As of August 31, 2019, I completed my first bullet journal!
I started the physical book after my Instagram hiatus in May and I am actually pretty surprised with myself that I was able to sustain it for four months.
The concept, or idea, of bullet journaling I actually stumbled across about a year ago. And man, oh man, I failed HORRIBLY. The fatal mistake was made to Google and Pinterest the shit out of a new interest. It is very intimating. All these people with all their artistic ability and nice handwriting. Screw you! Once I got over the fact that I have neither the patience or time to attempt to try and make my journal LOOK pretty, it was a much easier thing to get into.
At first, I tried to track all of the things. I wanted to completely cut out my digital crutch.
I wanted to track my habits and books read; quotes, blog post ideas. I tried tracking my ARCs and had a page of my Summer goals. There was an attempt to even get a little fancy with stencils. It can be correctly assumed that all of these things fell by the waist side. I would make these spreads, then never use them. Or I’d complete them but then never reference them again.
As I closed in on the end of my journal I started wondering what it was I was “supposed to” migrate to the next journal. The short answer was, anything you would need in your next journal. Which is the point of the whole migration process. You are only going to keep moving the tasks or spreads that are serving a purpose. I realized then that keeping track of a lot of the things I was trying to keep track of was not working for me.
I did not need a place to keep track of the books I read. Goodreads already does that for me, pretty easily too – why double the work. I found that putting my ARCs into Google Sheets (or Excel for you Windows/Mac users) file was much more useful. In regards to my habits, I was trying to track, like how often I bathe the dog or clean the bathroom… there was an app I was able to download that made it much easier than trying to find the correct corresponding box to check in my dot journal.
I even did the unthinkable. I joined a FB group for minimalist bullet journalers. More for inspiration and ideas then for anything else. It has been interesting to see what some people consider minimal. Some people only do monthlies, while some will do monthlies, weeklies, AND dailies. I liked the idea of weeklies, but the follow-through was tough. I stopped trying to force myself to do weeklies and only do monthlies and dailies because that is what works for me. The original system actually does not account for the weeklies. The original system has monthlies and then dailies in the form of rapid logging and really, that is what works best for me.
At least once a day, usually in the morning, I will sit down with my journal and my cup of coffee and write down what I have to accomplish in the day and what I would like to accomplish. During that time, if something is bothering me from the day before I will take those few minutes and write about that before, or after, my listed tasks. It really does do something to get everything out of your head, onto a piece of paper. There is something about handwriting your notes, your tasks, your day that is so much different than tapping on a screen or using a keyboard. It really makes you think. Getting everything out of your head normally does not take me long, usually 10-15 minutes and then I am off to the races for the day.
Journaling is a hard habit to get into. I know. I have been trying to do it for years. It always felt like it was something I needed to do every day – which is not the case. In the past, I found myself trying to force myself to say something meaningful. And some days, most days, I don’t have anything meaningful to say. And that is okay. Some days I just want to bitch to someone and my journal is perfect for that. Then there are days where I feel so overcome with gratitude I want to share those feelings and my journal is the best place for that too.
If you have struggled with journaling, try bullet journaling. It is a great intro. There are an excellent website and book, both called The Bullet Journal Method that will walk you through the basics to get started. I reviewed the book, last year, here. It is easier said than done but don’t let the images you see online of other people’s journals scare you. Some people take their journals to the next level as far as I’m concerned, but, to each their own.
You don’t need a fancy notebook or pen. You don’t have to have any artistic ability to just get the words out of your head and onto a piece of paper. It’s okay if you skip some days, weeks or even months. Your journal will always be there, waiting for you for when you need it.