I know, I know. You're probably reading this and thinking, 'life changing? Really, Haley?'...and you're fully prepared to just barely skim the rest of the post and then move on with your day, because you think that I'm a little confused and probably overeager about what life changing means.
So...okay. I'll calm down. Maybe it's not life-changing, but it's kind of cool and you might not have heard of it before. It was new to me, and I've loved using it enough to want to share it with you! It's called the Bullet Journal.
I first heard about the Bullet Journal in an interview for this new job that I just started. I was talking about what I do to stay organized, and one of the guys said, "Have you heard of Bullet Journal? It will change your life." So... I got home from the interview and then immediately googled it. "Bullet Journal."
In the days of cloud storage and 'an app for everything,' the bullet journal seems old school. It doesn't require an expensive planner, any downloads, or a new device. It doesn't sync with your email or calendar, and it's nearly free. There are two required tools (a blank notebook and a pen), and a few instructions to follow. I have tried so many organization systems, and this is one of my favorite tools I've ever found - I've used it all summer, and I love it! There are just five steps, and then there's a fun surprise at the end :)
1. Gather your supplies - find a notebook that's a good size for you (mine is thin and about 8x6 inches), and grab a pen. Sharpie Pens are my absolute favorite.
2. Start your bullet journal on the first page. Title it "Index." As you go along, this is where you'll keep the order of things organized. Go ahead and number your first twenty pages or so in the bottom corners, and let the current month be your first line item in your index. For example, mine says "July - page 2."
3. Open to your next blank two-page spread. You'll build something like this for every new month, so pay attention! On the left page, you'll make your calendar. Title it, and then write the days of the month in one long line (or two shorter lines). You can also add letters to signify the days of the week, right to the side of the numbered dates. This page is where you'll keep track of your month as a whole - birthdays, commitments, trips, etc. On the right page of your spread, you'll make your task list for the month. List out everything you want to accomplish, and denote it as a task with a little checkbox. Your two pages should look something like this when you're done.
4. Now, you'll just start your daily bullet journals. Write a title for each new date, and below that, you'll keep track of your tasks, notes, and events from the day - in bullet form! This is where it gets fun - there are three types of bullets in the bullet journal.
- Tasks. All tasks are signified by a checkbox. When you finish the task, check (or color in!) the box!
- Events. Denote events with an empty circle. An event can be something to remember, or something that's already happened that you want to remember later - so, "Team meeting" and "Finished Harry Potter" both count!
- Notes. Anything that you want to write down, but doesn't fall into another category, counts as a note. Signify these with your standard bullet dot.
The bullet journal works well for me because everything is in one place. I don't have post-its floating around with grocery lists and book recommendations, and I'm not carrying around multiple planners and notebooks with events/to-do lists/blog ideas/etc. I really like just having one system.
The bullet journal also helps me set goals. At the beginning of each month, it forces me to sit down and map out what I want to happen that month, whether it's launching a new deal at work, finishing wedding thank-you notes (DONE, praise the Lord!), or working out so many times per week. However? There is also grace in the bullet journal. If I don't finish something this month or day, I just write a little arrow by the checkbox, and move it to the next month or day. No big deal.
I've been using this system since July, and I love it. I've added a few things that especially work for me, but - this is the beauty of it - you could do whatever you want!
- Two small sections below my monthly calendar: 'Reading' and 'Studying.' Self-explanatory: I write down what books I'm reading, and what I'm currently studying. This month, for example, it's "In Defense of Food" for reading, and both Hebrews and 'how to study the Bible' (with my women's small group!) for studying. Also - some months, I've added a third line here to log miles run or workouts, tally mark style. Good accountability to be active :)
- "Week at a Glance" pages - this is a recent add, and I don't know if it will stick. But for now, I'm doing one page before a new week starts with a mini-calendar. This is what I refer to for dates and appointments, and I also use it to keep track of workouts.
- Lots of random pages! As I get more and more comfortable with my bullet journal, I find new ways to use it. I have a page where I brainstorm & plan out blog posts, a page of book recommendations, and a page that I did earlier this month of mapping out priorities and goals. I love that the bullet journal is just made of blank pages. There's so much potential!
- This is OCD...but since I use mine for both work life and personal life, I either use two colors of pens or I make two columns. This helps me separate and focus a little.
There are also a few things that I don't do in my bullet journal. The original instructions talk about 'signifiers' - a star for a high priority, an eye for something you want to look up later, or an exclamation point for something that's an idea you want to remember. I don't use any of these - the only time I write outside of the checkbox is to draw an arrow to move a task to the next day.
Now, this is where it gets exciting. I've never done a giveaway on this blog, but I think something serious like organization tips needs to end on a fun note! And plus? I'm really grateful for the support that I've gotten over here recently. Blogging has been such a fun, creative outlet for quite a while now, and it makes my day when you read, comment, or just tell me that you're following along! So as a way to say "thank you!," I thought I would spice up this post with a raffle for all of my fab internet friends :)
I'm giving away two Moleskine Notebooks, and two Sharpie Pens. The notebooks are softcover, approximately 5" by 8", and blue - duh! The pens are plain black - but trust me, Sharpie Pens are the best. With two of each, you'll have your very own bullet journal system, plus one more to give to a friend! Enter via Rafflecopter below - this giveaway will go through next Wednesday, September 24th, and the winner will be announced on Friday, September 26th. Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Note - This isn't a sponsored post. I wanted a way to say "thanks for reading!," and sharing one of my favorite new tools seemed to fit the bill perfectly.