This is a guest post by Alyce from Blossom Heart Quilts
Two months ago, I started a bullet journal as a way of keeping track of all the things I needed to do while my husband was away for a couple of weeks. I had heard bits and pieces about it from other quilt bloggers who did it, but had never really looked into it. But one day, I finally did some research into what it is and how to do it, and I haven’t looked back since!
What is bullet journalling?
Essentially, it’s just keeping all your to-do lists in one organised place! It doesn’t need any fancy planner, just a notebook and pen. This is the video by the man who came up with the original bullet journal concept:
This is the most basic form of bullet journalling. As I said, organised to-do lists! But not just for the daily stuff, but also for helping remember things like movies to watch, or books to read – the things that you randomly think of but then forget when it comes time to remember them/do it!
Why bullet journalling?
I have tried many different types of planners and diaries over the years. Day-to-a-page, weekly, monthly… nothing has ever really stuck beyond a few weeks or maybe a couple of months. I’d always revert back to lists on pieces of paper here or there, and at the best of times, managing to keep them all to one of those shopping list pads. But I always felt disorganised, and as my quilting blog and business has grown, I was losing track of what I was doing and when it needed to be done!
To set up my bullet journal, I sat down for a couple of hours and did some research online. I checked out what other people had done, how they had set up their notebooks, what adaptations they had made, etc so that I could work out what I wanted from my bullet journal. I was then able to go buy a notebook from the local department store, plus a tricolour pen, and set it up “right” (for me) from the beginning.
Another big pro for this system is there is no pressure to fill up set spaces. There are no pre-drawn boxes like in a printed planner that you need to fill up and use up. You just write what you need, when you need, and if you skip some days, you aren’t wasting paper/space/money! And on the other end of the spectrum, there are no boxes constraining the width or length of your lists.
One big problem with the original concept is the lack of ability to forward plan. I need a way to record future events and deadlines, so I made the first few double pages as monthly calendars and task lists. I printed off some A5 monthly calendars to paste in and used some washi tape to colour code the pages for easier reference. I have also added a 2015 calendar to the back to keep note of things happening next year.
The second change I’ve made is to do a weekly page at the start of each week to keep an overview of the events and tasks for that week. This has really helped me keep focused each week on both things I have to do, plus make progress on tasks with a longer timeline.
I’ve also moved the “general collections” such as blog post ideas, movies to watch, etc to the back pages of the notebook so I can keep my daily and monthly pages together and flowing! That’s just my need for order coming through.
How has it worked
As I mentioned at the start, I began my bullet journal the day my husband left for a couple of weeks away. Not only did it keep me on top of everything extra I had to do while he was away, it also kick-started my productivity levels. Since May, both kids have now been in full-time preschool here in Japan and I have struggled to make the most of my new-found freedom. By writing down everything that I need to do, and getting real satisfaction from ticking each item off (that’s the real secret to this system working for me!), I have been the most productive I have been in a very long time. I have even started a second bullet journal, much closer to the original bullet journal concept, to keep track of my blogging and quilting tasks and projects so that they didn’t take over my bigger one. And that too has really helped me get more organised in that part of my life!
You can see a collection bullet journal inspiration and ideas on my bullet journal Pinterest board and also how I made my bullet journal a little bit more pretty at And Sew We Craft… because who wants a boring planner?!
About Alyce from Blossom Heart Quilts
My little family and I are living it up in Japan for 3 years while my husband has a job here. So I’m looking after our kidlets, teaching a little English and enjoying the quilting time that our quieter lifestyle now allows! In between eating sushi, fabric shopping and going for bike rides that is.
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