People love to get the next month ready in their bullet journal. In fact, I’m pretty sure many artsy bullet journalers probably dedicate hours toward their monthly spreads. There is something so exhilarating writing in empty pages for the first time. Yet nobody ever even thinks to complete a monthly review on all of the information they tracked and logged from the previous month.
It may not seem very important to go back and review the information that you wrote down from last month. But if you’re truly interested in bettering yourself and optimizing your bullet journal, you should highly consider creating a monthly review layout at the end of each monthly spread.
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What is a monthly review page
A monthly review layout is a page that allows you to summarize all of the information from your trackers, collections, calendars, and weekly spreads from the previous month’s layout.
Unlike most monthly spreads, which are located at the beginning of the month, this page is nestled at the very end of the month; often preceding the next month’s cover page. It serves as a place to not only log the data from last month but allows you to create and plan out the changes you’ll make in your spreads for the next month.
Why you need a monthly review in your bullet journal
I want to ask you a question.
Why do you spend so much time on your trackers, your goals, and your lists if you aren’t even going to review them after you’ve finished them?
Honestly, it’s understandable. I’m sure you’re very excited to get your start on next month’s monthly and weekly layouts! But when you take into consideration all of the information you wrote down last month, you can actually use that to improve the next month!
- Do you want to keep tracking goals that aren’t even relevant?
- Did you want to solve a problem next month that you wrote about last month?
- Would you like to figure out your patterns so you can work toward improving your life?
The monthly review helps to accomplish all of that and more. Don’t just stick your head in the sand and ignore all of the good (and the bad) from the last month. Use that information to improve yourself and create more of what you love in your life for next month!
Before creating a monthly review page
BEFORE you start your monthly review spread, I’d like you to stop and look through the last month’s bullet journal spreads. Take a good, hard look at your last month.
Why is this necessary?
Because can use all this juicy information to make your next month even more productive.
When you’re going through your bullet journal spreads, are you noticing any patterns? Do you see any problems you’d like to solve? Have you come across an amazing memory that you’ve already forgotten about?
So, to make your next month even better here is how to do a monthly review. If you have trackers, goals, and lists, you already have the tools to reflect.
Take 15-20 minutes looking over the previous month. I want you to look for patterns in your data. Look for things you didn’t complete. Look for successes. Take note of the things you liked, and the things you honestly didn’t like.
Building your monthly review
There are a lot of items you could review in this monthly review section; however, I usually stick to a certain few topics (though I’m amenable to adjusting this!). Ultimately it’s up to you to choose what elements you put in your own monthly review.
If you aren’t sure where to start, you’re welcome to use my suggestions as a baseline.
So, what should you track on your monthly review page?
The first type of data that I monitor is from my general trackers, such as my habit tracker. But you can also log information from other trackers, such as your mood tracker and sleep trackers! take a few minutes to look at the data from the previous month and try to look for things that I either do or don’t do consistently.
Why is it worthwhile to track this information, especially if it’s not related to goals? Well, if you are doing something consistently from month to month, you’re probably good to drop it! For instance, I quit drinking soda, which is something I tracked for a long time. Well, after four months of no soda, I figured it was kind of a pointless thing to track.
So I removed it in the next month’s habit tracker.
This concept also doesn’t just apply to the things you’ve accomplished; you can also remove or modify trackables that you’re not fulfilling regularly. If you’re trying to monitor whether you’re going to bed at a certain time each night, but you haven’t done it at all for months, you could choose to move the bedtime to a later time (10:30 pm instead of 10:00 pm, for example). Or remove it, and track something else instead!
Long story short, if you’re doing something (or not doing something) consistently for three months, it’s probably safe to remove or modify what you are tracking.
This concept is actually pretty similar to the data you manage that I mentioned for tracking. Once you reach a goal and you are reaching the goal consistently (daily for 3+ months), I’d say it’s time to give it up.
If you aren’t managing a goal well, this would be a great time to reflect on what isn’t working and make adjustments.
Let’s go back to the set bedtime scenario I mentioned earlier. If you have a goal of going to bed at 10 pm, and you aren’t fulfilling this goal at all, then I wouldn’t actually recommend getting rid of it. At least, not right away!
You would want to look at your bedtime routine first (what’s keeping you up later?). Are your expectations for maintaining a consistent earlier bedtime too high? Or, are you just a night owl in denial? In this scenario, you have a goal that isn’t realistic and you should just get rid of it.
Best of the Month
There are a lot of amazing things that happen in life that are so little that it’s easy to get mixed with all your other memories. I highly recommend going through your weekly and daily spreads and taking a quick glance at notes you’ve written yourself. Did something really amazing happen? Did you have a really incredible experience?
Write it in the ‘best of the month’ section.
I’d recommend picking between 1-3 positive things that happened throughout the month.
Why monitor this information? Well, I think it helps to keep a positive spin on things. You can have a really lousy, shitty, terrible month… and I’m positive that there is at least one good thing that happened in your month.
Worst of the Month
Let’s take a swing to the opposite side of the spectrum. You should check to see if there were any problematic scenarios within your month.
Did you have an issue with a friend, family member, or coworker?
Did you have a really lousy day? Or did something bad happen to you? You can write it down in the ‘worst of the month’ section.
If you’re dealing with a problem, especially something consistently, you can utilize your monthly review page to help make modifications to your trackers and goals for the next month.
I pretty much have a notes section for about anything.
The notes section is pretty much the catch-all box for everything else. Maybe something interesting happened in the last month. Or maybe you noticed a really interesting pattern that occurred in the month that you just want to jot down for reference.
Sometimes, you may not have anything interesting to write in this box at all! No harm in leaving a box empty (always great doodle space, or sticker space if that’s more your style!). This is your place to freestyle. Have fun with this box!
This breakdown has included my take on the monthly review, but this growing-in-popularity bullet journal spread doesn’t have to follow this layout. Other types of sections people include in their monthly reviews include:
- Favorite things
- Things to improve for next month
- Biggest improvements
- New things tried
- Ideas and inspiration
Now, what do you do with all of this information you’ve just collected?
Once you’ve logged your information about the previous month in your monthly review section, now is the perfect time to start building your monthly pages for the next month. Remember as you’re setting up your monthly and weekly spreads, occasionally reference back to your monthly review to help optimize your layouts.
As you’re creating your trackers, make the necessary adjustments that you noted. Get rid of what you’ve mastered and what you’ve failed to maintain.
As you create your monthly and weekly goal sheets, remember to get rid of what you’ve mastered. Write down your new goals if you have any, and make the objectives to manage those goals well. If you’ve decided you need to change up a previous goal, adjust and make the new objectives for more optimal success.
A monthly review is an amazing page that helps you take full advantage of all of the trackers, charts, lists, calendars, and notes you’ve written in from the previous month. It’s a huge waste to write all that information now and then never use it again!
Instead, treat your bullet journal as an opportunity to help improve yourself and celebrate your accomplishments.
If you were inspired to create a monthly review,
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