Bullet Journals: Yes you can.
Bullet Journals - Who has the time?!
You've seen them. Those picture perfect multi-colored artistic works of art pages that make you want to throw up in your mouth or send your anxiety spinning out of control. There's no way I can do that! These things are supposed to make life easier, not more chaotic! How am I supposed to fit a book AND 275 glitter gel pens into my purse?! Not to mention the shame I will feel when I open up my bullet journal and my artwork is subpar to the person sitting next to me in the coffee shop. NOPE. I'll just stay disorganized thankyouverymuch.
But then it happened...
How I Acquired my Bullet Journal.
I've tried many forms of calendars, to-do lists, and notebooks. For a while I had my calendar for work (Outlook), home (iPhone), a notebook I carried around for meeting notes, and a separate smaller notebook I carried around for my to-do lists. Then I tried to use my to-do list app on my phone. I tried a traditional planner. I tried One Note. I've tried it all. Trying to keep my work and home life separate, having multiple calendars, to-do lists, and notebooks drove me insane.
What was worse is that every method I've tried to use had limitations. Apps designed to be a to-do list can't track events or notes. Notes apps can't track calendars. I was limited in my ability to format things in ways that made sense to me. None of these apps wanted to talk to each other, and of course my hand written notebooks didn't connect with any of these apps. Worst of all, I didn't have a driving urge to clear my to-do lists. I didn't feel a connection to something typed into a phone or computer. I was never forced to scroll back through and review things. Not to mention all the things I forgot to record because pulling your phone out and typing on it during a meeting is frowned upon, even if you're typing in that action item your manager is assigning to you.
One day, determined to get organized, I went to my local Barnes and Noble determined to buy a planner. I didn't even know what the hell I was going to do with the thing or how I was going to use it to work for me, but planner it was. They had plenty of blank notebooks, but I wanted something with more structure. I searched for the perfect planner and couldn't find anything that jumped out at me. I skimmed the Bullet Journals and quickly dismissed them. I don't have time for that.
Meanwhile my 1 year old son Porter was with me and was quickly spiraling into the depths of full on nuclear toddler. After spending minutes rocking his stroller back and forth with one hand, picking up books with the other hand, I realized my time was short. I had maybe a few minutes before we began the tragic descent into chaos marked by the judgmental looks from others sipping their lattes and peacefully browsing the non-fiction section. I was so bound and determined to leave the store with SOMETHING to get my life in order I decided after all I would try a Bullet Journal. If it wasn't a work of art so be it, but I figured I could make it work for me one way or another. If not I would toss it on my bookshelf to collect dust with the other books I may or may not have read but can't seem to part ways with. I bought this beautiful little notebook and headed home.
Now what do I do?
When I came home I cracked it open and read the directions in the back. What the hell did I just read? Nothing made sense. Future log? Did I just pick up a time travel journal? Then I saw a little glimmer of hope with a website address printed in the book: www.BulletJournal.com Ok. I can do that. I can get my butt to a website. I typed in the address and rejoiced at the instructional video front and center. *click* Show me the way little video...
This is the part where you go watch the video if you haven't already. Bonus: it sounds like George Clooney is narrating. *Swoon*
Wow. I can do that! No fancy artwork, no multicolored pens, no glitter glue. It all clicked into place. Forget everything you know about Bullet Journals. Forget the pretty artwork, forget the beautiful fonts, forget the perfect setup, forget the overwhelming feeling you get when you see these Pinterest worthy bullet journals and videos of artistic quality pages. You can do this, too! This website breaks it down to the very basics as the original creator designed it to be.
If you're as inspired as I was then give it a try! Any notebook will do, but if you get serious about it I recommend picking up a sturdy notebook that works for you. If you're an Amazon Prime member they have the same notebook I purchased here. You can spruce it up with a pen loop if you choose.
And now for the obligatory snapshots of my actual bullet journal in use...
I'm focusing on the basics now, but if I add any fancy pages I'll be sure to share them here. I have big plans for an oil stash tracker and more. Until then I will just continue to hate people who have time for Pinterest worthy Bullet Journals and keep it real.