- Optional: printed photos
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Creating Your Yearly Review Spread
The first, and arguably most important part of this process, is brainstorming what kinds of categories to include in your review, as well as the information you’ll compile for each category. Since the amount of things you could include are infinite, I find this brainstorming process really useful in narrowing down what I want my spread to be.
The best way to do this is to ask yourself what kinds of things you want to remember about this year. This list won’t look the same for everyone! Some people may want to track their fitness statistics from the year, or maybe some of their income and spending habits. Others may want to remember certain media (books, movies, TV shows, music) they consumed.
To help with this, I’ve created a free downloadable printable with a list of ideas you could track for your year review spread, and space to jot down some memories and statistics or lists within each category.
I highly recommend compiling all of this data, statistics, and information at this point so you can focus on the creative aspect once you get to sketching and inking. It will also give you a good idea of how much space to designate for each section.
Here’s what I have tracked in the past:
- Fitness - how many days exercised, types of exercise, total steps, total miles biked. Most of this data comes from my fitness tracker and app. These are things you can also track in your bullet journal!
- Listening Habits - number of minutes listened on Spotify, favorite podcasts, number of genres listened to, top 5 songs. I get all of this data from my Spotify Wrapped that they usually put out around the end of October.
- Movies and Television shows watched - I flip back through my monthly review spreads where I list what I was watching that month.
- Books and Reading habits - number of books read, number of pages read, author gender statistics, fiction vs. non-fiction, acquisition methods, digital or physical. A lot of this can come from a reading app like Goodreads or Storygraph! I also track this data throughout the year in a spreadsheet. There's also some really great ideas for tracking your reading monthly in your journal.
- Timeline of important dates and memories from the year with pictures - I also go back through my bullet journal to try to remember all of the big, fun, or important moments from the year.
There’s a lot of people who go straight into their bullet journal spreads with pen or marker.. alas, I am not, and will never be one of those individuals. But kudos to them and their confidence. I religiously sketch out most of my spreads before I even think about what pens or markers to use, so that’s what I suggest you do as well. Especially on a spread like this where there’s a lot of information to put in a confined space.
I almost always start with the title first. You can put this in the center of the page, the top, the corner.. wherever your little heart desires! Here’s some options you can use for a title:
- 2023 Highlights
- 2023 Review
- 2023 Year End Review
- 2023 Memories
After you’ve got your title sketched out, you want to mark out the space for each category, and add the sub-headings to those sections. A grid spacing guide can be super helpful to refer to for this part. I find it helpful to lightly jot down the information you want to include within your section to make sure it will fit. This is where it’s nice to have the information already compiled and listed somewhere, so you don’t have to stop in the middle and compile what you want to list.
You can get creative with these sections. I like sketching a little television box for the section with the movies and shows I watched. And one year I made a little bookshelf for the book section.
Make sure to mark out some space for photos or doodles if this is something you want to include as well.
After you’ve got a rough sketch of where you want everything to go - and a desk full of eraser bits to accompany it, if you’re anything like me - it’s time to get to inking!
When I go in with pen, I usually start similar to the order I sketched in - title first, then each category header and doodles, then the information within each category. I personally do most of the spread in ink first, and then will go back in and add some color after the fact.
This is also the time to add any photos you may have printed out. And of course, if there are any other creative elements you like adding to your spreads, like washi tape or stickers, throw all that in there too!
There you have it! You’ve got a sweet and unique review spread of the year in your journal that you can come back to years and years in the future to remember the past with a glance. It also makes it super easy to compare the data from year to year to see how some of your habits or goals or experiences change as you change.
Check out the video below to see my finished yearly review spreads in my bullet journals from the last two years, as well as some more information on how I create them.
Once you're done creating your yearly review spread and have an idea of where you got towards your goals, now it's time to set up some goals for the new year! Check out this blog post to help you get started.
Thanks so much for stopping by! I hope you found this information helpful and that it generated some good inspiration for your own yearly review spread. If you want to see what I create for my 2023 yearly review spread, make sure to follow me on Instagram. And if you decide to create your own review spread, make sure to tag @plannedandplanted and @archerandolive on Instagram so we can see what you create!