Bullet Journal

March Bullet Journal Cover

February was rough. We had a week of ice and a week of snow. We actually had two snow storms back-to-back – combined, they dumped about seven inches on the ground. We haven’t had snow in quite some time, we were due. But the star of the show was the temperatures. Negative degree low temperatures. Our heater didn’t really shut off. And that’s after we turned it down to 63 at night (which is normal for us as we sleep better when it’s cold) and 65 during the day. Our house is old and drafty though so it wasn’t surprising that our heater struggled to keep up. I am, however, DREADING the heating bill. I’m sure it will be much higher than we’re used to.

Did you guys hear about the heating bills Texans were getting? THOUSANDS of dollars. I think I’d have a heart attack. (Green energy is fine, but what about bad weather? Gotta have a backup plan, folks!)

It was also a rough month at work – more on that Tuesday.

So yeah. March, green  … go hand-in-hand. Not exactly original but I’ve just about had it with all the gray we’ve been experiencing lately. Feel free to use this cover. It should fit an A5 journal.

Speaking of journal – I’m starting a brand new journal in March! I’m using a Rhodia journal and just finished Turquoise Tom, (I guess I’m naming my journals now) and now I’m getting ready to crack open my Purple Paul. I’ve chosen the Rhodia notebooks because they are soft back and the paper *chef’s kiss*. Since I use my bullet journal as both a planner and a journal, it was important to me to have easy, scratch-free, paper to write on. So far, I’m really loving it. I wanted a soft back because it just FEELS more like a journal and it would be easier to carry around with me when (IF) we travel again. I started my turquoise one mid-August so I got six-ish months out of it. I’m sure I’ll get about another six months in my purple one. It sort of bothers the OCD part of me that I’m not starting a brand new journal in January and June but it bothers me more to think of not finishing a journal and using all of the pages so … I’ll just have to ignore that little detail.

Enough babbling – here are my pages from February:

My steps – notice how many steps I got in this month. Yep, I’ve started walking again. Woohoo! Not only am I walking because I want to tone back up but it REALLY helps my anxiety – which I never had before I started this medical assistant job. (Not exactly a good advertisement for being a medial assistant but hey – just keeping it real, folks).

Weather seems like such a boring thing to keep track of, but I like to look back and remember the crazy weather days as well as have proof for when someone spouts Climate Change crap at me and I can open up my journal and point out, “Um, actually, it was this cold last year, too.”

I goofed up on my sleep tracker page (shocker!) and was watching a YouTube video (shocker) while I was putting this together and accidentally put in “steps” instead of “sleeping” so I had to improvise and tear a piece of paper and put over the “steps” part. But you know what? I’m sort of digging it and I think I’ll do more of that in the future. Do you know how cheaply you can buy craft/construction paper? It’s like a $0.25 a piece. Or maybe that’s not that cheap considering it’s ONE PIECE OF PAPER.

Sleep amounts were pretty average for me. If you look closely, you’ll see that I’ve been staying up to midnight / 1:00 AM on Saturday nights. Kevin and I film our podcast together and then I come into my office and record my personal podcast.

Saturday is also the only day I allow myself caffeine.

My mood, writing, podcast and reading trackers. I need to do something different on writing tracker because I’m fooling NO ONE when I make a tracker like this. We all know there is no way I’m writing every single day of the month and setting a tracker up like this is just pathetic. And depressing. Because instead of motivating me to write more so I can put a number in the tracker, it just makes me yawn in disgust and find something else to do.

I can’t even attempt to explain my brain to you so there is no use in trying to understand it.

And my mood – meh. I like this tracker because I have a lot of moods – much more than just happy, sad, angry or meh. But I’m a bit bored with this tracker so I think I’m going to use a more traditional mood tracker next month.

The podcast tracker – there is supposed to be a YouTube tracker on this page as well, but I just can’t be bothered to set my camera up and film myself. It’s a lot work, people! Maybe next month. And my book tracker? Four measly books. But again, I’m sacrificing my reading to write on my blog more because apparently my pea brain can’t handle BOTH. *shudder*

And lastly, my “productivity” tracker. As you can see, I changed it up a bit this month. I was getting depressed on my previous productivity tracker because I really don’t DO much. It’s the same thing, over and over and over again and though it was fun to make and fun to fill out, it was just … boring. So, I thought I would make these cute little trackers this time. As you can see, my fiction and cleaning trackers are blank. Yes, they are accurate. No, I don’t clean very often.

Now before you go and think I’m a disgusting human being (which, to be fair, does apply at times), I clean up after myself. I clean the bathrooms every week, Kevin and I straighten up and make sure the kitchen is tidy, but I guess my definition of “cleaning” was mopping the floors. Which I don’t do very often. Because Kevin and I aren’t home very much and it’s just the two of us. (Okay fine, I’m trying to justify the fact that I HATE cleaning the floors).

