by Lynn S. Schwebach
One of the best lessons I learned starting a bullet journal focuses on over scheduling, and for some reason, writing it down the old fashioned way—analog—made me see this better than any other organization system. (For an overview on the rhyme and reason of bullet journals, see my article, “Bullet Journals Help Artists, Entrepreneurs and Professionals Get Organized— Step One.”)
After entering my first month (October), it became apparent how I sign up and plan for so much that I don’t have enough time to get everything accomplished— for example, writing blog posts for bravelycreative.com. Sorry I am late again!
As I progressed to entering months, and setting up “October” in my journal, I immediately noticed that I didn’t even list blogging as a task. EEK. One of my most important tools for my business, and it’s pushed into my brain’s overcrowded attic of “squeeze in if there is time.”
Hence, prioritizing becomes the biggest advantage of doing one of the “bullet things.” I also noted that the simple act of writing things down in ink makes me remember it. I don’t even have to look at my journal everyday, and somehow because I wrote down my schedule, my memory seems able to categorize and remind me what is happening or supposed to happen each day. And the third thing I noticed is that I somehow started to have fun keeping a bullet journal. EEK. I thought I wouldn’t get too creative with it given my very full art life, and wham, I found myself actually drawing in my bullet journal. But not too much — enough to satisfy my need for some color on some pages.
Lesson learned so far:
- Bullet journals help with priortizing.
- Bullet journals help my memory.
- Bullet journals can be fun.
If you’re following along with my article series on bullet journals, here are the next three steps I took in setting up my journal. (Follow along with the first three steps with my article “Three Steps to Start Your Bullet Journal— Article Two”.)
Step Four. Full-year Calendars. I like to see full monthly calendars for an entire year, so I used one page to quickly lay out October, November, and December 2017. I glued a few scraps from my art studio on this page (not necessary for your journal). For more ideas on calendar pages, see the photo above of Chip’s journal, or reference the blog page flutter.
Step Five. Monthly master pages. On the facing page I did what I call the “master” page for the month, in this case October. I noticed that my friend Chip has a master page where she writes what she is grateful for, her goals for the month, and then a section for review once the month has ended. I liked this, as I think I need a gratefulness reminder as well. I also like the goals section because I will list things I need to work on for work and outside of work, such getting more exercise, and spending less time on Facebook.
(Only add artwork to your pages if you have time, and if it adds a sense of fun to journaling. If it stresses you, these illustrations aren’t necessary. I have seen some outstanding bullet journals on the internet, especially by those who love DIY projects and crafts. These are beautiful, but give me way too much anxiety. If you want to see one of these “crafter” journals, take a look at Megan’s from the blog Adventure and Home. But don’t look if it will stress you out!)
You don’t even need a monthly “master” page if it seems too redundant. Start with your daily calendar for a month if you want. Or, simply write the month at the top of the page, and start listing everything that needs to get done for that month. Remember to make this YOUR journal, not some ideal artsy project.
With that said, here is another one of Chip’s incredibly beautiful monthly “master” pages for January. Remember, this is Chip’s meditative, creative outlet!
Here are some more ideas for monthly pages from Pinterest.
Step Six. Weekly calendar. Now you need to decide how you want to list each day of the month. As you will see in my photo, I made a mess. I wrote the date and then used marker to write the day in large letters over it. (An example I saw on Pinterest, but mine came out much worse!) This example should make you feel better as you start your imperfect bullet journal!
My friend Chip has a much better approach for her days of the week, as you can see in the photo below. I will be using a version of her neater, weekly layout for future months.
November is almost here, and I will getting the month and its days into my bullet journal. Watch for my next article on how I change my layout for November.
Also, I mentioned in my first article on bullet journals that Chip uses her bullet journal to help humanity. I will discuss that as well in my next bullet-journal article.
I would love to hear more ideas for bullet journaling, and also how your journal is going. Send a picture or two if you are bravely creative!