I’m sure you have heard it before but having a bullet journal genuinely changed my life!
As you can see, my bullet journal is not the most artistic of places. Mainly because I am not a super artistic person…yet! I have used this lockdown period to play around with watercolour painting and it has been nice to play around with something new. I am most definitely someone who needs to write stuff down as it helps me plan out my day and shows what I need to do and what I need to work on. Even when I was at work, I was The To-Do List Maker in the office: Everything is colour co-ordinated and everything is written down in a notebook somewhere. Dated and indexed, of course.
1. To accept chaos
As someone who strives to be perfect in every aspect of my life (and is something that I am working hard to combat), my bullet journal became just another form of stress for me because if a spread didn’t turn out exactly how I imagined in my mind (which was very often!) I would deem myself a failure and not use the bullet journal as it is intended. As I have said before I am not artistic. I can doodle as much as the next person, however whenever you look at bullet journals on Pinterest or on YouTube those bullet journals are genuine works of art.
While I have been using a bullet journal for the majority of this year, I have learnt to just accept that perfection is not always obtainable. Plans will change, and this will result in a big old line through the page. Bits will be scribbled in and scribbled out, dates will undoubtedly become confused and sometimes the whole spread just needs to be binned because it doesn’t actually work for what I need it to. I now know to use my bullet journal for exactly what it is intended for: organisation and stress relief…I write what I need to do or remember and if it is messy, then oh well. I forget that no one will be seeing this but me and if I don’t mind, then it really doesn’t matter.
2. That I really don’t do much
Another thing I realised during my first few months of bullet journalling was seeing just how empty my first few spreads were. No wonder I always felt unmotivated because I was literally going to work, coming home, sleeping and then doing that day after day after day. I wasn’t doing anything for me. Sure I would see friends, but when I looked back at the month I had had, I noticed that even these were only really a couple hours out of my weekend.
I therefore realised just how much time I had and that I should spend at least some of that time on me. Even if I only did 20 minutes of exercise once a week, it was at least one thing during the week that I had done that was (at this point anyway) out of the ordinary. It is something that I always make sure to do, so that even if I have a really busy day at work I make sure to go home and watch a YouTube video or read a page of a book or even go for a long walk through the local park. Now, I feel that my time is being spent more wisely and I am finally making progress on those little personal projects that I always wanted to start.
3. That I do not need multiple notebooks on the go at one time
I will be the first to admit that I LOVE notebooks. And stationary. Of every variety. It is one of the few things that I can genuinely say that I am obsessed with. So naturally I always have tons of notebooks lying around and not being put to their intended use. As with before, I always believe that a pretty journal deserves to be filled with pretty writing, and as my hand writing is not the prettiest I have always been hesitant to dishonour those notebooks with it. But again, I learnt how to let go of everything always looking ‘perfect’ and I have also learnt that a notebook does not need to be used for one particular task: Sure, I could have ten list books going at one time, but why bother with the stress of remembering what list is in which notebook when I can compile it all into one notebook. This way, no matter what it is I am looking for, I know that it will be in my bullet journal. And since I also make sure to index my pages or at least have them in a semi-organised order, I know exactly where in my bullet journal to find the information I am after.
4. My bullet journal keeps me focused
One of the big selling points of a bullet journal is that it can be a form of accountability. Every time I set up the month ahead for my journal, I make sure to include a list of three goals for the month ahead. At the end of the month, I then include a place to see whether any of those goals worked and what needs to be changed to make it work for next month. This has meant that I have finally managed to set those important routines and habits that help me get through the day, from remembering to take my vitamins to making sure I workout or prepare a blog post. This also means that I am actually sticking to the goals that I make for myself and also means that I actually achieve these goals. And let me tell you, there is nothing more satisfying that crossing off an item on your To-Do list.