I started using a Bullet Journal.
Not because I’m into the latest fads, but because I enjoy things that serve multiple purposes, are easy to use, and make my life work. A Bullet Journal is one of them.
If you don’t know what a Bullet Journal is, watch this video:
I bought a new journal a week or so ago and finally got around to setting it up today.
After reviewing my Bullet Journal from the last year, I realized there were a lot of pages I set up (logs, trackers, etc.) that I never used.
Since I’ve been simplifying my life (de-junking every possible thing), I decided I would eliminate a lot of these superfluous logs.
Last Year, I started a Bullet Journal and found tons of YouTube videos and blogs all about it. They had really fancy pages and tons of ideas for pages (usually with lots of hand-drawn graphics, colored pencil/pen usage and in some, even watercolored “paintings” in them.)
It all just seemed like too much work for me. I tried doing just a watered-down version of what I saw in other people’s journals and then after a year, I can see that it just didn’t work for me. Why? Probably because it was just too complicated. The whole purpose of a bullet journal, as you can see from the above video, was to make things simpler.
Was I making it simpler?
Or was I bringing an already overloaded mind and cluttered way of living to my “simplifying” process?
Yeah. I think I was, too.
I don’t have time to make my Bullet Journal a new hobby. It needs to function as just a simplified notebook that keeps track of stuff for me.
So I’m doing it different this time…
Minimalist Bullet Journaling
This year’s Bullet Journal is being set up with the typical Future Log and an expanded Daily Log.
The Future Log is just a set of pages with the months of the year on it, all the way to the end of 2020, so I can make quick notes about upcoming events. They will be transferred to my Monthly Log when that month rolls around.
Specific Monthly Logs
I previously set up separate logs to track almost everything under the sun in separate places. I realized that flipping through every log in my Bullet Journal every day was time consuming, tedious, and I ended up abandoning many of the things it would have been helpful for me to track.
This time, I am simply going to record most things directly into my daily log, except the few things that I want to see combined together so I can make direct comparisons.
Things I’m making separate logs for, that will take up one page, and track monthly:
Work Hours – keeps track of my time and my pay for the month
Daily Weight Log – I’m keeping track of my weight this month–hoping to shave off a few extra pounds.
Habit Tracker – Gives me a place to record a yes or no if I have accomplished a specific task that I’d like to make a habit.
- Work on my YouTube Channel
- Work on my Trading Account
- Do some Writing for my blog
- No Spending (I’m keeping track of the days I can go without spending any money)
Each month I will start a new log for each of the above with different information. For example, I hope the weight log will have different (lower) numbers on it each month. The habit tracker will have new items on it that I hope to make a habit that month.
The Monthly Log is two pages just before the start of the month’s Daily Log. It lists the days of the month down the left side so I can record big events and reminders. The page on the right is a list of important things I need to accomplish that month.
Items I am including in my daily log are:
Appointments / Calendar Items – this includes meetings, tasks that require more than 30 minutes to accomplish, birthdays, and notes as they come up
To Do / Task List – anything that needs to be accomplished
Food Log – the food I ate that day
Exercise – the type, duration, and details of any exercise I did that day
Daily Miracle – I started asking the universe to bring me a miracle each day, and I will record it in my daily log. (I get lots of miracles this way!)
I am setting up other pages to track specific goals.
Dave Ramsey Program – I am tracking my progress in completing each step of his program
Savings Goals – I have a page with empty blocks drawn, that when colored in, will represent how I’m doing on completing my savings goals.
Debt Snowball – Shows how much I spent on debts/bills each month and which bills have been paid off.
Simplifying Project – I’m tracking the major areas of my life I am working to simplify… those areas are:
- Body Care
- Financial Management
Each of these areas of my life are getting rebooted and I’m simplifying and going minimalist in every area I can. (More about all that in later posts.)
Using a Bullet Journal with Digital Apps
The Bullet Journal is how I’m simplifying how I keep track of my life. In some ways I’m using it as a replacement for digital apps, but in other ways, I’m using it as a support for them.
For example: if I’m on the phone and I need to job down a number or an address, I can write it directly in my bullet journal and then transfer it to my phone later. I can use it to make notes like items to add to my digital shopping list, or events I need to add to my electronic calendar, simply because the electronic one sends me reminders. I can also use it to record spending on the fly, and then enter it into my financial software at the end of the day.
It’s also a handy backup for when my phone battery dies or if I’m away from my laptop.
It’s just one of the ways I’m simplifying my life.
Do you use a Bullet Journal? If so, has it worked for you? If not, would you ever consider using one? Tell me what you think? Are notebooks better than phone apps?
Leave me a comment below with your experience, and if you have any ideas or suggestions, I’d love to hear them.