Dec 2, 2014

Staying Organized & Getting Things Done: My Modified Bullet Journal Method of Organizing

Meet my new organizational method: The Bullet Journal.  I've posted about how I keep myself organized in the past on this blog but I started to get slightly overwhelmed with all of the methods I had and making sure that my actual planner was the same as my iPhone calender and that the iPhone calendar was synced with my computer & iPad.  I also had a separate notebook for to-do lists, shopping lists, wishlists, planning lists, blog posts, YouTube video lists, etc... Those methods worked for me for quite a while but I started to feel like I needed to just simplify my planning methods.  After searching and deciding that the majority of the good planners cost way too much, I went searching for other methods of planning that maybe I could utilize.  I came across the Bullet Journal Planning Method and fell in love.

I started my first Bullet Journal in September in a very old leather bound journal that I found in my book case and tried it to see if I liked it.  Well, I loved it.  I loved that you could customize your journal/planner to exactly how you want it, you could decorate it however way you wanted, you could write just about anything in it and you can clearly see all of your events, tasks, priority tasks,etc... without worrying that you will forget something or won't get something done.  

The photo above is of my brand new Bullet Journal that I am starting for Dec 2014 and going forward.  I used a plain composition book with graphing paper that I purchased from Walmart and decorated the front with scrap embellishments, washi tape and scrapbook paper.  I also added a "strap" to help close my book that I made out of polka dot elastic and a pen loop that I made out of washi tape.  Yes, I do have a Frozen pen -- so what?

The wonderful thing about a bullet journal is that you have a key and an index to help identify certain things.  The key is made out of a few symbols that symbolize a task, completed, in progress, cancelled, migrated or moved, e-mails, phone calls, events, appointments, notes, etc...  You could really make a symbol for anything you want that you find you put on your to-do list frequently.  My key is also my Dashboard for  some sticky notes that I have.  I have some post it flags and my totally awesome Olaf sticky notes that I got at Target.  On the opposite side of my key/dashboard is a folder that I made out of an old handmade greeting card and some washi tape.  This folder holds my extra monthly calendars that I still have to input into my journal and some stickers that I'm currently using frequently.  

My index isn't that creative and decorative but it does the job.  I can put everything that I need to find quickly into my index and be able to turn to that page without searching through.  I do have special pages within my December pages such as Gift Ideas, Olivia's Birthday Party Ideas, Dec to-do & shopping list, etc...  I didn't put those specifically in my Index but in the future I may put them under the month's category...I'm easily able to find it now but once I get further into the book I may not be able to find special month-related things as quickly.  My Index will be evolving throughout the journal.  

If you go specifically by the Bullet Journal Guide that the founder created, you're not supposed to have a full monthly calendar within the journal.  You can watch the original video for the explanation of what I mean and what they substitute it with.  However, the original method just didn't work for me because I enjoy seeing the entire month on one page.  I found printables that were small enough to fit in my book and leave me room on the bottom for any notes about the month, tasks or future planning that I would need to migrate over to other months. I use a color coding method for my calendar so I can find things quickly.  Color coding is something that I have used on every calendar/planner I've had and it's what works best for me.

On the opposite page is my running to-do list for December.  These are just tasks and things that don't have to be done on a specific day, but need to be done (if possible) in December.  Since I completely forgot to include a running December shopping list, I affixed a page to the edge of the to-do list with Washi tape.  This page folds in and out of the journal and includes the Dec. running shopping list.

Next I have my weekly to-do pages which is like a normal "Week on Two Pages" format in a traditional planner.  I'm still playing with how I want these weekly pages laid out, but this is the way that I did it for this week.  In my old bullet journal I did write the entire week down (measuring out equal spaces) for Mon-Sun but I found myself running out of space on certain days or having too much wasted space on other days.  My new method is every day I write down what I need to do for the current day and around 8-9pm I will start writing down things I need to do on the following day.  This just prevents me from getting frustrated if I don't have enough space! :)  I'm currently also playing around with a highlighting method for these pages.  It looked slightly cluttered when I just had everything written in there so I decided to highlight the tasks according to my color code. I may or may not keep this method or I may switch to colored pens for this.  I'm not quite sure yet but we will see.

Then I have some other pages such as a Fios Channel Listing so I can flip to that page when I don't know a channel number, I also have a Blog & YouTube planning spread so I know what I still have to post, I also have a Wishlist page just for my own amusement.  Things from this page may eventually be purchased and some may never be purchased! (Like my desire for a way-too-expensive Louis Vuitton Never-full bag!)

Honestly, there's just so much you can do with the Bullet Journal and I'm extremely glad that I found this method of planning.  It's a great way to stay organized and one that I've been absolutely loving since September! I wish I could afford a full sized Moleskine for my journal but a Walmart composition book will do just fine until I can save up the money once I finish this notebook.  :)  

Do any of you use the Bullet Journal? What do you think of it?  Do you have any questions about the Bullet Journal or my method of a modified Bullet Journal? Just ask below and I will get back to you! Do you have any suggestions? They're always welcome too!