“For every minute spent organizing, an hour is earned” – Benjamin Franklin

In one hand, I held a cup of coffee. The other hand brushed along a trackpad as I scrolled through my Facebook newsfeed. I was wasting time, procrastinating really, during my daughter’s nap. I had a to-do list as long as my arm taking up valuable space in my brain, and the thought of having to tackle it kept me from taking action. So I scrolled. Just by chance, that was when it happened.

A friend of a friend posted Ryder’s original Bullet Journal video. I paused.

I watched the video once, twice, three times. I ran over to my designated journal drawer, picked a brand new specimen, and brought it back to my desk. This was happening right now. It was like a lightning bolt struck me, and I was jolted back to life.

I diligently set up my index, numbered my pages, and created my first spreads. I started taking all that stuff jumbling my thoughts and putting them down on paper. I made a calendar and an actual to-do list. And I felt this spark of inspiration.

I started poking around the internet for more Bullet Journal ideas and discovered a vast community developing by the day on every social media platform imaginable. I read blog posts, pinned to boards, #rock[ed]myhandwriting…all of it. But over time, I started to notice something was missing.

Where were the moms?

Sure, a token mom would show up here or there, but by and large, it was everyone else who seemed to be reaping the benefits of the Bullet Journal. So I started asking friends. Over and over, I heard the same response: “It’s nice, but I just don’t have time for a Bullet Journal.” And each time, I would nearly fall out of my chair.

How could fellow moms not see that the minor time investment in setting up and maintaining a Bullet Journal was far outweighed by the benefits? How could they not see all the potential applications for busy mothers who manage work, home, and kids?
In the time since I started a Bullet Journal, several things in my life have changed:

  1. I’ve become more productive. If I think of a task, it goes on a list, and if it’s on a list, it gets done.
  2. I’ve felt more clear-headed and less overwhelmed. I’m the type of person who will lay awake at night thinking of all the things that need to get done the next day. But journaling those things helps me stay focused, not stressed.
  3. I’ve been reminded of my own creativity, because there’s a lot of room for that in a Bullet Journal.

I’ve heard the argument that “there’s an app for that,” but for moms, there’s really no beating the Bullet Journal’s analog system. A Bullet Journal is never going to disappoint you with dead batteries or technical glitches; it doesn’t require any subscription fees or syncing. Yet it accounts for the fact that we’re the Chief Operating Officers of our families, we don’t want homes overrun by Post-It Notes, and we aren’t spending whole days sitting in front of a computer or playing on our phones.

I believe all moms need a Bullet Journal so strongly that I’ll be popping up here once a month with tips for making a Bullet Journal fit into your life as a mother, including applications for family life and caring for your home and for yourself. We’ll even walk through how you can use your journal in each stage of parenting, from pregnancy through to life with multiple children.

This won’t be about bedazzling your journal or writing your memoir; this will be practical, focused suggestions for making a Bullet Journal an extension of your brain so critical that I promise you’ll designate a pocket in your diaper bag for the thing!
Next month, I’ll be back with why your pregnancy is the perfect time to start a Bullet Journal. In the meantime, get ready and grab yourself a journal:

  1. Something sturdy, since this thing will surely take a beating.
  2. Something big enough to number vertically down a page from 1-31 but small enough to fit in your purse or diaper bag
  3. Something, preferably, with numbered pages, an index, and a bookmark

Not sure where to start? How about with one of Ryder’s official Bullet Journal Notebooks? Ryder has graciously offered to give away one of his currently SOLD OUT Bullet Journal Notebooks with each installment of this series!
What we want to know from you is:

  1. What challenges you face to stay organized as a mom, or…
  2. What tips you can share with fellow moms about keeping it all together.

To enter the giveaway, leave a comment with your struggle or your victory on my website, Evie+Sarah.
See you back here next month. Get ready, moms!

 

Check out the other parts in this series!

  1. Introduction
  2. For Pregnancy
  3. For Newborns
  4. For Infants and Toddlers
  5. For Older Children

 

About Evie Granville

Evie Granville writes about the personal, controversial, and inspirational at her lifestyle site, EvieandSarah.com.
  • Julie Paradise

    Having two kids in school (6 and 7 yo) and working from home (busy freelance editor of linguistic scientific papers) I can only share your passion and love for the bullet journal. None of all the tiny information snippets that are thrown at you every day gets lost (birthdays, school trips, client’s notes, washing machine repair delayed, ugh: manicure needed! etc.) as I write it all down.

    I use a Midori Traveler’s Journal (the classic tall one) with 5 self made inserts: #1 with overviews of the next 12 months on the right pages, the left pages show what I am waiting for (orders coming, tasks that will come back to me) that month, #2 is lists and lists and lists, important telephone numbers, doctor’s office times, client information + tracker + notes, #3 #4 #5 are whole inserts/cahiers dedicated to the current and the following two months.

    Each of my inserts is made from Rhodia paper preferably in cream and dotted + a nice sturdy cover out of scrapbooking cardstock/patterned paper. I cut it, fold it, staple it, so that I have 8 sheets = 32 pages = 1 page per day. From my scrapbooking stash I have some stamps I like to use to stamp dated headers with dye ink stamp pads, so the colours are very soft/creamy. I always stamp an “empty” clock with no digits (made for children to learn reading the clock) and fill in how I spend my hours from 8 am to 8 pm afterwards to give me an overview of the day.

