The Perfect Monthly Setup For Your Bullet Journal (Minimalist and Super Easy)

I started bullet journaling around two years ago, but in the beginning I could never keep up and maintain consistency. I would always make these intricate monthly spreads, it would take me HOURS, and then I wouldn’t fill them out throughout the month. Not to mention, it was so much extra work that I would miss out on the beginning of every month because I was procrastinating making the setup. 

I had to figure out the perfect setup that wouldn’t take hours, but still was an outlet for my creativity, and super functional. It took a while, but I’ve finally narrowed it down to the essentials. Here’s an overview before I get into the details of each section (TLDR at the end):

  1. Monthly cover
  2. Calendar
  3. Goals
  4. Gratitude page
  5. Habits & Sleep Tracker
  6. Weekly spreads

Might seem like a lot (or maybe not enough?), but now once I get started it takes me 30 minutes to get it done! I usually finish the setup the weekend before the new month begins, and I don’t procrastinate anymore! So, let’s start talking about the perfect spread.

I started bullet journaling because (popular opinion) I didn’t like the setup in normal agendas, they were so rigid, didn’t allow for any customization, and had sections that I wouldn’t touch. And, I love physically writing down my tasks and reminders. Most of the world may have moved to scheduling on their phone, but I remain stubborn. 

I consider myself creative enough to need an outlet for my ideas, but not artistically capable of going beyond minimal setups. Shout out to the amazing artists creating super aesthetic bullet journals, I envy you LOL. I put photo examples of my actual October setup, so you’ll understand what I mean.

So without further delay:

Monthly Cover

This is exactly what you think – the page that begins the new monthly section. This is my favourite page because there are soooo many different ways to get creative here, the only thing you need is the name of the month, everything around it can be whatever you like!

To make things simple for the rest of the layout, I like to pick my colours here (usually 2, sometimes more if I’m feeling a little more artistic). Depending on the colours, I’ll think of something to draw – sometimes just lines making patterns, or simple flowers, or fruits, snowflakes, really whatever is simple, easy, and sometimes on the month’s theme. 

Luckily there are thousands of beautiful covers on Pinterest for inspo – I have a whole section for minimal monthly covers on my Pinterest. I like to use these just to get ideas because when I try to copy the photo; I get hit with a nice dose of reality regarding my hands’ ability to physically create what’s in my mind. 

I like to keep my monthly covers to one page, it’s simple and easy to finish. And as a bonus, when my month ends on a left side page, I don’t have to think of something to fill the right side page so I can use the next two side by side pages for the monthly cover. 

Calendar & Monthly Goals

If you like to view your plans more long term, this is going to be your favourite page. In university, I always needed to see the next few weeks to truly understand what I had coming up. It wasn’t enough to just look at the week. 

Having this monthly calendar made me avoid some of my procrastination. If I had a blank week, and a following week full of deadlines, I would not have done anything during the blank week, blissfully ignorant about the horror approaching. 

The monthly calendar lets you write in deadlines, birthdays, appointments, test/exam dates, yoga classes, presentations, family visits, whatever you do! You know when you have time to book stuff just by looking at this page.

I like to keep this to one page too, I write really small and I can condense a lot of tasks into a small space. Remember that this is just a quick summary, you’re not going to write a long title here. If you are super busy or your writing is big, then I recommend two pages side by side for this so you can fit in all your events! 

I start by seeing how many weeks are in the month, this determines the number of rows. Then I divide vertically by 7 for the days of the week. I’m in Canada so unfortunately I’m used to starting my calendar on a Sunday even though, in my head, my week officially begins on a Monday, this is very annoying but I feel like I can’t read the calendar if I moved Monday to the first column. Anyone else have this issue?? 

The Monthly Goals page is new for me, but it’s already been making some changes in my life. I write down 4 personal goals for that month, simple goals, attainable goals but ones that I constantly avoid. This way, I remember these goals and they’re on my mind. 

At the end of the month, I write down when/if/what I did to accomplish those goals. When I haven’t completed a goal, it sucks not to have anything to write, so it motivates me to take a step whenever I can towards that goal. This page forces me to take those 5 minutes to start, that leads to hours of work.

Sometimes, you really just need to write something down to actually get to it. We all have personal projects or self-improvement goals, but it’s easy to push these to the side because they’re not immediate or mandatory. They should be though, these are the personal wins that we need to motivate ourselves, to start working on ourselves, to take the time to take care of ourselves. 

Gratitude, Habits & Sleep Tracker


My simplest page! I write a big “grateful for…” or “gratitude” at the top in cursive, number the rows for the days in the month, then I highlight every other row. Done! Such a simple page, but so impactful.

I kept reading how helpful and therapeutic it can be to remind yourself of what have to be grateful about, what you shouldn’t take for granted. I always brushed this off claiming to know that I have so much in my life to be happy about. 

But the peer pressure got to me and I gave in, at first I decided to write three things every day. This was a little too much, and it made writing what I’m grateful for feel like a chore, so I wasn’t really getting the benefits.

This year I decided to cut it down to one thing a day. To no one’s surprise, this is much more manageable, and when you miss a day in your journal, you don’t have to fill up 6 rows the next day! It’s also much easier to organize, and now I can say that I’m grateful I gave this a try.  

