#Back2School in #31Days: Day 13 – Why Bullet Journal

July 2015 Recap 2

Back to school, for me, used to mean buying all the new planning, scheduling, and organizing things that promise to make my life easier and help me get more things done.

The promise was, however, dependent on me actually using the things purchased. 


Please pardon me as we don’t not talk about all the money I wasted on these.

I’ve finally figured out a way to make myself process prior to handing over my debit card. 

It has taken me years of practice to learn to say no to myself when shopping the aisles of the office supply section, but I was finally sick of spending money on planners or printer ink because of all the promising things I never used.

I exhausted all the planner fails:

  • Do nothing.
  • Fill in everything for the year in advance.
  • Try to keep everything in my head.
  • Try to keep everything on 3 different calendars.
  • Switch from calendars to categorized notebooks to keep lists of all-the-things.
  • And again, back to doing nothing. (This time in frustration and discouragement, because after failing at trying to do too much – more than anyone should do – the most logical reaction is take a big long break.)

So before I start a new year of home schooling, I asked myself:

What do I need in a planner?

I need a place to store our Year at a Glance, Goals, Lesson Plans, Commitments/Anchors, and Lists – chores, daily thoughts/ideas/inspiration, etc. I need a system of recording my life that is easy to use and to carry with me everywhere I go.

I need something that can contain everything in one place so that I don’t have 4 different notebooks all 4 pages in with content from 4 distinct categories.

B2S Day 13 Why Bullet Journal 1

Another option I’ve failed at is using a printable. I don’t like loose papers floating through the house. So, I tried using a clipboard for printables that would eventually get 3-hole punched and put in a 3-ring binder, but I didn’t follow through on the binding part. I just had a clipboard with the spring stretched to it’s maximum capacity.

{Printables work for many people, and there are hundreds of free downloads to choose from, but they just didn’t work for my brain. I think if I could suggest one solution to myself, it would be to have the whole planner printed, laid out, and spiral bound by an office store. 3-Ring binders, moving pieces, and I don’t get along well.}

Aren’t there dozens of good planners to choose from?

Yes! And I’m sure I’ve tried a lot of them: expensive ones with soft leather binding, pretty ones with flowery pages, complicated ones like “The Complete…” or “The Ultimate…,” and simple ones like a year calendar from the Dollar Store.

But it was a plain spiral notebook that finally contained my plans and saved my sanity.

I didn’t know that my life was radically changing at first, because I was just making myself write a detailed schedule for each day. It wasn’t perfect, but at the time it was helping create a feeling for time – my personal time budget. Writing my schedule in a plain notebook felt like I was taking a step out of the “planner club” and it was just another evidence that I’m not Type-A.

B2S Day 13 Why Bullet Journal 2

Writing down what I wanted to do and then what I actually did helped me come to terms with just how ADD I behave some days. It helped me accept that I have a creative mind exploding with ideas and realize that I need to capture those ideas on paper.

So in addition to my daily schedule, I started writing everything down. All my thoughts, ideas, inspirations, understandings went into the notebook.

I was Bullet Journaling and I didn’t know it.

My friend and I were talking planners at swimming lessons one day and I asked her how her planner was going. She laughed and said she started doing something else. So, I asked her to show me.

She said, this is called a Bullet Journal and after she showed me how it worked – I knew that she had just changed my planning life forever. It was so close to what I was already doing but so much better.

What is a Bullet Journal?

(This original video does a great job explaining it.)

It’s a journal and a planner. The journal parts are whatever you want them to be – a page for ideas, To-Do lists, party plans, notes from a sermon or lecture, or a reflection – it’s a journal.

There are guides for the planner parts for Future, Monthly, and Daily “spreads.” I’ve even added my own goals spread and incorporated my blog work section into the daily spread so I can see everything in my life for a single day all on one page.

Sounds pretty simple, right? 

The secrets to using the Bullet Journal successfully are:

  1. Don’t make it complicated: apply the “Rapid Logging” concept.
  2. Don’t plan too far in advance: resist the urge to write your whole year on paper.
  3. Use the Index: you’ll be happy you did.
  4. Make it your own: customizing your journal will come with use – taking advice from others is great but know when to just get started.

Still not sure? Check out my video:

I’m really excited to be sharing my Bullet Journal with you, and I hope it helps to see how I’m planning and preparing our schedule for #Back2School.

Tomorrow I’ll post how to actually set up a Bullet Journal, how I’m going to use it for home school plans, and maybe another video!

If you live in Michigan, and you haven’t read yesterday’s post on state requirements and record keeping – you should definitely click here to read it now.

This is Day 13 in the #31Days to #Back2School series; check out Day 1 and the Index by clicking here.

My favorite eCourse is going on sale again soon! Check it out now for more information: Click here for details.

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