    What I love about this setup is that I can have inserts with information that does not change so regularly (like telephone numbers, some of my lists, doctors’ etc.) which I would have to re-write every time I change my notebook as well as inserts that I only need for a certain time span like my monthly cahiers. But in contrast to sth. like a binder (FiloFax or so) each month gives me a neat filled little notebook I can file away or reference for scrapbooking (I also do monthly Project Life where I combine the photos from a month with some journaling on 2-5 12×12″ spreads). Since my inserts are quite slim I have a good balance of keeping information without being overwhelmed.

    Since I use the beautiful MTN (that sits on my desk beside me and does not leave the house with me, although it is not too bulky to possibly do so) and my favourite fountain pens with colourful inks I have a little pleasant sensation every time I have to write sth. down, touching the great paper just feels good and having a functional yet pretty notebook that serves as a brain dump, task list and, in the evening, when my work day is over and about 1/3 of the page is left empty, as a journal where I note what we did that day as a family or what I felt (like) makes my bullet journal my central hub for all tasks and random information that so easily gets scattered.

    I have made my own calenders since I was 12 (so 23 years now) and over the years tweaked and changed and improved and improved my system, so I know what I want it to look like, how much I need to write down and what kind of information I reference repeatedly. Bullet journaling as Ryder Carroll introduced it here is the last refinement to this and gave me the impulse needed to bring details together that I had not come up with on my own, like easy symbols, bringing stuff over, having it all in _one_ space.

    I am so looking forward to your mom series, thanks for the interesting intro!

  • Rebecca Wright

    Could the next entry also be written to include dad’s? I have several friends who are stay at home dad’s or who are otherwise the primary caregiver parent, and I know it irks them when people talk about “being a mom” when what they really mean is “parenting.” I know the author is a mom and thats the source of her perspective comes from, but it’d be cool to include a wider audience.

    • soniasimone

      I agree! My husband is a stay at home dad, as are lots more men than ever before.

  • Amy DeMoss

    I LOVE the Bullet Journal system. As a busy home school Mom, I have found it keeps me focused and on top of the many pieces of life — we have 7 kiddos, so things can get uber busy. I use Google/Outlook for my calendar and enter appointments on my daily logs as I come to that day, though I do log the most important items on the monthly calendar spreads as a way to remind me of the month’s overview. I will soon be working part-time outside the home and intend to keep a separate and large BuJo for work. If that doesn’t work for me, I will integrate into one. At present I love my pocket-sized BuJo. I am the type of person who thinks that everyone can find a way to benefit from this system — it’s so customizable, and there are no wrong ways to do it. Finding what works for each individual it the key. I look forward to more of your posts!

  • Steph

    I’m excited to start my Bullet Journal TODAY!! I am a mom of 3 (two 6 year olds, yes twins, and a 10 year old). I am also a PTA President that does ALOT (30+hrs/wk) of volunteer work, plus I actually work at my kids’ school 16 hours a week. My house often looks like a tornado just came through it, I am brain dead and cannot take it any longer. It was actually our state PTA convention that had a class about organizing and the instructor was a new convert to Bullet Journaling. I love that it is completely adaptable to your own needs. I buy planners, organizers, calendars and I use Cozi online calendar, but I am NOT organized. I have little pieces of random paper with random notes scattered all over the place, but don’t have one place that will accommodate a calendar, to-do list, and ideas/thoughts all in one. I’m really excited to try this method. Luckily, summer is coming and I may have enough free time to make this a habit that really sticks! Thanks for your blog to moms!!! I got sucked into all those YouTube videos where the people have time to doodle, color coordinate, and all sorts of other “fancy” writing stuff that I would love to indulge in, but now it’s going to black and basic for awhile. It’s all my life has time for!! Anyway, thanks again!!

  • I am a mom and love my Bullet Journal too! I wrote about how I use it to simplify my life and let my brain rest LOL: http://carriewillard.com/bullet-journal/

  • Emma Berry

    I am just about to start my bujo journey. I am a single mother of three, a full time high school teacher and my youngest son is autistic. I work all the hours I can, I suffer with anxiety and depression and I need this system to help me simplify my life.
    I’ve used a Filofax and a traveler’s notebook in the past, but this system seems far more simple to use and easier to maintain!

  • Kristin Cortright

    Trying to keep track of everyone’s activities and needs (practice times for 2 kids in 2 different sports, games and locations, carpool days, work schedule, volunteering) As summer is approaching I need to manage a schedule that is constantly changing! Help me please…..

  • kimtylerscruggs

    I am always forgetting things and feeling overwhelmed!

  • Claire

    Hi, I have just discovered bullet journaling and have being reading quite a bit over the past few days. I am a mum of two young boys- who do lots and need organising. I have tonnes of planners, calendars and I never seem to get anything I stick to or I feel suits me. Recently I have just a blank note book and I list, which has been fine but nothing inspiring or to make me want to keep. So I’ve sent up a bullet journal tonight and let’s see. I find it hard to sleep with all sorts going on in my head so just dumping it all down I’m sure will help and using a book one page after the other will help keep my interest. Now for more research.

  • Candace M Madera

    So happy to read this about moms (and dads)! I use my Bullet Journal to track everything from laundry to Tennis practice. I have 3 kids and I don’t know how I would keep track of all of their goings-on without my Bullet Journal! Looking forward to this series.

