Bullet Journaling: Why I Chose This Method

Have you heard of the Bullet Journal system? It’s a method for planning that was developed by Ryder Carroll, and I have come to really enjoy it!

Bullet Journaling: Why I Chose This Method | Life, Unleashed

I have always loved the idea of being organized and using a day planner. I’ve previously written posts about using the popular planners, and also about DIY planners. Suffice it to say, I’ve tried many times — and many planners — to be someone who keeps track of their days in some sort of written fashion. But I hadn’t yet found the “right” planner — or system — for me.

…Until now.

Last year, I discovered Bullet Journaling via Pinterest. Basically, you use a notebook or journal (the preference seems to be for either Moleskine or Leuchtturm 1917 journals), and you create your own planner layouts, etc.

For someone like me, who is constantly changing things up ((grins)), the flexibility of this system cannot be praised enough!

With my first attempt, in 2015, I bought a Moleskine (squared) journal from Amazon, and set it up like I’d seen others do via Pinterest. However, after a while, I found myself using the book as a “brain dump/ideas” notebook, more so than a “planner”. That, and I’d fallen behind on indexing everything, which is a key part of this system.

I’d really thought that this method was going to be “it” for me, but this “mess” that my journal had become left me discouraged. And so, I set it aside for a time. Meanwhile, I kept saving pins about bullet journaling on Pinterest — I guess the hope hadn’t completely died.

A short while ago, Anne at Modern Mrs. Darcy started using the Bullet Journal system. And, since she’s a blogger who I find to be extremely similar to me, both in personality profile (INFP) and interests (books, psychology, faith), I was super interested in hearing her take on things!

After Anne posted her 3-month update of using her Bullet Journal, I was inspired enough to try again. So, I ordered a Leuchtturm 1917 journal (dotted, this time) from Amazon, and avidly searched Pinterest for ideas while I waited for my new book to arrive. By the time it got here, I was armed and ready with a solid plan.

Part of where I went “wrong” with my first attempt was that I didn’t section anything out; I just tried to go page-by-page. As I said, though, this left everything too scattered for me, and because I’d fallen behind in indexing, it really made my book more time-consuming, rather than time-saving.

So, this time, I chose to create different sections for the various parts and layouts. This was partly thanks to Anne’s update of how she usesher journal, but also partly based on my own idea, given what didn’t work for me the first time around.

I should mention that the first thing I did, before I even got this new journal, was think about what I needed this system (and book) to do for me. Honestly, I don’t think anyone who tries the Bullet Journaling method should skip this step — it’s really key. After all, they say that “if you don’t know your destination, you’ll never reach it”, right? Same thing applies here. You need to start with WHY you’re using a Bullet Journal — what do you need to track? (credit for this goes to Kim at Tiny Ray of Sunshine for her post, “The 8 Stages of the Bullet Journal Addiction).

My own needs (at least, right now) were to track my business & blog-related activities, as well as my healthy-living pursuits. There are other things, too, of course, but those are my two BIGGEST reasons for wanting a place to keep track and plan.

With that said, I chose to set up my Bullet Journal with the following sections, and in this order:

  • 12 pages for the Monthly spreads
  • 52 x 2-page spreads for Weekly
  • a “Lists” section
  • a “Brain Dump & Ideas” section

Here are some pictures of my Bullet Journal, so far:

cover    index  weekly view

weekly view  monthly view  lists view

lists / books  tabs  braindump

(click any of the images to see them larger)

 

The nice thing about the Leuchtturm 1917 (as opposed to the Moleskine) is that its pages come pre-numbered, and they also give you three (3) pages already prepped for your Index, which is super-handy! I also like the two ribbon markers, and the pocket in the back (similar to the Moleskine).

So far (a few weeks into using this new method), I’m loving it. This time I have a “plan” for my planner, and it’s making things so much more enjoyable.

And again, I cannot tell you how awesome it is to have such flexibility! I only set up one week’s spread at a time, thereby allowing me to change things up as I go along, should the need (or desire) arise. And, of course, it already did! LOL. The first week, I found the “to-do” section too small for everything I wanted to note, and the other space too empty. So, for week 2, I added a second column for ToDo’s (one for personal, and one for business), and it’s worked out a lot better. But again, I can still change it up (later), if I need to.

