Starting my Bullet Journal
There’s this phenomenon sweeping parts of the internet (I say “parts” because it seems to still be fairly under-the-radar, even on Pinterest) called the Bullet Journal. I’m not going to go into it too much; I’d really rather refer you to the original and let you explore from there.
For me, stumbling on it was like lights coming on- a sudden illumination in a “Wait, that’s a thing? I can do that? Why didn’t I…?” sort of way. And yet, when I read and explored more and more, I realized I always had, intuitively, been a bullet-journal-er, just not nearly so organized about it.
A bullet journal, whose name I admittedly hate saying (along with the term “future log”- come on. Really?), is basically a make-your-own planner from nothing but a notebook and a pen. Basically. Spend enough time on Pinterest or Instagram and you’ll see things waaaaaaay beyond the basics- beautifully hand-lettered and doodled layouts and gorgeous pages of collections; all of which is very inspiring and made me just tickled pink.
For two simple reasons; the first of which being that I have always liked the idea of using a planner, but have yet to use one all the way through. Inevitably, something in it isn’t *quite* right- the layouts aren’t working for me, I don’t have enough space for notes, it’s hard to write in, it’s too big to fit in my bag, it’s too small to write anything, the clasp is wonky, etc, etc, etc- I’ve always been very Goldilocks about my planners. And, well, because I haven’t had one that fits me well, I’ve gotten discouraged using them and instead, jot things hither and thither as they strike me and I find blank(ish) paper.
Which brings me to my second reason, and that is what I’d mentioned before as being an intuitive bullet-journaler (journalist? I’m not quite sure how that’s supposed to go). Which is to say that, along the wake of my discarded planners, you can find a stream of notebooks- ordinary notebooks, with jottings of all sorts. Class schedules, homework, party plans, lists of all sorts, doodles, poems and scraps of stories, meal plans and grocery lists, charts of clothing inventories for my girls- all just jotted down in a plain, ordinary notebook that wandered along with me, and when filled, was replaced by another common foot soldier of a thing. But, often, I’d still end up with scraps of paper not in the notebook, or a second or third notebook floating around- all with useful and used information in them, but not at all organized or even indexed.
Enter the Bullet Journal- my White Knight of planners, introduced by my dear friend Nancy- a lovely lady to whom I owe much inspiration. I read and I stalked and I pondered and I made lists (as I do), and I decided that yes, this was something I wanted to try- this could be the planner that sticks!
So when an unexpected gift of cash found its way into my lap, I bought the notebook I’d decided on using, dug out a set of archival-quality pens I had stashed, and got to it. I’d amassed a little board on my Pinterest of helpful start guides, as well as a list in another notebook on the things I felt I wanted to include in my BuJo (ugh- I can’t. Let’s go with “planner,” shall we?), so I had a good idea of where to start.
I got my index initiated, and headed it off with an overview of the months ahead. This was in the end of June, so I only had to do July-December for 2016, and it looks like this:
There’ve since been some additions, but basically I’ve got the month in calendar format to the left, and space to write briefly what’s going on significantly for the month on the left.
Following is a weekly layout for the end of June/beginning of July, notes on the garage sale, a budget tracker, a cleaning/housekeeping tracker, a calendar spread for July, and some other miscellaneous collections, logs, and layouts. I kept at it for a month, and then did a review (another post coming with some detail there!), and carried on.
It is all the love I imagined, though it still needs tweaking. I’ve found some things I thought would be good were less helpful than expected, and have since dropped using them. Others have come and gone in different months as needed- but that’s the beautiful part: with this system, I can do that.
Really, if you’re planner-challenged like I am, I wholeheartedly recommend giving it a shot. It’s a system that can be as simple or complex as you want it to be, as cheap or all-in as you need. I’ve seen gorgeous notebooks out there full of calligraphy and pages of truly artistic doodles from pens that run $25 apiece or more and I’ve seen the bare-bones from the original and I’ve seen lots in the middle, and they’re all undeniably unique to their creators and users. Some prefer lines, others dots, others blank pages, others grids- it’s up to you and that’s, well, perfect.
I think this planner- and its successors -are going to be with me for a long time!