An example of a bullet journal using dotted pages

A Beginner’s Guide to Bullet Journaling

New Year’s Day has come and gone. Most of us start the year out strong with great resolve and awesome resolutions but right about now find ourselves running out of steam. If you’re anything like me, your intentions were great, but your execution – not so much.

After many years of frustration and failed resolutions, I started looking for a better, more rewarding way to hold myself accountable. I consider myself to be mostly organized. I like routine and order but sometimes find myself flustered by the amount of information I am trying to keep straight. I know I’m not the only woman who uses a crazy amount of mental energy trying to remember what I can’t forget. With kids, work, hobbies and a ranch to run, it’s no easy feat to keep it all together.

Then one day, I stumbled upon bullet journaling in my Pinterest feed. The more I read, the more I felt like this was the perfect system for me. Bullet journaling encourages you to physically write things down for accountability. It can be your to-do list, sketchbook and diary – all in one. The idea is to do more with less.

At first I was skeptical about having an actual paper journal to carry around. I love technology, so the fact that this system wasn’t digital was my biggest hesitation. Then my husband deployed and I found myself doing all of the mental note taking for both of us, which is pretty daunting. So, I bit the bullet and ordered a journal. I quickly discovered that I actually enjoyed the creativity and sense of accomplishment that comes from physically writing (and crossing off) something on a piece of paper.

You may be asking yourself many of the same questions I did. What if I start on the wrong page? What if I mess up? Never fear; the system is forgiving. Here are some tips for getting started:

  1. Pick your journal. You can use any journal you like. The bullet journaling technique doesn’t require a special variety, but I have discovered that the ones with dotted pages are easiest to use. Be sure that it’s not so big that you don’t want to carry it around but big enough to be practical.
  2. Decide what you want to track. Every week I create a schedule with notes about meetings, doctor’s appointments and deadlines. Sometimes I add in a list of items I need to buy at the store or a tracker for things I should be doing like drinking water or cleaning out the litter box.
  3. Set goals. Besides organizing my schedule, I use my journal for goal setting. I have goals for my husband’s deployment, my health and our home. I can set two goals or 20 – and track my progress in real time.
  4. It’s all about the layout. Create an index that lists the sections in your journal and the corresponding page numbers. Each time you add a new section, just add the page number to your index so you can easily find it again.
  5. Have fun. Sometimes I doodle in the margins and it ends up consuming a whole page. The beauty of bullet journaling is that you can do whatever you want – seriously! Best of all, I can move things around to align with changes in my life.

So if you’re looking for a new system to help keep you organized, I highly recommend trying bullet journaling. Best wishes for crushing your goals in the months to come!

Lee-Anne Castro
Written By Lee-Anne Castro
Army National Guard Spouse

Lee-Anne is an Army National Guard spouse of 13 years. She works full time, has two kids and thinks she is much funnier than she really is.

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