August 19, 2016 by mamacravings
I am a list maker. I drool over patterned planners. I schedule when I’m going to schedule making a schedule. It is possible that I might have Type A tendencies.
Like all mamas, I’m busy. I am constantly fighting to find balance between marriage, parenting, working, volunteering, blogging and writing. I love all of the hats I wear, but they get pretty heavy all piled up on my head at once.
One major way that I have found to help find the balance I crave is through a bullet journal.
“Like most journaling, the bullet journal is tailored to you by you.”
Like most journaling, the bullet journal is tailored to you by you. It can have sketches, lists, diary, goals and anything else that you need to keep your life balanced and efficient.
My bullet journal is a graph paper composition book. Some people use a lined composition book or a spiral or a sketch book. This is all up to you and what makes sense for your journal. I encourage you to try a few different formats before creating a full-on bullet journal.
I personally started with a lined composition book and then begin to gravitate towards graph paper, so for my fall bullet journal, I decided to try out the graph paper book. It has worked well for me, and I will probably stick to this format.
I am constantly asking: Does doing X at Y volume provide balance or take it away?
When setting up the bullet journal, I look to the long-term, the medium-term and the short-term. It helps me to build goals and schedules that work for me. I adjust these as I progress and am constantly reevaluating if what has been set makes sense for my lifestyle. I am constantly asking: Does doing X at Y volume provide balance or take it away?
My very first page of my bullet journal is simple. It’s the Key that I use for the “type of to-do” as well as a color code for the major areas of my life.
Next I have my seasonal Bucket List. It’s a colorful page that speaks to the spirit of the season. I add items that I want my family to experience during that particular season. It helps to answer the question “What do you want to do this weekend?” with seasonal and memorable ideas.
After the Bucket List comes my Book List. I always have a book list going. So, it is a necessary page in my bullet journal. Being a literacy coach, my profession is full of books. Being a reader, I always have a pile of books on my bedside table…and on the kitchen table…and on the desk… You get the idea. The Book List organizes my what to read. And there’s nothing quite like the satisfaction of checking off a read book. Did I mention that I like checklists?
Following the Book List is a Weekday Schedule for both the morning (before work) and evening schedule (after work). Obviously this doesn’t take into account early meeting days or evening soccer practices. It acts as a guide for those “normal” days.
There are other schedules in my bullet journal such as my blogging and writing schedule.
Every month, I evaluate my 6 month goals and my 12 month goals. I write the goals that I want to meet that particular month in my medium-term goals. I reevaluate as needed, taking into account unforeseen circumstances and surprise situations. Example: When we found out we were pregnant, I reworked many of my goals.
My favorite page in my bullet journal is the Monthly Tracker. It is a quick look at the habits I am working on building and how often they are happening. It makes me feel proud when I fill in multiple days in a row, and it gives me the kick in the rear I need when I am falling behind.
The short-term is the largest and most used section of my bullet journal. It contains Daily To-Do lists. I don’t have any “traditional” journal entries in this particular book. I have another composition book devoted to daily writing entries and prayers. So, the short-term entries are short. They take less than 10 minutes a day to do and organize my life into color-coded glory.
One of the reasons I choose to color-code the facets of my life (besides that it’s pretty…and “pretty” is a very legitimate reason), is that it adds that extra check of balance. Examples: If my work to-do list is taking up the entire page, and I have next to nothing on my writing section, then I need to reevaluate. If Eli’s list is all things he needs to do and not anything that I’m doing for him, then it’s time to figure out how to pour into him more.
Bullet journaling is still new to me. I am thoroughly enjoying it and finding it to be really beneficial at work, at home, and in my hobbies. There are many journals out there that are more fancy and certainly more flashy than mine.
Confession: I hesitated putting my journal on the interwebs for that reason, but I quickly realized that my work doesn’t have to be perfect to be helpful. I don’t have to be an artist to enjoy adding doodles and colors to my pages. I don’t have to be a professional organizer to figure out which lists work best for me. This is a process that is making a big difference in how I am able to spin my many proverbial plates, and I am proud of it.
Do you bullet journal? How do you organize your daily to-dos?