Life is hectic. And sometimes, you’re just so caught up in the bustle, it’s hard to figure out what you’ve done or what you’re supposed to be doing next. I think this is something that unconsciously affects a lot of writers and may even be an underlying cause to some cases of writer’s block. Think about it, how many times have you sat in front of a computer and couldn’t concentrate because you were too distracting thinking about other things you should be doing. Or, heaven knows, when you know you’re supposed to be doing something, but you can’t remember what it was.
This has been the cause of a lot of writer’s block cases for me, I know. But not only that, it’s just made me feel so unaccomplished feeling like I’ve achieved nothing even when I have, or always feeling like I could be or should be doing more.
I’d tried a lot of things, keeping agendas, downloading calendar apps, habit trackers, and while they helped some, they still didn’t help enough. Mostly because I kept forgetting to come back to them, or the format just made all of the things I was trying to remember to do look cluttered and hard to look at and quickly assess what I had to do for that day.
I’d heard about bullet journaling, and I wanted to do it, but the way other people set it up seemed exhaustive to do every month. Then I saw a nice pretty bullet journal for sale at a store near me, and I had a feeling this time would be different. I’d tried bullet journaling before, but I never had those dotted pages, I had to deal with the lined ones. Living in Spain, there’s not a lot of options for keeping up with US trends, so this was a rare find, lol.
I don’t know, something about those dotted pages gave me a ton of ideas for ways I could do a bullet journal for the way I needed it to be done. So I took a leap (not really, I love new notebooks) and bought it.
And you guys. I finally got it. A way to keep my life together in a way that makes the most sense to me, and seeing all my ideas together in such a pretty way. I’m loving this! I’ll warn you, my way of keeping a bullet journal is very different from most, and it may not necessarily be what you’re looking for. But if you’re like me and don’t want to spend hours every month on a new bullet journal set up and your needs consistently change too much to commit to one set up, maybe check out how I did it to give you inspiration to modify the typical bujo outlook to your needs.
Regardless, here’s how bullet journaling has radically changed my productivity every day, and just has been making me feel good lately.
My set up
I don’t know about you, but I just cannot wrap my head around drawing a new bullet journal set up every month. For one, it’s a lot of work to do every thirty days. For two, I always find myself either not using the full page calendar or needing a lot more room than a little square for my plans for the month. Or the plan I need to make is actually several months away, and I have no way to write all of it down in the case that I have several plans coming months away.
And the biggest issue I’ll have is something new I’m doing that now should be at the beginning of the bullet journal, like something that could have gone into a habit tracker. Going back to writing blog posts, for instance!
So here’s what I did, I made pages of things I know I’m going to do, like writing and finishing the second book of the Dragon Bones trilogy, finishing my new project, working out, etc. I don’t do anything fancy (okay, I do decorate it with stickers and drawings, but that’s about it), just kind of make it a nice title and briefly describe my goals. For Dragon Bones sequel, it’s finish! I draw a little bar to fill in as I go, so that’s nice. For working out, just a list of things I need to do to adjust to a lifestyle of exercise, and the reason why I’m doing it, which is simply to be a healthier me.
I do this for a few things, also cooking new recipes, my hamster’s care routine, even a page of inspirational quotes and things like that. But not too many things to fill up at the beginning, just a few.
After that, I’m actually drawing a new to-do page every day. I split the page in the middle, write the date on the left and the date for the next day on the right. I leave a space at the bottom for any notes of future plans, whether it be a week from now or months ahead. This way if I need a new page for any new habits, needs, or projects, there’s no need to jump a month’s worth of pages just to see it.
I did choose a theme for decorating, so whenever I create pages, I keep it in mind for the doodles I do on the pages, and sometimes I create pages just for plain inspiration to interrupt the monotone of the different days going on for pages at a time.
Here’s a miniature tour of my bullet journal for inspiration. Personal stuff blocked out. I decided on clouds and weaponry as my theme 😂
My writing life
My writing schedule has been so much better since I’ve been able to be more organized. And it’s not even about actually writing more. It’s about writing efficiently.
I’ve been able to analyze my day and be honest with myself about when I simply don’t have the time/concentration to write amid everything else. And to specifically make more time for it another day. There’s been less times I’m facing the computer with absolutely no mind to write, because I already knew ahead of time when I wouldn’t have enough concentration time to write anything.
Getting things done
It’s been proven that writing things down makes you more likely to do them, and I’ve found this to be so true! Just seeing the things I planned to do that day 1. makes me actually remember all the things I needed to get done, and 2. holds me accountable to do it. And on top of it, it just makes you feel more accomplished when you see the things you wanted to do and being able to scratch all of them off like a boss 😎
If you’re as thrilled as I am about the fun of bullet journaling, get started on spending hours on Pinterest getting inspiration and finding cute fonts and practicing your flourishes on a sheet of paper. Trust me, it’s kind of addictive once you get into it.
Look up YouTube videos, Pinterest posts, follow #bujo and #bulletjournals on Instagram. Trust me, you won’t regret it.