Monday, April 21, 2014

The Bullet Journal

My Bullet Journal
The other day, I was browsing Facebook and Pinterest (when I should have been doing calculus homework), and I came across someone that was absolutely gushing over something called "Bullet Journaling". Well, being as that I was bored, I couldn't help but check it out. And I feel in love. So, now I'm going to show you mine, why it works, and why I love it.

First, I googled "Bullet Journal". And I found the official site here. There's an awesome video and lots of good ideas to get started. But, right from the start, I saw so much more here. He's a simple guy- obviously isn't in school, doesn't have 3 kids, 4 soccer teams, and a mess of craziness going on in his life. This is what I have been looking for in an app and in my LIFE.

I'm a list maker. I'm a sticky note taker. I'm a to-do lister. I have a dollar store calendar in my purse, a calendar on my phone, and a million slips of colored sticky notes everywhere. For years, I've wanted something that could and would combine all of my lists, dates, and everything into one. I've come close to finding apps, but even though I love technology, sometimes, it's better to have it written down. Plus, I love handwritten stuff. I love the idea of checking something off. I love the idea of a "journal". This could be all of THAT.

So, the next thing I did was pull out a cheap composition book. You know the kind that you get for your kids for school that costs like 25 cents in August. I figured, I would start in it and figure out all the quirks and changes I wanted before buying a Moleskine. So, I used it for about 5 days and did just that.

I found that while his original bullet journaling system worked quite well, it was lacking in what I would like to call future planning. Basically, it needed a calendar. So, that's the cool thing here- this is completly customizable to YOU. You decide what works for you and what doesn't. I've been using my Moleskine now for about two weeks and I'm extremely impressed with how productive this makes me. I don't forget things. I'm more on task. I'm just overall more organized. And with my crazy life, this is important.

So, here is a few pics of how mine works and is put together. I went in order of my book, so you can see how it progresses and flows together.
Front Inside Cover- I washi taped my college schedule to the front.
First Page- I washi taped my "key" to the cover page next to the first page. I wrote it on an index card so I can make changes later and not have to scratch things out. I don't like scratching things out, lol. Then, like the original, I created an index page to easily find what I'm looking for. Also, if you notice, I have post-it tabs for pages I frequently need.

Close up of my key. As you can see, I added and changed some of the ones he had. I also added color to my calendar (that you will see soon) because certain things in my life need to stand out- like bills, birthdays, and appointments.

The next page is for important dates and future planning. I only had my calendar go thru 2014, so anything that I schedule or plan for 2015 will go here- for instance, I know we make dental appointments 6 months ahead of time and well checkups are similar.

This is my calendar. I actually made a mistake when I was doing it- see if you can catch the differences between this first month and the next few- lol. I use the key to keep up with certain things going on, but in general, my calendar is in pencil. Because everything always changes in my life. Also, you can see that I have one of those post-it tabs here- it says current month.

Just another look at the next month. Notice the numbers at the bottom- page numbers :)

And another monthly look....

I skipped taking pics of July-November because it was monotonous and boring. So, here is the end of my monthly calendar on pages 20-21.

I like to read. So, whenever I hear of a new book (or an old one) that I want to read- it goes here. I labeled it 2014: Books to Read and used the task bullet, so I can look back and see which books I haven't read yet.

Same idea here except with Movies and TV Shows.

And here is the meat of the book- the lists! I included a monthly first page like his, except, I didn't need it to be a calendar like he did because I have my calendar already in the front. What I needed was a monthly to do list- things that need to be done, but not necessarily important to do immediately. Things to remind myself of that are going on that month. Then, the next page is where I started my daily lists.
And here is another place I'm using my sticky tab- although, I'm thinking about using the book mark string on the Moleskine for this and using the tab on the first page of the month- so in this case, it would be on the pages shown above instead of here. Still contemplating that.
Well, that's pretty much it. I know I'm a complete dork for being so excited about something like this, but being organized is important to me with so much going on. And, here is the links to Amazon for some of the products that I used:




And lastly, here is a link to my Pinterest board about Bullet Journaling. Have fun with it and be creative. :)
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30 comments:

  1. I love the bullet journal as well, Lisa. I found out about just as you did, on Pinterest (what would we do without it) and fell in love. I am a perpetual note jotter, random papers floating, endless notebooks for different subjects and thoughts, there had to be a better way. Though my life is not super busy (most of the time), I do party planing, jewelry making, organizing and design, so all of these ideas float around (in my head or on papers). This makes it easy to still have random thoughts, but able to find each one. I agree, each person has to tweek it to suit their needs, I have yet to figure out where to put my calendar, all at the beginning like you, or as plans come up for the following month. I agree with placing tabs for each month further in the notebook. Enjoy.

