Bullet Journal: My Search for Planner Perfection
I like to maintain some level of organization in my life, so a planner of one kind or another is a must. I need a place to write down my hair appointments, evening events for work, classes, etc. And I like to keep a to do list because it keeps me moving toward my goals. I need the Bullet Journal system.
I have tried several forms of planners in the past and have found them problematic for one reason or another. My first big planner attempt was an elaborate “control journal” as suggested by Fly Lady. Mine had sections for meal planning, menu rotation, cleaning schedules, a to-do list, and budget. Just keeping up with the planner/journal was an item on my to-do list, it was that cumbersome. The thing was in a full-size 3 ring binder; waaay too much work.
After letting go of the control journal, I went a few years with just my to-do list and a wall calendar. Daily items went on the to-do list, future events went on the calendar, and both items stayed at home in my kitchen. It was a super simple system, and it worked for a while.
At the beginning of 2016, I tried a multi-section journal/planner again. This was part of beginning my 21 Day Sugar Detox, and the first section was a food journal. I also had an exercise journal and a to-do list. My choice for this planner/journal was a full size notebook. The food journal was probably important those first couple of months as I tried recipes and adjusted myself to a new eating plan. By mid-year, the only part of that planner I was keeping up with was the to-do list. The food plan and exercise had become routine parts of my life and there was no need to continue journaling them.
I started teaching classes in the evenings and saw a need for a more traditional planner to help me keep from double-booking myself. I picked up a planner that appealed to me at Michael’s. The weekly grid format worked for adding in my classes and other scheduled events, but not for my to-do list.
Bullet Journal, To the Rescue!
In December, there was a planner thread on one of my Facebook groups. One of the people mentioned she was using a Bullet Journal and liked the way it worked for her. A quick Google search directed me to this website with a good explanation and instructions that were baffling to me at the time. I also found several blogs that offered examples of layouts and oh-so pretty doodles.
I ordered a Medium Hardcover Leuchtturm Bullet Journal in Emerald and prepared to start on January 1, 2017.
Thus far, I like the unstructured nature of the Bullet Journal. I can make it fit my purposes. After the Future Log, I left several empty pages. So far, I have my “Goals 2017” in that section, with room to add goals as needed. I have allowed 4 pages before each month. The first is for a purchase list and a list of ideas. The next page has the days of the month listed down the side so I can see my whole month at a glance. The next page is titled “Tasks” and is a list of things I need to accomplish that aren’t assigned to particular days. Finally I have a page for tracking habits, those things I expect to do every day but don’t want to clutter my to-do list.
Then I begin with the days of the month, about 8 days on each 2-page spread. This is where my to-do list goes, as well as events. I look at my goals every day and identify action steps for the day. These go on my to-do list along with the little things I must do to keep my life ticking along.
Plain Bullet Journal Pages are OK
I like the idea of elaborately decorated pages in my BuJo, but who has the time? I choose instead to add a decorated celebration to the bottom of pages when I have a special reason to celebrate. So far, I don’t have something to celebrate every day, so there’s a bit of room.
One of the blogs I read when getting started spoke of the Bullet Journal in glowing terms. It also gave some good directions for using one. At the end of the post, though, was an addendum explaining why she was no longer using a BuJo. That may be me in a few months or after a year, I don’t know.
For now, I like the flexibility BuJo offers me to add, expand, eliminate, or reduce sections as it suits me or as my needs change. I can decorate as little or as much as I like. And I like how portable and self-contained my BuJo is. I’m a fan!