My Favorite Daily Bullet Journal Layout—Insanely Simple And Functional

favorite daily bullet journal layout tomoe river paper planner daily affirmations journal

I’ve Used This Simple Daily Bullet Journal Layout For A Year.

I’ve used this simple favorite daily bullet journal layout for at least a year because it’s easy to remember, easy to set up, and helpful to me in my mental health and organizing my day. It contains three sections: Gratitude, The Day (list), and Reflection. You only need one tool to create it besides an actual journal: a pen.

In the following spread, I used a Pilot Hi-Tec-C pen. It is $2 (it performs beautifully). The optional highlighter is an easy and quick way to add some color and hierarchy.

I call the top left part the day because it helps me remember that I’m designing my day and can make choices. The top right section is gratitude. And the whole bottom half is reflection.

favorite daily bullet journal layout

That’s it. Split the page in half horizontally. Split the top half in half vertically. Write “the day” on the left and “gratitude” on the right. Halfway down the page, write “reflection,” and use it for reflection, quotes, and memory keeping. There’s plenty of space to rapid log. (Ideas, notes-to-self, affirmations, upcoming appointments you don’t want to flip the page to write down just yet, song lyrics, and prayers).

And if you need to, if a rapid log becomes a longer log, you can go to the next page. (The single most important thing about this journal—you’re not restricted to one page per day). You can use one and a half extra page per week, in addition to the extra pages between the months.

(If that’s not enough room, you can buy two books a semester and shoot me an email letting me know you’d be one that would buy an even thicker six month book—I’d love to know how many pages per week you use!).

However, I’ve noticed some weeks I use 3 (my max per week of extra pages), and some weeks I use none or skip a weekend day. It tends to balance out.

That was a long ramble about page use.

Here are two more examples of ways to use daily pages. I find that the one above sticks the most and works the best for me, but you might be different. When I try rapid logging with no division among the categories of things that go on a daily page, I tend to lose my tasks and have to highlight them. It works but I keep coming back to this favorite daily bullet journal layout.

Let’s take a look at the sections of my favorite daily bullet journal layout.

Favorite Daily Bullet Journal Layout Section 1: Gratitude.

This has been the most lifechanging habit for me. I started doing it this way after reading Atomic Habits by James Cleary.

A daily gratitude habit is not a chore. It’s a gift to yourself.

“The real gift of gratitude is that the more grateful you are, the more present you become.”– Robert Holden

I finally created a consistent gratitude habit after reading the book Atomic Habits. Habits, I learned, didn’t have to be big to be life-changing. Three little things for which I was actually grateful (in the first year, I think I sleepily wrote ‘keto coffee’ and ‘this bullet journal’ automatically each morning, then stared at my field for a minute before writing either ‘my daughter’ or ‘my husband’ or both).

Sometimes it was my yellow coffee cup. Sometimes it was just the word “hope.” I had so little happiness at the moment (I thought), but I had hope.

Just writing word hope each day is powerful.

I can’t recommend the book Atomic Habits enough. Along with The Bullet Journal Method, it created the best foundation for creating a personalized system for me for creating lasting change in my life. I craved a way to bring order and progress to a life that felt like it was spinning out of control. I craved a way to end the heart-pounding anxiety that I woke every morning with.

(Even today, I can barely believe how long I lived this way, how intense it was, and the memory brings tears to my eyes—I feel so much empathy with anyone with this kind of depression and anxiety).

But The Bujo and Habit books gave me a way out. A tiny glimpse of light at the end of the tunnel.

favorite daily bullet journal layout

Favorite Daily Bullet Journal Layout Section 2: The Day

“The Day” is my way of writing “Task List.”

It’s my way of desigining my day and reminding myself that I’m the designer of my day. Not someone or something else.

This is so important to me.

Everyone was demanding my time. Everything was going off in my head like red alert alarm bells (even things that really weren’t that urgent). I lived in fight or flight almost all the time.

For me, creating a daily task list starts waaaaay back on the goals page. With envisioning the way my life should be and then breaking one goal from the vision down into baby steps and then adding one of those baby steps this week and then breaking that baby step into and even smaller baby step and adding that baby step to the daily page.

But even if you haven’t done that five-minute exercise yet, you can still use this spread and this section and do wonderful things today. Maybe you don’t want or need big picture goals at the moment. Maybe you just want to write down a list of things you know you need to get done today. That’s where I started with planning, one year before I ever made my first life map. And it was helpful. It’s all a journey. The flexibility of this favorite daily bullet journal layout is what makes it so great.

There is such empowerment on deciding what to do and then doing it. ADHD much? Try making a list of just the next three things you need to do (like eat, brush teeth, make coffee). When you’ve finished that one, make another list.

It doesn’t matter where you start. Just start somewhere.

And if your list grows past your daily page, no problem. That’s why there are extra pages in this book.

Favorite Daily Bullet Journal Layout Section 3: Reflection.

Many years ago, people didn’t keep separate planners and journals. This is where classic bullet journaling comes from. They jotted down things they had to do and then things that happened. Journals weren’t very emotional, and I actually find that more emotion-evoking. In the book “Dot Journaling, A Practical Guide,” Rachel has a beautiful description of historical bullet journaling and how it can be helpful today. I highly recommend this book.

Ryder Carroll also talks about how short notes about your day (they don’t have to be complete sentences) can later help you reflect on whether a pursuit or relationship really benefited you. I find that rapid logging my reflection at the end of the day (remember those extra pages for longer entires if you desire), help me realize that:

1. panic attacks were about things that weren’t that bad and

2. Life is incredibly beautiful.

an example of an overflow bullet journal entry
An overflow journal entry, where I use NightOwl‘s extra pages, and where I put a Psalm. I’m not this emo, well, I am, but I wouldn’t put it on this blog post if it were my words. Plus an idea of my daughter’s so precious I had to blur it out. It’s going to take over the world some day.
favorite daily bullet journal layout

Googling favorite daily bullet journal layout can be overwhelming, as one of the first results I saw contained a long list of tools you don’t need. But all you need is a pen.

That’s the long version of how to create my favorite daily bullet journal layout. Let me know in the comments below what your favorite one is, if this helped you and why! I love hearing from you and so far have been able to answer every query.

Check out these two reviews of the system I created, which I hope is helpful to others.


  1. Teresa Berry Williams on July 22, 2023 at 2:19 pm

    Love this! Thank you for your guidance!

  2. Jo on July 22, 2023 at 7:23 pm

    So insightful! For someone that struggles with creativity, this is simple and I will be able to use this as a starting point in my new planner/journal. Thanks 😊

    • Marisa Porter on July 22, 2023 at 8:32 pm

      Thank you! I’m really glad that all of my reading and experimenting is benefiting somebody. I hope it helps! I know that visually, creative bullet journaling has sort of taken over Instagram and other social channels because of their visual nature but in reality, the really functional spreads are probably just not as seen.

  3. Lori on July 24, 2023 at 9:02 am

    This is so helpful. I, too, need a lil structure, and yet I need the freedom to write anything/everything. Too much structure is limiting. Too little, and I get lost.

    I love combining a bit of everything into a daily spread, like you have done here.

    Thanks for breaking it down and sharing how it has helped you. So inspiring!!

    • Marisa Porter on July 24, 2023 at 9:57 am

      Thank you, Lori! I also wonder if the power of Three is at work here. Everytime I go over that number in various areas of my life, I get confused. So I’ve kept it simple here and my brain fills in the blanks.(Like, a prayer can be part of reflection, etc.).

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