For the past 2 years I have been a pretty strict bullet journaler, and through the 2 years of adhering to this planner/journaling system, I have changed and grown. I have struggled with a lot of things — from starting, to getting things done, to balancing art/journal/planning/tracking, becoming MORE than a list, comparison with other journals, trying to fit into pre-planned/others’ styles, and to throwing it all out and finding my OWN style.
Things really changed once I discovered the rich and varied Bullet Journal and Planner communities. Suddenly a whole new world of getting things done opened up and I realized I was not the ONLY woman out there who had a love (and sometimes love/hate) relationship with planners and journals, stationary, pens, and all sorts of paper and writing. But it also came with the anxiety associated with the comparison between what I was doing (more of a traditional bullet journal or BuJo) and what was popular.
It was quite a struggle for me to come to love MY way of planning — I don’t use a lot of stickers, I don’t use much wash tape, and I’m not the most artistically talented person out there — and I had a really hard time with comparing what I was doing and what I found useful with what seemed to the the “right” way to bullet journal. I had started with the very VERY basic Bullet Journal system, in a small pocket sized Moleskine. I wasn’t worried about the pen I used, I didn’t have any sort of washi (I hadn’t even HEARD of it yet), and I wasn’t concerned with trackers or any sort of special types of collections, it was a daily or weekly list of tasks, ideas, I used whatever pen I happened to have at the time…
There are a LOT of beautiful examples of Bullet Journals out there…but the problem is that I don’t want to try to be someone I am not. I am not Boho Berry or Kim Alvarez, I am just me. I am plain. I like doodles, I don’t really buy stickers, I barely use washi… and I am my own brand of bullet journaler.
January 1 I moved from my Moleskine pocket/personal sized book into a Hobonichi Techo Cousin (size A5). I had to really rethink how I would bullet journal in this new, more structured format. It had been YEARS since I used a structured planner system, and it was a bit of question how to adapt a bullet journal to a dated book system.
When I used my Moleskine it was pretty free form. There was only a date because I wrote one in. If there wasn’t anything going on it didn’t matter if I skipped a day. But with a Hobonichi Techo the date was front and centre. I was already set up for a regular monthly, weekly and daily view… with no opportunity to skip days…
Finding a way to be FLEXIBLE in this sort of system was a challenge.
To begin, I decided to use the calendar pages to track not only the different holidays, but also the “collections” that I have tracked on daily pages, and various interesting tracking such as incoming and outgoing mail.
The 6 month calendar system allows me to track 10 different habits or various interesting things I want to track. For January I was tracking my Irish and French lessons (failed miserably), my journaling or art journaling, meditation or spiritual practice, reading 20 mins a day, learning/courses, calligraphy practice, participation in daily challenges, my mood, and my fertility tracker. This part of the Hobonichi can be used to track different things every month…
The weekly view I used to track the day light hours and my work week. I also blocked out the various different activities that my family had during the week.
For January, i used this view to track only the day and night, my work , and the activities of the family for the week, but I decided that in February I would use the week view to be my bullet journal, to track weather and sunlight and various tasks needed to be done.
The last view is the daily view.
The Hobonichi Techo Cousin has one paige per day for daily tracking. For January I tried to detail my daily routine, but I realized that my life wasn’t that interesting (hahaha) and so I moved the time tracker to the weekly view and concentrated on using the daily pages as more of a diary, collections, art journalling, or writing drills,
Also, as the Hobonichi is hard to take with me, I have stared to carry the Midori Traveller’s Notebook that i won from Soul Paper ( my local Paperie)
This is what I use to track weather and what I am doing. I used it at work to take the 5 minute breaks from staring at the screen that I need to make sure that my eyes are healthy and I don’t get headaches.
I have decided to try to track what does and does not work for me, and to change things at the end of months if they need to change. At the end of January I decided to focus the bullet journalling from the daily pages to the weekly view, and focus on diarizing the daily pages rather than making them part of the “process”. My MTN remains a doodle journal, and a source of relaxation/ stress release and creativity, which the Hobonichi remains the main tracking and journalling system.
I know that as the months go on I will find more of what works and doesn’t work for me in these systems. I really hope that I can find a way to make things work..