  • Crystal Mills Johnson

    As a new mom who works full time, I’ve noticed that the sleep deprivation that comes with caring for an infant has really affected my ability to remember and focus. I’ve always kept a planner and an occasional journal, but bullet journals seem like they would be a better use of my time.

  • daniela

    yes! yes! and yes! i had to laugh out loud, when i read this article! and i totally agree with everything said! i had the same kind of epiphany, when i first saw ryder caroll’ s original youtube video. i had a hunch i had something that would transform my life 😉
    and, i too, searched and followed the usual suspects on pinterest/ facebook etc. until it dawned on me, that there seems to be mostly young women with too much time ( and money) on their hands who seem to try to outrun each other with fancy typos and calligraphies, showing off their monthly spreads on which they must have spent hours designing.
    i have adapted the bullet journal for my needs as a mom and i am super happy with it- i totally agree, that typing tasks into my phone appis nothing i want my child grow up seeing all day. i like the ” mom writing things into a little notebook with an actual pen”- image a lot more 😉
    thank you for this true and entertaining article.

    • Suzanne

      Yes! This, “…there seems to be mostly young women with too much time… on their hands who seem to try to outrun each other with fancy typos and calligraphies, showing off their monthly spreads on which they must have spent hours designing.” I occasionally find time to do some pretty headers, but others, I realize I just need the bullet journal to help me organize a busy day of working part time, caring for my elderly mother, and managing my child’s activities. I’m super excited to see a mom sharing here. I look forward to practical tips for increasing efficiency (although I do enjoy the fun, creative, time consuming stuff, too, at times).

    • Anne Gilbert

      I am a young twenty something who bullet journals, but I have been looking for people who use the bujo in a more functional manor. I have a full like job and million other things to do, I love looking at all their fancy pages, but it seems more fluff than function. 95% of my bujo is black ink only. I’m trying to build better habits and keep track of all the little and super important things I tend to forget. I’m not a mom yet, but definitely see bujo continuing with me whenever I decide to make that next step. I am also excited to have all of you lovely ladies to look to for what works best whenever I get there! Keep it up ladies (and gents) you guys are awesome!

    • Nilzed

      Amongst the many reasons I want to return to paper is that when my kid sees me using my phone, he doesnt register the difference between facebook and games, kindle, work email vs. Non-work email, or whatever organising and calendar app i am trying (& failing) to make us of. He sees at as incredibly unfair differences in screentime allowances, the sort of do I say not as I do situation that, as a grown up child looking back, i recognise as my parents weak spots. And since even the good screen time can so easily devolve into the timewasting screen time, he is kind of right.

      There is a lot to be said for a process he can see me using, he can read for himself when needed, an opportunity for him to learn a bit of what adulting requires. My mother used a steno pad and a wall calendar, by middle school we knew the importance of seeing that our events and needs and wants got written on one or the other soon enough to be considered or prioritised.

  • thecuckoo

    This is so needed. My kids are older and in school, but I work full time and there are so many after school activities, sports, etc to keep track of. My brain never stops.

  • Debbie Floyd

    I’m really interested in setting up up a calendar in my bullet journal. My kids have busy schedules and my work schedule is insane too. The thing I love most about the bullet journal is the flexibility to have a place for everything. The bullet journal frees me up from all those little bits of paper scraps. I’m looking forward to learning a lot from this group. I’m delighted to find this community.

  • Melissa Shaw

    I get overwhelmed with To Do lists. I usually have a running list in my head. I know what needs done. It stares at me all day. I wanted a place to record the things I did do. That way when my husband comes home from a two day shift at the fire station and he gives me that “what did you do the whole time I was gone” look, I can show him a list of all of the things I did (aside from homeschool and care for our children). I use it to jot down thoughts and memories with the kids, funny things they say and do. Right now I’m journaling in a cheap graph paper spiral. Hoping to get an actual bullet journal soon.

  • Nicole Nakano

    I am one of those moms you mentioned who doesn’t feel like they have time to journal. I get equal parts excited and overwhelmed looking at all the different ways to journal. Every once in a while when I’m overwhelmed before bed I’ll write out a list just to get it all out, and the relief I get from that would be amazing to have everyday. Would love to win an official Bullet Journal to get me started!

  • Winni

    I am very interested in bullet journaling. The Planning community in general has been a bit overwhelming so far, but I see the simplicity of bullet journaling and want it. I feel like I never have time to plan/journal, I am slowly accepting that I must get up extra early to accomplish this.

  • The best tip I have is not to write a long to do list. Instead just pick the most important 3 things that you need to do that day. The world will keep spinning, guys!!

    • Emily

      I agree… I have been bullet journalling for 9 months & I have to be careful with how I organize my list – it’s easier with day to day variables to have a weekly list & keep daily to dos to what only has to be done on that day. If I can’t finish the majority of my tasks I get defeated.

  • CarrieNardini

    I run a creative business and have a preschooler. I find every day to be an exercise in organization and I need to be super productive when I have the time. Bullet journaling really helps me to keep a running list of all the personal + household + kid + business tasks I need to accomplish and allows me to add on all the time. If I don’t write it down it doesn’t happen but I also find it’s easier to achieve goals if it’s written down and always with me. I have a friend who is a bullet journal queen – I love seeing her journal posts – they inspire me on a daily basis – but I’d also love to see how other woman with their own businesses and kid(s) keep it all together.

