What Are Monthlies?
Monthly Logs (also referred to as Monthlies) are one of the staple spreads in bullet journaling. The main use of a monthly log (as you may have guessed) is to help organise your month. In its most simplistic form, a monthly is intended to give you brief overview of your events and tasks for the month. It is extremely useful to have this spread so you can easily see what events/appointments etc. you have coming up, and know when you’re free to schedule more tasks as the month goes on.
Whilst it is the benefit of bullet journaling that you have the ability to cater each spread to your needs, it can also be daunting when you’re first starting out to know where to begin. When I first started, I found it extremely helpful to imitate other people’s spreads and use them for a month to see what did and didn’t work for me. From there I was able to bring together aspects that worked for me and create my own layouts each month. And even if you’ve been bullet journaling for a while, maybe your current layout isn’t working for you anymore and you don’t know how to mix it up! In this blog I have gathered a large variety of different layout ideas to hopefully give you a starting point or give you some new inspiration.
- Archer and Olive Journal – The lovely and thick pages have no bleeding or ghosting, so you get a clean start for every spread! Also, it means you can decorate the spread without worrying about it.
- Fineliners – My favourites are the Unipin fineliners as they’re waterproof, affordable and have a strong nib.
- Pencil – To plan out your spread carefully and make sure it has everything you need.
- Decorative Touch (optional) – This could be anything from washi to watercolour, or of course, nothing! I usually like to add a personal touch to my spreads so they’re more fun to use and look at.
‘Traditional’ Monthly Calendars
The creator of the bullet journal method originally described monthly logs being set up by: “list[ing] all the dates of that month down the left margin, followed by the first letter of the corresponding day. Monday the 14th would be “14M.” Here are some varying examples of people using this method:
Ignoring the illustration on the left, this monthly log set up is exactly as Ryder describes on his website. It has space on the left of the calendar for tasks, and on the right for events. This spread also highlights the flexibility of monthly layouts, and shows you that you can adapt them to your own preference. This spread was created by me (@hayleyremdeart on Instagram).
This is another set up close to Ryder's method, however Amiza (@amizaomar on Instagram) has labelled alternative sections - one for personal events/tasks and one for work. She has perfectly adapted this system to what works for her.
This spread created by Elizabeth (@myartsyplans on Instagram) is a very slightly modified version Ryder's method. The illustration of course is optional, but the calendar on the right page has the days of the month listed, and the weekends highlighted to indicate the days of the month without needing to notate MTWFSS. This simple monthly is super easy to set up, and a perfect start for getting into using monthly spreads.
This monthly log created by Dan (@pacificnotation on Instagram) has a creative spin on the traditional layout. I love how simple, yet unique, this monthly log is!
I love how V (@dotted.v on Instagram) tweaked this layout to fill the whole page. Also, the way she split the month really gives distinction where each week is, which makes them easier to see at a glance.
Shanise (@blackandwhitebullet on Instagram) did a brilliant job of creating more room on her monthly for different tasks/events/appointments etc. As you can see she has added birthdays/work hours/events in different columns so she can easily distinguish between each task.
I had to include this monthly spread by Ela (@elas_bullet_journey on Instagram) where she has boxed the weekends to give more definition, and included a gorgeous illustration!
Finally, these two spreads by Susa (@isabelhoops on Instagram) are a brilliant adaption of the vertical calendar, and also show you how to incorporate your own style!
The Harry Potter one is more in keeping with the traditional method, but the December monthly is a unique calendar with a box for each day. Susa's work is seriously gorgeous and you definitely need to check out her Instagram for more!
Horizontal Monthly Calendars
Very similar to the previous spreads, these layouts are orientated horizontally to allow for different embellishments:
This beautiful spread by Marie (@metro_boulot_bujo on Instagram) shows you how this layout can be decorative, but also useful for jotting down tasks/events for the months. There is the possibility to add more than one submission each day, and the height of the line can indicate the type of task.
If you're on the artistic side, this spread by me (@hayleyremdeart on Instagram) shows you how you can really utilise the space to create something fun. The boxes are 1.5 squares wide meaning you can include two/three submissions each day by writing vertically.
Grid Monthly Calendars
Grid calendars are especially good for visualising the month ahead. Also, depending on how big you create the boxes, you can include more information than the vertical and horizontal calendar methods.
A perfect example of this layout is by @a.freckle.a.day on Instagram. This layout is lovely a clean, and as you can see, the grid is big enough to allow for at least 4 tasks/events.
This layout by Celine (@enemesis_4 on Instagram), has a gorgeous, decorative twist. Again, the grid is big enough to allow for at least 4 tasks/events, and she was also able to include a to-do list for the month too!
Serena (@sea_journal on Instagram) created a gorgeous version of this layout, including a dutch door feature. The dutch door will allow her to easily flick between her weekly and monthly spreads. Also, its just stunning!!
Multi-Purpose Monthly Calendars
These monthly spreads all have more than one feature. The creators have really analysed what they need from a monthly spread!
This spread by Whitney (@lifebywhitney on Instagram) is predominantly a grid layout, however, she has really made use of the space and included daily to-do's, weekly goals, future goals, next weeks schedule AND quarterly goals! I think this is the most information I have ever seen on a monthly spread, and it manages to still be clean and pretty!
One of my favourite bullet journalists to follow for clean and productive spreads is Stina (@supermassiveblackink on Instagram). In this monthly spread you can see she has both a grid and vertical calendar layout. She has also included a to-do list. I really love this set up!
I love how Julia (@julia.pezowicz on Instagram) has included a few boxes for things that are going to be important for her to track this specific month. As the monthly log is one of the most used spreads, it's a brilliant idea to have these reminders here to keep it in her mind and on track for the month!
Finally, this multi-purpose monthly by me (@hayleyremdeart on Instagram) has space for a vertical monthly, a to-do list, a personal work box, and five habit trackers. Whilst I have made this one quite decorative to fit in with my theme that month, this layout could easily be made with simple boxes!
Fun Monthly Calendars
When I made the layout for this blog, I knew I had to include a few unique spreads by Jannette (@jannplansthings on Instagram), however I didn't know how to categorise them. So I've just listed them as 'fun', but they are also functional, and you could definitely make them simpler if you are not as artistic as she is!
As you can see, these spreads have the days of the month in a circle and semi-circle orientation. Such a fun layout to try out!
I am probably missing so many layouts, and if you have a fun or functional one I left out, please let me know! But hopefully I’ve given you some help and inspiration to create your next (or first!) monthly spread. And if I have, I would love to see your spreads, so tag me on Instagram (@hayleyremdeart) and use #hayleyremdeinspired to get the chance to get your creations featured in my stories!