My bullet journal has been keeping my life together for the past 2 years. It keeps track of every meeting, session, and event, as well as every little task that I need to get done each day. It also tracks my goals, my progress, my social media growth, and all the special memories I want to save each month.
It is essentially my brain in a notebook.
I've been obsessed with notebooks for my whole life, I'm pretty sure. They're just so beautiful and full of potential. A gorgeous new notebook is full of so many possibilities. Where will my life take me while I use this notebook? What will my life look like when I come to the end of this notebook? How will it have changed my life?
But that was apparently too much pressure, so I would either not start writing in the notebook at all (nothing I had to write would be worthy of those pages!) or I would write in it for a bit with a certain goal/project in mind, but then fall off the wagon.
So when I found out about bullet journaling, I hoped I had finally found a way to USE my beautiful notebooks every day and be productive about it. And it was true! This has been a life saver. I'm now on my 3rd notebook, having completely filled my first two. I use it every day, and it is so satisfying to look through my completed notebooks! Not to mention how accountable and productive it keeps me every day. Which is really the important part.
So here's how I use my bullet journal! You can find the full details of this system (in all its simplistic glory) here: www.bulletjournal.com
- an index page so that I can enter pages in there as they are created, and find anything I need at a later date.
- a future log that shows 6 months at a glance. I can enter meetings/sessions/events as they are scheduled, and I know that they won't be forgotten or misplaced.
- a monthly view that I set up a few days before that month starts. Just one month at a time (the future log keeps track of the rest, until the next month needs to be set up). It shows the month in a traditional grid-style and I refer to my future log to enter all the important appointments for the month. I also use the extra space on this page to write monthly goals.
- a weekly view that I set up on the weekend, in preparation for the upcoming week. I just take one week at a time, which alleviates stress about future tasks and allows me to just focus on what needs to be done now. Each morning I write out my list of tasks that need to get done (editing, emailing clients, blog writing, networking, etc) and check them off when they're complete. I refer to the previous day's list of tasks to see what didn't get done yesterday, and add those to today's list. The more times I have to write out a task because I didn't do it, the more I want to get it done so I can stop re-writing it. It works!
- a page of memories for the month, which currently I do as doodles. If I was published in a magazine, or went out to a new restaurant, or had a session in an exciting new location, I'll do a little doodle and jot down what it was. It's fun to look back at that page and see a little snapshot of my month and the fun I had.
- lists or "collections" of things. Anything, really. At any time if I need to make a list of things to remember (movies to watch, groceries to buy, party supplies to find, products to bring to the Doggie Expo) I just turn to the next blank page and make my list. I then add that to my index page so I can find it easily. It doesn't matter if it's in the middle of a month. That's the beauty of a bullet journal - it's evolving and you just go with the flow. Everything is indexed so that the "disorganization" isn't actually disorganized. Instead of having Post-It notes littered around your desk/home/work... you can keep every list in one notebook and never lose them.
- very minimal doodling with markers, just to make the pages nice to look at. I'm not artistic in this sense, so I get a lot of inspiration from other more talented bullet journalers. I don't need mine to be fancy, or to have the decorating take too much time (but if that's your thing and you enjoy it, there is nothing wrong with spending lots of time making yours look beautiful - don't let anyone tell you otherwise). For mine I just need it to be cute enough that it makes me happy to look at it, and excited to use my bullet journal every day. And so far it's working fantastically!
Below is the weekly layout that I've been using for about a year now. It's very minimal and gives me lots of space to write out my tasks each day. I've tried many different layouts during my 2 years of using a bullet journal. It's fun to change it up and try something new when you get bored! That's another awesome bonus of this system versus a pre-made planner where you're stuck with the same layout all year, even if you discover it's not working for you.
With a bullet journal you can change things at any time. If you decide you need a space in your weekly layout to plan your meals, next week you can rearrange it to fit that! Or maybe you need somewhere to track things like water intake and exercise, or books you've read. Whatever you need space for, whatever your life includes, you can create a page that works for you (or look up inspiration from others who are talented in that department, and shamelessly add that to your bullet journal).
So if you've seen photos or videos about bullet journaling before and thought it seemed like way too much work (or creativity) for you, and it just wasn't your cup of tea, I hope that this has perhaps given you a different perspective on it. The point of this system is actually minimalism. The point is to keep you efficient and productive in your life. Since everyone's life is different, the system is extremely flexible so you can adapt it to yours.
That's why I love my bullet journal more than a store-bought planner. Because I love to change it up when I'm bored with one layout, I love to add some colour and feel proud of myself (even for the tiniest bits of creativity - I'm like, "I did that!!"), and I love knowing that my life is in order, my tasks are under control, and I'm not forgetting something important even though my mind is running a mile a minute.
Have you ever considered bullet journaling?
What do you think of the system?