Lastly, the addition of the “brain dump/ideas” section in the back of the book was kind of genius (thanks, Anne!). It allows me to jot down any random thoughts or doodles, without worrying that I’ll “mess up” my weekly spreads, or the order of things, as I’ve set them up.

So, there you have it. I think I’ve finally stumbled upon something that works for me!

HAVE YOU USED THE BULLET JOURNALING SYSTEM? If so, what do you like or dislike about it? Share in the comments!

How to Hang On When You’re Tired

Do you ever just get so tired of trying to move forward? Do you have times where you’ve gone at things with such intensity for so long and, all-of-a-sudden, it hits you and you feel bone-weary? I do, too.

How to Hang On When You're Tired | Life, UnleashedI’ve got a feisty, stubborn, independent spirit, so I tend to fight long and hard for what I believe in, and/or am passionate about. Yet, every now and then, I hit a wall, and I just cannot summon the strength to keep going.

Can you relate?

I’m not saying that I’ll give up entirely. Definitely not! But I think that life has a way of telling us that it’s time to slow down, step back, rest, and refresh. If we don’t pay attention, and we don’t take a breather once in a while, life seems to force us to do so, whether we want to or not!

Some of the ways I’ve found to help me slow down and regroup include the following:

LET IT GO

Instead of fighting to continue, I recognize my soul’s need for a time-out, and I mentally tell myself that it’s okay — that I have permission — to let things go for a while. It’s not forever. And, by taking some time off, I know I will come back to things with more clarity, and renewed energy, later on.

GET CREATIVE

I got into the whole adult coloring trend, a year ago, along with the practice of Art Journaling. And, while I don’t pursue these things daily any more, I do find that they are very relaxing, they allow me to “zone out”, and they get me into a creative “flow” state for a while.

LISTEN TO MUSIC

Along with getting my creative juices flowing, I also love to put my earphones on, crank up my favorite music, and tune out the world for a couple of hours. Combining my coloring time with listening to music has a really beneficial effect on my state of being. It calms me and brings me joy.

READ FICTION

Because I’m such an avid nonfiction reader, I’m constantly soaking up knowledge, and learning, usually taking notes while I read.

So, every now and then, I find I have to force myself to dig into a novel (fiction) in order to just relax with my book, and “escape” the world around me. I am always happy after having done so, too!


Now, because everyone is unique, the things I do to step back and relax may be different from the things you would enjoy. The point, though, is to find what it is that helps bring you a sense of calm, and then make time for that in your day-to-day.Matthew 11:28-30 | Life, UnleashedHow long you take time off for will always depend on your unique circumstances. If you pay attention, your body and soul will let you know when it’s time to pick up where you left off. If necessary, you can always set yourself a flexible deadline — once that date comes, you can then check in with yourself, see how you feel, and decide whether you need a bit more time, or if you’re ready to roll.

We aren’t meant to always be “on”. Even the Master Creator (God) took time off after creating the world! Follow His example, and take a break when you need to.

 

How do YOU make the time to relax? What are your favorite downtime activities that help you feel refreshed?

Do We Have These in Common?

Just for fun, let’s see how many things we have in common, shall we?

Do we have these in common? | Life, UnleashedSTATIONARY STORE JUNKIE

I absolutely love stationary stores! One of my earliest memories includes going to the stationary store with my Dad, and watching as he chose new markers (Dad was a sketch artist for the police department, back then). He had a whole bin full of different markers at home, and I do believe I got my love of browsing these stores from him.

PEN PARTICULARS

I’m very particular about the pens I use. My favorites are the Bic Cristal (usually blue). They write smoothly, don’t usually leave any smudges or ink drops, and they’re comfortable to hold.

Back when I worked at Staples Business Depot (I know, right?! See my first point, above), I once asked my co-workers about a different kind of pen — I thought I’d maybe change things up. They couldn’t understand why I was making such a big deal of choosing a pen … they reiterated that the store had plenty! LOL. However, they didn’t understand how important it is (at least to me) that a pen meet certain criteria. I write a lot — I’m a Writer … duh! — so I need my pens to be “just right”.

