Wednesday 11 January 2023

Trying out a bullet journal

I have had my eye on bullet journals for a while. They are everywhere on my social media, gorgeous decorated journals embellished with coloured pens and washi tape, which claim to be invaluable if you are looking to organise your life. I've always been pretty happy with the organisation system which I developed using Trello but one disadvantage was that you need to be online to use it and I've been trying to reduce my smartphone use. 

I also really enjoy writing things down on actual paper, and I hanker back to the Filofax system that I used through college and university. Over the summer I was shopping with Mia and she picked up a new journal which had dotted pages. I explained to her that it was designed for using as a bullet journal, and I showed her some websites with inspiration. She loved it, and started using it to track all sorts of things, and I was so impressed that I decided to give it a go myself!

The original bullet journal system was developed by Ryder Carroll and you can read all about it on his website Bullet Journal, where you can also find a short video explaining how it all works. In the years since he shared it people have picked up his ideas and run with them and you can find all sorts of bullet journal inspiration online, including some really creative and complex layouts. 

It can all be a bit intimidating to start with, but I've been having a lot of fun coming up with a way to combine the creative elements with a practical organisational system, and it's working really well for me so far.

At the start of my journal I have my 'collection' pages. These include a list of books to read, craft projects to work on, things to watch, an exercise tracker. I also have some information pages - birthdays throughout the year and important registration details. My inside pages are my vision board with pictures of things that I enjoy and want to do more of - sketchbook pages, piles of books, people running, healthy food, that kind of thing.

Bullet journal collection pages exercise tracker and to be read list

Each month I make a monthly page. This includes a small monthly calendar, a weight tracker, a website stats tracker, habit trackers and two lists called 'monthly jobs' and 'personal tasks'. These two lists are where my bullet journal is really helping me.

I created a page called 'Regular Jobs' where I made a list of all the things that need doing around the house on a regular basis. Things like a maintenance clean of the washing machine or dishwasher, scrubbing grouting, hoovering the car, changing various filters. Then I decided how often to do those jobs and marked them against the month. Each month I can refer to this list and write out the jobs that I need to do that month. It's really helpful!

The 'Personal Tasks' list is for things I want to achieve, and relates back to my goals for the year. So this month I wanted to come up with some new running routes, plan some craft stash projects and plan my February blog content.

Then I make a double page spread for each week. First I fill in my regular daily household jobs. Then I put in any fixed dates or appointments and add some of my monthly tasks to make sure that they get done. When I've completed a task I take great pleasure in scribbling it out. It's not very pretty but it definitely gets the job done!

Bullet journal weekly spread completed

I've been using my bullet journal for nearly two months and it has been so helpful! The main thing that I've noticed is that my house is looking a lot cleaner now that I am keeping up with the housework. I've made great strides with my reading pile having seen it all written down, and I'm definitely feeling much more organised. The system might not work for everyone, but it's definitely something that works really well for me!

My bullet journal supplies:

I bought my bullet journal from Hobbycraft - it's a Seawhite Dotted Bullet Journal and it cost £8.50. It seemed expensive at the time, although I had a voucher to put towards it. I'm very pleased with it, and there are plenty of nice, thick pages. It has a ribbon bookmark and a folder at the back but it doesn't have a pen loop which is a bit inconvenient. I have just ordered some stick in pen loops, so I'm hoping they will work well.

For writing I am currently using a Stabilo Fineliner pen and I also use a brush pen to make pretty titles. The pen is comfortable to write with but I have found that on a couple of pages it has smudged when I must have spilled a drop of water. Annoying because it makes it look messy! I might switch to a biro when I've run out these pens.

For decoration I've been using Zebra Mildliner pens which my daughter introduced me to. She loves them! They are double ended and they come in lovely colours. We bought a huge pack of 30 at Costco so we have enough to keep us going for a while! I've also been using some of my huge supply of washi tape and stickers.

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