Have you guys heard about Bullet Journaling before? It’s a journaling system created by Ryder Carroll, and it has a cult following. I’ve considered it from time to time but would watch a video and get overwhelmed. One of my friends texted me saying she was going to start one and I fell back down the rabbit hole of trying to figure it out.
It was good timing for me as I was nearing the end of my current notebook. If I needed an excuse to bite the bullet (haha), this was as good as ever.
Let me give you a quick debriefing on what my system is now. I can’t do paper planners. I love all agendas, but it’s just not functional for me as I schedule things constantly on the go. All appointments, meetings, travel information, etc. goes into my Google Calendar. It’s my primary source of organization, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. My email inbox is also a big component of my organization as it serves as a pretty big to-do list for me– daily, weekly, and monthly. (In this post, I go into detail on how I stay on top of my inbox if you’re curious about that.)
With my calendar and my inbox, there’s still a good chunk of my organization that ends up getting left out. And that’s where things get crazy. I have a notebook where I essentially have a running mess of to-dos and notes. Anything and everything is in there, but there’s no rhyme or reason to it.
After that notebook, I have various Google docs filled with half notes, and I track some things on a white board, but they eventually get erased.
While my system works, it could be a lot better.
And that’s where I thought the Bullet Journal comes in. For most people, the Bullet Journal is the planner and to-do lists, and notes, and everything in between. For me, I just needed a good system for keeping track of certain things (healthy habits, goals, blog post ideas, campaign to-dos, income, etc.) in addition to my daily to-dos.
In full disclosure, I literally just started my Bullet Journal (or BuJo as the loyalists say). I’m writing about it today to hold myself accountable to sticking to it and because I’d love to hear if any of you have tips/tricks.
For the first few months, I plan on sticking with the general set up of the original BuJo, but I think I’m going to be tweaking eventually to fit what I like or need.
My initial thoughts:
– I freaking love how customizable it is. That is probably what makes the system so popular. Everyone who does it can make it exactly how they need it to be. You’re not limited by anything!!! You can skip a week or a month and pick right back off. You can start mid-May and not feel like you’re missing half a planner. Bam.
– It’s REALLY overwhelming to start. So there’s kind of a bell curve of understanding/confusion as you get to know the journaling system more. I found that as I watched more and more Youtube videos and read more and more blog posts about people’s individual BuJos, the more confused I became. And then, miraculously it seemed, I watched a few more and started to “get it.” (The confusion level started to go back down.) Unfortunately, the only way to know how it’s going to work out for you is to start. The blank journal, while a huge benefit in the long run, feels intimidating at first.
– There are great resources out there. Start with the original Bullet Journal website to get acquainted with the system. Take some time to watch some videos on Youtube (search “bullet journaling for beginners”) and to read some blog posts (“bullet journal layouts”). It takes a deep dive of researching to see all the different ways the system can work for you. I took notes as I researched marking what I thought would be helpful for me.
– Look past the “cuteness” of what you see online. If you look at the original Bullet Journal, it’s a super simple, low-maintenance system. People have turned it into a full-blown hobby and, frankly, it looks like they have too much time on their hands ha. There are stickers, washi tapes, stamps, elaborate drawings! I’m sticking to simple black ink and highlighter as necessary. I don’t have the time or the energy or the desire to make mine look pretty! I also know that trying to make mine perfect would probably cause me to give it up. (Mine already has some mistakes and chicken scratch. YOLO.)
– Two mistakes I made: make sure your notebook has enough lines (i.e. at least 31, aka the days of the month) and make sure the paper is thick enough if you plan on using dark pens. I had to start over once I realized that 😒 This is the notebook that most BuJo people swear by– I’m using a classic hardback Moleskine right now.
Here are the spreads that I’m starting with for now:
INDEX (a table of contents)
YEARLY OVERVIEW (mini calendars for May-January)
FUTURE LOG (mini calendars with important dates/birthdays and to-dos to remember)
BLOG POST IDEAS (a running list of ideas I want to write about eventually)
BOOKS READ (a running list of books I’ve read for the year)
YEARLY INCOME (broken down to campaigns/events, commission by month, and total + goals)
MONTHLY OVERVIEW (classic BuJo month spread)
MAY BLOG POSTS (list of dates and corresponding post + tracker for social shares)
SLEEP LOG (I saw this one on Pinterest and loved the idea)
HEALTH TRACKER (tracking vitamins, meditation, workouts, sleep, water intake, and daily reading)
CAMPAIGNS (tracking of campaigns and my responsibilities for the month)
DAILY LOGS (just like my old notebook, this is where I keep track of what I need to do every day)
The idea, I hope, is that my daily logs will continue throughout the month and then I’ll start with June’s Monthly Overview followed by June’s individuals (i.e. June Blog Posts – June’s Daily Logs).
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, trust me, I get it… I was too. But oddly the second I finished writing out “Daily Log” on the top of my page, I could feel it all coming together.