  • Miranda Tuttle

    I feel like the struggles are endless! Mom brain has me so bad. I can literally stand up to do a task, walk downstairs, get a cup of water because I’m thirsty, then walk back upstairs without even starting the original task! It’s so ridiculous!

  • aakmullins

    I’ve been an executive-level secretary for 20 years, and am one of those people that love lists and schedules (I even schedule my lunch time to ensure I’m not double-booked). When I finally became pregnant with my child (first and only), I had everything mapped out–when to buy and wash baby clothes, when to set up the nursery, when to create a recipe book for healthy raw low sugar/fat/salt baby foods, etc.–but then life threw a wrench into my well oiled machine.

    During my pregnancy I developed severe preeclampsia, leading me to attend almost daily doctor visitsl, lots of bedrest, and taking medical leave from my volunteer work. My child ended-up being born prematurely; given their continued ongoing delicate health, it made better financial reasoning for me to stay at home and care for our child than to hire a nanny. And because of my own health issues (which initiated prenatally and continued post-pregnancy) and the level of care my child needs on a daily basis, all my preplanning got shoved aside to deal with everything I now found to be my new normal.

    About a month ago I stumbled upon Bullet Journaling via a few Instagram feeds I follow for calligraphy (a favorite hobby of mine) and found myself riveted by the simplicity of its methods, the ease with which the format could be easily adapted to fulfill any need, and happily surprised that the initial materials cost could be very low.

    I was smitten the concepts and eager to start my own Bullet Journaling. It’s easy to see how this format could be a boon to new parents for cataloging feedings, diapering, sleep-patterns, baby-moods, temperature fluctuations, medications given, doctor visit summaries, baby weight/height/head-circumference growth progress, cognitive and motor skills development–all in addition to daily adult life needs, household management, and future planning–and easily shared between both parents (or other care givers).

    I am looking forward to starting my own Bullet Journal, soon, and hope it helps me get my current life of chaos back into a state of clarity.

  • daniela

    since there seems to be a need: i just founded a facebook group : Moms who bujo. please join! 🙂

  • Erika_Hansen

    One of the things I love most about bullet journaling is it is both comprehensive and detailed, allowing you to see the forest and the trees! As a parent, it has especially helped me with 1. Having a central place (with the page number listed on the Index, making it
    easy to find whenever you need it ) to keep track of doctors’ numbers, insurance info, etc.
    including writing helpful notes about things you think you will remember, but don’t (e.g.
    particular billing quirks so I don’t relive the nightmare each time). 2. Keeping track of meal
    planning and grocery shopping (which has always been a challenge for me: the relentless day after day-ness of it!) 3. Writing down the funny, interesting things your kids say
    (which, again, you think you will remember and don’t. Or you get confused about which kid said it!) 4. Keeping track of daily habits e.g. exercising and laundry — it makes it more fun
    and gives you a sense of accomplishment to be able to check it off daily (or get a jolt when
    you see on the page where it is not happening and so you can address it before not doing
    it becomes too much of a habit!) and 5. Creating a place for dreaming and inspiration —
    books you want to read, places you want to go, quotes that move you…All in all, the fact
    that it is a central brain dump is liberating. As I write this, I realize my biggest tip is make it work for you. Whatever is driving your crazy or nagging at you, make a page about it and you will start to feel the relief immediately! P.S. My bullet journal is more functional than pretty to look at. I am inspired by the beautiful pages I see on Pinterest, but I urge you, don’t feel limited or intimidated by them.

  • Nora Anne Trienes

    Firstly, another voice for ‘parenting’ instead of ‘moms’, as I am planning to gift a good friend who does the majority of the parenting with a Bullet Journal to a) have a break from Parenting Brain and b) rediscover his creative side. Secondly, do we nontraditional parents count too? I am technically an aunt, but I parent the heck out of my nephew, as his grandmother (my MIL) raises him, and can’t be as in-touch with all his needs as someone in the generation of his mother. My BuJo has special collections for C and projects to do with him and needs I need to address with him, my partner, my MIL, C’s mother…. He even has his own signifier!

    • Elisa Hommel

      Oh! I love the sound of a waterproof cover and diy!!! Would love to see pictures or instructions on how you did it.

  • Genelle Timperlake

    As a brand new mom, just staying on top of everyday duties is exhausting. Things that normally would be remembered and done are quickly thrown out the window by chasing after a one-year-old and exclaiming for the millionth time, “honey, WHERE is your other shoe?!” I’ve always been a part-time journalist, mostly when I was young and crazy about that super cute boy down the street, but these days need some kind of creative outlet that still gets things done. Bullet journaling seems to be the answer to both.

    A suggestion is if you and your partner both have a smartphone is to merge your calendars and log all your appointments on there. It’s been much easier seeing his day-to-day calendar and knowing when he’ll be home so I can get the wine ready! It also helps him see when I’ve planned quiet time for myself one night and he comes home prepared to fully take over baby duty so I can go get a pedicure or dinner with girlfriends.

  • Dayna Greer

    AMEN! I’ve been part of the Bullet Journaling community for 2 years now. Have always loved the system because I’ve always been about lists and staying organized. I became a mom on March 14th of this year and part of me thought to myself, “I’ll probably never use it again. I’ll be too busy with stuff that I won’t have time.” Well, for 6 weeks (my maternity leave at home) I was correct. I never once opened it. HOWEVER, after returning to work and trying to be on somewhat of a “normal” day-to-day schedule with a newborn, this thing has become more important than ever. “Mommy brain” is a real thing. If I don’t write it down, it’s probably not getting done. Whether it’s work related or something to remember whenever I get home. I write down EVERYTHING. Even “do laundry” or “wash dishes” because if it gets written down, it gets done. It helps keep me sane most days!

