Bullet Journal for Adulting with Austin @MinimalJournal

As fans of the bullet journal, we likely enjoy its flexible nature – that it can be as full or empty as it needs to be depending on your life and each moment.  I’ve skipped days, or needed additional pages for some other days – and the bullet journal simply morphs with me.  So that’s what makes it the perfect system for transitions – one that Austin Miller has recently gone through from college to “real world.” (I use quotes because well….. it’s all real life, real world.)

I am thrilled that he agreed to share his bullet journal with you today – because he’s awesome, funny, and his style is super functional and aesthetic in its simplicity, similar to the original system. Get it, Austin!

Check out @minimaljournal's take on bullet journaling in adulthood


I recently became a “real” adult. I’ve done fun little things like graduate college, start a desk job, sign up for health insurance, and opt out of the extra death and dismemberment coverage offered by my employer. (But it’s only an extra $2.47 a month—such a good deal!)

In this transition period, I’ve come to several weird realizations: I am no longer a student. I do not know what I’m doing in general. And thanks to all the changes, I have no idea how to use my bullet journal anymore.

Check out @minimaljournal's take on bullet journaling in adulthood

There, I said it. (This is a fun admission because according to a friend, “YOU’RE INSTAGRAM FAMOUS!”—and Instagram famous people obviously know what they’re doing.) (I mean, don’t we? lolol – Jessica)

Being a student was easy. My semester was planned out thanks to the syllabus. I took the tasks outlined in the syllabus, stuck them into an itemized collection in my journal, transferred those items to a daily page so I’d actually do said tasks (though this generally happened after the task was due—sorry professors), and hoped I got a decent-ish grade.

Check out @minimaljournal's take on bullet journaling in adulthood

Two months post-graduation and my life involves an 8-5, a lot of Netflix, and so much Chick-Fil-A that three different cashiers know my name and full order (before you judge, cooking for one is really hard and obnoxious, and I live 1 minute and 54 seconds away from Chick-Fil-A). Work tasks generally involve repetitive items like “respond to email” and “check breakroom for donuts.” Since I really haven’t taken the time to figure out how my journal fits into my new life, my journal has gone unused…  for like a month.


I think we’ve all been there—good planning intentions fall by the wayside in light of a new season of Orange is the New Black on Netflix. Unfortunately, my life goes down the drain when I don’t plan, and I forget to do things like respond to personal email and write guest blog posts, so the past week I decided to take some of my own advice. I admitted that I was currently sucking at planning and decided to reevaluate my journal completely. Sometimes you just need a complete and total reset.

I made a list of the things I needed to get done with my journal:

  1. Completing daily tasks. (Well, duh.)
  2. Expense tracking. (Did I really spend $50 at Chick-Fil-A last week? Yes, yes I did.)
  3. Meal planning. (Did I mention that I ate out enough to spend $50 at Chick-Fil-A last week? And this doesn’t even include my numerous Chipotle runs.)
  4. Exercise schedule. (“Exercise” might as well be a foreign word to me currently, but maybe if I start now, I’ll get my summer beach bod ready by Christmas—or not.)
  5. House cleaning routine. (Though I am considering an alternative solution: hire a maid.)

Today I forced myself to use my journal throughout my whole day. Tomorrow I’m setting aside some time to figure out how I want to track expenses, and the next day I’ll work on the next point until I figure out how to fulfill each function with my journal.

Check out @minimaljournal's take on bullet journaling in adulthood

Sometimes it’s okay to lose it and publicly admit to it. Who knows, maybe some of you feel the same way about your journal and need a reset too.

I want to know—ever had a journaling crisis or got stuck in a rut? What did you do about it?


Austin is a brand new spankin adult showing you how to use your bullet journal for the "real world"Austin Miller is a photographer, coffee lover, NPR addict, and recently-graduated “young professional” (he doesn’t know what that means either). Desk job worker by day, Instagrammer by slightly later in the day (have to catch that perfect evening light), Miller shares his bullet journal (mis)adventures at @minimaljournal and his personal life at @amillerphoto.

14 thoughts on “Bullet Journal for Adulting with Austin @MinimalJournal

  1. I’m in the middle of a journaling / planning crisis right now. Kind of hanged – searching for a job, having no idea what to do with my blog and my business plans, so my bullet journal was also left out.
    A new Leuchtturm motivated me a bit. I have just enough place for august in my current one and I try as many things as I can, so I can start over in september with a new notebook🙂


  2. I think the past two months I’ve only done two weeks of dailies, about half a month’s worth of expense tracking, and less than that of habit tracking. I really want to get back on track, but feel so bogged down with the long to-do list in my head due to adult life and taking a summer class and working full time and studying for the CPA and taking care of my dog and cat that I feel like if I try to sit down and jot things down the fact that I’m NOT doing everything almost makes it worse. Even though I know it would totally make me feel better. Sigh. All in due time, I suppose. Welcome to adulthood!


    1. Understandable – there seems to be a neverending list of things we could be doing. Plus, try not to let the gaps in your bullet journal get to you – take a break when it calls to you and it will be waiting for you to start whenever you return to it – especially if you are focused on that crazy CPA test!!


  3. The beauty of a bullet journal is that if you have it written down, you don’t have to give it space in your brain. If all you were tracking was your classwork, you’ve only barely scratched the surface. From someone long on the other side of becoming an adult (my son just turned 30 LOL), may I offer a couple pieces of advice.

    First of all, – everyone, no matter their age, has to take care of (or help take care of) their physical environment. So start out with your house/apartment. Figure out what chores have to be done to keep your place as tidy and clean as you like to have it and laundry under control. Schedule those on a daily or weekly basis.

    Second – you need to keep up on your appointments. Use a future log or classic calendar to keep track of holidays, doctors and dentist appointments ect. Do you belong to any clubs, professional groups, worship/faith groups? Gym or sporting events? Migrate those to your daily or weekly spread so you won’t loose track of them (or schedule two things at the same time).

    Third – finances and legal stuff. You need to have a budget/spending plan. It’s no fun to have more month than money. And you should have a will, and the other legal documents like a power of attorney and health care directive. While not a journal thing, it’s an adult thing. Do it. And register to vote!

    Lastly, just because you have graduated, you shouldn’t stop learning. Take a class to keep your professional credentials fresh, take a class just for fun. Learn a new hobby or a new language.

    Getting out on your own as an adult is not easy. And maybe your life is such that you can keep track of everything with just your brain, no journal needed. But trust me, it will get more complicated as you go. And if you get into excellent habits now in regards to your time, your finances, your household, it will pay off big time as you get deeper into adulthood.


  4. Yes! I’ve been adulting for a while now (won’t say how long…) — although, I stayed in education, so I still live in terms of the school year.. — but I definitely felt a bit lost at the beginning of the summer until I realized how many silly little tasks I needed to do that should go in my bullet journal! Great article🙂


  5. Loved this, Austin! I didn’t have as much of a shock as you did — or maybe it just hasn’t hit me yet! I started bullet journaling when I was an intern though, and continued as I finished college, which included a final semester where I juggled college AND tutoring 5-6 different students at once. Then I transitioned to now, where I’m tutoring and doing the blog stuff for fun — though it does take a lot of time! So maybe my transitions weren’t as extreme! I think the worst part was the housekeeping and budgeting. In college, I’d mop the floor every week. At home, I fell into bad habits of not doing it for weeks so quickly. And budgeting is *hard*, especially no spends! I haven’t joined the corporate world yet — I’m not keen on it but I probably will later this year — but I anticipate a planning crisis when that happens! It always does when your life starts moving about!


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