I Have Finally Succumbed to the Bullet Journal Method… Sort of.

You know what I just did? I put my pens into a cup filled with enough seltzer to create a lovely mess when I poured it out but not enough for me to have noticed that there was any seltzer in there when I first put the pens into the cup. It’s been a rough night: midterm exam prep, heat, arguing, meh. Anyway, the reason I put my pens into a cup is because now my journaling efforts require all the colors because I have started to use the bullet journal method.

I have been a long-form journal keeper for ages, probably approaching 35 years now (mental math… yes, 35). I also religiously keep a paper planner because I have to feel the things to do and places to go. I tried to use my phone once but it was a disaster that resulted in many missed appointments and much embarrassment. I do use my phone for everyday reminders like watering the plants or taking my meds and the phone is a sleep tracker and alarm clock. I use Evernote (evernote.com) for the many, many lists and as a virtual cookbook since the mice ate several of my paper cookbooks. And, of course, I blog, twice, here and for The Urban Rowhouse (urbanrowhouse.wordpress.com). It’s a whole lot of stuff in a whole lot of places. Physically, things tend to hang out together but this doesn’t eliminate the ever-present threat of something falling into the black hole or the ‘write it and forget it syndrome,’ not to mention the gaps in my memory when I don’t get a chance to write.

Enter the bullet journal (a what?)…

Bullet Journal TOC

After six months, I’ve managed to combine the tracking and the journaling functions together. Creating a weekly planner every week is too laborious so I’ve retained my analog planner. The phone is still doing alarms. Evernote is still my cookbook and random list keeper. But, the bullet journal allows me to keep track of things I want to see visual progress on, like exercise, and also note the occasional long-form entry. This way, I have a record of what I’ve been doing even if I don’t have the energy to write anything lengthy.

After much internal debate, I’ve decided to stick with Moleskine’s Cahier Journal, which is boring and only comes in colors like navy blue, beige, gray, and maroon. But, it’s a good size – slightly smaller than 8″ x 11″ paper, and it’s lightweight. I improved mine by taping a nice 18th Century dress to the cover; inspiration for not eating dessert.

I included planning for this year’s Halloween costume and the next costume project. In a way, it’s a really nice snapshot of the last six months and there was enough room for regular writing too.

To be one of the cool bullet journal kids, it’s important to share your tools. I use these lovely Stabilo pens, with a fine 0.4 point (see the pens). They’re reasonably priced and work really well. I also have a bunch of colored pencils.

pens and moleskein

And, it’s important to always have your tools ready. I never go anywhere without my pencil pouch and Moleskine. Here’s my set up at work.

more pens


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