Who knew??? The other day I was having a conversation with one of our older daughters, and she pulled out a book she had been reading and said, “Hey, Mom! Let me read this to you. This author has a great idea for bullet journaling!” Ok . . . I’m not really sure what “bullet journaling” is, but I’ve seen different articles with journal pages filled with multi-colored notes jotted down (I think color coded for different events or people in the family?), but it always seemed so overwhelming that I didn’t take the time to focus on it.
She excitedly read me a paragraph about “bullet journaling,” and all of the benefits for time organization (I’ve also heard you really can’t “manage” time, so instead I guess I should now call it “time organization” or something like that. Can you really ever “organize” time any more than you and “manage” it?) and keeping things in your life from falling through the cracks in your brain. I listened in amazement as she described to me how “bullet journaling” teaches you how to make a list of the things you need to do, or remember, or take care of, or schedule, or pick up, or drop off, or babysit, or return, or . . . . whatever it is you need to do with all of the stuff and time in your life.
Really? This is a “new” concept? “Wow! I guess I should have written that book 25 years ago!” I replied. She looked at me like I had three heads, and with a questioning look in her eyes, she said, “Really? You knew about “bullet journaling” back then?” Well . . . not exactly . . . . because back in the day we didn’t actually call it anything other than making a list of what I needed to accomplish in a day. You know, without the different colored pens, stickers, clippies, ribbons, pockets, and all the other cool stuff that is available for journaling these days.
Of course, that was when she was a little girl, and now she is a mom of many and is doing a great job keeping up with all of the things that young mamas need to take care of, so she didn’t remember me making old fashion “to do” lists, in a journal, with little bullet points. I am the queen of list making, and I have been all of my adult life. But when I see all of these amazing “bullet journals” that are available now days, it’s no wonder some of us get rather anxious just contemplating investing that kind of time, energy, money, and brain power just to make a list so I don’t forget to pay the utility bill or take the kid to the dentist.
Now, I will admit that young moms these days do a ton more running that we did back in the day. Most of us didn’t have four kids all in two or three different extra-curricular activities that we were running from soccer practice to piano lessons to dance class to church activities to basketball games to parent meetings to orthodontist appointments to volleyball club . . . . most of us ordinary moms could only manage to have our kids (depending on how many of them we actually had at any given time) participate in one activity outside of school and church. Even that was rather exhausting at times, even for the young, energetic moms.
So perhaps all that color coding, sticky notes, clippies with little hearts and flowers, and pockets for extra notes or papers really is necessary in this whirlwind life of families these days. I only have two kids still at home, and I admit sometimes I meet myself coming a going (so to speak), and I still do write things down on my daily “to do” list. But if you are interested in getting started with a “bullet journal” and haven’t managed to take the plunge into all of the cute paraphernalia that is available today for journaling, let’s take a deep breath and think about this for a minute.
You actually can start out pretty simple, with minimal expense and investment. Trust me, I’ve been doing this “bullet journaling” thing for a long time and it has worked for me quite well. Here’s all you need to get started:
See how good I am at that?!?!
Here’s how I do it . . . .
I have always kept a small notebook, about the size of a half sheet of copy paper, either bound, three-ring, or spiral bound, filled with lined or unlined paper, it doesn’t matter.
At the top of each new page I put the day and the date.
For me, because I like to keep a running prayer list, I would add new prayer requests for each day as I became aware of different people and situations in my life that I needed to pray about.
Then I would write the words “TO DO.”
After that, I would make a brief list (perhaps 1 – 5 things) that were top priority for that day.
I would make a few specific categories: family activities, household chores, errands, bills to pay, etc.
There would always be a “running” list of big projects that needed to be broken down into smaller, manageable pieces:
- Paint the living room
- Remove furniture
- Strip wallpaper
- Remove trim around windows and doors
- Patch nail holes
- Sand rough spots
- Choose color and buy paint
- Paint trim
- Paint east wall
- Paint north wall
- ETC, ETC, ETC
Then, as each smaller task was accomplished I would cross it off the list. That is a great motivator when you see you are making progress!
So, it is possible to get started with a “bullet journal” even if you don’t have all the amazing stuff that is available these days to help keep you inspired. Then, when you have the time, money, energy, and brain power to write things in different colors, or add sticky notes, or whatever else your creative brain might come up with, you will be ready. In the meantime, just getting started will be a step in the right direction.
I’ll post pictures of how I set up a simple “bullet journal” in my little notebook, just in case you want to make your own. But if you are ready to go for it and purchase a beautiful journal with all kinds of fun stuff to go along with it, I’ll be sharing some of that stuff too. Just do it! Pick up a piece of paper and a pen and start making little bullet points and write something down. Then do it, and cross it off the list. I promise, you’ll feel much better about your day and you will also begin to organize your responsibilities and your time to be more productive. Happy journaling!
PS: If you are intrigued by all of the fun accessories available for journaling, here are a few that might be of interest. Just remember . . . a pen and a piece of paper is all you need to get started!