  • Erika_Hansen

    One of the things I love most about bullet journaling is it is both comprehensive and detailed: you can see the forest AND the trees!

    As a parent, what I have found most useful are:
    1. having a central location for doctors’ numbers, insurance info and notes (such as quirky billing details that I think I will remember and don’t) and, of course, the handy Index so I can find the page number and refer to it at a moment’s notice
    2. having a place to keep track of meal planning and grocery shopping, something that has always been a challenge for me
    3. having a place to write down the funny or interesting things kids say, which I think I will remember and don’t (or get confused about who said it)
    4. keeping track of habits I want to become part of my daily routine — e.g. exercising, doing a load of laundry, bullet journaling (I usually keep it to three at a time until they actually become a habit) in a clean, checklist format. Checking them off is fun and gives a great sense of accomplishment. Also, seeing blank boxes on the page when I don’t get these things done gives me a jolt and helps me notice and identify patterns and obstacles, so I can address them sooner rather than later and get back on track.
    5. having a system to keep track of tasks that don’t get done — it is OK to migrate them — so they don’t fall through the cracks.
    6. having a place to dream and plan — places to go, books to read, goals to aspire to, etc. Sometimes, all the relentless day-to-day tasks can be overwhelming and this is a wonderful way to recharge by focusing on things you love and exploring new possibilities.

    My biggest tip, I realize in writing this, is to make it work for you: hone in on what is bugging you or what you feel is missing in your life or what you want more of and make a page to address it. The relief you will feel is immediate!

    Happy bullet journaling!

    P.S. My bullet journal is mostly functional rather than pretty to look at. I admire and am inspired by beautiful bullet journal pages on Pinterest; however, I do not them limit or intimidate me. 🙂

  • Leah Clayton Prescott

    Great article and I so agree! You make a really great point about moms not feeling like they can tackle BJing and I think it is because if you pinterest-it, it can be REALLY overwhelming. There are some perfectionist, hobby journalers who do things like make lists of the salad dressings they want to sample or catalog all their pairs of jeans and I’m thinking….dude I just want to remember to take out the trash on trash day, you know what I mean? They buy all these fancy pens and every page is a work of art. There’s nothing wrong with that, I think it’s a real cool hobby or outlet, but for me I need something PRACTICAL, EASY, and something that WORKS. I’m not neat, artistic, or organized and yet it still works for me as a homeschooling mom of three. Seriously, I love it. Here are some of my favorite tips:
    http://bargainbabe.com/5-easy-steps-to-bullet-journal-nirvana/

  • Yukiea

    Oh goodness…challenges I face staying organized as a mom…hmmm…

    I’m 99% sure I’d be diagnosed ADD, no joke, my son actually does have it – and so, I will include him in this journey to see if it works for us. In all reality, getting organized and prioritizing in the first place. The bullet journal seems to be the perfect place to start, even though it has slightly frustrated me to have to “slow down” in order to get things set up and get used to how the system works.

    We are a blended family, so we have two sets of schedules for most of the kids to visit their other parents and we now have a toddler we together that I keep at home full-time after working outside the home all of my life. That in itself is a huge adjustment. My husband works away from home most of the time and we’ve just discovered we’re permanently moving like 9 hours away this summer. Also on my plate are the tail ends of all of our business taxes from several we owned that closed last year – if a bullet journal, sleep, and some wine doesn’t cover it, I’m not sure what will. I feel like my heart is stopping just at the thought of it, but in the long run, even though I don’t have an Official Bullet Journal, I’m 2 days in to the system in some random journal I hadn’t used and have gotten more things done in 2 days than in one of my former weeks. I’m still figuring things out and what works and what doesn’t, but I see a tad bit of light at the end of the tunnel. It’s hard to remember to do anything, much less prepare the next day before I go to bed if it’s been a particularly crazy evening with the kids, but so far so good!

    • Julie Paradise

      I wish you all the best, it sounds like you have a lot going on … As it was mentioned before, having a place, one place — maybe even a pretty place if that makes it easier for you 😉 — to jot down all the things that are stacked up in your head as a task, keep you awake at night, having this place can help you keep sane and manage all the tasks, see the progress and be able to move on.

  • Jennie McGrath

    So, I just started this. My big challenges as a SAHM of an almost 3 year old and 9 month old revolve around not enough time and energy in the day. I know if I could manage the time better, I’d feel better about myself and that would hopefully translate into energy. I tend to track milestones in random FB posts or in a text message to someone, but I couldn’t stay on top of the baby books because it seems like I’m having to search through the books for where I want to put info and I just don’t have that time.

    I’m liking this rapid logging idea so much. I can jot something down in a moment, then get right back into the moment (which is usually having both boys dogpiling on me or “helping” me by undoing whatever chore I just spent ages on.

    Also, I’m hopeful that having the task list migrate over and over will help me lose some of the mommy guilt over the things that don’t get done. I think if it was something I could look over with my husband as well, I could get some solid input on what he would prefer gets prioritized by me on the weekdays and what is stuff we can work on during our weekends.

