Close up of a bullet journal complete with multicolored organizing.

What My Bullet Journal Taught Me

Last updated: July 2022

I spent some time exploring Bullet Journal techniques several years ago in hopes of adapting it for my Spoonie Chat folks, but it didn’t come together well enough to share. The Planner People started popping up in my life around the time I joined a small artists group. Combining my journaling and artistic practices was a match made in heaven. My creativity and productivity improved with the structure and support.

But what is it?

Bullet Journaling or BuJo is a flexible, person-centered journaling technique. Users create their own index (list of specific pages), future log (list of upcoming events), monthly log (calendar), and detailed daily log (To Dos).  Time management happens when tasks are  chosen, paused, canceled, or moved to other days or pages.

My practice

My minimalist BuJo is a collection of projects, ideas and inspiration, and To Do lists with assigned daily themes or vibes. It allows me to keep my ideas together in one place, grow them into other things, and keep momentum going.

Some of my topics

Meal planning, shopping lists, subjects to write about, presentations, advocacy, research questions, correspondence, bills, chores, holiday menus and gifts, appointment preparation, medical tests, and networking.

My week

Sunday-calls with my inner circle, meal prep, and planning for the week. Sometimes I manage to sneak in a few Monday chores.

Monday- Trash, recycling, tidying the fridge, and other chores, my art group, and laundry.

Tuesday-cooking, writing, and managing social media stuff.

Wednesday-Spoonie Chat, writing, and cleaning up emails.

Thursday and Friday-a combination of shopping, laundry, reading, writing, and calls.

Saturday-a flexible day, ideally for rest and fun.

My method

Binder

I make my pages on 3-hole punch paper that’s punched on both sides so that my pages can face each other in a spread.

Colors

I carry the ROYGBIV color coding theme throughout everything I do. It gives an intuitive flow and natural order to my work, and helps keep me organized. The theme includes my dividers, sticky notes, highlighters, and tape flags no matter what I'm doing. Any notes or revisions are made in different colors of ink.

My materials

My minimalist BuJo supplies are available at big box and dollar stores. I prefer: multicolor quadhead pens, rainbow sticky notes, a binder with wide ruled filler paper, highlighters, tape flags, dividers, printed washi tape, and frosted “Scotch” tape that can be written over.

What have I learned?

  • Sometimes I  push myself too hard. The constant stress of chronic illness and disability can prevent perspective from forming properly. Journaling forced me to recognize that I wasn’t able to do everything on my lists.
  • Staying organized helps with my fatigue, dyslexia, stress, working, and shifting between multiple time commitments in the same day.

My best tips

  • Keep it simple.
  • Keep it fun!
  • Avoid comparing your journal to what others are doing. For me this means avoiding things with excellent penmanship and drawing skills.
  • Don’t push yourself to conform to “the right way” to journal if it doesn’t work for you.

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