I’ve always been very organized. Or rather, I always enjoyed organizing things but I’ve never found a real system to maintaining the craziness of my daily life that really worked long-term. Until now!
In preparation for the New Year I was determined to get a grip on my life, which felt like it was falling apart a little. My genius sister showed me her Bullet Journal when we were home for Thanksgiving and I forever owe her for sharing it.
I was skeptical about it at first because even though I like writing things down better than typing them into my phone I didn’t think it would stay neat and organized and I would get annoyed with it. I had tried something similar in the past that didn’t last long for that reason. After looking at the website, I decided to at least give it a month. I mean, I already had a notebook and pens, so I started the first day of December.
What I found out? It is life changing. Everything I used to have a separate phone app for is now all in a pretty little notebook. With the exception of My Fitness Pal for food logging, I use this notebook for everything else. There is a tutorial on the Bullet Journal website and if you google ideas you can find TONS because it is extremely customizable. These are the things I include in mine, other than the basics:
- Workout Log -for tracking strength training progress – reps, sets and weight used
- Meal Plans and Grocery Lists: I do these on side by side pages. I write out what I plan to eat on the left side page and then write what I need for it on the right side. I just put the date above them so I can use the pages for multiple days until they fill up. Also, I only really plan one lunch and one dinner because I make enough for the whole week. Breakfast is not always planned because I have a ton of go-to breakfasts that I have stuff on hand for but I’ll write something down so I don’t overbuy at the store.
- Gratitude Journal: Occasionally I try to write down as many positive things I can think of. I haven’t been doing this as much because I am feeling happier than when I started this, but I might need to go back to it because it’s a really great exercise regardless of how you feel. I would write down things I’m grateful for or any good things that happened recently, however small.
- Monthly Habit Log: Every day, I track how well I’m keeping up with certain habits. The things I chose to track are exercise, diet, water intake, whether or not I’m biting my nails (trying to stop, clearly I’m not being successful though), alcohol consumption, and spending. It’s amazing how much it motivates me when I see it all organized on one page.
- Blog Schedule/Ideas: I make a monthly blog calendar similar to the Monthly Log but write in post titles on the days I plan to post. On the right hand side I list post ideas and what month I want to post them in. Keeping my blog schedule organized is super important since I work a full time job, frequent the gym several days a week and spend numerous hours in my kitchen. All I have to do is sit down once a month to plan my schedule and then I can just go week by week writing/finalizing posts.
- Miscellaneous Pages: 2016 Goals, Places to Travel, Things to Photograph, Bucket List, Recipe Ideas…whatever you want to write down and have at your fingertips you can put in here!
Other Bullet Journal Tips:
- Using little sticky tabs to bookmark certain pages.
- Don’t make daily logs more ahead of time than the night before so you know you have enough space for that day’s notes
- Have fun with colorful pens. Write some motivational quotes in the headings, decorate your titles…do whatever you want to do as long as you make it yours and have fun with it! Le Pens are my absolute favorite for this.
- Make using it a part of your routine. My routine is to get up and drink my coffee while updating my bullet journal. Find something that fits your schedule every day.
- Carry it everywhere along with your pens. This also ensures you’ll use it. I have a small purse and it fits nicely in there with my wallet. Pens are kept in a small side pocket. You can make it work, trust me!
- Use a quality notebook. This thing gets used a lot – you don’t want it falling apart. I love Moleskin notebooks for this purpose. They’re pricey as far as notebooks go but worth it in my opinion.
Things my Bullet Journal has helped me with:
- Getting more done on a daily basis: I see those pesky tasks on my to-do lists each day and after I have to move them to the following day’s list a couple times I get so tired of looking at them I finally do them. Also, getting to check things off at the end of each day is a great feeling so I try to get as much of the things done as I can!
- Focusing on this blog more: I now have a backlog of posts ready (or almost ready) for the next two months because I am actually writing down my ideas and then referencing them when I have a block of time to write.
- Keeping all my creative ideas in one place: Being more organized creatively helps me be more productive in those areas instead of just having all these things I want to do (recipes, crafts, photography…) and never getting to them.
- Focusing on the joy in life: My “gratitude journal” really helped me be a more optimistic person and uplifted me. It even helps to look back and read some of them if I’m having a particularly bad day.
- Tracking fitness progress: I tried to start strength training before. I kept a notebook of what I did and with how much weight but it didn’t last long because I hated having to spend an hour or more at the gym. Nowadays I love my gym hours and I have found a schedule that works. I write everything down in my bullet journal and then snap a picture on my phone of the previous w0rkout I did (of the same muscle group) before I head in to the gym for the next one. During my workout, I’ll make notes on my phone and then transfer it to my bullet journal the next morning.
- Relaxing more: With everything written down in a single location I’m much less in my head about what needs to get done, what I want to do and when I’m going to find time to do it. All of the answers to those questions are organized nicely in this notebook and I can rest easy knowing that.
There’s probably more that it’s helped me with…seriously I cannot recommend this enough. And remember, I was skeptical of it at first!! My sister and I got our parents to start their own and I’m hoping it sticks with them too.
Do you have a Bullet Journal? What are some of your favorite things to use it for?
*This post may contain affiliate links*