Recently, I am ashamed to say that almost all of my hobbies have gone on the backburner, despite the fact I actually have time to do them all right now. I haven’t written any blog posts (aside from this one… I guess…), I’ve barely done any crochet, and I certainly haven’t been keeping up with my household chores as well as I did a few weeks ago (not that I’d class that as a hobby, heh).
But why have I been slacking? Well, ironically, because I’ve been trying to make myself more organised. I discovered the joys of the Bullet Journal last week, and since then I have been obsessed with setting it up.
And when I say obsessed, I mean obsessed. Help, please. It’s taken over my life.
For those of you unaware, a Bullet Journal is basically a cross between a calendar, a to-do list and a journal. (On a basic level.) It’s a notebook and pen, 5 minutes at the end/start of your day, and, at the end of it all, an archive of your life.
A lot of people also use their Bullet Journal as a creative outlet – a place to doodle, write lists, jot down ideas and go crazy with designing the basic Bullet Journal modules. I think this was the part that really drew me in – the flexibility of the journal, the way you can design it all to fit your needs. We’ve all been there, haven’t we, when we’ve started to use an app or a calendar and it just hasn’t been right for us? Bullet Journals give you a chance to make it right for you. And the best thing is, you can change it as often as you like.
Instead of diving straight in with the recommended notebook – the Leuchtturm1917 – I decided to try out something simpler to get me started. I managed to find a pack of three Moleskine journals with squared pages (similar to these but bigger) and endeavoured to just roll with it. And that’s what I’ve been doing… albeit a bit too obsessively.
So far I have filled up 17 pages, with 2 more near the beginning to set out. Before filling in the Index – an important trait of Bullet Journals – I used post-it notes to reserve and name my pages. I then moved them round as I saw fit, and even changed some of them.
The first two-page spread contains the Key and the Index. The Key simply demonstrates what each icon means within to-do lists and monthly logs, and also says what my different coloured pens mean (although I’ve deviated from this on probably more pages than I’ve actually stuck to it, all in the name of decoration!!!). The Index is the contents page, and you add to this after you’ve titled a new page. Most people reserve 3 pages for their Index, but because my journal is only small, I’ve only reserved the 1. I don’t know if I’ll run out of space or not – I only have a maximum of 80 pages to list!
The best thing about the Index is the fact that you can include pages from all over the book. If I start something on one page, and then start something else after it, I can resume the first thing elsewhere in the book and simply list it on the Index to keep track. This eliminates the one thing that digital means often have over written journals – the ability to move things around, and have unlimited space.
The next pages contain my Future Log. This is one of the first spreads I decorated, and I can’t say I’m that happy with it. But this is where, at a glance, I can see what’s going on over the next six months. My colour-coded events and tasks are here, along with my little doodles of bunnies, ice creams, umbrellas and snowflakes to signify the seasons (I know, cute. Totally).
Another great thing about the Bullet Journal is that if you make a mistake, you’re generally encouraged to simply laugh at yourself for it rather than fret over it. Normally, I’m a total perfectionist – with things like blogs particularly, I tend to scrap everything and start over if something isn’t right, rather than attempting to fix it. On this page I wrote “Q4” where I was meant to write “Q3”, crossed it out, wrote “No Way!” beneath it, then stuck a sticker on top. It’s a painful thing, having to deal with a mistake being there forever, but at least something cute is disguising it now!
Next up is one of my most recent spreads, and by far my favourite right now – my 2016 Books + Wishlist page! As you can see, I did away with my colour-coding for this page and used alternate colours to instead make everything look that little bit more exciting. Here I have my reading goal listed, how many books I’ve read this year so far, and my ratings for them. If I finish my current two books – Wuthering Heights and The Falconer – then I’ll only have 3 books to go! The Wishlist side is for books I want to read that I don’t currently have access to, to remind me if ever I go to a bookshop with the ability to buy books (that, unfortunately, doesn’t happen often, because I simply have too many).
Next up, after my reserved “Memories” spread (not sure if I’m going to keep that as is or change it to something else) is my Monthly Log. This is a more in-depth version of the Future Log, listing everything that’s happening in August and any tasks I want to complete or things I wish to achieve this month. Some people use this page to record what has happened each day rather than repeating stuff from the Future Log. I’m not entirely sure if having this and the Future Log is necessary, so I may change something else next time. (But, as I said, that’s the beauty of it!)
