Last month, I read a blog post by Modern Mrs. Darcy that changed how I keep track of my life. The topic? Bullet journals. I immediately fell in love with the idea, so I read through all the links about how to get started and decided this was a perfect fit for me.
If you’ve never heard of this concept, you’re in the same boat I was. The general idea is to make your own customized planner. A blank notebook is transformed into an all-in-one planner/calendar/note-taker/thought organizer.
What Convinced Me to Try It
I’ve never used a store-bought planner because I hated the way each week was organized into blocks of time. I like seeing my weekly/monthly tasks and events in lists.
I prefer hand-writing in general to keeping things electronically. Previously, I’d use the note-taking app on my phone when I thought of things I needed to do that day. This eliminates that step.
Perhaps the most appealing aspect is having a keepsake to document what I was doing during this time in my life. I actually used to write all my plans on a wall calendar…and then keep them because it was fun to look through years later. This should take up less space : )
How I Got Started
There are two websites I primarily used to get started:
Plus I kept in mind Modern Mrs Darcy’s tips
With all that in mind, I set out (virtually) on the quest to find the perfect journal. Two hours of internet searching later (even with Jay’s help), I settled on the Moleskine Classic Squared Notebook. It met all of my criteria: big enough to write in, small enough to fit in a purse, graph ruled, durable cover, and an elastic band to keep it closed.
Thus far, I included the following sections within my bullet journal:
Full Year Calendar
To Be Read Category
I was hesitant at first about using specific notations versus regular bullet points. Now I like the way it spices up my Daily Logs and helps differentiate on days when I list more than just one or two items.
I use the following notations in my Daily Logs:
Box – Specific to-do items that should be done that day
Dash – Random things I want to do or look up eventually (usually it’s researching something on the internet or fun but not important task like painting my nails)
Triangle – Appointments or places I need to be
Dot – Life highlights I want to remember such as finishing a book or vacations/events
Heart – for touching moments that are more rare but meaningful.
What I’ve learned
- I want a cute journal next time. This is something I use almost every day, so it’s worth a few extra bucks for a design/color I really love
- Don’t be afraid to mix in categories with your daily log. I was originally planning to put them somewhere in the back, but didn’t know how far back to put them and got all worried about it. It took me three weeks before I ended up adding one. Don’t stress about location and intermingling. That’s what your index is for!
- If you like color, use pretty pens. I want to break out of my black pen rut, so I’ll be purchasing some fancy pens in the future.
- Find your own system of notations. I started with suggestions from the first link, but found that I wanted to separate my “to do’s” into boxes and dashes. I didn’t like the look of so many boxes so I swapped my random “research Celebrity cruises” and “see if we own Interstellar” type ideas for dashes.
- Take it with you everywhere. Ideas for blog posts, things to research, and new book recommendations pop up randomly throughout the day. I keep my journal with me so I can write it down immediately.
- I still use Google Calendar since Jay and I have a shared calendar that we can both update. I realize that results in an overlap, but it’s helpful that we can both view and update whenever and wherever we need to.
If you have any questions or are looking for additional resources let me know! I’d also love to hear if you are a fellow bullet journal-er, so please share your experiences!