Like a scene out of a TV sitcom about bad dating experiences, year after year I tried to find a calendar/planner which suited my lifestyle. Some were too shallow – allowing enough space for a few words per day. Others too overwhelming and cumbersome.
Mingling in cyberspace, I heard people raving about how perfectly Bullet Journaling allowed them to juggle all the balls and log all the activities. I considered it briefly, but decided the concept was outta my league.
I needed enough space for events, to-do lists, and random things I didn’t want to forget, while also being small enough to carry around with me. After trying the dollar store calendar and finding it too small to be useful, I switched to the in-depth planner which cost almost 100x more.
The planner may have been ideal for those who work from home or have some sort of irregular schedule, but for me a daily scheduler is a waste. The bulk of all of those extra pages meant I didn’t take it to work every day, and therefore couldn’t use it for brain dumps.
Feeling particularly creative one day – a rare occurrence for me – I decide to research the Bullet Journal concept again. While the original concept didn’t appeal to me, I found blogs and videos demonstrating all the fun ways to dress up pages and spreads.
I’d describe myself as more analytical than artistic, so I’m not sure why I bypassed clean journaling in favor of drawing layouts and adding fun color coordination to the mix. My previously purchase calendar ran out in June, so I started my journal with half the year already under my belt. I felt a sense of smug satisfaction starting a new habit with the prompting of the new year.
After 9 months of journaling, I completed my first full journal just last week. Perhaps if I were a bit more of the motherly type, I could draw all kinds of analogies about growing and nurturing this new routine. But I’m not.
I will, however, say that my spreads have changed significantly since I first got started. Weekly spreads are two pages, and include dinner plans, my Bible reading scripture for the day, random thoughts on time well wasted, and any meetings or appointments I have for the day.
My monthly spread hasn’t changed all that much – just a listing of the days in the month with the activity written to the side. My life isn’t all that complex, so the likelihood of two events the same day is small.
I also vary where I keep track of my habits. I enjoy filling in boxes daily, however what habits I track are subject to change monthly. Sometimes I position them on the weekly spread, while others I prefer to look at my stats over the course of the entire month.
The mental health tracker is handy for those times I’m feeling particularly anxious over the course of several weeks. I like being able to look back and see if I truly have been unsettled for a solid week (month?) or if it only feels that way.
I’d like to eventually add the to-do list into my journal. I find it odd that the basis of the whole Bullet Journal concept is the one idea I’ve yet to incorporate into mine. However that really does illustrate the beauty of the journal, each one is unique. (Just like everyone else.)
Planning and drawing the layouts does take time, but for the most part I enjoy the process. The act of thinking through the week for the journal helps me mentally prepare for the week to come.