Okay, so there are no actual bullets involved. Thankfully.
As you know, one of the things I love is continuous change. On the surface, that sounds unsettling, but in actuality, it is the key to me achieving my goals. It is me saying, “my current approach is not working, but I still want to do this thing, so how do I go about it?” For instance …
- When running wasn’t doing it for me anymore, I went through a few iterations and ended up settling mostly on bodyweight cardio and free weights. Now, partially because the room I work out in is terribly cold in the winter, I am trying to come up with something new.
- When my daily word count goals were likewise not turning out so well, I decided to adapt that to time goals – X hours of writing, etc
Bullet journaling is the same. The idea is simple: take a blank notebook and make it into the kind of day planner you need. For me, day planners tended to have way too much space on some days and way too little on others. They don’t have an easily delineated space for communications, one of my most fraught daily tasks, and there’s no good place to make random notes. But a bullet journal can be exactly what I need.
One of the absolute best things about bullet journaling, hands down, is that it allows you to add emphasis to tasks that you absolutely HATE. I’m betting that if you keep an eye on your day to day activities over the next week or so, you’ll find one that “should” be easy (emails, mailing bills, eating a healthy breakfast, whatever) that you just can’t make yourself do. You drag your heels. Every time you sit down to do it, you remember a hundred other things that you could be doing and wander off, etc. Your bullet journal will let you separate this task out into as many steps as you need, add a bribe if you want one, and give you the satisfaction of checking it off once it’s done. If it’s emails that you hate because they suck up your time, you can do something like the following, with each of these items as a ticky box:
- Set timer for 30 minutes
- Read Bob’s email, jot down a few points in notebook
- Read Jim’s email, jot down a few points
- Read Sam’s email, etc.
- Respond to Bob
- Respond to Jim
- Respond to Sam
- Put on “How Far I’ll Go” and sing along really loudly
By admitting to yourself that you hate a task and assigning it space that corresponds with how much mental energy it’s taking you, you can get much further. Stop pretending it’s easy just because it “should” be.
A bullet journal is also a way to inject creativity and beauty into your life, and I cannot stress enough how important I think this is. You’ll find tons of people who can do absolutely gorgeous ink drawings or watercolors in the margins. You may be one of them! I’m not, but I absolutely add doodles: some flowers, swirls of color, clouds and snowflakes on my weather tracker (I check each night as I make my next day’s schedule). You can also do something like the below, which actually seems doable for me:
Before diving in with all the bells and whistles (which, if you’re like me, tends to be how you do these things), I’d spend a few weeks with just any old notebook you have available. Try out different things. Come up with a key and see if it works for you. Notice how your current day planner ISN’T working for you: do you need space for random notes each week? A page or a half a page to jot down appointments for next week? How about a separate place for your grocery list? Think about what you want and try it out. Then, and only then, should you look all over to see every cool new idea. A lot of them simply won’t be useful to you, and waiting until you know what you need will help you select what you want. Even then, you will continue to adapt as you move onward. Let it change.
Do you already bullet journal? If you’ve got a blog or instragram feed where you show your progress, comment below so people can check it out!