NEW NOTEBOOKS | JOURNALS

There is something about a new notebook or journal that always draws me in … I just cannot help myself. I should never be allowed in the stationary aisle of the local Dollarama store, as I can’t help but walk out of there with at least ONE new notebook or journal. It’s a serious problem. It’s not like I don’t have any at home. LOL. But, I will always find a new excuse to buy another one. Maybe it’s the “possibility” that comes with a fresh book?

TREE-CLIMBER

Finally, something NOT stationary related! LOL. When I was younger, I used to love climbing trees. We lived in the country, so we had a bunch of good climbing trees in our yard … and Grandma lived across the street, and had a whole 4 acres of woods behind her house! If I had the strength (and I’m working on that!), I’d probably still be climbing trees! Who cares how old I am! (heck, I still wear pigtails in my hair, too!)

SO NOT  GIRLY!

I am not a fan of getting all dressed up, and I do not care that much for pink or sparkly things … sometimes my nails will get a sparkly or pink coat, but that’s close to the extent of it.

I much prefer to spend my days in t-shirts, jeans, and my Converse (“Chucks”).

FEISTY & STUBBORN

Ever since I was a young girl, I’ve had a super stubborn streak. My family loves to remind me of the time when I told my Grandma (who was babysitting me while my mom was in the hospital, giving birth to my brother) that I was going to “take these 2 feet” and walk all the way home, since she was refusing to give me a ride. Ha!

I can also be quite feisty, given the right circumstances.

The stubborn streak can come in handy, sometimes, though — for example, refusing to give up hope on my desire to remain self-employed. I’ll do whatever it takes.

SWEET TOOTH

I love sugar … especially Coca-Cola (classic) and chocolate. I’ve tried so many times to give up drinking soda, as I know how bad it is for me. But it never lasts for long. I’m still working on finding a fair compromise for this. And the chocolate … well, I’m never giving that up, thank you very much! (Faves: Reese Peanut Butter Cups & Snickers)

VROOM-VROOM!

I’m a girl who can appreciate a beautiful car. My husband might beg to differ (I don’t care for Corvettes), but to each their own, right? I love Ferraris and Lamborghini Aventadors… plus a wide range of more reasonably priced vehicles, of course. My Audi A4 and I were good friends… and I got plenty of kudos from others, given she was a manual. Now I drive my “beast” (a Dodge Ram pickup) … love her, too!

NON-FICTION

I used to read mainly fiction. I loved mystery novels, and romances set in Regency-era England. Somewhere, in the last several years, my tastes changed, and I’ve been reading primarily nonfiction. I’m like a sponge — I can’t get enough of learning through these books I read!

While it was already hard to find people who shared my love of reading (I was averaging 80 books per year, while most of my family & friends maybe read a handful of books each year), now it’s next to impossible … most of those who I “know”, online even, don’t read as much nonfiction as I do. But I love to learn all I can about things I’m interested in … so I just can’t seem to help myself!

Mind you, I have set myself a goal to read at least 4 fiction books, this summer! I’ve requested a couple of them for review, specifically because of this … and I have a few that I bought last year that are still waiting to be read. Here’s hoping!

CREATIVE, DREAMER, & VISIONARY

I’m a dreamer. I do better at seeing the “big picture” than I do keeping grounded in reality, or seeing what’s right here. I love possibility, and thinking of how things could be. I am always looking for the hopeful side of things, even if they seem impossible.

Creativity runs in my blood. My parents are both artistic, with Dad –as I said, earlier– having previously worked as a police sketch artist, and my Mom being into Interior Design. Music has also always been a big part of my life, with all of my mom’s family being musically-inclined (also a creative pursuit).

And, of course, the visionary bit comes into play in that I have great visions of where I want my life to go, and of changes that could be made. I’m always envisioning bigger and better … not just for myself and my own life, but also for other businesses or organizations, or even for other individuals.

SELF-AWARENESS

I’ve always been a huge fan of the self-help genre, and psychology. I also love personality quizzes! I’m naturally very introspective, always questioning why I do what I do, and thinking of ways to improve. I journal almost daily, reflecting on things that are going on in my life, or just the thoughts buzzing through my head. As a result, I feel like I know myself pretty well, compared to the general population. I don’t think many people take the time to really sit and dig into their personalities as much (I’d love for you to correct me, if I’m wrong about this!).

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

So, tell me … is there anything in here that you can relate to?