Things are getting hectic around here. I thought summer was tough with being laid off and all, but this fall is picking up speed and it’s going to completely roll over me if I don’t get some sort of organization system going.
I’m the kind of person who makes to-do lists, then promptly loses them by stashing them in a pocket or in my purse, which we all know is where coupons and receipts and lists go to die.
Recently, I heard about something called a bullet journal. I did a little research and decided to give it a try because I a) like to write in my journal, but never remember to, b) am constantly losing my lists, and c) have a ton of stuff I want to do, but can never remember to do it.
A bullet journal helps solve all those problems…and it’s not on my phone, which is the No. 1 way I get distracted. I turn on my phone to check the weather, and the next thing I know I’ve commented on all of my friend’s 67 vacation pictures on Facebook.
Bullet journal describes the system as an “analog system for a digital age.” Basically, the bullet journal is a journal, to-do list and calendar all in one spot.
I started a Pinterest folder of bullet journal ideas, if you’re interested in learning more. Or, go to bulletjournal.com for a video (or don’t because the video made things more confusing). The best explanation was here. Keep on reading for the basics of bullet journaling.
A Warning about Bullet Journals
If you search bullet journal on Pinterest, you will see people who must have a lot of time because they have decorated their journals with drawings or stickers or tons of colors or hand-lettered the titles on their pages. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO DO THIS. That is not what Ryder Carroll intended when he created the bullet journal system; that is just the warped Pinterest world we live in.
I am not doing anything crazy like that. I got a couple of colored pens, but I don’t have time for that other stuff. I just need to get organized and don’t want to spend a ton of time making mine pretty.
- Note: There are affiliate links in the following paragraph. Purchasing items through the links means I will get a small percentage of the sale therefore letting me justify blogging to my husband and family members. Thank you.
I am starting using a cheap little notebook from the grocery store, but a lot of people like the Leuchtturm1917 journal. It has dots, so making lines and grids is easier, the pages are already numbered, and the pages are thicker so there is less ghosting (when the pen shows through from the other page). Speaking of pens…my favorite is the Sharpie Pen with a medium tip. It doesn’t bleed and barely shows through the paper even in my cheap notebook.
The Basics of a Bullet Journal
Symbols/Key: A simple dot is a task, a circle is an event, a less than symbol is task scheduled, a greater than symbol is a task migrated, a dash is for notes (facts, ideas, thoughts and observations), an asterisk can be used for priorities, an exclamation point for inspiration and an eye (or a dot with a circle around it for me) can go next to things you want to explore. Here’s my key right at the front of my bullet journal:
I have not used anything except the dot, circle or dash yet. I am still figuring out how to use the task scheduled symbol. I get that task migrated means that I moved a task from one day to another day, therefore, I need to evaluate it and make sure it’s actually something that needs to be done (and I think it helps you prioritize).
Index: This is how you keep track of where things are. Number each page, and then when you write something on that page, make sure you come back and put what that topic was in the index.
Future Log: Start your journal with a future log (aka a yearly calendar). Write down everything you know for the future (ie birthdays, holidays, weddings, sports, etc.).
Monthly Calendar: Open two facing pages. The left side will have the days of the month down the side of the page, and on the right page, write known tasks and events for this month. You can also put them over on the left, too. Mine got crowded real fast. You’ll need to go back and check this page and then schedule the tasks on a daily entry (keep reading below).
Daily Entries: Write the date at the top of the page, then jot down the tasks and events for that day. Go back to your monthly calendar spread and see if there’s anything you need to schedule for the day. It is suggested you just do the daily entries the night before the actual day. That way, you’re ready to go the next morning.
You can also write down things that happened that day (aka journal entries). Yesterday, I jotted down some notes about things that happened, or things that are making me feel stressed.
Other stuff: Some people make other daily habits charts, practice drawing, write inspirational quotes, goal charts, etc. I added a daily habits chart, which is why I’m actually writing a blog post right now! I want to write every day.
My favorite page, I think, is going to be that daily habits chart. Every day, I want to get in all my 10,000 steps, a workout (which, you know, is only about 20-30 minutes), reading, blogging, working on my children’s book ideas, drinking 64 ounces of water (at least), getting 1 load of laundry done, spending 10 minutes picking up clutter and, finally, getting 10-15 minutes of rest and relaxation. EVERY DAY. It seems like a lot, so we’ll see how it goes.
I also made a page for jotting down blog post ideas and other freelance writing ideas (don’t forget to index these pages, so you can find them later!).
I just started my bullet journal yesterday, so watch for updates on it as I learn more. Do you have a bullet journal? I’d love to hear your tips or even see your pages. Share them on my Facebook page!