Before you get too excited, I just want to clarify this isn’t a sneak peak into the private thoughts and ramblings in my journal. Trust me, you don’t want to get lost inside my head like that. 😜
No, this post is about how I started bullet journaling this year and has some handy, free printables for you to download in case you want to give it a shot too.
What is bullet journalling?
Bullet journaling is basically a fancy of term for a notebook that contains every list that a person who loves lists wants to create, with the flexibility of layout, design and creativity that a traditional diary or journal would normally not allow. It is a great cure for anyone who, like me, gets sick of the layout of their diary about a month or two into the year.
Bullet journalling is how I attempt to keep myself on track of the gazillion things I need to keep track of:
- social events
- weekly meal planning
- what to buy/pack for school lunches
- freelance work / deadlines
- modules I need to go through/study this week
- blog posts I should write
- social media posts I should schedule
- how many words I’m supposed to write for the novel draft
- when and what to letter
- shopping lists
- random tasks that don’t fit into any of the above categories
My bullet journal houses all these details, and it’s also where I write notes from classes, seminars and jot down details like accommodation options for our next trip or names of possible landscapers or joinery makers for our new house.
Using a bullet journal means instead of trying to sift through piles of random post-it notes or find the right notebook I’ve written that thing in, everything – including my calendar and my random thoughts and reflections – is in ONE place.
Why I’m a bullet journal convert
Like any sensible modern woman, I still like to have my calendar entries and lists on my phone as well (having a joint calendar with hubby is super handy), having a physical journal is handy for a few reasons:
- Having to draw up or fill out my weekly one-pager each week forces me to sit down for a few minutes each weekend and plan for whatever it is I have going on in the following week. That process helps commit certain events to memory, and also saves me from flying by the seat of my pants. And while I love spontaneity and surprises, I still have a bad case of “mummy brain”, and can easily forget really important stuff like my kid’s pediatrician appointment.
- The weekly one-pager gives me a visual indication of just how much I’m trying to fit into that week, and forces me to assign tasks to specific day. Looking at my week on one page helps me to work out what actually needs to be prioritised versus what can wait.
- My monthly page helps me track my habits daily and plan for the month ahead (and avoid being too busy and have something EVERY SINGLE weekend!). At the end of the month, I have a simple, at-a-glance record of what it is we did that month, including important milestones or events that I may otherwise not have recorded.
- A journal with blank pages gives me space to write, draw and letter as I please. I’m not committed to the “one week per spread” or “one day per page” layout and I can change things up whenever I want to without worrying about wasting pages.
- Writing on paper is wonderfully therapeutic.
I chose a soft-cover Moleskine with a grid for my first bullet journal, others use exercise books. You can use whatever you want – I just chose this because the grid makes it easier for me to draw up lines without having to measure, and it’s a good size to bring everywhere. I especially love that Moleskines have a pocket at the back where I can keep my stickers and a small ruler.
Free bullet journaling printables just for you
If bullet journalling sounds up your alley and you want to give it a crack, I’ve made up some free bullet journal templates that are totally free for you to download. Here’s an example of some I printed and filled out so you get an idea of the type of information that goes on each page:
You can use them on their own as loose sheets and keep them on the fridge or next to your bed (handy for when you review your daily habits!), or stick them in a notebook and bring it with you wherever you go- whatever works for you.
Or, you can experiment, get yourself a blank journal or notebook, and create whatever layouts or lists are more your style. I like to categorise things so I have a sense of order, others just literally write bullet-point lists (hence the term “bullet journal”). Some people go all out and draw gorgeous pictures for each day or each list type.
If all this sounds like too much, there’s some background and a bit of a how-to on bulletjournal.com (it’s actually super easy) and make sure you check out the #bujo or #bulletjournal hashtags on Instagram for some amazing inspiration (don’t let it freak you out though – the point of the bullet journal is to make it uniquely yours).
Do you #bujo? Does the idea excite you or make you want to run for the hills? Or do you have another way of staying on stop of the never-ending, forever-growing list of to-dos that come with being a modern mama? Would love to hear your thoughts below!