Thanks to Ryder, both for the creation of the Bullet Journal system and for sharing it with us – I think we’d all be a little lost without it! I’m honoured to be invited to contribute to the blog.
My Bullet Journal Story
I have always been an organiser and lover of paper and pens. I am a list maker, diary keeper and planner. I had a mess of different systems running, including a diary, lists in various notebooks, post-its, apps and a digital calendar. Luckily I discovered the Bullet Journal concept in January 2016, when I stumbled upon a Instagram post.
I love the flexibility of the system, being able to include everything I need and the freedom to change it when I want. My bullet journal is currently my to do list, diary, goal setter, habit tracker, meal planner and notebook. As much as I love to admire a pretty planner, I try not to spend too much time planning, which is why I have quite a minimal, simple but functional bullet journal (which I love). “Your planner doesn’t work unless you do” – you can do all the planning in the world but unless you are achieving goals and getting stuff done, it’s just a pretty notebook. I definitely agree with Austin @minimaljournal that “It’s about getting crap done, not making your crap look good”.
I haven’t used the original Bullet Journal Monthly layout as I am a digital future planner. I do however use a monthly traditional Calendar layout to keep track of work shifts, my partner’s work trips, birthdays and Instagram challenge prompts.
I use a monthly Habit Tracker to track health, self care and hobbies. While I am definitely trying to work on my physical and mental health, I try not to look at it and feel guilty if I skip a day. I tend to think of it more as tracking the last time I did something.
I have also been using a monthly Gratitude log inspired by @tinyrayofsunshine which I endeavor to fill in every day. Finding things to be grateful for is definitely good for my mental status – I need to find the positives as I can be a bit of a pessimist!
I love a good weekly – I lay out the coming week on a Sunday in terms of work, events, meals, workouts and major day specific tasks. I also list To Dos – general, home & work. This helps me organise my week and get through everything, especially having the visual of the upcoming week.
The workhorse of the bullet journal and my favourite spread where things really get done. I find it really satisfying to see everything that I’m achieving. I set my daily up in the morning while having breakfast and coffee. I include work, events and tasks, and find a simple layout best for the way my brain works.
I haven’t really used the future planner I originally put in my bullet journal, however I use this House Planner every month – it helps me keep track of seasonal chores & maintenance. I reference it at the start of each month and tasks get added to my weekly spreads.
Some of my favourite collections include a Waiting on List, 30 Before 30 Bucket List, Go To Meals, Every Week & 2016 Goals. You can check out all of these collections on my Instagram @bujo.auslife.
Inspired by @tinyrayofsunshine, this helps me keep track of anything I’m waiting on – parcels, email responses, tax invoices etc.
Go To Meals
This is another powerhouse for me as my partner and I suck at deciding what to eat. By arranging them into time categories it makes catering for rushed weekday schedules and lazy weekends that much simpler.
I am a bit of an Apple geek, and I am a digital future planner. I use a shared Calendar with my partner and shared Reminders lists for grocery shopping and paying bills. Other Apps I use regularly are Dropbox for sharing photos and accessing notes at work, and Evernote for storing recipes, travel planning, tax related documents & anything from the internet. I have recently been loving tracking finances digitally too, using a Numbers budget spreadsheet.
How to Bullet Journal like Laura
- Daily (10-15mins)
- Wake up, get coffee, check weekly spread and plan out the day.
- Check off tasks, add more, check off again throughout the day.
- At the end of the day fill in Habit Tracker and Gratitude log.
- I migrate tasks as needed – I like to know which day I have completed a task so will tend to migrate it to the day it was completed. Migrate unfinished tasks weekly.
- Weekly (15mins – Sunday)
- Check digital Calendar and make weekly layout, migrate and add tasks.
- Monthly (20-30mins – end of Month)
- Make up Habit Tracker, Gratitude log and monthly Calendar. I add tasks from my House Planner to my weekly to do list and aim to get them done throughout the month.
- I like to review my 2016 Goal page at the start of the month to refresh and refocus.
Bullet journaling has empowered me to get the things done that need to be done, so that I have more time for enjoying life and self care. I found that while I was studying at uni I wasn’t looking after myself. I wasn’t enjoying myself. And I wasn’t reaching my full potential. Obviously I had huge time commitments – studying full time as a vet student (which has crazy contact hours and even stupider amounts of studying), and then working part time as well. I found my ‘life’ – the fun stuff, seeing friends and looking after myself becoming an afterthought. I wish I’d known about Bullet Journaling a few years ago, as I think I would have been more productive and better enjoy that time of my life!