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Bullet Journaling ... or, how I stay organized

Updated: Jun 19, 2022

Do you think about bullet journaling for your small business or nonprofit? All you need is paper and a pen! I'll share some tips on organizing your hectic life to feel a little calmer.

If you haven't heard of bullet journaling, I suggested going to Ryder Carroll's website to learn more about his method to capture and log the information you need.

All you need is a notebook and a pen. That's it! Once you have your tools ready, your journal should work for you.

Ever since I started college, I have had a calendar handy. My first was a promotional date book from a cigarette company that came in the mail. It was full of quotes from women and historical facts about women, and I loved it. I still have it. It is tucked away with every calendar I've had since then.

Preprinted journal calendar
journal calendar

1. Keep it simple.

I've had dollar store calendars, a fancy Day-Timer with a leather binder, and some that I cobbled together in a small three-ring binder. I've had hand-lettered calendars from an indy book shop, generic office supply calendars, and a few Franklin Coveys. I discovered bullet journaling about four years ago, which has made a difference in my organizational skills. When you are ready to start bullet journaling, you don't need to invest in a complicated system. Pick up a simple notebook or blank journal and your favorite writing instrument.

I'm not an artist, but I like a quality colored marker. If drawing isn't your thing, don't worry. And I admit to having more than my fair share of planner stickers from Etsy. I've even downloaded a template or two for keeping track of my "collections." I love a good organizational tool. Don't let fancy journals get you discouraged. A bullet journal needs to work for you to make your days easier.

2. Keep to the basics to start.

Estentially, my journal is minimalmist. It has a monthly page and weekly pages with room for to-do lists, small tackers (did I take my vitamin today?), and notes. I use a future log where important dates are listed for the year. I keep track of more personal things in the back of the journal (reading lists, exercise tracker, bills, for example).

When you start, you might want to have the following:

  • A key page - to keep track of the notations you'll use throughout. These might be dots, checkmarks, or arrows.

  • A future log - to note down those important dates throughout the year

  • A monthly spread - to see the whole month and note down appointments

  • A weekly spread - need more room for appointments and notes? A weekly spread will help. Adding a daily spread will help if you need even more space.

  • A collection spread - these are pages you might use to keep track of information vital to you. A reading log, meal planner, soccer dates, when the next Marvel movie is coming out!

3. Use what feels good.

I also love a great digital calendar, but I find the paper one gives me a sense of completeness when I need to ensure I know where I'm going and whom I'm talking to next. Plus, on paper, I can express myself and keep personal information with my work information without sharing it with the world. My digital calendar is helpful to share with others and to make sure I get notifications on my phone when I'm not carrying my journal.

My bullet journal keeps me organized with my business and keeping my grad school assignments turned in on time. My journal makes my week a little saner.

What do you use to keep your life moving ahead?

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