This is the page I end every night with. I write down one thing that I’m grateful for that day. It makes me reflect on my day, what was a good thing that happened, or something that truly reminded me of all that I have to be grateful about. You’d be surprised, even the most uneventful or bad days have a little spark. 

Habits & Sleep Tracker

Do you think you sleep enough? Try tracking your sleep hours and maybe see why you’re so tired all the time. You think you floss almost everyday? Track the days you do and see if you actually are! But let’s slow down…

Habits Tracker

In half of the page I like to have a chart tracking my habits. Don’t try to keep track of all the good habits that zillionaires do that you should be doing, you will become overwhelmed and ditch keeping track of anything at all. Try to keep it under 10 habits every month. Make a chart, with the habits on the x-axis and the days on the y-axis. If you complete the habit, put an “X” for that day. 

This is the most simple set up, very functional, space-efficient, and it will save your time and markers! It’s much simpler than making 10 mini calendars for each habit, anyone else find this super tedious and repetitive? And if you mark the days with an “X” instead of colouring them in, your markers wont get contaminated with the colour of other marker colours or worse from pen ink, a nightmare!

In order to make this section actually helpful, you need to analyze how much you’re keeping up with those habits. Why aren’t you keeping up with certain habits (*cough* exercise lmao)? Either tackle the reason(s) and start doing that habit, or stop tracking it. There really isn’t any reason to be mean to yourself with a constant empty row in your tracker. 

Once there’s a habit that you’ve kept up with regularly for three or more months, I’d retire it and trust that you’re probably going to keep this one up on your own. Now you have space for growth, what new habit do you want to incorporate?

Slowly introducing new habits is much better than giving yourself 5 new habits every month to maintain. You won’t, you’ll feel bad about yourself, and give in to bad habits, it’s a bad cycle, so take it easy. Moving forward slowly is better than staying in the same spot, or worse, regressing. 

Sleep Tracker

I read “Why We Sleep”, and it seriously opened my eyes to the consequences of sleep deprivation. I have an educational background in science, I know down to the molecular level some of the benefits of sleeping well, but do I regularly not get enough sleep? Yes, yes I do. I’m working on it, and this sleep tracking habit is helping me SO much.

The sleep tracker is set up similar to the habit tracker, days on the y-axis, but the time instead of habits on the x-axis. I start from 10pm to 9am, because my sleeping schedule can be rather radical.

In the morning, when you’re looking at your tasks for the day, colour in the hours that you slept that night. To help with my analysis at the end of the month, I like to write the number of hours I slept and when I woke up on the coloured squares.

Set a goal sleep-time for yourself, when do you want to get into bed? Or work backwards from when you need to wake up, when should you be going to bed so you can get AT LEAST 8 hours of sleep? 

Love that I’m giving this advice, personally, I haven’t had a monthly average sleep length of 8 hours a night or more yet, but I persist. I’m getting better though, and it’s literally due to keeping track of my sleeping habits!

I used to think that I slept on average 7-8 hours a night, I thought this was decent. Obviously I assumed wrong, I sleep on average a little over 6 hours a night, which is not decent. I go to regularly go to bed way later than I thought, but I’m still an early bird, so I cut my sleep hours so much. You have to try tracking to see just how bad your sleeping habits are. 

At the end of the month, look at what time you most frequently went to bed, and when you woke up, and most importantly, calculate the average hours of sleep you got each night. 

Try to reach your goal time every month, look at the area you need to improve and work on it! Do you need to sleep earlier? Wake up earlier? Once you’ve narrowed it down, see what’s stopping you, and try to figure out how to prevent it. 

Sleeping is so important, please don’t neglect this.

Weekly Spread

These spreads are like your regular agenda, a space to write the to-do’s for every day. I like to have one week in one page, again I write really small so I don’t see the need for two pages. But again divide one week into two pages if you need more space!

There are so many ways to divide up the page for weekly spreads. Honestly, I usually end up dividing the page into 6 or 8 even rectangles. I put my Saturday and Sunday in one rectangle because I try to keep the tasks during the weekend to a minimum. 

 I suggest writing your tasks for the day, the night before. This way when you wake up, you already know what you need to do, and you can rest easily knowing that something else is making sure you remember all your tasks for tomorrow. Also, make sure you have your Key at the beginning of your bullet journal so you can classify your tasks!

And that’s a wrap of the best monthly setup! Super functional, simple, and easy!! Remember, at its core, your bullet journal is about keeping track of your tasks, so implement pages that are helping you be productive. Don’t add a page just because everyone else does it – it’s slowing you down. 


Here’s a quick TLDR (but look at the pictures for examples!!) :

  1. Monthly Cover – a pretty cover page for your month
  2. Month Calendar – calendar of your month filled with the important events that month
  3. Monthly Goals – write down 2-4 personal small goals for yourself that you want to achieve that month
  4. Gratitude – write down one thing you are grateful for at the end of everyday
  5. Habits & Sleep Tracker – track no more than 10 habits that you want to do (almost daily), and also track the number of hours that you sleep and when
  6. Weekly Spread – divide a page (or two pages) in 7 sections and write down your tasks for each day of that week

Let me know what you think, which pages will you be implementing? I’m going to go tick off this blog post from my tasks now 🙂

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