Wow! When I first started to use my bullet journal, I thought I probably would still be using it after six months, but I didn’t realise how much of an impact it would have on my life and in so many different ways. When I started, I’d recently returned to work after maternity leave. I was stressed, anxious and I couldn’t remember anything from one moment to the next. How things have changed and certainly for the better.
I became very attached to my first pink beauty ( you can read about the beginnings of my journey with her here and here), but she was full by the end of February so I moved into my new emerald green Leuchtterm 1917 at the beginning of March. I’ve found that I much prefer a dotted grid to a lined page as it’s far easier to set up collections and layouts. It’s also amazing to see how the style of my bullet journal has evolved in the last two months. I’m now far happier with the layouts I create and it’s far quicker as I don’t spend all my planning time measuring to draw my layouts!
Organisation and Productivity
For me, these are the two most important things that I need in a planner . I need to be able to plan activities at home and work across the academic year and I need to keep an overview of the tasks that need completing. My bullet journal has forced me to confront my habit of procrastinating over those tasks that I hate doing, if only so that I can reward myself with a neatly shaded task box!
Since my job splits into two roles at different parts of the week, it’s so important to me that tasks can be prioritised on particular days and completed to deadlines. I had been struggling slightly with recording and remembering tasks for later in the week but since I introduced a ‘Thought Jot’ area to my weekly spread it’s solved the problem. As I move into May, I’ve dedicated an entire page to a ‘Work Thought Jot’ which allows me to record tasks for later in the term – something that’s really important as I descend into the madness that is the summer term. I’ve also noticed that since I’ve been using my bullet journal at work, my Friday mornings in the office are incredibly productive. Whereas I used to say ‘I’ll do that over the weekend’ now I say ‘Let’s get it over and done with so that I can spend more time wiht my family’. I find it much easier to prioritise and if I’ve got a spare five minutes I don’t waste them deciding what to do, I quickly look at my list of tasks and know immediately what I can do to fill the time productively.
I started off using only weekly layouts after the first time I tried a daily system it was a complete disaster. Fortunately I persevered and I now use a combination of daily and weekly layouts. The main thing that I love about the bullet journal system is its adaptability, I use a weekly overview all of the time, but only use dailies during the school term as I find I don’t really use them during my school holidays. This may change as the kids get older and we have more activities planned in during the holidays, but for the moment it’s working for me.
My current weekly layout is working well, but I find I’m missing being able to see my diary dates on the same page when I’m planning my menu and I need space to be able to write a shopping list on the page so that I’m able to do my online supermarket shop without forgetting loads of things. I’m trying out a new weekly layout for the beginning of May but I already hate it – there’s too many boxes and it’s a bit overwhelming to look at. There will be a redesign later next week!
My Best Thing Today spread is perhaps my favourite page each month. I record a couple of things each day that have made my world a nicer place to be or are special memories that I want to record. The act of writing them means I finish the day on a positive note and it’s great to be able to look back over the month and see the progress my kids are making and other things that bring a smile to my face. Just reading through this page brings back some lovely memories.
I had moved into a separate blog bullet journal which worked really well to begin with, but as time has gone on and become ever more complicated and busy, I’ve realised that having one single bullet journal for everything that is ongoing is definitely the way to go. I’m still keeping my permanent collections journal as I use this in a slightly different way, but everything else is now in one place.
I’ve recently been asked at work which size of diary I want for school for the next academic year and I’ve replied that I don’t want one. Although I could implement the task check box system in a normal diary, I wouldn’t have space to create the weekly overviews and I’d end up back where I started with lists written on scruffy bits of paper or post it notes which I’d lose and, as a consequence, become stressed and disorganised and way less productive than I am. My anxiety levels would raise and I wouldn’t be able to combine working the hours I do with family life.
I can’t see myself returning to a ‘normal’ diary for some time yet. Life is messy, complicated and fun and my bullet journal keeps me organised, productive and remembering it all.
Do you bullet journal? Are you tempted?