  • Traci Willis

    I started bullet journaling in April at 7 months pregnant. When my baby ended up in the NICU unexpectedly for 14 days with an infection immediately following delivery, my bullet journal gave me a sense of control and helped keep me sane. I used it to write down questions for the doctors and nurses as they came to me, I kept a log of her feedings, diapers, and my pumping. And I jotted down little notes/thoughts/memories from that time. It’s messy and disjointed, but it gave me purpose during those long days in the hospital. Now baby is home and healthy and the bullet journal is continuing to keep me sane. I can’t wait to find out more ways this system can be used.

  • pj3333

    At this stage of motherhood, a bullet journal is not practical for me. My children are in high school and have too many activities to manage. I find everything has to go on a shared electronic calendar or none of us can track what is happening. There are too many recurring events and too many events planned weeks or months ahead to be able to use a bullet journal effectively (IMO). Plus the shared calendar allows us all to see updates and newly added events/appointments in real time.

    However, having said all that, I basically used a bullet journal for a decade or more when my children were small, although I never kept my lists in an actual journal. I only found out about bullet journals recently. I simply used a piece of paper to create lists of things that needed to happen each day. The back side was my meal plan and grocery list. I used one piece of paper each week and would designate specific errands and tasks for specific days. If something didn’t get done, it got carried forward to the next week’s piece of paper. As soon as something came into my mind, it went on the list and I carried it with me everywhere.

    I also kept a binder that was essentially our home’s “brain”. It had all the phone numbers for our physicians, dentist, insurance agent, school phone numbers, repairmen, etc. Basically emergency phone numbers. I’d also add school calendars, practice schedules, team or class phone numbers – things I might put on other calendars or in my phone but that someone else might want access to. As my kids have gotten more independent, this has become less vital but they used to pull it out a lot to find a teammate’s number to ask for a ride or to confirm the date of a concert or something like that. I used a 3 ring binder so I could swap out the current year’s info easily and always keep it up to date.

    • Julie Paradise

      Both your former methods, binder and paper leaf, sound really no-fuss-functional!

  • Elizabeth Lynx

    I am going to be perfectly honest here and say this just won’t work for me. Not the system itself or how much time it will take to set up – though that does irk me since my time is extremely limited even if I am super organized – won’t work, but the fact I would be using a book with paper in it.
    I clicked on this site when I heard someone rave about it. I thought this would be an app, but it turns out to be something I have to buy a book (blank journal) and design the interior myself. I have 3 year old and 5 year old boys. They destroy everything, especially books. I am an author and I can’t have books in the house. Everything I read is an ebook because of them. Their books have to be hidden or they will destroy them too.
    I think this system will be great for moms and dads who have little babies or kids who don’t rip everything to shreds anymore. I am not one of those parents. Maybe when someone comes up with an app version of this I will check it out, but in the meantime I will take a pass.

    • The topic of making an app for the bullet journal concept comes up often. I actually discovered this *because* I was using apps for tasks, appointments and journaling. I think Evernote is the closest app I’ve found. Here’s the article that pushed me to using paper: https://blog.evernote.com/blog/2015/08/03/how-ryder-carroll-designed-bullet-journal/ Skip over the paragraphs on why paper is great and read the bit about using blending Evernote and bullet journal. If the bullet journal concepts appeal to you, then maybe Evernote could work.

  • Samia Khan

    It helps to divide times of the day for different types of chores. For example, when your baby is asleep, you do the types of things that you can’t do while he is awake. And when the child is doing their homework, you cook while you watch over them.

    For me, the key is to multi-task, but doing that smartly. When the child is doing an online class, I’ll fold my laundry. When the child has gone for after school classes, I’ll do my exercising.

    For the bullet journal, I divide my weekly spread so that all my home/personal activities are on the left, and all my part-time office activities on the right.

  • Vivien

    I list to-do items but end up not following through or having new lists supersede old ones. The bring forward feature in the bullet journal is a great idea and I hope I can adopt and make it work.

  • Shelby Lawhorn Pinnegar

    I am currently struggle with balance! Giving my first child the attention and teaching he needs, keeping the house orderly, caring for my husband so he doesn’t get just left overs, running errands, cooking, and trying somehow to squeeze in things I like to do. Let’s not forget I am pregnant and all the preparation that goes into that. I am trying to implement the GTD system but still feel like something is missing.
    I am SUPER stoked for this series! I have been wondering where all the moms are too! I can’t wait to learn some tips and techniques!

  • Suzala Suzala

    I run a freelance business, and I have a 14 and 16 year old. To say things are hectic is an understatement. I do use Google calendar as Everyone, has to see what’s going on, including my husband. It works for appointments and the like. But oh how I love my BJ! It keeps me organized like no ones business and helps me break down large tasks into smaller ones. So childlike, but there is nothing better then getting to cross something off the list. I do feel somewhat guilty when I am migrating things to yet another month, ( and they do have to get done.) I have added a Husband List as well. Everytime I remember some chore I need help with, I list it there. On a Saturday afternoon when we don’t have to be anywhere and he is looking for something to do…….our comes the list. My life used to exist on post it notes left on every surface. For the first time in my life they are organized. I don’t loose them, or drop water on them, or plain can’t find them. Yeah!!

