What type of calendar or journal do you use? How do you keep your info straight? Do you use google calendar, or maybe the calendar on your phone? Paper pre-made calendar? Endless sticky notes and small pieces of paper? There are so many options!
From the time I was in middle school and getting regular homework assignments, I always kept a small notebook of due dates–one of those small spiral-bound things that you can pick up at any gas station or supermarket (in the US at least).
When I entered high school, I was encouraged to use a pre-fab calendar with sets of pages for monthly and daily overviews, but they never worked for me — the books were too stiff, too soft, too small areas to write it; too rigid as a form.
Two years ago, I found myself in a pile of disorganized pieces of notepaper, way too many notebooks, and losing track of the things I needed to do. To top it all off, this was the year I spent traveling and found myself needing to be more organized than ever! That is when I remembered my friend’s method of keeping track of life/work/creativity.
Enter the Bullet Journal. It is hard to explain this tracking/journaling method because it is unique to every person who uses it. I started with the format given on the website of its creator, but I found that only some of the methods worked for me, the others that didn’t work, I disposed of. Over time I have added my personalized strategies and organization.
In addition to keeping my daily grind organized, I also use my Bullet Journal for occasional diary entries, random doodles, and a place put all the random stickers I accumulate over the year. It is messy, it is colorful, and no one but I could probably follow exactly what is going on.
Since it is entirely homemade, it does require some time every day (or every couple days) to maintain. And once a month, at least, it is good to go over what is happening and create your next month’s calendar. I think this is amazing because it slows you down enough to evaluate what you are doing with your life.
Here are some words of wisdom from @things_by_beauregard who inspired me to start a Bullet Journal:
The trick with Bullet Journals is to remember that they’re here to be exactly what you need. That’s not to say that they’ll work for absolutely everyone, nothing can do that. However, when I started, I had to constantly remind myself that I was working with a totally adaptable system on purpose and everything I didn’t like, I found a new way to do.
I recommend looking at other people’s Bullet Journals on your choice of social media (they’re everywhere if you look), it can give you good ideas for new layouts and set-ups. That way, if you’re still figuring out what works for you, or you’re like me, and you just can never settle on one thing for (long) enough to own a regular planner, you got lots of fresh ideas to work with and adapt.
The trick with this is to remember that the ones you see on Instagram etc. are perfect, and yours probably won’t be. Ugly Bullet Journals are absolutely a thing Messy Bullet Journals are a thing. In high school, mine was a ballpoint pen and a Mead notebook. It was not a pretty thing to look at, but it was functional. As long as your Bullet Journal functions as you need it to, you’re winning.
Check out Beau’s creative endeavors @things_by_beauregard
- Choose a notebook you love
- Get yourself some fun markers/pens/pencils
- Rulers, traceable shapes, stickers are incredibly helpful
- Don’t worry if your journal changes month to month
Bullet Journal website. This website can walk you through the basic set-up of your journal in less than 30 minutes. Things may change from this initial set-up, but it was a great jumping-off point.
This article on Medium eloquently reminds you that your bullet journal does not have to be an artistic masterpiece–it doesn’t even have to be set up the same as anyone else’s journal. The best advice I garnered from this article was that a bullet journal is for each individual; it can and should always be adapted to fit you and your needs.
Instagram – #bulletjournal
This one comes with the warning that you may get some style envy from these folks who go all out on their journals. That being said, there is a lot of inspiration to be found here.