The Bullet Journal and journaling in general is an ongoing process for me. Back at the beginning of 2014 when I made my First post about the Bullet Journal I wasn’t sure where that would lead. The bullet journal was a revolution for me. It was something that I sorely needed and has helped me a lot. It morphed over the year into being something just about perfect for me. I changed symbols and I changed how it all works. Actually, I started out not even using all their symbols.
Before I had that journal nothing got assigned days. I had post-its and scraps of paper everywhere. As something got done, the paper would get tossed. Or sometimes scraps of paper would get lost before an item was completed. That was ultimately frustrating. Sometimes I’d be out somewhere and think of a list item that needed to be done and I’d have to message myself something and hope that I remembered to make a note for myself later.
Now I carry my journal wherever I go. I’ve told people at shows to hang on, I need to write in my journal. If it goes in here, it will happen; if it doesn’t, it won’t happen. There were things in the original bullet journal (You can see about that in the link above) that ended up not working for me and I’ve changed things to fit my life and what I need. There were several changes along the way and here’s where I am now.
First, I liked the A5 size (roughly 8×5). I love the Rhodia papers. They work well with the fountain pen ink that I use. Dot grid is my favorite because it’s enough structure for me to be able to make lines and to write clearly but not so much that I can just doodle all over a page. I think one of the nicest things about this size is that a normal sheet of paper, folded in half, almost fits really well. I have rubber bands on either end of my book so that I can hold these extra sheets of paper in. I have coupons and kids things all tucked into the rubber bands. Things that I need right off but sometimes things that don’t need to be more secure. For those things there is the file pocket at the back. Notes that I need to be sure to keep or maybe a business card. When I’m traveling it might hold onto my itinerary until I’m actually in the airport then that goes into a rubber band for easy access. See it all has a way of working out and my system has worked for me so far.
I changed up the indexing. It was too jumbled before with months and other things getting lumped in together. Now I have 3 different and easy to figure out (at least easy for me) sections. On this page to the left, you can see that the one on the bottom is strategically put so that it takes up the bottom 13 rows (12 months and 1 title). This is my planner. If I need to look up a month, I can just go right to this. But if I need to see what designs I’ve sketched/written out while on the road, I have that on another index which is actually the reverse of this page (poor planning). Everything else is at the top of the page you see here. This separating out the index helped me immensely to be able to go back and find what I’m looking for quickly.
I stopped setting up my months like they talked about in the bullet journal video. It was really tedious to write things out so much and so often that I just do a short list of the really important things going on chronologically.
I make note of which month you’ll be seeing.
And then at the bottom you can see that my main note of the month is the newsletter. That became just a habit. What did I need to put in the newsletter for the next month?
Finally the biggest change happened with the daily/weekly planning pages. I make them a month in advance. I sketch out my squares and I fill them. You can see that I made a dummy week here so you can see what it’s like without giving up any one’s personal info.
All the info you see input there isn’t stuff that I would necessarily put in a month in advance. My weekly August pages have already been built and the only things that are in it are the big events. The lists that need to go up are usually done weekly or day by day. You can see that I have the full week and then at the bottom I have my “things to ignore”. These really aren’t things to ignore. It’s my own little joke with myself. And you can also see that I have a little grid. The grid can be for anything you want to accomplish daily or need to keep track of. I put down vitamins here but I have used it for other things. Drink more water. Don’t eat candy. etc etc.
As things get done, I make my mark. You can see the only symbols I use when setting up are the dots and the squares. Dots are appointments. things that aren’t really tasks. If one of those gets canceled, I just make a line through it. No biggie. It’s just to keep me on time. The squares are my main task things. If it gets completed, the square is filled in. If it’s only half done, I half fill it in. You see the arrows? That means I’ve moved the task to a different day. I’ve realized that thing isn’t going to happen so instead of stressing over it and leaving it on the list, I move it.
My week looks pretty plain. I don’t get into the stickers and the pretty things just for pretty sake. I don’t have anything against that, it’s just that this is really utilitarian for me and it’s not important to me that it looks pretty. I have carried a separate art journal for a while. I am an artist at heart and sometimes by profession so it’s not that the creativity isn’t there, it just comes out in other ways for me. If there is something that needs priority or I need it to be a color, I’ll highlight or write it in a different color. Most of the time though, just having it on my list is enough for me.
This is what has been working for me. If you need stickers and stamps and colors, do it. If you like all the bullet journal symbols, use them. If you want to do it a different way, do it. These are all just ideas. There’s thousands of other blogs and videos out there talking about journaling and a bunch have different ideas.
Now. I have to mention there was one HUGE drawback to this journal that I have. It has to do with having everything in one book. So this A5 has been my weekly planner, my diary, my note taking, a place where I jot down design ideas, I make up notes for future posts or articles…etc etc. At the end of the year, this book gets set on a shelf and if I want to see those ideas I have to go pull it off the shelf. Not entirely difficult but it felt like a huge drawback. I cut some stuff out and pasted it elsewhere. I bought another journal for a certain Spunky Eclectic thing that I felt needed to kept separate. I copied some of the pages from the old journal into the new one. Is there a better way?
I think there just might be. I’m looking into alternative journals though I want to keep doing things in the planning/list way that I have been. You can expect that there will be a 3rd posting coming up.