Next up was originally going to be another double-page spread, but in the end I changed it to 2 single pages. On the left is pretty self-explanatory – what I’m Currently Reading, including start and end dates. I don’t expect to be reading many more than 3 or 4 books in a month at the rate I’m currently going, so I’m fine with it just being 1-page long.
The right-hand side is a bit of actual journalling I decided to do on Thursday, after my third session of Volunteering. It’s just some quick notes about what I did during my volunteering sessions, and some doodles to help me remember visually. It feels very bland compared to all the other pages because I didn’t include any of my 3 colours. I wish, now, that I’d done the dates in those colours – wouldn’t that have looked cute? Oh well!
This next spread is pretty important to me. A lot of Bullet Journalists (I guess that’s what they’re called?) like to record a Gratitude log, where they list a few things each day that they’re thankful for, or happy about. I wanted to do something similar, but with Accomplishments instead. I also liked the idea of recording various Memories, both interesting and mundane, to look back on at the end of the month. I was originally going to colour-code these, but so far I haven’t, so I might not. But, yes, this too is quite bland-looking right now!
Here are the pages I’ve dedicated to my Blog Schedule. All I’m doing here is recording posts on the day they come out, and listing topics I want to cover in the future. The DWP means Draft, Written and Published (I should find somewhere to write that on the page itself…). Also listed are the three main “themes” I want to follow with this blog: Travel, Books and Creativity. (More colour-coding, of course!)
Next up is the start of my Dailies. These are the little entries you fill in at the start or end of each day, giving yourself a list to work from. You can also include events/meetings that are already on your Future or Monthly logs, and you can migrate tasks from one day to the next depending on whether or not you feel they’re worth carrying over. Some people also include things like the weather forecast, what time sunrise and sunset is, and other various doodles. I’ve included on mine the weather that actually happened (not the forecast) and a quick doodle (or attempt at a doodle) of the meal I cooked/we ate that day, just to keep track. It definitely needs refining, and the right-hand page will probably be different again!
And, finally, here’s my Hobby Tracker. While committing time to making this journal I began to feel a bit overwhelmed at how many hobbies I was neglecting in the process. I decided to list them all, grade them depending on how enthusiastic about them I feel this month, write what I’m planning to achieve, and then list any non-date-specific tasks relating to those hobbies. I don’t know how this will work, as I haven’t seen anyone else do anything similar to this, but it’s already helped me organise myself mentally a bit.
The pens I used, by the way, are PaperMate Inkjoy black, pink, blue and purple pens, plus a regular red biro. I had been planning on using a fineliner for my black writing, but soon discovered that the ink bled through the page quite badly (I’d recommend people who use fineliners or fountain pens to NOT use this particular Moleskine journal – unsure if the paper is the same across all Moleskines, however). I’m hoping to get some more colours soon and make things more colourful as the journal goes on. And, eventually, once I’ve decided that I do want to keep this up, I’ll buy a Leuchtturm and do things a lot more glamorously. (You heard it here first.)
Saying that, the only thing I’m unhappy with about this journal so far is the red pen. I don’t really know why I chose red over blue or green, but it is really beginning to jarr against the less harsh pink, blue and purple pens. I think after page 20, when I begin to add more pages, I’ll change the red elements to blue and see how it goes. (The existing pages will have to stay as red, however.)
But otherwise, I am so, so excited about this. For now, I’m probably spending far too much time and energy on it, but I really am looking forward to when it’s all set up and I can simply add to it a little each day. It’ll never be complete, of course – if I think of new pages, I’ll have to set them up – but in terms of the Daily and Monthly logs, I’m excited about just filling them up each day and letting them grow.
Anyway, thanks for reading! I’m not sure if I’ll keep sharing my journal, or if I’ll keep it more to myself. I like the idea of others getting ideas from my (quite rubbish) page designs, but all the same, I quite like being able to put private stuff in there. (See blurs.) We’ll see though – and we’ll see if I keep it up!
Do you have a BuJo? Let me know – I’d love to see it! 🙂