Thursday 21 February 2019

Wait, I'm Bullet Journalling?!

     Hey folks. I've mentioned in a couple posts that I would be sharing a little bit about my beginnings with bullet journalling this year so here it is. In January I shared a little about my intentions for the year and how I plan on using them, and one of the ways I thought I'd be better able to keep track over the months of these intentions was through a bullet journal.

     I have to be honest that I've seen bullet journalling in the past as something that just wasn't for me. There are lots of great layouts on pinterest for how to set one up, but I initially thought they were just another form of procrastination. Kind of like procrastinating doing the 'to do list' by writing out the most beautiful 'to do list' ever, complete with illustrations and colouring. I also don't think of myself as an abstractly creative person. I like linear things, patterns, instructions, how to's, and a general guide line for all of my crafting (ironically). So I also saw bullet journalling as relatively useless to me since I don't draw or experiment with hand writing.

     However, my switch within the past year to motherhood and being home with my little one has changed the way I use a day planner and calendar. I previously used the Get To Work Book for the past two years while working full-time and I found it to be the best planner I've ever had. I honestly cannot recommend this planner enough. It met my work and personal life needs perfectly. Now that I am home full time, my weekly calendar isn't as full of appointments and I needed something a little less in depth. I've found myself in the past several months living off of a wall calendar and a very long running to do list on whatever paper is available.

     Even though I get on okay with this system, I found myself wanting to keep track of other things in life. What's more I need to keep my lists and ideas all in one spot as I'm sure many of us prefer. I love technology, but I was raised on the paper list and am slightly suspicious of computers and phones breaking down leading to a loss of all of our precious information. Lastly, I couldn't find a planner that I felt met my needs well since most focus on a big weekly layout and not much else. So I re-considered the bullet journal. After some heavy research on pinterest I realized that bullet journalling can be anything you need it to be and that a lot of people out there are keeping it simple and minimal, which appealed to me.

    So I started looking for the THE bullet journal which evidently is the Leuchtturm1917 dotted notebooks. Obviously there are no specific bullet journalling pens, but I use the V7 Hi-tecpoint Pilot drafting pens. I'm pretty picky about my pens because I'm left-handed and hate smearing ink across the page (left-handers will understand this).

    You can get quickly lost in the world of bullet journalling if your not careful, so I made a short list of what I wanted in a planner:
* To see my whole year at a glance.
* Track birthdays, special events, and gift ideas.
* Track my intentions for 2019 and word for the year.
* Lists of wants vs needs.
* Lists for ideas.
* Monthly at a glance calendars.
* Track blog posts.
* Weekly spread with to do lists and meal planning ideas.
* A space in the back for other lists (i.e. passwords, address change list, etc.).

*Disclaimer: These layouts are not originally my own. I absolutely took ideas from pinterest and other peoples bullet journals, because like I mentioned above, I like guidelines. Most of my pinterest searches were for 'minimalist blog layouts'.*

Future Log

       I wanted to be able to see the whole year at a glance and know how many and which special events (i.e. birthdays and holidays) were coming up in each respective month. I also highlighted out on the calendars where these dates fall so I can see the timing of things. Basically, I want nothing to sneak up on me this year. I kept it super simple because I'm a perfectionist and doing more means more time.

Birthdays and Gift Ideas

     A full page spread for birthday, special events, and gift lists keeps the gift giving we do throughout the year simple and stress free. I hate last minute gift buying, as I find it always feels less thoughtful (unless I find that perfect gift for someone a week before their birthday) so I'm hoping this helps.

Intentions and My Wishlist

     Each box is an intention I have set for the year as in "I intend to do these things" not "I have to do these things". I've also included some bullet points for small ways to accomplish these intentions. I'm hoping to focus each month around at least one. I've also documented these here in hopes that I will see it more often and remember what I wanted for myself this year. The opposite side is a 'want vs need' list to keep things in perspective and to remember to save up for wanted things rather than splurging. Again, super simple pages and I won't have to update these too much throughout the year, except for potentially adding to the want vs. need list.

Idea Lists

     Here I keep my running list of blog post ideas and a general brain dump for other ideas or project plans that pop into my head. My brain looks pretty empty currently, but I have a whole year to fill this page if my brain comes up with ideas.

     These were the key pages that I want to include every year or felt I would be updating most often, hence why they are at the front of the book.

Month at a Glance

     I live for the month at a glance. I'll be trying different layouts each month to find the one I like best, but I also added on a few of my own touches that I wanted to keep track of month-to-month.

     Like monthly 'wins'. This mostly includes finished projects or other things that I feel like were achievements for the month. I find this helps a ton when it comes to reflecting on a month or the year and wondering what you all accomplished with those 30 or 365 days?! There it is in writing exactly what you accomplished. I realized through past planners that I get a lot more accomplished in a year then I think I do simply by using this tool.

     I've also included the intention that I want to focus on for the month on my month-at-a-glance page, as well as a few ways that I can start doing it. I'm not yet at a place where I feel I should also track daily if I'm practicing my own suggestions for that intention. 

     I also included a spot for notes/ideas. I don't know yet what I will need this for, but I know that I will. And of course habits. There are some advanced 'habit tracker' layouts on pinterest, but if I set too many specific goals for myself I basically fail at all of them. Not sure why, but I don't do well with strict rules or restrictions. My habits right now are exercise, drinking more water, and reading. With no real rules. I just mark on each calendar day if I did it or not, just to see how I'm doing in general without trying too hard or not trying at all. I find I get way more out of myself it I take a lot of the pressure off and just do.

Blog Tracker

     I'm pretty new to blogging and, along with what I said above, I fail when I get too specific with my goals. So instead I have a blog tracker to see how often I am naturally getting posts up. I'm not paying attention to stats or whose reading. I'm hoping this will keep me focused on why I started the blog in the first place (maybe I'll discuss that in another post - too long for this one).

Weekly Spread, To Do List, and Meal Plans

     Again, the weekly layout is most often way more intense then my little half page spread. Some people do full spreads just for meal planning. I really only plan dinners and some lunches and I mostly just look at what's in the freezer and find a couple of recipes that fit what we have. So I list those recipes for the week in a short list here and then decide as the week progresses what we will eat. If there are recipes on the list at the end of the week, they roll over into next week. I also keep my long running to do list here. This means I will be re-writing some to do list items next week when I don't get it all done this week, but that's how I like it. I am planning on changing up the weekly spread each month or so to see what I like best.

    What do I think of it now that I've been doing it for a week? It's actually super helpful. I'm a big planner, quietly neurotic, and I love a good list so, in short, I'm loving it. I've also come to the realization that bullet journalling is not at all a form of procrastination, and I'm not sure I'll ever go back to regular planners. Why would I when I can literally create exactly what I need depending on my stage of life? Maybe if life gets busy enough again I'll return to my faithful Get To Work Book. I may do another post at the end of the year on whether I kept up with it, and how it changed with me through the year if anyone is interested.

- Katie

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