This is the first year since college that I've been able to really keep a calendar/to-do organizational system going. And since I got my first smart phone around this time last year, you might think it would be related to that, but no, this thing is all paper. And I like it that way. I won't say I don't love and use my phone and its apps because I do, more than I wish to admit. But for organizing, I've determined that I need paper and pen.
In college, I used the free calendar the student rec center gave out for my calendar along with lots of random papers for my to-do lists and a mental log of where all those papers were and anything else that I hadn't written down. I'm not sure why the student gym handed out calendars but I liked theirs a lot and it was free so it worked. Then I graduated and dropped the calendar and stuck with the random paper method. Not the best idea. Add in a bit of mommy brain and I was in trouble. But I couldn't keep a system going. I tried! I did. And I'm such an organizational junkie when it comes to other things that it drove me nuts not to have a system.
Cue clouds opening and heavenly angel music, enter the bullet journal. This system is genius and it exactly what I need. And the proof is that I started December 2014 and am still using it!
It sits right here most of the time, on the far edge of my kitchen island. If it isn't there, in my purse or in my hand, I'm in trouble.
I've tweaked it a bit but it is still pretty simple. The only thing I really do differently than the video is that I use these plastic tabs to mark my most used pages. They come off the page without tearing the paper and I've used the same three all year (they are made of stiff plastic). One stays at my outdoor log so I can update it weekly and the other two move to be on the current month and daily spots. I've just added a few new ones too but I'm still deciding if they are helpful or overkill.
I keep everything in here. My written plan for AO Y1. But I actually did a some very messy pre-planning for AO Year 1 on scratch paper and then when I had a better sense of what I wanted, I wrote it here as a reference. The bullet journal does a great job of lessing my ridiculous "fear of messing it up" but it can't remove it entirely I guess. Most of my pages are NOT this neat!
My monthly spread. I know some people need the visual blocks for days but I love love love the list format!
As you can tell, mine is also pretty boring. I love looking at the colorful ones on pinterest and instagram and have tried to incorporate at least a colorful ink but it's never gonna be artwork and it doesn't have lots of inspirational quotes or fun doodles in it. That's just not how I write but it works for me. And I no longer show up to things on the wrong week or write down a really complete list and then have to bang my head on the wall when I lose it.
BuJu Inspirational links:
My current Bullet Journal, a large red hardcover squared moleskin. My brother got me this for Christmas last year (Thanks Ben!) and I've still only used about half of it. It's working great and I really have no complaints but I like to mix things up so when I do eventually need another one, I might try this dotted version or even a Leuchtturm (page numbers already added!). I know what you're thinking. Wow, MacKenzie, using dotted paper instead of grid, that's living on the wild side! But yes, yes, I just might.
Here are some fun hacks if you like incorporating pretty stuff. Or just like looking at and dreaming of the pretty stuff.
And here are some pretty pen quivers. I'm way to cheap to spend $30 on something that holds a pen but there are lots of tutorials out there to add a pen holder with duct tape or even a button (I think that's my favorite). I really should do that.