The Obsessive Bookseller Simplifies Life [2]: Book Journaling


In case you missed my Introductory Post, my world was in such an upheaval that I was forced to take drastic measures by simplifying and organizing all the things that caused me stress. Each month, in 2017, I’m tackling different aspects of my life that are clutter-stressors by organizing and altering them into things that bring me joy.

February 2017: Book Journaling

A few months ago I came across a blog post for bullet journaling for the first time… O_o!! Where has this been?! I’m clearly super behind the times, because how can uber-organized color-coding, creative awesomeness that allows you to track goals and see progress have not popped on to my radar before now? Sign me up!

As it happens, I was in some desperate need of organization (see Introductory Post above). I also had a million cute notebooks just waiting to be used in a meaningful way. Unfortunately, most bullet journaling topics weren’t things I felt compelled to keep track of on a daily basis. But there was one topic that definitely sparked my interest:

The Bookshelf:


If you search Pinterest for bullet journaling ideas about books, this is pretty much what you get (many a lot more creative than my own). You can “stack” your books anyway you’d like, but I discovered pretty quickly that I like mine orderly. Also, with the straight up and down approach, I can add little boxes underneath each book to track reading completions. This bookshelf ignited a bunch of other book related tracking ideas that I’m excited to share with you. Instead of bullet journaling, I’m book journaling!

The Book Journal:


I have so many different bookish things to keep track of and my Book Journal has completely revolutionized how I do practically everything. Before, I was relying on a complicated mix of jotted notes, half-assed Goodreads lists, and memory. Now, everything, and I mean EVERYTHING I could possibly need to reference is organized in one place – a cute little notebook that I carry everywhere with me (because, you know, books are life). Here are some of the things I track with it:

The Blogging Schedule:


Not only has this tracker allowed me to schedule posts ahead for the first time in my blogging career, but it has also given me a quick snapshot of titles I need to review. It also helps me remember which Thursdays I’m supposed to review for The Independent (a local newspaper), which often used to slip through my memory. The Blogging Schedule is definitely the Book Journaling component I’ve referred to most often.

The TBR Tackler Shelf:


I do my Tackling the TBR every month, but I’d have to come up with titles on the spot (which wasn’t working well with my intent to spend less and utilize the library more – many titles have to be put on hold weeks before I want to read them). Now, I can plan ahead. But the BEST PART is that I now have a quick reference to see what’s on my reading list without having to log on to my blog and navigate to the post every time. I love being able to check the boxes underneath each title when finished and see my progress over each month. I put a little half slash in the box of the currently reading titles. I also use it to track upcoming Buddy Reads with my Goodreads group so I don’t overbook myself… no pun intended. Of all the things I track in my Book Journal, the TBR shelf is by far my favorite.

The Currently Reading Shelf:


I used to take copious notes about the books that I was reading, but found that I was spending way more time on the notes that I was the review itself. Also, I’d write them in any handy notebook, which means when it actually came time to write the review, I’d inevitably be without the correct one. All I really needed was a place for notes to jar my memory, and this element of my Book Journal works perfectly for that.

The Unfinished Series Shelf:


THIS! I have a nifty Incomplete Series List over with my Goodreads group, but this format was a lot more fun to create and refer to. It allows me to see if I’m up-to-date on any given series instantly, which definitely helps me prioritize going forward, as I usually look at these pages when planning out my upcoming TBR Tackler Shelves.

1500 for 1 challenge:


I’ve been referring to this for ages. Basically, I get to buy 1 book for every 1500 pages I read. It’s an amazing system which helps me moderate spending, read books I already own, and feel like I’m accomplishing something. I already tracked pages just like this in another notebook, so there was no doubt that this had to be included in the Journal.

The Wish lists:


Bring on the Bookshelves!!! I think about books a lot. I found myself spending several hours a week logging on to audible or my library’s website just to remind myself what I had in the wishlists. It was a weird compulsion and total waste of time, but for some reason it bothered me not being able to remember the 100+ titles in each one. In any case, since I transferred those titles to the Book Journal, I haven’t been back since! This, more than anything else, was a time and sanity saver.

