A full version of this article was first published on Space and Quiet.
I’m always writing about how much I love the flexibility of bullet journaling. In particular, I love that the bullet journal can be anything I need it to be: diary, planner, notebook, sketchbook etc. However, a bullet journal doesn’t have to be used for everything. I have experimented with the bullet journaling system for over a year, using different methods of planning, tracking and logging. Now I have a customised system that works incredibly well for me, and there are just three tasks that I don’t use bullet journaling for.
When I initially started a bullet journal I assumed that I would use it to capture everything I normally wrote down in various diaries, planners and on note paper. I attempted to plan things in the way in which I saw others doing it. After a while, I found that many of the methods other people were using didn’t work for me. I was still feeling overwhelmed and frustrated with my planning system! It was only when I began to consider my own habits, routine and lifestyle that bullet journaling really started working for me. In this post I’m sharing three tasks that I don’t use bullet journaling for.
1. I don't use bullet journaling for my grocery shopping lists
One of the first things I stopped using my bullet journal for was my Grocery Shopping List. Keeping this list in my bullet journal wasn’t working for me, for a few reasons:
- Turning the page meant I could no longer see the list at a glance
- Other members of my family couldn’t access the list
- The list had to be copied out onto note paper to take to the shop
- I couldn’t predict how often I would make a new list, or how much space it would need
What I do instead:
I now keep our shopping list on the fridge and this works perfectly for my family. When I’m in the kitchen, I can see the list at a glance and immediately jot down any grocery items that need replacing. My kids use the list too. They write down items like soap and toothpaste for their bathroom, or a particular dessert they would like. Plus, when shopping day rolls around, the list can be grabbed by whoever is heading out to the shop!
2. I no longer do the weekly meal plan in my bullet journal
Since starting bullet journaling, I’m overall more organised on a day to day basis. Tasks that I had always struggled to do consistently are now regular habits. One of these tasks is the weekly meal plan. Creating a meal plan for the week reduces my stress levels because it reduces the amount of decisions I have to make daily. The grocery shopping is done faster and less often, and I’m more organised when packing lunch boxes, and preparing after school snacks.
However, planning the meals is not a task that I particularly enjoy! When I began experimenting with meal planning layouts in my bullet journal, I found it wasn’t something I wanted to put a lot of effort into. This meant that, more often than not, the meal plan simply didn’t get done. However, I also found that a quick list scribbled into my journal, or a meal written next to each day of the week, wasn’t enough to keep me organised either. I needed to combine structure with speed. Using a meal planner pad helps me to plan and organise meals and snacks more efficiently.
What I do instead:
Like my grocery shopping list, my main meal plan now lives on the fridge. As meal planning and grocery shopping go hand in hand for me, I find it’s essential to keep these two ‘lists’ together where they can be accessed by everyone in my family. I use a structured meal planner notepad, with plenty of room to write the main meal plus lunches and snacks. Using a meal planning sheet that is already set up makes the task of meal planning quick and easy. I even date each meal plan and move them to a folder at the end of the week to refer to when I’m stuck for meal ideas. This means I can use entire meal plans again and again!
Keeping food and meal notes in my journal
Although I write a weekly meal plan on a dedicated meal planning notepad, I still find it helpful to keep notes in my bullet journal daily log. Brief notes about meals, snacks and baking act as small reminders throughout the day that help me stick to my plan.
Once my main weekly meal plan is done, brief food notes in my daily log help me stay on track. Brief notes in my daily log keep me focused on my cooking and baking plans.
3. The bullet journal is not my primary place to record my children's appointments, key family events or school events
Every year I buy a large family wall calendar, that has a column for each member of my family. The calendar hangs in a central area of our home, right next to the fridge. This calendar is the first place I log important events, appointments, birthdays, holidays, work travel etc, for each member of my family. While many of these events will also be recorded in my bullet journal, I’ve found that having them on a central family calendar is essential to keeping an organised home.
Although a bullet journal can be used for capturing and planning almost anything, I’ve found that it doesn’t have to be used for everything. Experiment with your journal to work out what works best for you. What’s most important is that your bullet journaling helps you feel more calm, organised and productive.
Do you use bullet journaling for everything? Is there anything you prefer to plan outside of your bullet journal? Let me know in the comments below.
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