Welcome to my new series, Bullet Journal 2.0. In this series, I’ll be discussing a number of topics, including what a bullet journal is, future logs (hey, you’re on this post), monthly spreads, weeklies vs. dailies, habit tracking, collections, getting over the fear of starting, what to do before you get started, FAQs, and a final wrap-up with my top tips and pointers. If you were counting, that was 10 topics. One topic a week for ten weeks! I dug myself a deep hole here, but with your support, I’ll pull through.
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We are in the third week of this blog series, and I’m happy to say that it’s going way better than expected. I’ve received tons of feedback and support, for which I am forever grateful for. This week’s topic is Future Logs.
I’ve been seeing a lot of confusion on future logs. What is their purpose? How do you set one up if you’re starting a bullet journal in the middle of the year? I’m going to answer those questions as well as show you a few setup options.
The Purpose of the Future Log
The future log is typically placed at the front of your journal and then used to note events and tasks in the future. Seems obvious — am I right? So, how far in advance are these events? Well, that’s up to you. I use my future log to note anything that’s happening after the current month I’m in. For instance, if I have a dentist appointment in May and an eye exam in June, I’ll log the eye exam in the future log. The dentist appointment will go straight to my monthly log because I have that month set up in my journal.
At the end of every month, I flip to my future log for reference. I then migrate anything from the future log to my monthly log.
Why should you migrate these tasks and events?
More than likely, you will reference you monthly log more frequently than your future log. It keeps things organized and also helps you remember the event because you’re forced to rewrite it. Practice referencing and migrating tasks and events every month. It will become a habit, and in turn, better prepare you for the upcoming month. There will be no surprise that it’s your turn to bring treats to the office if you wrote it in your future log and then migrated it to your monthly log.
What Goes in the Future Log?
In forums and Facebook groups, I see a lot of questions surrounding the content of the future log. A lot of people are under the impression that if you don’t have frequent business meetings, you won’t use a future log. Honestly, it’s 100% up to you how often you use it. But, from the perspective of a stay-at-home mom, I can tell you that it can be a very useful resource for everyone.
Some examples of things you might write in your future log include:
- Car registration renewal
- Quarterly insurance payments
- Property tax payments
- Doctor/dentist/optometrist appointments
- Important dates at kids’ school (first day, last day, early release, etc.)
- Sporting events
- College dates (exam dates, last day of semester, etc.)
- Business meetings
- TV series premiers
- Community activities
- Baby showers, weddings, etc.
- Child vaccination dates
- Pet vaccination dates
I came up with this list in about 10 minutes. There are certainly many more examples. Some of these won’t apply to you; some of them will. Make use of those that are important to you. If you need help noting tasks as opposed to events, check out this post.
Setting Up Your Future Log
There are a few different layouts you can utilize depending on your preference. But, before you design a future log just because you think it’s pretty, take into account how much you will be using it. If you are going to be adding a lot of tasks and events, don’t leave yourself with only two or three lines for each month. However, if you are more keen to seeing your entire year at a glance, you may want to stick with an open face, two-page spread.
If you are following along with BulletJournal.com’s standard guide, you will have four pages. Each page will have three months on it, with a small snapshot of the monthly calendar and then room to the side for entries.
- Pros: There’s a decent amount of room for entries with this layout. It’s easy to set up because there isn’t a lot of dividing the page into small sections.
- Cons: This spread doesn’t allow you to see the entire year at a time.
This version of the future log has grown in popularity on Instagram and Pinterest. Much like the horizontal layout, it often only allows for six months per spread. And it uses a total of 4 pages. However, I think it’s possible to create the vertical layout and fit all 12 months on an open face spread. You would just divide the two pages in half and have six months on top and six on the bottom [see image below]. But, this wouldn’t allow you as much room for entries.
- Pros: Using the full length of a page, this layout allows plenty of space for tasks and events. It’s also a very simple spread to setup and easy to reference.
- Cons: Like the horizontal layout, you aren’t able to see the entire year at a glance. Also, the columns are narrow, which means only a few words will fit on each line.
I haven’t previously seen a future log that looks like this. But, people have used similar layouts for birthday trackers. This was a design I came up while trying to figure out a way to see the entire year on one page, and still have enough room for multiple entries. While it’s appealing to those who are more artsy, it has its flaws, too.
- Pros: It’s an attractive design that gives you a shot at the entire year on one spread.
- Cons: There’s not as much room for tasks and events as compared to the horizontal and vertical spreads. Also, it’s more time consuming and difficult to set up because you need a compass.
This layout is a great option if you want to see your entire year on one page and use the adjacent page for your entries. Personally, I like the look of this layout, but think it lacks enough space for events and tasks. To allow yourself more space you could do a similar layout but with only six months.
- Pros: You can see every day of the year on one page. It’s can be very minimalistic and fairly quick to set up.
- Cons: Trying to fit twelve months worth of events onto one page is going to be difficult, and it doesn’t leave you a lot of room.
How to Set Up a Future Log in the Middle of the Year
One of the most frequent questions I see asked about the future log is, “how do I set one up in April?” I’m not trying to be an ass, but the answer is really simple. Start with the month following the current month we’re in. At the time this post goes live it’s almost May. If it was me, I would start my future log in June. You don’t include the current month because you will log everything for that month in your monthly log. How many times can I use the word month in one sentence?
How long you stretch out your future log is up to you. Do you plan to start a new journal at the end of the year, regardless of if you’ve filled your journal or not? You can set up your log to only go until December, or you could do a full twelve months.
I reiterate this all the time; I know. But, the bullet journal system is designed to be flexible and 100% customizable to your needs. So, don’t feel pressured to stick to the above guidelines. Think outside the box. Go for a totally new and innovative future log. Be sure to upload it to Instagram, and tag me, @the.petite.planner so I can see.
Other Posts in the Series:
[ Part 1: WTF is a Bullet Journal]
[Part 2: Before You Get Started]
[Part 3: You Are Here]
[Part 4: The Monthly Log]
[Part 5: Weekly Logs vs. Dailies]
[Part 6: Habit Trackers]
[Part 7: Collections]
[Part 8: Getting Over the Fear of Starting]
[Part 9: FAQs]
[Part 10: Wrap Up & Final Tips]
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