I am here to tell you about something I wish I had discovered before I was pregnant:
The Bullet Journal.
The bullet journal has changed my life. Since pregnancy, and even before quite frankly, I have had trouble with my memory. I am a hot mess when it comes to keeping everything straight between work, baby, family and now I added in this website…I’ve got a lot on my plate.
For a while, I was using Wunderlist, but with limited success. I couldn’t get it to work for my home life as well as my work life, and even though I would type things, my memory relies on actually writing things down. Otherwise, the tidbits of information drown in the waves of responsibility crashing down each day.
I thought a planner might be the key to resolving my goldfish memory. But, it turns out I am one of those people that tend to buy pretty planners, keep them religiously for about a week, and then they are useless to me. I can’t keep up with them and end up wasting resources.
I really started to get into researching a solution, but I couldn’t find anything that fit exactly what I needed. It was all either too structured or not enough space to write.
Then, one day in September, I came across a thread talking about bullet journals, and I was immediately intrigued.
A lot of people were talking about how these journals had changed their lives. I had to find out how! I went to the original Bullet Journal website and took copious notes and watched all of the videos. Then, I went on various websites looking at different spreads and methods, trying to figure out what would work best for me.
The hardest part was beginning. Not wanting to wind up wasting another notebook to a fruitless project, I decided to take one of my work notebooks and convert it into a bullet journal. I quickly realized that this structure was a perfect fit for me.
If there is one thing that I like more than writing, it is list making.
Lists help me keep my thoughts organized and they are easy to sort through. I love making to-do lists and the feeling of crossing things out as they get done. It makes me feel so productive and gives a real sense of accomplishment in my day when I look back and see all the items marked off.
Wunderlist was really great for that, especially the lovely little “ding” noise everytime you marked something off. But, while it worked well for work (since I am stuck in front of a computer all day) as I mentioned, as soon as I disconnected, the application, even with reminders, lost its usefulness.
On the other hand, my bullet journal is great! It is large enough to write comfortably, but small enough to fit in my backpack and most purses. So, I take it everywhere! Anytime there is something I want to remember, I whip it out and write it down in my daily spread. Whether I am at home, work, the doctor’s office, daycare, or just in the street, I have all of my information with me.
If I need to reference something, I just take out my notebook, and the first page is an Index. The idea is that as you go about creating pages, you add each page to your index for a quick reference in the case you need to find something. No more scrounging around looking for where you wrote something. You have everything you need right at hand!
Now, because I love this thing so much, I want to encourage every single one of you to give it a chance and try it out for couple of months. If you are like me, or maybe a bit more put together, your crazy busy life will benefit from this.
Some tips for starting out:
1. Don’t get overwhelmed
If the first thing you do is look on Instagram for examples of bullet journals, unless you are an inherently artsy person, you may get overwhelmed. There are a lot of incredibly talented people that create amazing spreads.
However, that is not necessary to create a functioning bullet journal!
2. Start simple
The original bullet journal site has an extremely minimalistic approach. Start there. If you want to add art and fancy things, you can do so later. What you want to begin with is something simple and functional. Watch this video for a guide to set up your first bullet journal.
3. Write down EVERYTHING
If you are in doubt, write it down! Don’t question whether or not it belongs in your journal. The point of the bullet journal is to track everything in your life and keep it all in one place. If you have pregnancy/new mom brain, use this tool to write down everything as soon as you think of it. You will thank yourself later.
4. After a month, go back and see what you can improve.
The best thing about bullet journals is that there are no rules. There is no “messing up”. Next time, you just do something different and move on! You want to skip a week? Go for it! You don’t need to feel guilty about having a planner with blank dates! Just pick up where you left off or flip to a new spread. See what works for you and what doesn’t. Everyone needs different things at different times, so make your journal your own.
5. Get some pretty pens, but keep the notebook simple at first
Now, I know I said there is no messing up, but let’s be real. No one wants to doodle around in a $20 notebook without knowing what they’re doing. Just use a simple notebook to begin with. I typically like the ones that have graph paper rather than lines. Many people like the dotted journals that are especially for bullet journaling, but you do you.
What you can do to make your bullet journal experience awesome is get some pretty pens! Whether or not you decide to continue with your bullet journal, pens can be used anytime, anywhere, so those are worth more of an investment.
Plus, it makes you feel fancy while you write.
Finally, I want to share some of my favorite bullet journal instagrams that I use for inspiration (and for drooling over their pretty handwriting)
You can also follow me on Instagram or Twitter, as I am starting to upload some pages there from my 2018 bullet journal. I am not nearly as professional as the others, but it could help inspire your spreads/collections.
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