Three Years Of Bullet Journaling: How I Do It

This year I started my second bullet journal.

I was almost due with Georgie, my last baby, when I first heard of bullet journaling.  I have always loved the idea of planning, but I've never been very good at the execution.  For years I would buy a new planner in January, with grand plans of all the ways I would use it - and by February I would get stuck.  I don't know if it was stress paralysis at the thought of messing up the pretty pages with my scribbles and eraser marks, or the lack of things to put into it, or just a problem of disorganization that was so great, even a nice planner couldn't fix it.  But I would always hate that half the planner ended up empty, the unused pages like an accusation.

So when I heard of bullet journaling, and how it didn't matter if you fell off the planning wagon because you could turn the page and start over at any time - well, I was sold.  I loved the idea of no more unused pages!

Bullet journaling in general is a system that allows you to keep track of the tasks you need to accomplish, and it combines it with a calendar and a diary.  Everyone agrees the system of bullet journaling this way started with Ryder Carroll (and you can find out more about it here).  However, a lot of people have used bullet journaling in many other creative ways - that's where you start to see all these super-artistic bullet journaling spreads (that might be inspiring, but also intimidating).  

If you are interested in looking into bullet journaling, I really like the book Dot Journaling by Rachel Wilkerson Miller (look, there's a cheap used copy here!).  She makes bullet journaling feel really doable for not-very-artistic people (like me).  This is the book I originally stumbled across at the library that made me interested in bullet journaling. I also wrote originally about bullet journaling here.

Since I am approaching my third year of bullet journaling, I thought I'd write a little bit about it here.  I don't use my bullet journal like anyone else probably, and that's the beauty of bullet journaling - you make it what you want it to be!  I thought I'd share some of the different types of pages I've done over these last three years.

Calendar Pages - The most obvious use for a bullet journal is to lay out a calendar grid and use it just like a planner.  While I've done calendar pages periodically in my journal, I mostly just insert those pages when I am looking ahead to a particularly busy month or season.  It helps seeing everything laid out so I know what I am hoping to accomplish, and it keeps me on track.  But then in slower seasons, I just skip the calendar pages - no use doing a calendar for a slow month when I'll hardly need it,

Budget Pages - For a while I was keeping track of my monthly budgeting in my journal, but I couldn't quite find a layout I liked that looked clean.  Most of my budgeting pages end up messy.  I might try these again as we are on a tighter budget the next few months with furlough days with Derek's work.

Diary Pages - I go through stages with diary pages - sometimes I'm really good at documenting each day, and then I'll fall off and not write anything for six months.  I notice in particularly stressful stages of my life I tend to fall off these.  But, when I do remember to write a couple lines each night, it's nice to be able to look back and see what things we were doing over the last year.






Reading/Watching Pages - In my new bullet journal I created a couple pages to keep track of what I have read so far this year, as well as a page to document the World War One resources I discover.  I've also done  book progress pages, and pages to keep all the quotes I liked from certain books.  I love looking back on these!  It's also motivating to see all the things I've read and learned over the course of the year.

Memory Pages - These are the pages I'm most proud of.  When I think of some memory I want to record, sometimes I'll muster the creativity to create a bullet journal spread, and they always bring a smile to my face when I flip through them later!  When I first started journaling, I created a page after Georgie was born, and I love looking back at what I wrote.  Earlier this year I had a little inspiration, and I created a page with the bottles of my favorite perfumes over the years, and what those scents remind me of.  And then there are little pages for the seasons, like a "first signs of spring" page.  These are the pages where I sometimes get a little creative and add some color to my journal.


Surprisingly, the original way of bullet journaling - as a to-do list, with a system for organizing your tasks each day - is not something that has stuck for me, at least not right now.  Somewhere along the way I dropped using a bullet journal as a way to organize my to-do's, and started using it to just record things I wanted to keep track of, things I wanted to remember.  I might go back to the traditional bullet journaling system eventually, but for now I am enjoying working with the types of pages I listed above.

Do any of you use a bullet journal?  How do you use it?

  

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Maria Rineer said...

You are super creative! I couldn´t see myself doing this due to a lack of motivation and creativity. I love your hand drawn pictures. And your handwriting is neat, too. Impressed (and I would say inspired except I know that I would not keep up with it even if I started doing it :)!

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