1 Year of Bullet Journaling

Okay, so bullet journaling has been around for awhile, people.  It’s very cool, but it ain’t new.

If you don’t have any clue what I’m talking about, watch this video by the creator of bullet journaling, and then search “bullet journaling” on Pinterest to be inspired on how extremely creative people have taken this very functional idea to a new and beautiful level.

Seriously.  There is some cool stuff out there.

Like this.  Or this.  Or this.

My older sister got me into bullet journaling almost exactly a year ago.  She told me about it over the phone, I did some research (aka Pinterest) on how it would be fun and useful, and within 24 hours I eagerly had my journal set up in an empty, thick graphing paper notebook I’d held onto (for years) for some inspired reason.

(I have since used my Cricut to decorate it with vinyl stuff that makes me happy…)

I was all gung-ho, and I had about 20 different pages and layouts that I was suuuure I was going to update every day, and I was excited beyond all measure.

And ummmm guess what?

First off, I wasn’t as great at cute little doodles and drawings as I thought I was.  (And that made me a little bit, um….mad at my journal….haha.)

Second off, I’m a mom.  And since I use my bullet journal erry day, my kids inevitably find it, and scribble in it.  They’ve gotten a lot better, but a LOT of the pages have been…tampered with.

Check out this bad boy I doodled at Christmas time…

Third off, all the billions of different cutesy pages to update every time I do something miniscule?  That’s just not functional for me.  At least right now in my life.

For example, my bullet journal thinks I’ve only watched 5 movies since last September. If only.

And that I’ve read zero books… which is embarrassingly close to the truth, if you don’t count the millions of picture books I read to my kids…

I also was going to do that cool “year in pixels” thing… This is about how far I got…

Now, don’t get me wrong.  There’s always next year for a year in pixels, and I still dream of perfect layouts, cute goal sheets, and beautifully drawn colored pencil doodles. Who doesn’t?

So if you have time and patience for that, and you don’t have little people bumping your elbows while you try to make straight lines, go for it!

But for me?  It’s a liiiittle bit of a joke.


So what DO I do?  Why is bullet journaling functional for me?


1. I’m a to-do list maker.  I love lists and plans and little boxes to check off.  I already did that before bullet journaling.  However, I’ve always had a little bit of a hard time throwing away my daily to-do lists, ’cause they’re almost like little simple journals about what I did that day.  Bullet journaling made it so that I was basically keeping a book of my daily lists.

2. Weekly planning and family council.  I used to do monthly layouts, and those are still useful, but I’ve turned a little more towards a monthly dry-erase wall calendar for that.  Weekly, though, I create an efficient 1-page layout that I strive to complete.

It includes weekly goals and tasks, a meal plan, a shopping list, a schedule for the week, a habit tracker, a sleep tracker, a gratitude journal, and recently, a water tracker.

That sounds like a lot, but it’s very concise and functional.  It also doesn’t take up very much “page real estate.”  I wasted a lot more space when I was first bullet journaling, and I’m happy with the evolution.

3. Other lists.  Like I said, I like lists.  Shopping lists, packing lists, lists of home projects, lists of words my kids can say, bucket lists, lists of my personal goals and health goals, and on and on.

It’s my place to organize my lists.  And before bullet journaling, I just had piles of little pieces of paper with my different lists on them.  Cause how do you even organize that kind of stuff?  You’re not going to take up a whole notebook for one of those categories…. “This is my entire notebook dedicated to every time I take a trip, and I make a packing list.” Weirdo….

4. Whatever I want.  Haha.  Isn’t that great?  It’s like, this flexible system that allows you to just do whatever you want, all in the same journal.

I’m serious, people.

Need somewhere to draw to describe the weird dream you had last night?

 Need to brainstorm for Christmas?

Need to sketch a garage layout?

Need to write down all the ingredients your husband wants on his Subway sandwich?

It’s magnificent.
Several months ago, I helped co-teach a youth class of girls at church about bullet journaling.  I had never met the woman I was teaching with, and, as it turns out, we had very different perspectives about how the system should work.

I was very laid back in my approach (as I’m sure you’ve already guessed), while she took it a lot more seriously. (Who knew the numbering and logging system was so important?  My logging method is pretty much, “I’ll write in the numbers every few months…”)

Do you know what the best part about bullet journaling is?

You get to do whatever works for you.

So if you are super serious and meticulously organized, awesome! If you don’t care squat about squat, awesome!

Dont worry about measuring up to what other people are doing. If it’s not functional for you, then THAT’S what you’re doing wrong.

Now, obviously, experiment. Try new layouts, and see if you like them.

Have fun with it!

But after a year of doing this, I can testify that “cutesy and perfect” ain’t going to work for everybody, and that’s okay.  You can still love your bullet journal.

I’m coming to the end of my ginormous graphing paper notebook, and I’m feeling a little desperate to make sure I don’t have a gap of time where I don’t have a journal…


But really.

3 Comments Add yours

  1. jebjork says:

    I love my bullet journal, I started in February and don’t think I can go back to my old system. The best bit is that you can make it your own and make it in to whatever suits your life right at that moment.


    1. Amen. As I come to the end of my notebook, I’m debating adding or taking away some aspects of bullet journaling!

      Liked by 1 person

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