  • Lorien Mahay

    I just discovered bullet journaling yesterday and I am tossing all my other planners (yes, I have many) away immediately! My biggest challenge to stay organized as a mom is that I wear so many hats I have trouble keeping them on straight! I’m a mom and wife, so I have budgets and tasks to organize there, and I’m also a full-time professional working freelance jobs, so I have multiple budgets, tasks and to-do lists to juggle there! It’s tough keeping everything organized in one place so things don’t fall between the cracks professionally OR personally. My biggest tip for fellow moms is to get everything out of your head and onto paper! Every time I take the extra moment to write things down I immediately feel a sense of relief and clarity! It’s like I managed to finally free up some space in my brain. So often I don’t even KNOW that I need that until I do it. I can’t begin to express how crucial this is for me. Thank you for making this series- I can’t WAIT to begin my bullet journaling journey!!

  • Laura Malone

    I’m reaaaaally excited about this series. My biggest challenge, I’d say, is that I work (more than) full time (I’m a pathology resident) and am currently growing our first child. My husband is a doctor, also, so juggling professional and personal life in one place would be fantastic but sometime I’ve always struggled with.

    Single focus is something I strive for amongst the crazy… I think that’s the only way you can really enjoy a busy life instead of just being consumed by it.

  • Two quick thoughts:
    1.) My wife is the stay-at-home mom and I work in an office, so I’m not the target audience here. However, several times a year my wife needs to be away for several days or a week and it is so, SO much harder to manage the home than to do my day job! She would write me detailed lists and it was essential to my (and my son’s) survival until she returned. You have my utmost respect!
    2.) When I first starting following the blogs and Facebook groups for bullet journal stuff, I thought “where are all the men?” I’ve eventually found some and maybe they just don’t participate in the dialog as much. Regardless, Evie listed the three things that changed in her life since she started a Bullet Journal and those are exactly the same for me.

  • Minttu

    For me the greatest challenge so far with my bullet journal has been to find a way to incorporate some sort of tracker to those household chores. I have a personal habit tracker, but I’m trying to keep it positive and motivational so chores won’t go near it 😀

    Yet being busy mom of two (+ my husband’s son half of every month), pregnant, a student at culinary school and trying to run a household with 3 cats and a dog, I’m continuously struggling to get everything done. I’ve been experimenting in different ways to track the chores, but none has really pleased me.

    Another few things I’m hoping to add to my journal is meal planning and some kind of finances/ savings tracker. I’m also looking into some kind of pregnancy/ baby log 🙂

    The bullet journal calms me a lot, I love having all the appointments, hobbies and such in one place. I don’t know how I managed my days before the bullet journal. I stress a lot when things get busy and I forget half of the things I’m supposed to do. My journal helps me to focus.

  • I’m so excited by this post! I’m a brand new first-time mom and I used my bullet journal a lot when my son was a newborn. It was tough to keep track of everything but now I have a nice way to keep track of my son’s stuff when needed. I started an Instagram account for it, too. One of the challenges I face now is how to keep everything organized in my bujo since I use it for work, personal, AND baby.

    • Anne Gilbert

      I don’t have kids, but when I first started out I had a really hard time keeping home and work like separate too. Color coding failed miserably and looked like a sloppy mess. I ended up making a second one just for work. It’s much larger than traditional bujos, but it works like a charm!

      I list major events that may conflict in both, but that’s usually less than 3-4 a month.

  • robocco_new

    To be honest: I had the exact same thought when I started my first bullet journal nearly 1 1/2 years ago. It worked well for work but when it came to all the things a working mom of two kids under 3 years I couldn’t find any posts or other people in the same position as me.

    As my schedule gets more dense, the unfinished projects start piling up and I have to juggle it around my husbands schedule too the moments where I was stressed and had sleepless nights are having the upper hand. And I thought about giving the bullet journal another shot as I am an analog person who loves paper, pens and writing.

    The challenge I face is that each day is completely different and I sometimes have the impression of having a nervous breakdown (not really but it feels like it) just because of all the things that I have to take care of and I didn’t keep track of. So I started to make a small list everyday in the morning but then again: in the heat of the moment (equals: two tantrum throwing kids aged 2 and 3 at 8.30 am) I forget where the list is and then the day is … ehm, not really running like a well oiled engine.
    What always helps me is to write things down and have a printed out two week calendar from my husbands schedule so I have an idea how we can do things together. Always paper, no apps. Apps don’t work for me. Push notifications: turned off. I’d like to have an actual conversation rather then messages going back and forth. Commit to something and stick to it. If it’s not working for me: I’ll say no.

    So I guess I should give the bulletjournal another try from another point of view. Taking my time to slow down and sort my thoughts so the rest of the day won’t be too hectic.

  • Kate Taylor

    Sorry. I almost fell over when I saw that someone had actually taken credit and “claimed” the Bullet Journal technique – Perhaps Ryder somehow designed a condensed and official one that those new to it can follow and has found fame and fortune by doing so, but I’ve been using this system with colored dots for categorized “tasks” as well as “migrating” undone tasks forward for over twenty years now.

    • Nilzed

      Oh, sure, we all used to, but at this point 2 almost 3 decades of new adults have looked to electronica for this sort of thing, and need to have an analog system explained!

      Besides, not everyone was ever colored dot organised. My own system was radically different. My mothers different still. Maybe you could try marketing yours!

      • Kate Taylor

        Ah heck – if I cannot innovate what’s the point? 😉 But thank you for your input!

  • Shauna Sanders

    Here here! I don’t know one Mom who couldn’t benefit from this organization system. Let’s all spread the word.