But I do like these trackers so next month, I would like to do reading, walking, journal, blog, fiction and Instagram. I’d like to take more pictures and I have no excuse not to now. My Samsung A51 phone has an absolutely awesome camera and the weather is starting to turn nice so … time to get back to photography. I miss it. My problem is, I never do anything outside of home and work so it could be challenging. But Kevin and I have plans for the coming months so … (more on that Tuesday).

I am going to look up some writing trackers though. I would like to add a writing tracker that keeps track of my word count without depressing me. (It wouldn’t depress me if I actually did any writing but let’s not nitpick).

As always, I am going to leave you with the most interesting bullet journal plan with me video I watched these past few weeks. This YouTuber is pretty amazing. Enjoy.

(One last thing – if you’re reading this via RSS feed, I updated my blog look for March. Come visit!)

 

Bullet Journal

December Bullet Journal Cover

Here is my December 2020 bullet journal cover. Full size is 420 x 595 pixels and fits an A5 journal page. Feel free to download it for your own journal, if you wish.

I’m currently working on my December spreads.

As usual, I will be including the following:

  1. Weather
  2. Sleeping
  3. Productivity Tracker
  4. Steps / Moods
  5. Reading

I will be adding these spreads this month:

  1. Writing / Blogging Tracker
  2. Podcast page
  3. YouTube video ARC review schedule (more on that soon)
  4. Yearly favorites page – YouTube videos and songs
  5. Best 5-star books I read this year (will post it on my blog, too)
  6. Top news stories of the year – blog version, too
  7. Dear Future Me – may post a blog version
  8. Vacation Ideas
  9. Places we’ve been (Kevin and I lose track!)
  10. Goals wrap up
  11. Photo of the month?

You know, I was happy getting back to a minimalist approach to my journal but the more I watch bullet journal videos, the more excited I get to add more spreads.

And of course, there are the pages I use for journaling because it’s a journal after all. I had 12 journaling pages this month. (Private thoughts, not for public consumption).

Here are some pictures from November:

My sleep and reading tracker. I haven’t quite decided if I like this type of sleep tracker, but I haven’t found any other tracker that I like better, so … and my reading tracker, I only read two books this month. FAIL. But, I was so focused on NaNoWriMo I just didn’t have the time, nor the energy, to read. I plan on catching up in December though – my goal is to read 90 books and I’m currently at 83.

Here is my NaNoWriMo spread. I don’t know why I made the right-side spread to 95K – AS IF! haha! But I do like seeing my word count at a glance. I plan on continuing this in December. As you can see, I didn’t write every day in November – my brain wouldn’t allow that. I did “reward” myself though, which was fun. I didn’t write it in, but I plan on buying myself some wireless earbuds as I plan on getting back to walking in December.

I am having so much fun with my productivity tracker. It changes each month, for example, I will be adding a walking icon for next month, and a painting icon (I plan on working on a paint-by-number for my office – because let’s face it, I’m not an artist and I need all the help I can get), and the Christmas shopping icon will go away as I already have all of my Christmas shopping done. And some days, like the 10th, all I had energy for was getting through clinic that day. I tell ya, dealing with people is EXHAUSTING.

And lastly, my weather, steps and moods tracker. I love keeping track of the weather. Kevin and I are always “arguing” about it not being this cold last year, or whatever, and now I can pull my journals out and show him I’m right. HA! I would like to spice up my steps/moods tracker though – how boring. I went this route on the moods tracker because I wanted to broaden my moods horizon. I’m never just happy, sad, angry or meh. I’m ALL the feels. *smirk*

By the way, I found this super cute pencil case for the journaler/writer in your life, if you need a gift idea. The kitty head slides down when opened so you can get to your pens/pencils, then slides back up to close. (not sponsored)

RIGHT?!? You’re welcome. 🙂

See? This is why you should follow me – you never know what sort of information you’re going to get from me. 

Happy journaling!

Bullet Journal

I Started a Bullet Journal

Hold on to your seats, my friends, I’ve started bullet journaling.

I KNOW!

I didn’t even know this EXISTED until about two months ago. I was browsing YouTube, as I tend to do way too much nowadays, and this cute little video about bullet journaling popped up in my recommends.

Hold up … what the heck is bullet journaling??

“Though it does require a journal, Bullet Journal® is a methodology. It’s best described as a mindfulness practice disguised as a productivity system. It’s designed to help you organize your what while you remain mindful of your why. The goal of the Bullet Journal is to help its practitioners (Bullet Journalists) live intentional lives, ones that are both productive and meaningful.” from BulletJournal.com.

