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It’s been almost a year now since I started bullet journaling.
My journey began when I was young, fresh, naive, and had only 6 different patterns of Washi Tape.
Oh, how things have changed.
I have recently graduated to Bullet Journal 3.0, a new and improved version — he’s sleek and cool and goes with me everywhere, so today I wanted to give you a little update because I am seriously in love with my newest bullet journal – it helps me so much.
I find that it not only keeps me on track, but it helps to keep my anxiety at bay because I now have a place to write everything, and just clearing out that brain space has a huge benefit for me.
There is something about being able to write things down, that is very good for me – it’s not just knowing that I won’t forget things – it’s the act of writing it by hand.
So first, let me give you a little tour:
My new bullet journal is a Leuchturrm 1917 Hardcover in black. It’s the dotted version – all three of my journals so far have been dotted, and I think I could handle a squared one, but I think either ruled or completely blank pages might kill me.
I loved the size of my second journal, but this time I decided to give Leuchturrm a try. A couple of the big selling points of Leuchturrm journals are that they have numbered pages and an index at the front to help keep track of said pages.
I’m totally sold on that system, because it was one of the parts of using a Moleskine that always felt a little clunky to me. (The Leuchturrm also has two bookmarks instead of one, but I’m not sure if I love that yet or not.)
I’ve also given 3.0 a couple of internal upgrades – I added a pen loop and a pocket that I had in my drawer. (3.0 actually has a pocket, but I put this in there, which is packed with addresses and other important info.)
How I’m using my journal:
The size and style aren’t the only things about my bullet journal that have changed. I’ve also made many small tweaks in the past year, and I’m settling into a system that really works for me.
First, I scrapped the “monthly” layout that a lot of people love. I even scrapped a weekly layout.
Instead, at the beginning of each month, I create a page for each day. Beyond that I have a “future dates” page where I add things that are happening after the last day of the month.
Really far-off stuff I keep in my phone and set alarms, like my annual mole patrol appointment or birthdays. The fact is, no paper system is going to remind me of something really far ahead, so I don’t even try.
At the beginning of each month, I create a Monthly task list, and after each month, I keep a few bank pages for notes.
From there, I just have sections that fit me. You can find so many ideas for stuff to add to your Bullet Journal – I pin a lot of ideas here – but I’ve started waiting to add sections until I really need them.
My sections include:
- blog planning
- homeschool planning
- books I want to read
- and then pages I create as I need them for projects or other things that pop up.
For instance, recently, I was dealing with a lot of overwhelm and a friend asked me, “What’s something you could do right now to feel better?”
So I opened my bullet journal and started a list. Now, when I feel crummy, I just go to that page and pick a thing.
Fancy or not-fancy:
I made a couple of missteps with my first journal that kept me from enjoying it. First, I overaccessorized. I got really swept up in putting Washi Tape on every page, and trying to make things pretty.
I would love a really pretty, artsy journal filled with hand-drawn banners and calligraphy, but that doesn’t come naturally to me.
So I’ve cut back on the tape and I’ve stopped using 100 pens, and just stick with my tried and true Steadtlers.
I just use Washi Tape to mark certain pages, usually just a little torn-off piece on the very edge.
My friend also bought me some book darts for my birthday, and I’ve been experimenting with those to mark pages for quick reference.
For me, the key to bullet journaling is keeping things simple. But not too simple …
Making it more than a to-do list:
At its heart, bullet journaling is about more than just making to-do lists.
I mean, you can make a to-do list on any random scrap of paper and throw it out when you are done. So I’ve been working the past few months on making my journal a little “more.”
For instance, when we went on vacation, I wrote down notes every day – like an actual journal! It got me excited about real journaling again.
I’ve also adopted Emily P. Freeman’s ideas of WIL (What I Learned) and These Are The Days pages.
Both are pretty self explanatory, but for WIL, I will sometimes make a note about something new I learned or figured out so I remember.
And I love her These Are The Days pages, where she lists the things that are happening right then in her family and life.
So now I add not just things to do, but things we did.
And I try to write down gratitudes too. Even the tiny things like having a few extra minutes to read on the porch before starting dinner.
So WIL about bullet journaling?
So what I’ve learned (see what I did there?) is that there is a TON of bullet journal inspiration out there. In fact, if you want to make yourself nuts, type #bujo #inspo into your search bar, and wait for beautiful journals that look like full-time jobs to come flying at you from all directions.
I pin things I like sometimes, but mostly, I just keep at it and allow it to change and grow with me.
If I see or hear an idea I like, I might try it for a while.
But I don’t feel bad about not doing all the fancy things out there, and I’m learning that a bullet journal doesn’t have to be perfect to be exactly what I need.