  • Vicki

    I do get so overwhelmed with trying to organize everything I am trying to accomplish – I just created my bullet journal today and I am so looking forward to the positive affect I know this will have on my sanity as a new mom!

  • Yes to this, as a mum and full time blogger, I need this in my life and after watching YouTube videos and the official video, I’ve decided to go for it. It’s time to become more organised!

  • Elisa Hommel

    I’m so glad you’re doing this. I’ve been learning about Bullet journals and trying to figure out how to make it work for me a homeschooling mom with children from preschool through highschool. I’ve been trying it and tweaking it as I go. While I’d love to make it beautiful like those I see on instagram, I really just need it to help mebe organized and productive.

  • Claire

    At the moment I am queen of procrastination. However I have just discovered the world of planning and am so hopeful that this will be the start of better habits and more quality time spent with my family.

  • Nora Martínez Thomas

    I love this system. I’m writing an e-book for work at home moms and in one chapter talk about it and how it helps me in every aspect of my buisy life. Keeping my daughters scheduled and my bizz tasks. Ideas and thoughts, products, recipies, everything, passwords, even tried to have a weekly meal plan but I’m not ready for that just yet ;)… even though the info inside my bullet can be transfer to another more specified notebook, it first goes there. Specialy since ideas can come anywhere and everywhere and my Bullet Journal is usually with me.

    As for the questions, I think that the biggest challenge for staying organized as a mom is that children grow up so fast that we have to readapt constantly.

    And the number one tip as a work at home mom is to avoid multitasking and focus in getting one thing done at a time.

  • SE May

    I agree, there is no app that does all this and having a hard copy in my hand, with me in my bag and putting down the ideas brain to page can’t be beat.

  • Carina Kamara

    I think my biggest challenge/ irk in managing 5 children and a husband is where to start in keeping track. It’s overwhelming having to keep up with all the kids whose ages range from 7 to 18. Keeping them all in order and on time is a task in itself. by the time I even think of writing down a list, I’m passed out and snoring my zzzzz’s before 10pm

  • Camilla Lundberg Ney

    I would also love for this to be more inclusive, to parents of all sex. For me, I just picked up Bullet Journaling and love it. I am a mother of three and working – there sure is many things on my to do-list. Now I mix my work to do and personal to do – maybe there is a better way? /Camilla Lundberg Ney, Sweden.

  • Steph

    I absolutely agree! My bullet journal looks terrible but wow is it helpful. I’m a mostly SAHM and it’s given me some sanity and structure. It’s not an art book for me, although I do let my kids have a page occasionally to draw on. 🙂 After I quickly log all my to-dos, I can sleep at night instead of worrying about it.

  • Mel Hince

    I’m loving using the system as a new second time mumma. Each day I make sure I write a memory at the end of the day’s task list. At the end of the month, it’s easy to go through and collate them all into one spread, highlighting which child the memory is of using colour coding. It could be a quote (things children say), a milestone, achievement or thought. I’ve never had anywhere to record these special notes and keep it up for longer than a couple of weeks.

  • Riley Romatz

    I’ve got kids with SPD so trying to keep control of my house, having literally 12 appointments a week, and still having time to take a breather myself is hard to manage! I’m trying to become more organized since I have anxiety among other things, I cant afford to feel burned out constantly! I would love to win a bullet journal to help get control of my life.

  • Marilyn Moore

    I couldn’t agree more… I started using the bullet journal “system” last month. I used it for three weeks and opted to not the last week and I have seen first hand the difference in my productivity. I would love to see ideas of different spreads since most of the ones I see are related to [online] entrepreneurs. Thank you!

  • Reina Kluender

    I’m very excited about the series! Thank you!
    It’s very challenging to stay organized as a mother of three (6, 17 and 18 yo), wife, full-time college student, and undergrad research assistant. My life is hectic. I’m always on the run, and struggle to get everything done. Exhaustion is constant, to the point it affects my memory.

    Planners didn’t work for me and always ended in the trash. Hence, the Bullet Journal system is a must in my life and although my journal is messy, it has lifted a weigh off my shoulders – reduced stress and more “free space in my head” to get ideas for my research project.

  • Abby

    Does this also apply for a single working mom of two?
    If not, what should we include or change?
    I seatched every website but came with a little help. Started with adding things i need to it, hoping that there are other udeas to help single parents.

  • Rachel Tompkins

    Great article Evie! This is exactly why I picked up a notebook and started a bullet journal in July 2016 when I had a five month old son and a million things in my head to do. It’s so amazing how getting it all down on paper can help you find a way to get things done. Very excited to follow along with this series. My victory is that 14 months on I’m still a bullet journalist. I’m onto bujo number four which is pretty amazing considering I’d never finished a notebook before 🙂

  • Marlene Lee

    This article is fitting not only for moms but for dads and caregivers such as yourself. I’m a caregiver for my mother and a professional artist (I do commissioned works). A bullet journal is perfect to keep track medical records as well as paintings in progress. My creativity goes into my paintings not my bujo. I use only one pen. To emphasize I may draw a box or underline. But I can see why there are decorated bujo – it maybe a stress releaser.

  • Marlene Lee

    This article is fitting not only for moms but for dads and caregivers. I’m a caregiver for my mother and a professional artist (I do commissioned works). A bullet journal is perfect to keep track medical records as well as paintings in progress. My creativity goes into my paintings not my bujo. I use only one pen. To emphasize I may draw a box or underline. But I can see why there are decorated bullet journals – it’s a stress releaser.