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05 May 2017

Bullet Journal Update

It's been about six months since I started using a Bullet Journal, and I am still really loving it. I made it past the honeymoon phase, and into just everyday life, and it's incredibly helpful. In a conversation on the AO Facebook group I promised to share some pictures, and got some ideas for a tweak that I've known I needed to do, but struggled to know how to do it. So here's what I've got.

The book itself is nothing fancy: it's a regular composition book, decorated with scrapbook paper and washi tape, and covered in contact paper. I may get something with nicer paper next time... I may not. Putting the contact paper on it makes this book tough. I took this picture six months ago, when it was new, but it still looks almost as nice, even after six months of kicking around my house, being drug around in my purse and my backpack... it's remarkably tough. I've got another one that I did to be a scripture journal, and that one is actually about 3 years old, and still looks brand new. Composition books with contact paper on them are pretty sturdy, and for this book, that's really important. It's really pretty easy to cover them, and I think that the fact that it's pretty - and that I chose the papers, so I like them - makes it easier to keep track of. Using it makes me happy, therefore I lose it less.

Finding time for Mother Culture by using a bullet journal to record and track my goals for the New Year.

So, on the inside:

First, I have a basic month-at-a-glance planner page. Because I am studying Japanese, I do the days of the week in kanji, and after doing this for six months, I no longer have to think about what the word for Tuesday is, ever: I know them all, thoroughly. That, alone, is pretty awesome, and something that a bought planner could never do for me. It's the writing them out, over and over and over, then living in them that did it. On the lower right is a tracker that I use to try to take care of myself: to bed on time, drinking water, and stuff like that.

This monthly page is a pretty straight-forward planner type. I put in appointments and sometimes blog events - you can see the 5 Days of Books series that I did recently made it onto my calendar, since I was linking it up to a blog hop with the Homeschool Review Crew. All the usual calendar things: family visits, lessons, whatever has a time.

I also keep a 6 months at a glance page, for those things that you know are coming up well in advance. It's not something that I use a whole lot, but it is nice to have.

Henry B. Eyring gave that talk about looking for God's hand in his life, and what a blessing it has been for him and his family, so I like to have a page going for writing that stuff down. The biggest problem with this page is that I keep filling it up (God is good), and then I forget to make a new page for a while.

Related, but somewhat different, is a gratitude log: I just write down what I'm grateful for. I call this one "Singing Praises" because that's what they did during the Jaredite crossing: they sang praises. And that story has special meaning for me because of when Peanut was in the NICU. I want to remember to praise God in all the times, not just the good times, like the Jaredites did.

It was goals that got the whole thing going for me: I had a goal sheet on the fridge for a couple of years, but I gradually outgrew it, and needed something more. Probably 3/4 of what I'm tracking here is related to my own education somehow.

 In addition to the yearly goals, I've got goals and study projects that are tracked on a daily basis. This is great because then I can see what is doing well, and (more importantly) what is being neglected, and needs to come to the top of the heap.

Japanese and Welsh are large enough projects that they get their own charts, so that I can track the various things that I do to move those forward. A goal like "Learn to speak and read Japanese like a native speaker" is a enormous project, and I don't have an end date on that one, just things that I do regularly to push closer to that level of fluency. I don't care so much about when I "finish" (is it possible to finish something like that?), but I do care about doing certain measurable things that create progress. Those are the things I track: good goals are always measurable. I am far more fluent in Japanese than Welsh, so I can access more resources, and so that list is longer.


I also keep a list of the books that I've read this year. This makes me happy; it's the one arty page that I allowed myself in the book, and I love it. I love writing on it. Which helps me to make time for reading, which is not such an easy thing when you seldom get large chunks of time! But it's so important for teachers to feed themselves, too. You can't draw from an empty well. 

I've been using these daily lists, and they're good, but I get frustrated, because sometimes -frequently- I don't get it all done in a day, and I don't like spending time re-writing it onto another day. But some things are great: if I get behind on the laundry, I'm actually more likely to work on it again if I put it on my list. Same with the dishes. The banjo is pretty hit and miss. I'm trying out a new weekly spread, starting on Monday, and I'm pretty excited about it, so maybe I'll share that one another time; I don't know if it fits me well or not yet.

I always put "family work" on the kids' list of things they need to do, but then they come to me and say, "What's my family work?" uhh..... I dunno. But! I have a list. Two, actually. One is stuff that happens daily or near-daily. The other is jobs that happen intermittently. Both are very helpful for answering that question.

My menu planner page is a HUGE time saver. It used to take me hours of digging around Pinterest and moaning on Facebook to get a menu made. I hated doing it. I did it today in under 30 minutes, menu, list and all. It was fantastic. And I couldn't have done it without this page in my book: 

 Because I'm a member of the Homeschool Review Crew this year, one of the things I've agreed to is posting on my blog at least once a week. I track that in my book, too. And, to help me think up things to say, should that ever be a problem, I have a page where I track ideas for posts as well. Actually, there's a couple other pages that deal with Crew stuff, but I think these are enough to give the general idea. 

Six months into using the Bullet Journal, I'd have to say it's a solid success. More of my projects are getting attention more of the time. People sometimes ask me how I get everything done... this is it. It's all in my notebook, and I'd probably cry if I lost it. I think that the new weekly spreads are going to help me get a better handle on some of the homeschool work that we do on a loop schedule, so that the books that we are slowly reading will be done more consistently, and it should also help me do better with keeping my appointments actually in mind... I'm so very bad at that, even with a notebook to keep me on track. The nice thing is, when we bring our weaknesses to the Lord, He can make them strengths... even the one where we're perpetually a day late and a dollar short. And, for me, the Bullet Journal is definitely something that I think that He lead me to to help me with my ongoing struggle with disorganization.


Kym Thorpe said...

What a beautiful and creative way to keep track of all your checklists and information! Lovely - thanks for sharing a glimpse with us!

Sheila said...

Wow, I love this! I am totally a pencil and paper person and in the digital age I still like to have my calendar in paper...and my to-do lists...I want to read more about this and perhaps tweak my own system! Thank you so much for sharing your system! :)

Kelly Kiggins-Lund said...

You are very organized! I keep my calendar filled and love sticky notes. You definitely have me beat. Thanks for sharing!


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