This system was developed by Ryder Carroll as a way to manage his ADD. It’s a great method. But I think the real beauty of the system is that it’s customizable to you and your needs. I’ve always wanted to keep a journal/planner, but I never felt the pre-made journals out there were right for me. So when I stumbled across Bullet Journaling, I was immediately intrigued.

Bullet journaling has been around for a few years and I CAN NOT believe I’m just now discovering it. But now that I have, I have jumped into the middle of it with both feet.

For me, I was more interested in the journaling part of the Bullet Journal as opposed to the planner part of the process. I’ll be honest, now that I’m an empty nester, the boys have moved out and it’s just me and Kevin again, I don’t have a lot TO do. I get up, go to work, come home, watch YouTube videos and then go to bed. Weekends, I read, do chores, nap … I just don’t do a lot. And I like it that way. I don’t want to be super busy. I’m selfish with my time. Probably because 40+ hours of the week do not belong to me, they belong to my employer. So for me, there isn’t a lot to write down as far as a planner, but the journaling part …. NOW we’re talking.

I wouldn’t say I’m obsessed with my own death, but I’ve been thinking a lot about how it will be for Kevin and the boys when I’m gone. (Assuming I pass before Kevin). I would like to leave a bit of myself behind for the boys to enjoy and remember me by so that’s why the journaling part of this process appeals to me. I watched A LOT of videos (still do because I like to see the different spreads that people do every month – “spread” just meaning the categories/pages people divide their journals into and how they create and decorate them) and it took me a bit to get the gist of Bullet Journaling, but here’s a video that I found helpful to help me get started.

I read somewhere, or maybe Ryder Carroll mentions it in his video, that you’re 40% more likely to actually DO what you want/need to do if you write it down. Apps are great, but they don’t really help you actually get the job done.

And I have to agree with that. For example, I have been making step tracker spreads and it really motivates me to get my steps in so I can color in the appropriate symbol with the color I’ve designated. It seems silly, but somehow, it works for me.

Bullet Journaling also satisfies the stationary nerd in me. I have had A BLAST shopping for supplies for my Bullet Journal. In fact, I find myself getting excited to leave work so I can work on my journal when I get home.

I hope this excitement lasts because it’s already fun to flip through my January spreads to see what I’ve done.

Okay, first things first: supplies.

As studyquill says in her video above, you really only need a bullet journal and a pen to get started. However, I do recommend you also use a pencil and have a good eraser on hand so you can sketch your spreads in pencil and then go back over with markers later so there are less mistakes.

And side note: You WILL mess up. Do not stress out about this journal. You will learn so much by actually doing it and  you will only get better. I’ve already learned so much and trust me, I have goofed up plenty. For example, I did a spread that I absolutely hated. What did I do? I glued the pages together and VOILA! They are gone and no one is the wiser. I have also put paper over parts of my spreads that I hate so that I could, in essence, “redo” portions of my spreads. And there are definitely sections I’m less than pleased about but oh well, I will try something different next time.

It’s a learning process and quite honestly, I’m having a BLAST learning as I go.

Okay, back to supplies:

After MUCH research, I decided to buy this Bullet Journal:

It’s a Minimalism Art “New York” journal. I like it because I think the cover is fun (and I love New York and have been a few times), the pages are numbered, (which was important to me as I don’t want to spend time numbering my pages in order to fill out my Index), and there are 234 pages in the journal because DUDE, I have a lot of spread ideas and wanted plenty of room to spread out. (See what I did there?)

So, the link takes you to the page, but it looks like the New York style is no longer available. Which scared me enough to go ahead and buy the San Francisco journal as well, because again, we’ve been to San Francisco, and I wanted to make sure to buy the journal before it’s discontinued. I also went ahead and bought the pink version as well, because, I’m that extra.

I’ve been using my normal pilot G-2 pens, the same pens I use at work, but I have found they don’t tend to trace over pencil very well so I went ahead and bought the type of pens a lot of YouTubers have been using for their Bullet Journals, the Micron pen set.  I just got them today and haven’t had a chance to use them yet, but I”m looking forward to trying them.

And because I’m not the most artsy person and can’t draw worth a crap, (Hi Heather!), I went the cheesy route and bought a ton of stencils. And even more stencils. I even bought a circle template because again, NOT ARTSY. And boy howdy, I’m having fun with these stupid stencils.

(Side note: you’ll need a ruler, too. TRUST ME).

But I didn’t stop there. Oh no, I then needed markers. And after watching A TON of YouTube videos, I found that many were using the Tombow markers. Which I bought. And have been collecting from Hobby Lobby every week using the weekly 40% coupon. Which I must say, ARE AWESOME.

Then, after watching MORE Bullet Journal videos, I started buying rubber stamps. Which required ink. And now I’m on a mission to buy more stamps and DIFFERENT colored ink.

Wait, we’re not done. Then I started buying stickers.

