I may have mentioned Bullet Journalling a few times recently. I’ve now been using the system for almost six weeks so am still new but I’m a convert.
What is Bullet Journalling?
A Bullet Journal is a system for organising your planning. It’s simple, infinitely customisable, and doesn’t need any special materials.
One notebook. One pen. One you.
The introductory video explains the concept, and the basic modules to start a Bullet Journal.
Anything on top of that is up to the individual. Below is an example of how a Bullet Journal can evolve over a few months of use to something beautiful.
A Bullet Journal won’t magically change your life and make you more productive. Nor will any other planner system. But the flexibility of Bullet Journalling means that it can work better for each individual than a planner designed by someone else, which probably includes things irrelevant to your life, and excludes things that are vitally important.
Why I’m using a Bullet Journal
I’ve been writing plans and sketching room layouts and making goals for years, but I haven’t got anywhere. I manage for a while, and then something happens and I forget everything and start writing new lists and new plans and never quite manage to keep up with the day to day, let alone bigger goals.
My Bullet Journal is helping because I’m using it. I’m looking at it every day, several times a day. I’m adding new things, but rereading what’s already in there to cement it in my brain.
It’s funny how having a task written down is making me more likely to complete it, because I don’t want to write it again for the next day!
But also having everything written neatly in one nice book (for me, the nice book helps me use it, so I did invest in a Leutterm1917*), is helping me flow my thought processes and break down tasks more easily.
All of these things are me making me more productive. But I find peace in looking through the pages, so I can de-stress for a few minutes doing that. I’ve always liked visualising and planning and writing lists, so the system suits me for that. Looking back at completed tasks shows me how much I’ve done, and motivates me to do more.
How I’m using a Bullet Journal
Because I like to do things my own way, I’ve been picking and choosing from what I’ve seen online to suit what I need, along with relevant lists of long term plans from old books. I’m slowly and carefully breaking these into smaller tasks, on days when I can manage. On off days, I write basic daily tasks to do, so I get mental reinforcement in using the system.
At the moment I have the following ‘modules’:
- Index (already included with Leuchtterm1917, as are numbered pages)
- Future Log (handwritten 2016 calendar with space for monthly tasks on two double spreads)
- Monthly overview (currently similar to Boho Berry, but developing monthly as I discover what works best for me)
- Monthly tracker (really not happy with the first one I’ve created for January but like the concept, so am sketching out plans to change for Feb)
- Monthly gratitude log (an idea I’ve taken from the Bullet Journal community. Thinking of two things every day that were good. Finding two things is do-able, albeit hard on bad days. It adds up: there will be 62 positive things at the end of January. 732 positive things at the end of this year. 732 good things in a year when I usually can barely think of a handful because I focus on the negatives so much)
- Dailies (a list of tasks I want to complete on a particular day – as well as what’s on the tracker – plus some journal notes for things I want to track, which in my case are mainly what I’ve decluttered and the books I’ve read! I don’t include weather pictures or special hand lettering!)
Specific to my goals, my ‘collections’ include:
- List of all rooms / areas of the house so I don’t forget to declutter anywhere (including garden, sheds, and garage)
- List of categories of ‘things’ (so far just children’s stuff and paperwork, but I categorise anyhow and it’s also in the KonMari method – seeing how much you have of each ‘category’ helps declutter it down)
- List of what is going to be in each room (so far just for the children’s rooms) This is to help plan where furniture etc is going to fit, but also my plan is to write everything (category-wise) that we want to keep, then anything else either needs a home created or isn’t needed!
- List of the storage we have, to plan a place for everything…
- List of chores, to work out when to fit them into routines
- List of steps towards goals, that can then be broken down
- Initial plans of routines, schedules, and timescales for goals, allowing for changes
- Lists of books to review, books to read, books received…
I’m also using colour coded stickers, tabs, and washi tape, because – well, because I want to!
At the moment, rereading and checking my bullet journal is taking up a lot of my time, while I build habits. But this was time I’d been wasting on phone games because I couldn’t pull myself together enough to do anything. So the games playing has gone down, and I’ve been productive, and I’ve taken ‘me time’ and space so I don’t stress.
Being happy with myself has been a rare occurrence for too long. So I am a Bullet Journal convert for now, and long may it continue.
Disclosure: * affiliate link. I actually bought my book from my lovely local independent stationary shop.