Last fall, some of my students launched a BuJo club, which lasted about three months, but most of us continue to bullet journal, and I wanted to do an overview since I’ve gotten asked about mine a lot!
Bullet Journaling is a trending hashtag on Twitter (#bujo) and it’s everywhere on Pinterest. I’m on my second bullet journal, and I love it as a method of organization and as a journal/memory-keeper. It gets my face out of my iphone, and it’s colorful! The major point is that it’s totally customizable, but doesn’t require crazy amounts of creativity or artistic skill.
Here’s what I use my Bullet Journal for:
I do one to two months at a time, building my own calendar and adding all my dates. It does take a little time, but once I had a layout I liked it was easier. It’s therapeutic to lay out the month’s plans and see where we have free weekends for intentional family time and evenings for dinners. I still use my Google Calendar app (which syncs with Hubster’s gcal so we can keep track of meetings) but I like the physical act of writing things down.
|February’s spread, minus a few events|
I am not able to take notes during Sunday services as I’m usually wrangling my kiddos, but I take my bullet journal with me to our school’s weekly chapel service. It helps me focus on the message, and I can refer to it later during student discussions. For my faculty devotion earlier this semester, I reviewed lessons from chapels, and the process was surprisingly encouraging for me to remember those hours of the Word. It’s also a great example for my students. We sit through approximately 40 sermons during the school year, and this way they don’t slip in one ear and out the other.
|Notes from Veterans’ Day chapel, with the armor of God|
I use a check book to write our tithe checks and daycare payments; that’s about it. But I lose my check register regularly (not very adult-y of me), so I rewrote one in my Bullet Journal to keep track with the rest of my budget when I don’t have my checkbook with me.
I write out the next six months to keep track of drill weekends, vacation days, Packer games, etc. My future log is also a quick reference for scheduling well baby visits and dentist appointments that I can flip to at the receptionist’s desk instead of waiting for my phone to load and search for a date.
|Forgive the boxes – you don’t need to know EVERYTHING about me:)|
I just started a spread to jot down ideas for future posts as I work on posting more regularly. Looking forward: Spartacus’ reading list, natural family planning, and Plato’s treatment of addiction.
Sometimes I keep daily logs or weekly spreads, but recently I just haven’t had time. Instead, I jot down a fun thing that might have happened or something memorable my kiddos said or did. It’s a nice journal activity to remember without having a separate journal to remember to write in. At the end of the year I put together a family yearbook using Shutterfly, so this way I can remember all the little details we experienced during the year.
I use EveryDollar.com app for my budgeting usually, but I have a savings page and lots of various budget spreads that I put in my bullet journal, including a yearlong expense table to help me track variable and fixed expenses before they get paid.
You know when you see something and think, this would make a great Christmas gift for–, and then when it’s birthday or Christmas time you forget all of those things? I have a page for those ideas when I get them! And then I add what I do end up making or buying so I don’t accidentally double-gift (it happens, I know it).
Lots and lots of lists
To-Do lists and daily lists and shopping lists and grading lists…anything I’d write on a post-it note and lose, it goes in my Bullet Journal.
WHAT YOU NEED TO GET STARTED
I use my bujo for a whole lot more than this, and I really like how it traces my days and months. I like the idea of a biographer someday having my journals, like Thomas Jefferson’s, to write about my life. Or maybe just my great-grandkids, if I’m end up less famous.
If you want to start a Bullet Journal, here’s what you need:
- Blank journal: I use a Leuchtturm 1917 Dotted Notebook,* which has the “bullet” dots already in there, but any blank journal will do. The Leuchtturm is a little more expensive than the average blank book but it’s very pretty and durable, since I bring it everywhere, and has a little pocket in the back for stuff, a bookmark, and an elastic holder. Also they come in bright happy colors.
- Pretty pens: I use these ones because they are bright and inexpensive (less than $5 and Amazon Prime), but they do bleed just a little sometimes – colored pencils also work well. I also got a set of stencils for Christmas that are fun to liven up spreads. You don’t HAVE to have colors but they make it so much more fun!*
- Table of Contents: this is the key to finding things later: I build a table of contents as I fill up the pages, so if you have a blank notebook, be sure to allot a few pages for this at the beginning
|Table of Contents that grows with the journal|
- Page #s: the Leuchtturm one has page numbers and a table of contents already printed, but you can always write your own in.
- Inspiration: I go to Pinterest for Bullet Journal inspiration, or my students: they create reading logs and mood trackers and college application deadlines and travel ideas and summer bucket lists and exercise logs and habit trackers – it’s totally customizable, and the best part is, if you don’t use it for a few weeks, you won’t have all those blank calendar planning pages mocking your lack of organization. If it goes beyond a calendar year, you don’t have to throw it out. That’s always my struggle, but now I don’t have to feel guilty!
|One of my student’s habit tracker spreads|