May 9th, 2024

📓On Keeping A Bullet Journal

WeblogPoMo2024

I’ve had ADD and OCD since childhood. This isn’t a story about that, but those two things do influence my constant need to be organized — and that’s where bullet journaling enters the conversation.

I first learned about The Bullet Journal Method back in 2015 after posting on Twitter about how the planner I had been using at the time wasn’t really working with how my brain functions. I checked out the website devoted to this new-to-me method and fell in love with the fact that I could make this method my own — I could make it work for me.

The rest, as they say, is history.

These days, I consider myself to be a bit of a bullet journal evangelist. I tell people about my notebook any chance I get, and to be honest, I love when someone asks how I stay organized. I’m sure my eyes light up each time because it gives me the opportunity to get into the meat of how I use my bullet journal.

And so here we are — a perfect chance for me to explain a bit about it.

It’s gone through different iterations and has been housed in various sizes of notebooks over the last nine years. About a year ago, I settled on using smaller, much more portable notebooks.

Right now, I use Field Notes, and one notebook typically gets me through a month or more, depending on various factors. Recently, though, the good folks behind The Bullet Journal released a smaller, more portable version of their own notebook — The Pocket. It’s a bit wider than Field Notes, but when opened, is the size of an A5 page. These are meant to be used sideways so you have the convenience of that A5-sized page. I picked up a three-pack, of course. Once my current Field Notes book is full, I’ll like give one of The Pockets a try.

I prefer this smaller size because of the ease in portability. I can toss it in a front or back pocket on my shorts or jeans. It easily fits into all of my bags and it takes up less room. I also feel like I’m wasting less space on the pages, as opposed to A5 notebooks (but that’s just a weird thing my brain likes to latch onto).

If you’re not familiar with the basics of The Bullet Journal Method, I definitely encourage you to check it out. There’s also a book, as well as a pretty great online community called BujoU, all of which can be found on the website.

When I first started keeping a bullet journal, I thought that I had to make it fancy. I quickly learned otherwise. I never had time to devote to creating beautiful page spreads, and I needed a much looser style than using templated layouts provided. 

My bullet journal is minimal. it follows the general principles laid out in the basics of bullet journaling, and then I add to that when I need to. On any given month, I generally organize it in the following way:

  • Index
  • Monthly Overview
  • Monthly Reading List
  • Monthly Writing List
  • Rapid Logs

In these smaller notebooks, I usually don’t keep a Future Log because of the frequency of changing notebooks — it seems like a waste of pages. I’ll generally keep events in my phone calendar, then each month, I’ll check that, then write that months’ events into my bullet journal’s Monthly Overview. It’s been working well this way.

Other pages/collections/topics that I might also add can (and have) included:

  • Medication & Dosages List
  • Weight Tracker
  • Mood Tracker
  • Story Planning

That’s the best thing about a bullet journal — you can use it for whatever you need at any given moment. It can be whatever you need it to be.

Does it have to be pretty? Absolutely not.
Does it have to be super organized? Nope.

It’s yours to make it the best it can be for what you need. The possibilities are endless, really, and I just love that. My bullet journals have evolved over the years, and because you can review them at the end of each notebook, you’ll quickly learn what is working and what isn’t — and then you can adapt.

There is no right or wrong with bullet journaling. It’s a fluid, always evolving process that helps you be the best version of yourself, and I definitely recommend — and will continue to recommend — that everyone give it a try.