Bullet Journaling – Trying a New Thing

(Author’s note – NaBloPoMo is a thing.  I’m going to try AGAIN to complete it this year, so look for more traffic from me than normal and keep me honest.)

I think it was Mel who first drew my attention to bullet journaling. I watched the video, and thought, “Huh.  Well that’s interesting, but it’s not for me.”  I have kept the same system for years now – a monthly calendar (if I’m lucky, from the $1 section of target) that I decorate and customize to match my word/feeling for the year along with a separate notebook for writing, lists, thoughts, etc.  Except that recently it hasn’t been working for me.  I use a full-size notebook to write, and a full-size calendar, and together, with all my receipts and sticky notes and the random assortment of paper detritus that ends up in my calendar, it’s heavy.  And that sounds like a complaint that should be accompanied by the world’s smallest violin, but it has really started to bug me.  To the point where I have started leaving my calendar and notebook at home, which DEFEATS THE WHOLE PURPOSE of having a calendar.  Gah.  I annoy myself sometimes.

So then I started following Zoot (who is a local runner that I really should introduce myself to, but when I see her out I feel really awkward walking up and saying Hi! I stalk your blog!  Want to be friends? Yeah, no.)  And she is another bullet journaling aficionado with printables and an instagram account just for her bullet journals.  After reading her posts lauding her journal system and the various books/covers/pens she works with, and checking out her examples and pictures, I went back and watched the video again and thought about it.

Like really thought about it.  I hit up the Bullet Journal and Moleskine and Leuchtturm1917 websites.  I googled for people who don’t like bullet journaling.  I surfed a half-dozen hashtags on Instagram looking at how people customize their journals to work for them.  I mulled over how I could take my system and fit it into a single book.

I thought about it more than was probably necessary.  But that’s how I roll, you know?  I am the queen of over-analysis.  See, my routine has a tempo.  I make a to-do list on Monday for the week on a post-it note.  I make a to-do list on Friday for the weekend on a another post-it, transitioning all the things I didn’t finish in the week.  After that week/weekend is over, I archive the sticky notes in a folder in the back of my calendar.  I have a calendar for the month with overarching goals/themes and milestones for things like museum exhibits and tracking the kids school and extracurricular activities.  I have a ruled journal to write longhand when I can’t/don’t feel like hitting the laptop.  I have multi-colored pens and fancy sticky notes and I love stationary.  In short, I am an ideal candidate for a bullet journal.  But I’m really, REALLY attached to my monthly calendars.  I have a stack of them going back to 2005, and I actually go back and look up dates for past events.  It’s a feature that I CANNOT do without.

Lucky for me, it’s the first day of November and I have a ruled journal with blank pages and two whole months before the year rolls over and the $1 Target calendars haven’t hit the shelves yet.  So I’m going to give this bullet journal thing a try.  I’m still going to use my monthly calendar because – well, I adore them.  But I’m also going to download a printable and practice with it in my notebook, and see if this would work for me.  I figure in two months, I should know pretty well whether this is going to meet all my requirements or if I’m better off sticking with what I already know.  Because if I could get down to ONE book to carry around with me, then my life gets a little easier.  And I am all about anything that makes it easier to exist these days.

So, my question to you (questions to you are also going to be a new thing this month) — how do you organize your life?  Bullet journal (if so, would you comment on your feelings about it)? Electronic calendar (google, outlook, etc.)?  Old school planners/calendars?  Daytimers (does anyone use those anymore)? Flying by the seat of your pants?  Is there some other system that I should know about?

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3 thoughts on “Bullet Journaling – Trying a New Thing

  1. I just bought myself this insane “daily system” for my wall from Pottery Barn because I’m just feeling like my life is untenable right now. I can’t keep it straight and I’m existing in this state of low grade anxiety because I’m constantly worried that I’ve forgotten something really important. Sometimes I have. Unfortunately this massive wall installation will not be shipped until mid-November but I promise that as soon as it is, I will post about it.

    In the meantime I use my phone’s calendar and I rely pretty heavily on the alerts for events. If I REALLY need to remember to do something I email it to myself and then don’t open the email because I HATE having unread emails in my inbox and every time I check my phone and see the little red 1 I remember about that thing I emailed myself to do. It’s actually VERY EFFECTIVE for remembering the really crucial stuff I’ll probably forget (like, put that book in your bag to return to the library tomorrow), but not great for the day-to-day to-do stuff that I need help managing. Hopefully this Pottery Barn monstrosity will help with that.

  2. Fiiiiinallllyyy got the spouse on board with Google Calendar after some epic child-handoff failures (time he took kids to Title IX training: I’m looking at you). Paper things go in paper filing (well, this year they go in a big drawer and I dig through them at tax time).

    But…. I don’t really journal? The combo of baby and Robot Feelings just leaves nothing over at the end of the day.

  3. I use a good old-fashioned Filofax, with the week on two pages calendar insert. I’ve been using Filofax for more than 20 years. I use different coloured pens for different things — red for birthdays & anniversaries, black for bills to be paid & other important stuff, green to tick off when they’re paid & for how much, purple for notes about the weather, blue for regular appointments & stuff, yellow highlighter for stuff I want to highlight. 😉 And I use post-it notes for “to-dos” and reminders. It takes awhile to set up (I spend a few days with my new insert, adding in birthdays & recurring appointments, etc.) but then it’s all set to go when the new year rolls around. Works for me!

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