Why Bullet Journal [Part 1]

I know what you are thinking. What is a bullet journal?

Ryder Carroll, who coined the term Bullet Journal, defines it as an analog tool for a digital world.

I’ve mentioned before that, in addition to my awesome Cozi digital tool, I keep a written journal to keep me sane. There are many reasons to bullet journal, but I have primarily three reasons:

  1. Highlight What’s Important
    Digital is not enough, and mapping out my month, week and day, keeps what’s important at the forefront of my schedule. Historically – just ask my husband – I have a great schedule, but I never look at it. Or I look at it as it hits my schedule, rarely planning ahead or I see an important event like a birthday or anniversary the day it happens. With a daily, weekly, monthly mindset, I’m hoping those days are over.
  2. Art Happens
    I need a creative outlet, and I’ve found that even when I’m messy, bullet journaling is a great exercise in art. It can be as simple as using a different color for each title. It can be as little as changing up my handwriting, or laying out a page in my head before I begin. I knit, but I never have enough time to knit. This gives me a creative outlet in pursuit of continuing to be productive.
  3. The Index
    Bullet journaling keeps me organized: I have pages for each subject and I can index them from the front of the book to find them. Each weekly also gets indexed, so I don’t have to guess how far it is into the book to find it. And my bullet journal has multiple ribbons to hold my place, helping me find the daily schedule.

Historically, I’ve been a standard planner girl. Sadly, I have planner pages dating WAY back sitting in my office. I can literally tell you what meetings I had seven years ago. But back then, if I took notes in a meeting, I needed to know the date of the meeting to find the notes.

Not today. I keep a page for each employee, so as we have one-on-one meetings, I can keep my thoughts contained for them, and I’ll add things to the list so we’ll discuss it on our next meeting.

I keep subject-matter pages, like, for example, possible blog topics!

I also keep a page on goals, so I can frequent it and see how I’m doing.

How to Get Started

It’s easy. You just start. Any notebook will do. And you basically create the layouts – monthly, weekly or daily – that work for you.  (More on that in the next productivity blog.)

I’m three attempts in. I started with a Moleskine quad-ruled notebook. It had many benefits, starting with I already had it so I could start right away. It is small and thin, and easily fit in my purse. (I decorated it myself with stickers on the outside; I’m sorry, it does not come in Jayhawk.) The squares made lines easy, and I could center content or evenly space days. As it turns out, it was just a bit too small, and it was just a few weeks before I’d filled it in completely!

oldj-weekly

Attempt #2 sent me back to my Erin Condren LifePlanner ($10 off using this link). I love Erin Condren because she makes it so EASY to be creative, offering stickers and built-in headers. However, I have a LOT going on. A lot. I can honestly say two pages just doesn’t do it for me. Sure, my schedule and some goals and maybe a few to-dos can go in there. But no notes, and I am a note taker. So, I tried to make it work as long as possible before I caved.

planner-sept

My final (or, at least, most recent) attempt is the Leuchtturm 1917 dotted-grid notebook. I’m loving it. It’s clean, and the grid isn’t in the forefront. It’s still small enough I can drop it in my purse.

newj

newj-futurelog

I love how clean it looks.

I’ve been experimenting with different layouts and my next blog will talk about how to really bullet journal.

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