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    1. I love the calendar in the beginning...but I wouldn't know what to do without the monthly "todo" lists at the beginning of each month as well. The calendar mostly just keeps up with my appointments and kids' soccer games, and such. Like a regular calendar. My monthly to do list is something that I want to get done during that month...for instance, I need to update my life insurance policies this month, so that is there for August. And what would I do without the daily lists? LOL Those I find better for reminding me what I have going on that day- calendar stuff, as well as anything I can get done as far as the monthly list, and then, everyday remedial chores and tasks, like grocery shopping and remembering to email someone back. I even have new chart that I follow that keeps my housework on a "schedule". All of that is great for my daily to do lists! :)

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  2. I am such a visual person and I *love* posts with lots of pictures showing how people are using the bullet journal system. I'm in my second month and still in love with my notebook. Thanks so much for taking the time to share what's working for you; I love your calendar layout (and your handwriting!) :)

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    1. Thank you! I'm a very visual person, too! I love pretty pictures. :)

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  3. I have just started doing a bullet journal and so far love it! I love the pictures of your bullet journal and have copied the way you have done your calendar, I prefer to have a proper calendar rather than a list and I think this will work better for me.

    Thanks for sharing.

    Paula

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    1. Awesome! I'm so glad my tips are working for someone besides... me! LOL

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  4. I saw your post on Pinterest, and this is the first I have heard about Bullet Journaling, but this looks like it just might be THE planner/calendar/everything system that works for me! One question though: How far in advance do you write out your "daily" lists? It looks like you have them unevenly spaced, based on how many items go on each day. Do you write out one day at a time? One week? A whole month ahead? How do you manage keeping track of things that are further out than that length of time, just using the monthly calendar pages?

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    1. I usually do my "daily" lists the night before or even the morning of, if I have time. I use the monthly list to cover anything that needs to get done in the future that month...like "kids clothes shopping for back to school done by the 15th", for example. And of course, the calendar in the front is more for scheduling appointments and soccer games and open house at kids' school, etc. The uneven spacing bothered me at first...I wanted to make each day equal to just half a page. But, I soon realized that some days I needed a whole page, some days I needed 4 lines, and some days I never even planned anything! I'm actually considering doing another post about how I've continued on with Bullet Journaling. :) Maybe that will come soon!

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  5. I'm just getting into this bullet journaling. My sister-in-law showed me her's and I adored it. I've been wanting to journal, but don't have time to write beautiful long thoughtful entries. LOL

    Anyway, so you put your calendars in order first after your index page and then after that is your 2014 to dos, followed by daily lists/tasks/etc?

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    1. I'm so sorry I missed this comment! I usually check often for new comments, and somehow this one has slipped through without me seeing it. Yes, after my index page, I start my monthly calendars. Then, I have a few pages between the monthly calendar and the to do lists that are for book lists, tv shows, etc. My current year actually has our bill schedule, and a cleaning schedule for me to refer back to. Then, I start a monthly to-do list, followed by my daily lists.

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  6. I don't have time for that either, lol! And I find myself totally not creative at all when I'm put on the "spot". I have to be in the mood to do any kind of journaling or thought writing that is actually worth it.

    I do put the calendars in order after the index page. My newest bullet journal is set up like this: Index, Monthly Calendars, Future Planning (next year on one page), few pages with things like movies to watch and books to read, monthly to do list followed by the daily lists and then it just continues with another monthly list and more daily lists. Occasionally, I'll have a page in the middle that will be important information (like a doctor appointment where I take notes), and I'll mark that in the index in case I need to find that information again.

