I’ve gotten TONS of requests for how to create the circular calendar I use for my monthly spread in my bullet journal. Since I spent the morning setting up November, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity. A circular calendar is great for some artistic flair in your bullet journal. Mine inspires me to go back and check it more consistently now that I use this method. I tried a lot of different monthly layouts before I settled on this one (for now–haha). You can see some of what I changed in my bullet journal over the first six months here. If you want to know more about organizing with a bullet journal, you can read all about it here.
Monthlies stumped me for a long time. I found I wasn’t using them effectively. At the end of each month, I stared at them with guilt. I knew I’d neglected them. I tried traditional calendars, but neglected those as well. Finding a way to incorporate important events for the month grew increasingly important. But, I still had a major problem. I knew I didn’t want to clutter my monthly with the day-to-day. Color-coded and calendex systems didn’t seem to fit my personality very well. I scoured the internet for something to solve my monthly woes. One day, a suggested Instagram posts seemed to hold the answer.
The Pros & Cons of the Circular Calendar
Clearly, the circular calendar is beautiful. It’s a great way to display your major events in a clean and appealing way. For those of you looking to go a little non-traditional with your planning, this may be a great way to start. One of the things I love is the flexibility of adding events and items. I usually just draw lines out of the day and put a short description and occasionally a time. Most of the daily repetitive stuff is on my phone or in my trackers, so I don’t need to write in every appointment. I needed a monthly to remind me of birthdays, major events, and the occasional appointment. My editorial calendar for my blog lies on the next page, which I refer to 2-3 times a week. It’s the perfect opportunity to keep tabs on what’s coming up later in the month.
Creativity & Versatility
Part of the reason my monthlies failed is that previous versions spread over two pages. I didn’t refer back to it because it was the only thing on the page. It was also too repetitive of what was on my phone. One benefit of this circular calendar is everything fits nicely on one page (though I have seen very successful circular calendars done over the seam of two pages). It gives me a chance to work on my doodling skills every month. You can see my attempt at a cornucopia in November.
It leaves me room to put something equally important on the other side. I chose to put my editorial calendar on its twin page because I refer to that a few times a week. Part of my issue in the past was never looking at my monthly, which defeated the purpose. Now that I have my editorial calendar next to it, I look at it much more often, which means more reminders for my terrible memory on what’s coming up! If you’re having the same issue, I highly recommend trying to get your monthly down to one page and using the other page for something you reference often over the course of the month. It’s been a game changer!
This spread is also easily customizable for your monthly needs. You can choose to write everything down, or you can pick and choose what you need. It looks great no matter how open or cluttered it is!
Busy Bees & Time Consumption
If you have a very busy schedule, I definitely wouldn’t suggest putting every appointment in your monthly. Instead, only put the things that happen occasionally (like an annual check-up, birthdays, or weddings). All my repetitive and common appointments go straight into my weekly spread. This is something I had to learn, because I was writing everything down SO MANY TIMES. Maybe that works for you, but it felt like a waste of time. One of my planning reflection pages literally states: “Stop repeating yourself so much.” I LOL every time I flip through and see it.
If you’re someone who must write in every appointment, event, and occasion in your monthly, it could easily overwhelm this layout. You can always expand the space you have by putting the center of your circular calendar on the centerfold and using both pages. I’ve also seen many bujo-lovers choose not to take the circular calendar route because they prefer the look of a traditional calendar. Maybe this spread just speaks to me because it’s outside the norm, like me! 😛
The major downside to this spread is it takes more time to set up and get it right. It’s my third month doing it, so I’ve pretty much got a solid system down to get the initial circle done in about 10 minutes. However, the first time I did it, it took SO MUCH LONGER. I didn’t time it, but I’m pretty sure it was at least a half hour.
How To Draw Your Own Circular Calendar
While the result is phenomenal (in my humble opinion) because it creates a stunning calendar, it’s easy to get intimidated by this calendar. One of my Instagram followers and good friend Jen asked me how I get those perfect circles…
The Truth? I cheat.
I wouldn’t be able to do this monthly without my handy-dandy compass. I start by drawing 4 circles that are a “dot size” apart. I say dot-size because I use a Leuchtturm 1917 dotted journal for my bullet journal. If you use a grid, that’s equivalent to 1 box. If you use a lined journal, just go one line apart between circles. I draw one extra circle so I can label the weeks to match my editorial calendar. You can definitely leave out that last inner circle if you wish.
I Can’t Believe I’m About To Say This…
All right. I admit it. Don’t tell my high school Geometry teacher that I’m renigging on my whole “I’ll never use geometry” philosophy. It’s become a bigger part of my life than I’d like to admit, but here goes. For the next part, I use Geometry. I use my protractor — yes, you read that right — and measure a line every 11 degrees around the circle. Usually, this is the perfect number of degrees to get a healthy gap on the side for my doodle. It works for everything but February — I think the gap will be too big with only 28 days, but I could be wrong. Haven’t tried it yet. Anyways, you can see that it is outside my circle because of the size of my protractor.
I then use a regular ruler to draw a line through the first two circles (for numbered days and weekdays) using the lines I’ve drawn with my protractor and my center dot to get the angle right. Yup. Geometry. Never thought I’d see this day. In high school, I thought I was going to write the next great American novel and never have to see a protractor again. Oh that I knew…
Why My Eraser Is My BFF
Once I have all the lines the way I want them, I call upon my favorite companion — my eraser. I erase all the lines I drew with my protractor and the part of the circles where my “doodle gap” will go. Whenever I try a new spread, I usually try it in light pencil first. I don’t know about anyone else, but I have a weakness for expensive journals. Thing is, I don’t have room for an expensive journal budget right now, so I try not to waste pages if I can manage it.
Anyways, once I have my doodle all set, I outline everything in pen…
Then it’s COLOR TIME! I won’t lie, I love that adult coloring is now an acceptable past-time because I LOVE TO COLOR.
Okay, back to a regular decibel. Here is my final product, with a glimpse of how I write events and appointments on my monthly.
Snag The Free Printable!
All right, so I’ve got a little something for everyone in this post. If you’re perfectly happy with doing your own and loved the tutorial, AWESOME! If the idea of drawing this by hand totally freaks you out — you’re in luck! I’ve included my FREE PRINTABLE version of this monthly. You can print it on sticker paper and add it to your journal with ease! Or if you’re not a bullet journal aficionado, you can just print it out and use it by itself! Either way, you win!
The printable includes a digital version of my November Cornucopia Circular Calendar. You can see a preview below!
Thank you so much for stopping by the blog, today! You should totally share this tutorial with all your friends by sharing it on social media using the social share buttons at the bottom of this post. I would also love to hear your thoughts on circular calendars, other monthly spreads, and anything else really. Please comment with your thoughts below or reach out to me on social media:
If you LOVED this post as much as I do and want access to more free printables and other goodies, subscribe to my e-mail list by filling out the form at the end of this post. I hate spam, so I promise not to take over your inbox. 😉
That being said, keep trying new things and let me know what you’d like me to try!
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