Today I want to share my Bullet Journal Story.
Bullet Journalling has become very popular over the last couple of years. It’s an alternative system to keeping a pre-printed diary or planner where you keep track of everything you need to in list form in a basic notebook. It’s a system for rapid logging appointments, tasks and notes and keeping them all in one place.
Bullet Journalling before it was cool…
I was doing my own variation of bullet journalling a long time before it was called that. Back in 2006 I used to buy little lined notebooks (165 x 100mm) to keep my lists in. I used to make master lists, weekly lists and daily lists. Instead of using check boxes I used to highlight items as they were completed. Looking back, it was tricky to differentiate between tasks and appointments. But, at the time, my simplified bullet journal worked for me.
The Ryder Carroll Method
I first came upon Bullet Journalling (the Ryder Carroll method) in 2014 via Pinterest when I was living in New Zealand. I could not find a dot grid notebook anywhere! So I ended up buying a grid style school exercise book and cutting it down to a slimline size. We were headed to the UK for a 5 week trip visiting family and friends. There was a LOT to organise and I immediately fell in love with the system as it helped me get sorted for our trip.
Later on I got a traveller’s notebook for my birthday to use with several inserts to form my ‘bullet journal’. I had one insert for my collections which were all my ongoing lists…like wish lists, bucket list, favourite books. And another insert for my monthly, weekly and daily planning. Since then I’ve tried many different variations to make the system work most efficiently for me. I’m always open to changing it if I can see ways to improve my system.
My current set-up
Currently I’m using an A6 Moleskine gridded notebook. It’s tiny and fits in my coat pocket or my handbag with ease. I used a purple one from January through June and I’m now using a pink one (from July) and hoping it will last me until the end of the year.
Here’s a summary of the various lists/pages I have contained in the start of my BuJo (short for Bullet Journal) before the monthly and daily lists begin:
- my trusty Index pages
- a Future Log with a small space for each month between Aug 17 and June 18 and a space for “beyond”
- a one pager displaying my Core Desired Feelings, my Values and my goals and aspirations for 2017
- the list of things to achieve before my 36th birthday
- a weight loss tracker for my Slimming World journey
- wish lists for myself, my son and my husband. I can note things we want as we see them – so handy when birthdays and Christmas roll around
- an On-Loan list where I note things I’ve lent to people. Also handy for noting down anything I’ve borrowed from anyone else
- Artist’s Date Tracker which sadly I just don’t use but I love the theory! (If you haven’t already check out my 40 ideas for Artist’s Dates)
- Yoga tracker – this is where I note my time spent practicing Yoga each month and cumulatively across the year as well as my daily average
- Miracle Morning Tracker. This was supposed to work the same way as my Yoga Tracker but I’ve not been doing Miracle Morning properly since the middle of the year
- my Miracle Morning Affirmations and Visualisations – still good to read over even though I’m not doing the full routine
Monthly and Daily Pages
After all these lists my regular lists start on Page 20. These tend to change over time but for each month I always have:
- A double spread calendar page for the month where I list the dates/days and note down any appointments
- I also list goals for the month of the same double page spread – usually between 4-6 goals each month
- Yoga daily tracker – this is where I note which practices I do each day, the length of time I spend practicing and how many days I’ve done yoga this year. At the end of the month I tot up the total time, calculate the daily average and add it to my main tracker at the start of my BuJo
- Self Nurturing Activities tracker – I’ve done a whole blog post on this
- Highlights for the Month – I always fill this in at the end of the month but like to keep it at the start of the month.
After these I dive straight into my daily lists. I draw a flag to note the day, date and month and then start my bullet list for the day.
If I think of a list I want to add during the middle of the month I just start it on the next free page and make sure it’s noted in the index. Examples of this is a list of Artist Date Ideas, packing lists for holidays/nights away, a brain dump or errands list.
At present I don’t keep a separate weekly list of tasks to do. I have found them handy in the past and may consider doing them again in the future.
Using Analogue and Digital Together
I use my BuJo in conjunction with my calendar on my phone. I add any long term dates and reminders to my electronic calendar. Then I check my calendar each month when writing the monthly pages and daily when I write the next day’s list.
My BuJo is functional. I know it’s not going to win any awards for prettiness but it does what I need it to do – it keeps me on track.
I love that over time I’ve created monthly checklists for the goals that mean the most to me (yoga, daily self nurturing tasks and in November I’m keeping a NaNoWriMo word count and rewards tracker) and that I’ve adapted the system to work best for me.
Are you a Bullet Journaller? How do you keep your life organised? I’m always on the lookout for new ideas so please do get in touch if you want to share tips.
If you’ve enjoyed reading about my Bullet Journal story you can learn about Ryder Carroll’s Bullet Journal system here.