Wednesday, November 11, 2015

bullet journaling: an update on my process

Six months ago I posted about my new planning fascination: bullet journaling. I shared about the way I was nervous because bullet journaling is so open-ended, but that I was sure I could wrap my mind around all the blank pages of my Moleskine. And I did. 

In fact, I have used a bullet journal for the last seven months and am now eleven days into my second one. It's so manageable. Actually, it's more than manageable and is perfect for my lifestyle. So, the day is finally here where I share the new and updated ways that I'm using bullet journaling to organize my days! 

I am still using a large Moleskine journal, but instead of the original format of lined pages, I'm using ones that are dotted. They remind me (very loosely) of the boxes game we played at restaurants when I was a kid. I am enjoying the freedom that the dots give me in comparison to the lines (which made me feel like I needed to stay between the lines), but it did take a second for me to get used to them. 

Like last time, I am including a table of contents BUT this time I have allocated three pages to the content cause. This is important because last time I didn't give myself enough space to put down all the things that I included in my journal over the last seven months. I thought it'd be no big deal, but I'm planning on keeping the journals and for the sake of returning to what I wrote, having contents would be easier. This is one part of the bullet journaling process I really need to work on, but for now the three page approach will have to work.

I wrote in my last post that I wasn't a fan of the way the creators of bullet journaling set up their monthly calendar format so I started drawing out my monthly layout in the traditional calendar format. I loved working with it in this way, but because I didn't know how many pages I'd use in a given month I would only draw out one calendar at a time. This meant that I was still carrying a monthly planner in my purse. (Talk about defeating one's purpose.)

I got to thinking I could put together a "planner" style calendar section in my bullet journal as I neared the end of my last one. I realized I can fit about six months worth of content in my journal and so, I drew out monthly calendar pages from November to April. Drawn and dated from now until Spring of 2016, I feel more organized and comfortable.

And what about the important dates that go beyond the six month span (like the dentist)? I left a blank page open for me to be able to add in the things that might fall outside of the six months of calendar space I've created. I actually had this in my first bullet journal (at the very end) and found it so helpful for the lack of monthly planning ability, so I'm confident in it now.

Now that whole journal set-up is covered. I'll let you in on the monthly, more functional, details of my bullet journal. I am continuing to use tabs at the beginning of each month for ease of movement through the journal. There is the ribbon that Moleskines' come with, but I like to have the little tabs as a means of flipping from one month to the next. Plus they're sticky so you can move them and add them however you might wish to do.

There's a newly added monthly goals section (as seen on the top of page 17 in the picture above) that I've added above my lessons list. These are helpful to focus my efforts as the month starts and progresses. As bits and pieces of my days feel chaotic and overwhelming, I can continue to bring myself back to the goals for the month instead of panicking.

The lessons list turns into my What I Learned post that goes up at the end of every month. It's basically a free blog post as the days tick away off the calendar. (Completely unrelated note: At the end of the month I go through these and my Instagram pictures and that's how the What I Learned posts come together.)
I am trying to be more intentional in including everything in a single journal for the next six months. This is challenging for me because I love to break things out into a whole bunch of different journals in the name of organization. What this really, truly does is make me lethargic and frustrated in locating and using said journals. Lethargy and work is not really motivating and creative so bringing it all together for the sake of big creative magic.

Daily task lists and grocery lists remain important and included because, well, life. I have stopped working with a list of specific symbols because I found they -for the most part- confused me. But, I am using a highlighter or two to draw attention to things that I love. So, you'll see the little highlighted $ sign on page 22 above and realize that it's hanging out next to a really lovely Picasso quote. This is meant to be motivational and special to me, but is also a possible inspiration for another piece in the shop!

The keep it all together rule means my bible studies are now being conducted in my bullet journal. This is partly (and for the sake of transparency) because bible study as a daily habit has taken a large hit in my life. I am struggling to sit down and write things out so instead of worrying over the little details and all the note-taking opportunities, I am often just reading. But, when I do want to write down some thoughts or verses or poignant moments with Him, they go here.

In addition to including my bible studies, I've started Weekly Podcast Notes for myself. They're basically small paraphrases of concepts and quotes that were poignant to me while I was listening to my favorite podcasts throughout the week. I'm a huge fan of listening while I walk or paint or work which makes it hard to be writing things down word for word. These often are pieces of podcast that I can't stop thinking about in my day to day (which to me makes them more important to document).

A few things I used to do that I don't anymore:
  • Tracking my "dailies". I'm trying to afford myself a greater sense of spontaneity for my creative process and being rigorous about my dailies doesn't help that. So, I've retired the process of tracking and organizing them so that grace is greater than routine. 
  • Listing every possible thing I can think of doing.
    Now I write down my three most important things (MITs) to do in a single day and then have a couple bonus points to check off if possible. I don't want my planner to be what determines all the ways that I live, instead I want to live with the help of my lists. 
  • Sticking to small print, line-following writing. 
    Without the lines I have the opportunity to make larger shapes and sketches. I can dedicate an entire page to writing out a beautiful quote that just rocks my soul. This is more reflective of my personality and process, so it's a win. 
A few things I want to incorporate but haven't yet:
  • Listing my miles.
    I participated in a running challenge last June that required one to track their miles ran daily. I loved having the mileage add up over the course of the month and I'm still confused why I haven't continued to do it. 
  • Adding a daily writing chunk.
    I write down quotes and words from other people that are special to me. But I never write down sentences that I wrote and love. Somehow I feel ridiculous having spent so many years celebrating the words of others, but not cherishing my own. 
This is a lot of information. As always happens with creative processes and journaling and planning. BUT, you've got yourself an update. And, with an update, comes a coupon code for the custom painted moleskine journals that I sell in my Etsy shop! Yes, you read that right. Use code "ROUNDTWO" for 10% off your custom-painted bullet journal for the rest of this week ONLY.

And now head down to the comments section and 
ask me all the things that I've forgotten. 
I promise to respond and (possibly) to update the post to fill all the holes that I've left! 

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