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  7. I think your ideas are fabulous and you are not a dork for feeling excited about them! I was excited just reading about it!!! Thanks for sharing with the public!!!

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  8. I love this so much!! I could never spend a ton of money on a fancy planer, and this is perfect! Thanks for sharing!

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    1. You're welcome! I have coveted some of the fancy ones like Erin Condren and other for years, but like you, I just can not justify that kind of money on a planner. Plus, this is something that I actually can customize exactly to what I need. :)

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  9. Hello,
    old post but I have a question. HOw do you deal with future events? For example: On monday the first, something happens that need to be fixed in 3 weeks. Its a longer list of things. How do you keep track of that? There a a couple things that have to be done at that point in the future.

    Regardless my question this is a great post and well written end explained. I really like it. Thanks for writing all together.

    Thanks

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    1. Hmmmm....I commented on your post on my google account, but I think this might be asking something entirely different than I originally thought. From what I am understanding above, I would use my monthly to do list to make sure that gets done. In my book, I have the monthly calendars, the future planning calendar, a monthly to do list, and then, a daily to do list. The example of this is in the second to last picture above. And, I've started making a small section at the bottom of that monthly to do list page that I call "looking ahead". If there is something that I need to remember to do in a month or two, I put it there. I always use the boxes/circles/bullets so that I can flip back and recognize that I have something still "pending". If I've left something, I typically move it forward to the most current month's to do list. Does that make any sense at all? (lol) And thank you so much for your compliment! :)

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  10. I used your Monthly bullet planner and added a weekly planner after each month. The week's don't take up the whole 2 pages, so I'm free to keep my Bullet To Do list to the right of my Weekly Schedule. Thanks for the inspiration!

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    1. You're welcome! I think the best thing is that we all can figure out what "works" for us. It's fun to see or hear how people do things differently. Thanks for sharing!

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  11. I love it! My favorite pens are Pilot Frixion. They are erasable. Like completely erasable! No mess! Highlighters are also available and, yes, those are erasable too! Thanks for sharing your layout! I use a Wide Midori Style TN that I made and last night decided to make another for myself ;-) in an A5 size to widen it up even more. Your monthly layout will work beautifully! Thank you again!!!

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    1. I have not tried those pens yet. I will have to take a look at them! I still am very partial to my Sharpie pen and Stabilo 88 set.

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  12. I love it! My favorite pens are Pilot Frixion. They are erasable. Like completely erasable! No mess! Highlighters are also available and, yes, those are erasable too! Thanks for sharing your layout! I use a Wide Midori Style TN that I made and last night decided to make another for myself ;-) in an A5 size to widen it up even more. Your monthly layout will work beautifully! Thank you again!!!

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  13. How do you deal with the fact that you can see through the pages? I'm trying to start mine but I don't know if I should write on the backs of pages or how to handle seeing the writing on the next page.

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    1. I'm not sure. I really don't have a problem with "seeing" through the pages with my pens. It is a tiny bit visible if you hold the page up to a light, but other than that, I've not had this be an issue for me.

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  14. I've seen many people set up a page where they "test" the bleed through of different pens. Maybe dedicate the last page this way and try some different ones until you find the one that works for you.

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  15. OMG. I cannot believe I did not think of this! I currently have pages of lists in my planner, calender, etc...and a separate doodling journal. Your post has convinced me to combine the two for the coming year! BRILLIANT!!! Thank you so much. My only concern.....sharpies bleeding through the pages. How do you handle this??? Do you skip pages? tape them together??

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    1. I'm not sure...I've not had a problem with my Sharpie pen bleeding through at all. I suppose if I was doing a lot of doodling it might be a problem. Make sure you are using the Sharpie fine point pens, not the permanent markers.

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  16. I too bullet journal and have been told I needed to get a life when I exclaimed over the Moleskine notebooks. I get it! Love the calendar idea at the front of each month. I need a full page for each day, so have a small calendar taped inside the front cover, since I had a hard time finding a notebook with enough pages. I've never been satisfied with any planner until my bullet journal.

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    1. LOL! I love love love Moleskine! :) Thanks for sharing what works for you. I agree- I never loved planning and being organized until my bullet journal became a part of my life. Three years going strong now!

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