So what’s the latest party that Kristabel’s late to? The bullet journal party. I must have heard about the concept last year, saved a few posts and then only started looking into it properly when I reached peak disorganisation. My system is that I have twenty systems, notebooks, forgotten diaries, weekly planners, iPhone lists and Google docs. I found that I was recording things all over the place but then forgetting where everything was and generally feeling like a headless chicken.
I’ve only been using the bullet journal system for a month, so I’m by no means an expert. What I do like about it is that it’s a flexible system for organising your life, that you can fully customise. Think ALL the lists. It reminds me of the StyleFax I used to have back in the day, with sections for every part of your brain that you could cull if anything.
Whenever I buy a pretty yearly diary, once I’ve posted the obligatory ‘grams, I always seem to forget about it after a few weeks as it becomes a little restrictive. Bullet journals are a great way to make notebooks really work for you and it takes you on a bit of an organisational journey. I’m still at the beginning of mine, but I thought I’d share a few tips just in case you want a head start for 2017.
Reach rock bottom
So you’re probably going down this path because you’ve forgotten important tasks or not been able to hit certain goals for yourself. You’ve tried everything else and you have decided to actually read the post you clicked ‘like’ on to investigate further. It’s fine. A bullet journal is the kind of thing you can start at any point in the year. Obviously the beginning of the month is preferable, but you can always ease yourself in or fill bits in retrospectively. Since I’m a bit of a commitment-phobe, I’m using a paperback Kikki K notebook to trial the system before hopefully moving to something a little more sturdy once I’ve figured things out.
I’m not going to go into the finer details on how to actually start, but just head to the official site, watch this video and look at this handy guide for reference. Sophie’s post is also a great read. It’s basically a way of organising tasks and breaking them down into things that need to be done that day, that month and later in the year. Perfect if you just need to get things out of your head and stop feeling overwhelmed. You can also use it to track goals, finances and even your mood.
Throw yourself in at the deep end
Despite all of the #inspo out there, there’s no need to have a book with fancy illustrations and jazzy colours. It’s all a little overwhelming if you start scrolling through Pinterest beforehand and as much as I love design, I’m trying to remember that it’s an organisational tool that no one else ever needs to see. It doesn’t need to be perfect.
I think it’s quite useful to start off with an open mind, I didn’t have a specific plan for what I wanted my diary to be and naturally found that it was mainly work-focused with a few personal tasks like ‘Buy Dad a belt’. It’s a great if you’re a person who learns by doing and evolves quite nicely once you start using it.
Make your own rules
Another thing I’ve done is completely disregard most of the symbols that signify whether a task has been done. I seem to respond better to crossing things out rather than just popping a cross on a dot, so it may not look very pretty but at least it’s clear. I still migrate tasks by moving them to new lists and I often cross-reference things with the calendar on my phone. Sometimes I miss out days on my daily log if I’m out and about, so usually I’ll write down the things I actually achieved, which is a nice reminder.
Index – 4 pages
Future log – 4 pages
Month at a Glance – 2 pages
Monthly tasks – 1 page
Blog posts to work on – 1 page
Daily log – As many pages as I need
I have many miscellaneous sections. Occasionally I’ll pop a random list in such as ‘Brands to reach out to’ in between pages of the Daily Log. I use the back of the book for layout notes and ideas for when I eventually transfer to a larger notebook.
Delay Your Research
Now I feel more comfortable with the system, I’ve allowed myself a little look at all of the various different layouts to see if there’s a way to improve some of the chaos. I’m definitely going to implement some of Lily’s tips when it comes to breaking blog-related things down (I actually created a sheet like this but forgot to use it) and I’d love to be able to look at how my days are divided at a glance. There’s no rush though. You don’t want to fall into the trap of all this prep and not actually using the thing, so I’d definitely recommend testing for a couple of months and figuring out solutions later on. Maybe bullet journal groups will be a thing in the future?
So this little book is never going to completely replace my slightly confusing method that spans multiple devices. I tend to track my stats in Google Drive as it syncs across everything and it’s easier to do certain calculations. Basically you have to figure out a system for you and the right platform for the system. I’m never going to be completely digital-free as sometimes I need to scribble but I also like the ease of copying/pasting and being able to share things easily.
Are you converted to this way of working too? Part of me is a little bit annoyed at myself since it’s November and I still haven’t got into a routine but sometimes you have to try different ways of working to see what even works in the first place. Let me know if you’ve got any ingenious layout ideas and how you’re finding it all, we can do this!
TL:DR – Starts a bullet journal to stop procrastination. Spends 3 hours procrastinating looking for bullet journal layouts on Pinterest.