Friday, March 3, 2017

So, I Decided to Try Bullet Journaling...

Since I am a blogger, I spend a significant amount of time reading other blogs. I follow blogs on Bloglovin' and Pinterest. I have an entire Pinterest board dedicated to writing. Recently, there has been a lot of hype out there in the blogging/writing community about bullet journals. (The most avid bullet journal advocates shorten this term to "bujo." I refuse to do this on principal because the word "bujo" just sounds ridiculous.)

I like writing, I like doodling, and this seemed like it could be fun, so I decided to give it a try. This January, I created two different bullet journals: one for my writing, and one for everything else. Most blogs I read about bullet journaling praise it for being so wonderful and helpful in keeping things organized. For me, it has been most helpful in organizing my to-do list. While I'm not sure I'm 100% on board yet, I will say that so far I've found the process helpful.

Here is a link to a website created by the guy who came up with this whole strategy called "bullet journaling." This breaks down the process for you. Basically, it categorizes everything you need into lists that are easy to find and keep up with. You can make it as plain or as pretty as you want. I've had the most success with this in using it for my job. Here are some examples of how I've been using my bullet journal.

This is the Key that I keep in the front page of the journal. 

This is the index. The index is one of the main aspects of the bullet journal system. Yes, you are supposed to number all of your pages, which is a little tedious, but it does help you go back and find information more quickly. This has already helped me more times than I can count.

Next is the monthly log. This helps me with things I know I need to get done (like scheduling a video observation with my principal) but it doesn't matter when in the month I get it done.

Here is another layout I've used for a monthly log.

Then, we have the weekly log. This is where I've found that the bullet journal is the most helpful. This helps me keep up with what I need to do each week and even each day - if I have more specific deadlines for things. 

In my personal bullet journal, I track certain things. I started running regularly a couple of months ago and I've been tracking my progress with this calendar. I write down my distance and times. (I'm slow...don't make fun.)

I also use a layout called a "habit tracker" in my personal bullet journal. This allows me to keep up with how often I do the things that I want to do, as well as things that I may not necessarily want to do, but that I need to do.

There are tons of ways to use a bullet journal to stay organized, and I've only barely scratched the surface myself. It's taken some time to play with the process and determine what aspects of the journal I need and which ones I don't. For work, the weekly log is the most helpful because it allows me to keep my to-do list for each week in one place. However, I don't have much use for that in my personal journal. I also have pages in my work journal for things I need to keep records of, things that I used to just write down in a notebook and then could never find the right page again (this is where the index has been handy). I have a parent contact log page, a "Grade Watch" page where I keep a log of students whose grades I need to keep an eye on, a page for my team meetings, a page for Student Council meetings, etc. In my personal journal, I have pages with blog post ideas, a budgeting page, and a section of pages where I keep up with books I've read along with a few sentences reflecting on them after I've finished. And whenever I run out of room on a page, I just flip to the next blank page, start anew, and add those page numbers to my index. 

Those who praise bullet journaling talk about how wonderful it is for helping them stay organized. It does help with that. Just realize that in spite of all the praise and fancy lettering and pretty layouts, it's basically just a book of lists that you keep track of in various ways. You number the pages and keep an index so you can find what you're looking for easily. 

I had to give myself a few weeks to get used to the process and find what works for me. There are a lot of resources out there about all the different kinds of bullet journal layouts you can use. It takes a little while to figure out what you'll actually use and what you won't. So far, I like it. If you aren't someone who needs to write down a to-do list, then this probably isn't something that you'll enjoy. However, there are systems for bullet journaling using documents saved on your computer if that's more your style. 

I'm not advocating that everyone try it. I recognize that this probably isn't for everyone. But I figure enough of my blog followers are also into writing/doodling/blogging themselves and for people like us, it's fun and helpful. 

Click here to follow me on Pinterest (RachelClaire Cockrell). I have a lot of bullet journaling, blogging, and writing resources pinned on several different boards. 

If you give this a try and have any new page or layout ideas, comment with a picture. Or just let me know what you think about the whole process. 

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