Refillable Bullet Journal Setup: January Plan With Me

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January is almost here, so it’s time for another Plan With Me post. And this month I’m doing something unconventional!

I’m doing a kind of minimalist Bullet Journal theme with some small cacti doodles, but that’s not the twist.

You probably expected this to be 2020 Bullet journal setup, however, I won’t actually be starting a new journal right now.

The thing is, the last days of December, and the first days of January are always pretty busy and stressful days for me. With all the holidays, gifts, social obligations and of course, blog work, I really don’t have the energy to set up a whole new journal.

I decided that I’ll be starting my journals in June, which is my birthday month. This is a less stressful time for me, plus it makes sense to set goals for my birthday year.

If you want to see me doing yearly setups, check out my 2019-2020 Bullet Journal setup. Plus, there will be a video on how to set up your Bullet Journal on my YouTube channel, so you can give that a look.

Now, let’s dive into the setup itself! And after that, we’ll talk about the advantages and disadvantages of using a refillable notebook as your Bullet Journal.

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I really had no idea what I wanted to do for my January theme, this is probably why it took me so long to actually do the setup. 

I know I have an extensive list of theme ideas for every month of the year, but none felt like the right one. Do you ever get this feeling, when there are many good ideas but none of them actually clicks?

This was me in January until suddenly, something clicked!

While writing my blog post on ways to bring your Bullet Journal to the next level, I went through some old Skillshare classes I took before. That’s when I came across the Botanical Line Drawings class.

How To Bring Your Bullet Journal To The Next Level - Botanical Drawings Skillshare Class | Masha Plans

While I was going through the class, it occurred to me – I want something pretty minimal for my January because I’m a bit too busy for a complete setup. So why don’t I just use these simple botanical drawings for minimalist decorations?

And so this theme was born. I think it’s also pretty fitting because it’s calendar summer here.

If you read and think of hot sun and beaches, that’s totally not like that. Even though it’s summer, I’m still sitting here in a sweater. What can I say? La Paz is in the mountains and not that hot. And yours truly is kind of a fake Russian and can’t tolerate cold weather at all.

Now in case you haven’t heard about Skillshare, this is an online learning platform where there are courses for any topic imaginable. For me, it’s my secret to improving all things Bullet Journal – doodles, lettering, drawing, watercolor and so much more!

In case you want to give it a try, you can get 2 weeks FREE if you follow this link.


This month I’m doing something very different – I decided to use my Filofax refillable notebook, which they so nicely sent to me in summer. 

I already used it as my travel journal, but this month I wanted to experiment and see what are the advantages and disadvantages of using a refillable notebook.

If you want to know – I’ll update this post at the end of January to tell you about the results of the experiment.

Otherwise, all my other supplies are pretty standard, the usual favorites I always use.

Cover Page

As I mentioned before, I really wanted this setup to be as minimalist as I possibly could.

I just added a few green elements simply to create the theme mood.

Minimalist Bullet Journal Setup, cover page | Masha Plans

Monthly Log

I’m still with my favorite November format of a tiny calendar and key to mark days when something special happens.

It also left enough space for my goals, and this month, I decided to divide them into several categories.

That way it’s easier to see them and make sure that I complete all I have to, or at least the priority ones.

Minimalist Bullet Journal Setup, monthly log | Masha Plans

Habit Tracker

This month I’m using the vertical format. Since I only track a few habits I had some space to add my monthly to-do list as well.

I don’t need a key because I think the icons are pretty self-explanatory, but it might be just me. The habits are actually the same ones I tracker in December: Water, writing, gym, and publishing a blog post.

Icons are a great way to make things more visual and to shorten the text as I did here in the vertical tracker. Be sure to check my post on 7 ways to use icons in your Bullet Journal to get the most out of them in your BuJo.

Minimalist Bullet Journal Setup, habit tracker | Masha Plans

Gratitude Log

As always, a gratitude log is a must in my monthly setup. I haven’t decided yet if I should do it as text or maybe doodles….

What do you think?

Minimalist Bullet Journal Setup, gratitude log | Masha Plans

Extra Page

This is a page with something new I’m trying out in January.

The first item is the weekly schedule. I want to do more batching (completing similar tasks together), so I’m thinking of assigning certain schedules to my days. Like, on Wednesdays, I’d do everything email-related, and Thursdays would be my filming days to do all the YouTube videos for the week.

Something like that. 

Minimalist Bullet Journal Setup, extra page | Masha Plans

This helps me to complete tasks faster because once you get in a writing mindset, for example, it’s much easier to write 4 blog posts in one sitting without switching to a different mindset.

The second part of this spread is a tracker. It’s said that it only takes 20 hours to master a new skill, which is more or less just a month. So I decided to challenge myself in 2020 and try to spend 20 hours each month and learning a new skill. In January I’m starting with Lettering.

Weekly Spreads

Since the month is done, here are the weekly pages I created.

Refillable Bullet Journal Setup: January Plan With Me - weekly spread | Masha Plans
Refillable Bullet Journal Setup: January Plan With Me - weekly spread | Masha Plans
Refillable Bullet Journal Setup: January Plan With Me - weekly spread | Masha Plans

Plan With Me Video

As always, here is my January Plan With Me video.

Bullet Journaling in Refillable Notebook

Now that we’re done with my setup let’s talk about why you’d want to use a refillable notebook for your Bullet Journal.

  • It’s more convenient to organize your pages. You can physically move your collections to a certain section on your planner.
  • It’s easier to fix mistakes. You can just take out the page and start fresh.
  • You don’t need to carry around spreads you don’t use. Just take them out of the journal, and it’ll be that much lighter to carry with you.
  • You can mix different types of lining. Create your usual spreads on dotted paper, but journal on lined paper. You can also just add blank pages for doodling and such.
  • You can add pre-made refills. If you’re too busy but need to plan your week – there are usually already pre-made refills available. Planning when you’re busy becomes a matter of a few seconds – just add pre-made weekly to your journal.

There are, however, a few disadvantages of using a planner like that as well. Here are a few:

  • Bullet Journal is supposed to be your book of life, but if you keep moving pages and replacing them, you kind of miss out on the experience of looking back and seeing your life through your Bullet Journal pages.
  • The binding in the middle isn’t very comfortable for writing. You can, of course, always take your pages out when you’re planning.
  • No more Bullet Journal spreads that occupy two pages – the binding in the middle won’t allow it.
  • There are no ribbons, and an Index isn’t really an option, so it’s a bit more difficult to look through the pages. You can, of course, insert the dividers, but you can’t mark every page with one.

So, is it worth switching to a refillable notebook? I’m about to find out myself!

Do you Bullet Journal in a refillable notebook? If so, what are your thoughts on it? Let us know in the comments.

Hope this post was useful; if you find it so, please share! If you enjoy my content and want to show your appreciation, please consider supporting me with a cup of coffee.

And always remember! Keep Bullet Journaling, and don’t be a Blob!

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