Bullet Journaling

So, friends, I’ve discovered the awesomeness that is Bullet Journaling. 

For those of you not in the know, Bullet Journaling is a note-taking/list-making/task-tracking system created by a guy named Ryder Carroll (check out his website at www.bulletjournal.com). It’s simple, concise, and easy to catch on to. And the best part is all you need is a pen and some kind of notebook to write stuff down in. 

Now, I will be the first to admit that I have always been a Planner Girl. Just ask my husband. He speaks fondly of the fact that, while we dated, all I carried with me was a tube of chap stick and my black leather planner. That thing was my wallet, calendar, organizer, phone book, and a bit of a smash book all rolled into one. I never left home without it. 

Flash forward a few years, with a marriage, the birth of two daughters, a full time job, and a smart phone added to my life. My planner, once a constant and faithful companion, became a burden to lug around. So down to the basement it went and languishes there still. 

While my planner did go away, the need to write stuff down and organize it did not. I tried to keep track of things digitally for awhile. I had grand plans first for my iPod, then my iPad, and finally my iPhone, but it was not meant to be. It became tedious to use several different apps to keep track of all the various and sundry tasks and schedules and ideas and random thoughts that float around my mind at any given time.

I tried monthly/weekly paper calendars, but that was only for dates and times and left no room for thoughts and dreams and doodles. I dallied briefly with an ARC binder, and a lot of my story ideas still reside there, but the pages fell out too easily, so to the wayside that went as well. 

For the past little while, I’ve just been using scrap paper to write things down. Let me the be the first to tell you that this method clearly sucks. Especially for a Planner Girl like me. There are always little piles of notes everywhere and they cause me much consternation. To be most honest, they mock me or exhaust me depending on the day. 

Enter Bullet Journaling. 

I cannot recall how I heard of it. It may have been a blog post or possibly Pinterest, I’m not sure. But the moment I read about it at the end of April, I was hooked. Pinterest helped me define how I wanted to use the system and I made plans. 

After a few days toying with the concept and design of my Bullet Journal, I got myself a Large Squared Classic Moleskine Notebook, pulled out my favorite pen, and went to town.

  
The first thing I put in my notebook, after an index page, was a year-at-a-glance calendar that I intend to use for birthdays, anniversaries, and other special occasions.

  
I then added pages for books I want to watch and movies I want to see in 2015.

  

Next, are pages for music, websites, and recipes to check out. 

  
Then we move into one of the signature parts of the Bullet Journaling concept, the Monthly Calendar, which also includes a space for tasks to be completed that month. This gets constantly updated throughout the month as events and tasks are added, moved, or removed. 

  
I decided I wanted a weekly dashboard and scoured Pinterest for ideas. This is what I finally came up with and it seems to serve me well. 

  
After that, come the daily pages and it’s taken me a few tries to refine my vision for this.  I wanted something in which I could keep track of dates and times, tasks, ideas, thoughts, and doodles. I also wanted to be able to do some journaling. And it had to look nice. 

I started out freeform, just putting a spacer row of dots between each day. And that worked, but it was messy. 

  

Then I decided to try a more structured daily format. This had everything I wanted, as well as meal/fitness/H2O tracking. And while it looks amazing, it does take quite a bit of time to draw out all seven days each week. I think I made it two weeks before I got behind and had to play catch up.

  

I ended up settling on a combination of the two, freeform and structured, and I add whatever I want each day. Some days more and some less. This is working for me right now. It lacks the color of the structured format, but I can add that in later if it continues to bug me. 

  
Finally, detailed task lists and event planning pages have been added in as needed.  

 
As you can see from the pics above, I do not use anything other than a box for tasks and a dot for notes. No circle for events, but occassionally a priority or migrated signifier. 

And that’s it. I am back in a planner of sorts and I try to keep it with me at all times. As such, I splurged on a lovely hand quilted cover for my Bullet Journal, which I ordered from the Sonya Benson Quilts shop on Etsy. Isn’t it pretty?

  
My Bullet Journal has been my note-taking/list-making/task-tracking system of choice since the last week in April and I could not be more pleased. In addition to having all of my scattered thoughts and ideas in one place, it is intensely gratifying to flip through the completed pages – to see the words, smell the ink, and hear the crinkle of the paper. It’s the little things that sometimes bring us the most joy, you know?

Anyway, thanks for stopping by. I’m so glad you did!