Overall, this project has been one of the most rewarding I’ve ever undertaken. I treat this journal like it’s a work of art in progress and find myself flipping through the pages just to appreciate what I’ve done. Honestly, once you figure out spacing and formatting for each type of tracker, it doesn’t take long to create. I spend maybe ten minutes a day updating it (which my boss would probably call shirking). But compared to how much time I was wasting trying to find information spread out all over, it definitely is the most efficient thing I could have done. It’s literally a one-stop shop for everything book related in my life – what could be better than that? :-)

Project Status: Book Journaling Simplified!

by Niki Hawkes

29 comments on “The Obsessive Bookseller Simplifies Life [2]: Book Journaling

  1. This looks so cool! I just started a binder with some blog scheduling stuff and it is LIFE-CHANGING for getting my posts organized (especially since I blog with Andrew, and keep track of his posts as well). It’s so nice to be able to do that.

    I made an Excel spreadsheet with my series list, which was great and not so great. Like I mentioned earlier on your Tackling the TBR post — I’ve just realized I am so backlogged with series! Glad you’re loving this new way of being organized!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you!! It’s amazing how much more fun blogging has been since I got organized! I imagine it would be doubly important with a co-blogger haha.
      I think the spreadsheet sounds awesome – but you’re totally right, sometimes knowing how buried you are can be worse haha! But just think how many amazing series you can talk about because you’ve tried so many! :)


  2. Oh my Heaven, I love that! For some reason my brain can’t even wrap around how you created this. The images all look so adorable with the drawn bookshelves.

    I’ve been intrigued by bullet journaling, but this takes it one step further for bookworms. I love it!

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is such a good system for me! It equals out to about one new book every three weeks or so. It helps me get through by library, but it also makes me think twice about which book to purchase when the time comes, so I only bring home the good ones. :)

      Liked by 1 person

  3. AH! I like the idea of unfinished series!

    Right now I use an excel spreadsheet and Trello to keep track of upcoming reviews and ARCs. It works really well for me and I like that it is electronic so I can access it anywhere. But I find I’m forgetting about sequels for my series…hmm, colour me inspired! I’ll have to come up with something!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. There’s something about pen to paper that makes me want to stay better organized, too. This idea is so cool! Did you just print the pages from Goodle and paste them into your journals?! I just got a super cute planner, so I’ve been using that for scheduling blog posts, ARCs and freereading periods, but I love the idea of tracking my unfinished series or book-buying wishlists in that graphic format!


    • Thank you! And I know exactly what you mean – I’ve always been a “write it down” type of person. I stole the bookshelf idea from that original bullet journaling post I saw, but everything else I came up with to suit my needs. They are all drawn in using a couple of gel pens and a ruler. I love that you already have a cute planner for blog posts and whatnot – you should totally track those other things if it sounds like fun. :-)


  5. Omg I LOVE this. Your planner looks so cute! It feels so good to get organised. I love nothing more than pretending I have control over my life for a couple hours a day, haha.

    I have a total cheat version of this. My mum got me a reading journal for Christmas that has a lot of what you’ve done already planned out for me, plus some lists of books IT thinks I should read that frankly stress me out (where am I going to find the time?!)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey!! Sorry it took me a couple of days to respond. And thank you!! :D and you totally get it! “Pretending” to have control is exactly what I’m doing and it makes me very happy Haha.
      I love that you have a premade journal – I had no idea they sold those! And I think you should never read books due to peer pressure lol, especially because the journal doesn’t even know you well yet! Hahaha that’s too funny!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Pingback: The Obsessive Bookseller Simplifies Life [3]: Goodreads | The Obsessive Bookseller

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  8. Hi Niki! I’m a professional organizer, and I sometimes work with publishers, writers, and everyday book lovers. Just wanted you to know that I practically salivated through reading this entire post. Your book journaling idea is amazing! Very clever!


    • Hello! I am tickled you liked my book journal post! Organizing is something I love doing, so I definitely appreciate others who feel the same way. And the fact that you’ve taken it to a professional level makes me really envious – what a cool job! Anyway, thank you for making my day with such a nice comment. :-)


  9. Pingback: The Obsessive Bookseller Simplifies Life in 2017 | The Obsessive Bookseller

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