I bought Gold gel pens and little coin envelopes to add a little something-something to my journal. (More on that later).

And God help me, Washi tape. (I didn’t even know Washi tape existed before this!)

And now I’m on the hunt for a bigger box to put all my supplies in because the kitchen table is just not working for Kevin.

I think I might need help.

Now that I have my supplies, it was time to turn my attention to what I wanted to put in my Bullet Journal.

I opted NOT to have a key because again, I wasn’t planning on my using my Bullet Journal as a planner so there was no need to put a key into my journal. I do have an Index though and find that helpful when I need to find a section fast. (This is when those numbered pages come in handy!)

Here is a breakdown of what I have in my journal (so far):

  1. Yearly goals
  2. Monthly Quote page:
    1. January quote is: “Take Risks: If you win, you will be happy, if you lose, you will be wise”
    2. February quote is: “A friend is someone who know all about you and still loves you.”
  3. Mood Tracker. My categories are: happy, focused, tired, angry, stressed, uncomfortable, relaxed, meh and hangry
  4. Story Ideas
  5. Monthly Question – this is a question about me that I answer and address to the boys (or Kevin). I then print that paper off and put it in an envelope for the boys to read at a later time.
  6. Brain Dumps – these are pages that give me space to just vent, or write about something that is bugging me – a chance to clear the clutter from my brain
  7. Future Log
  8. Monthly Log
  9. Step Tracker
  10. Blog page for each month to write down ideas for blog posts
  11. Monthly favorites that consist of favorite YouTube vidoes, TV shows (or movies), and songs
  12. A bookshelf that has 100 books on it because my 2020 goal is to read 100 books (again).
  13. A timeline of a typical work day and a typical weekend to give whomever is reading a bird’s eye view of how my days are structured.

And that’s it for now. I plan on making a spread of my 5-star books including colored print outs of the book covers, a travel log to fill out when we go on our yearly cruise, and some sort of spreads about my writing (though I bought yet ANOTHER journal to use for just my writing projects), and a page for my ARCS (Advanced Reader Copy) that I’m reading from NetGalley.com. (More on that later).

I’ve used 44 pages so far.

Here is a good website to visit for category ideas and spread ideas to help you get started.

You can watch Studyquill set her 2020 Bullet Journal up as well to give you an idea of how it all fits together.

I will warn you, once you jump down the “Plan with Me” bullet journal YouTube videos, you will never come out. THEY ARE STRANGELY ADDICTING! And some of them are just BEAUTIFUL spreads, beautiful artwork, watercolor paintings …. wow. Mine is nothing like that, in fact, I think it’s actually quite ugly, but it’s my ugly duckling and I’m being patient because every time I create something ugly, I learn and grow and get a little better the next time I work on it.

In fact, it has quite inspired me to teach myself calligraphy. It’s actually one of the things on my yearly goals list and I’m excited to try it. Of COURSE, I bought the necessary pens and this workbook to help me get started.

Did I mention I might need professional help?

What’s that? You want to see a few of my spreads?

Well, since you twisted my arm …

I’m warning you now, don’t expect to be blown away because you won’t be. But again, I’m a newbie and and I’m having fun trying, be kind, please.

Here is my January weekly spread.

Let me explain – since I don’t have a lot of tasks to write in on my monthly spreads, I have decided to use the space to write a short blurb about my day. What did I learn from the day? What one thing stuck out for me? I wanted space to “journal”, in essence. And the little box on the left of each daily block? That’s where I record the weather. I think it will be fun to see what sort of weather we had on such-and-such day. I typically draw in a sun, or a sun/cloud, or a cloud/rain, or a cloud/snow .. whatever the day held. And the penciled in part at the bottom – the “to do” part? Well, it’s penciled in because I’m not real sure what to do with that space yet. I’ll likely put appointments or events that I need to remember for that week there.

Here is my January step tracker:

(The left side is the monthly tracker – I blocked it out because it’s private).

Here is the Question page with the little envelope for the boys to open at some point.

Yes, ugly. But I’m getting there.

Here’s my February Quote and February Brain Dump:

Here’s my weekly February spread:

See the To Do at the bottom? I bought a stamp. 🙂 I’m getting better. I also made the weather boxes a bit bigger.

And one of my favorite spreads, my bookshelf:

Obviously, it’s not done. I’ll go over it with pen and of course write the books that I’ve read on the book spines and give it a header, but I had SO MUCH fun putting it together – I can’t wait to fill it out.

And that’s pretty much it, so far. I’ll keep you updated on future spreads and give you a peek into what I’m working on. But honestly, it surprises me just how much fun I’m having with this project.

I hope you found this information helpful and maybe it will inspire you to make your own Bullet Journal and leave a bit of yourself behind for your loved ones.

Happy Journaling!