Up until two years ago I didn’t really have anyway of keeping track of things life would throw at me. I tried using a traditional planner, a planner app on my phone, the calendar reminders, anything free really. Sometimes it would work fine for a doctor’s appointment or a change in my work schedule, but there were more than a few times that an alarm didn’t go off or a post it note fell off my desk/calendar and I missed a shift or something else important, or the classic I washed the pen off my hand.
So what changed? A close friend of mine, Sara, mentioned she was using the bullet journal system to keep track of her work to-dos, art projects, convention dates, everything apparently. So I checked it out, and so far it’s something I’ve actually kept up.
I’ve kept it kind of basic but at the same time make it look pretty, over the years of course I just kept it simple.
My fiancée surprised me with a set of journals, a monthly/weekly calendar book and a simple lined journal. I kept the calendar one at work and used the lined one as my first bullet journal. Even with as much research as I did I still wasn’t sure, so I started with the basic of the basic: the key.
The habit tracker was something that really needed to be refined. There’s a lot of habit I wanted to create, like flossing we know we should but don’t, so somethings had to be cut out so I didn’t overwhelm myself. It has been extremely useful and if anyone out there is curious to start a bullet journal I think you should give it a shot for a little while.
I’ve used it to keep track of books I want to read, by making a list of books to read and books I’ve read it’s made it easier to figure out which book to pick up next. Maybe the only change I make to it every year it the layout. Either way I do my best to keep it consistent.
For my monthly layout, even though I started journaling in September of 2016 I actually did’t start a monthly overview until October. I did a tiny calendar and just listed the days on the side with a note of any events/important dates next to them. I also moved my habit tracker there instead of at the front of my journal since I really didn’t like flipping to the very front to fill it in. (This did change later again, I’ll get to that in a minute).
Today I have a larger calendar, still running dates on the side for personal and work events, and the other space I use for writing my book of the month, goals, and any other notes for the month.
Now of course it the main part of the bullet journal, my weekly/daily log. It’s taken me a very long time to figure out how I want to keep track of things. I started with a basic daily log running through the pages: Day, Date, then a list of thing that needed to be done, crossing them out as I went or migrating them to another day.
I did try 1-page daily layouts for about a month, but yeah I don’t have a lot going on through the day to justify it. Today I still have a running week on the side of the page, a sleep tracker, and I moved my habit tracker from being monthly to weekly so I can really see how I’ve been doing. If I end up with extra space I just glue something there.
So, summing up. Has using a bullet journal helped me keep track of personal and work stuff? Yes, definitely. I keep it with me at all times so I can write down any reminder for the week or important events coming up. I don’t forget things as much since I have a system now. I highly recommend using some kind of planner or bullet journal, especially if you’ve tried all kinds of apps to keep track of things but doesn’t really work, I find physically writing things down has helped so much.
Plus I can customize each month and weekly log. I love customing things to fit my style and needs.
Do you think you’d be interested in starting a bullet journal? Do you have a system you already use?