Before you leave this page thinking I’m insane, just let me summarize what you will read about in this post.
My past as a planner
My way to Bullet Journaling
My daughter’s move to Bullet Journaling
and some further thoughts on journaling.
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From a Home Management Binder to a Bullet Journal
One and a half years ago while surfing on Pinterest, I bumped into Bullet Journals. At the time I didn’t have any planning system, because I’d failed at each brilliant idea I tried. Because planning wasn’t a part of my upbringing I realized only as a mom, that to run our home and family efficiently I need a system, I need planning. The very first thing I tried was a Home Management Binder. I loved it actually, improved my organizing skills tremendously, but it was overwhelming for me. It required the kind of discipline and consistency I’d never had, only wanted to, and however hard I tried, I failed. So it just simply wasn’t efficient enough for me because I couldn’t keep up.
Then I tried to personalize and simplify my HMB, but that didn’t help much either. Besides, I was having transitions in my life all the time, and my binder couldn’t adjust as fast as I had to. So eventually I gave up. I tried some planners to, but printing them was in vain. They just didn’t fit my needs, however lovely they were. So this is the reason why I never buy planners. For me, it’s a waste of money. I love to look at them, they are pleasing for my eyes, but I can tell immediately why they are not for me. Finally, I settled with a simple store-bought calendar for many years not to miss all the events and appointments we had scheduled, but this was the most of my organizing.
Can anything so hyped ever do any good for me?
When I discovered Bullet Journaling, I was intimated by the hype around it. Usually, I avoid the too popular and trendy things. I prefer the classic, evergreen, and well-proven ways to step on. But after learning the principles of Bullet Journaling, and realizing that it can and should be personalized as much as I want to, entirely giving me the opportunity to plan things my way, I felt the urge to give it a try. I was in need of organizing my life more than ever because several transitions were coming up in my life all at the same time. But because I couldn’t and didn’t want to invest in all the expensive supplies I read about before making sure that this could work for me, I pulled out one of my aunt’s 50-year-old notebooks from the box in the garage, and started to experiment with the basic ideas of Bullet Journaling.
After a few weeks of messing around in the old notebook, and adjusting, I began to see the benefits and felt ready to overcome my discipline and consistency issues. I decided to stick to the Bullet Journal system and buy the best journal recommended: I purchased my first Leuchtturm 1917 in nordic blue and I fell in love with it right away. I’m a huge fan of stationary stuff anyways, and a Leuchtturm is the best I ever had in my collection.
Taking an unwanted break
To keep a long story short I won’t tell all the mistakes, failures and bad choices I made on some details, only this major one: after creating the main pages and lists, I hardly used my BuJo for a year. All those life-changes took over and won. Because I was missing the steady planning skills that I should have developed much earlier on at a very young age, to keep doing something I was still just experimenting not mastering, was a too big challenge. So I failed, again.
Now, that things are finally getting back to normal – if there is such a thing in our life at all, called normal – and planning is not that huge challenge anymore, I pulled out my Leuchtturm again and started to plan and organize, adjusted to my current situation, which has changed an awful lot since last year. And Istill love it. Love that I’m able to experiment again and find the best ways of planning that fit my needs. I’m not an artsy person, so you’ll never see any unique and gorgeous shot of my BuJohere, but I enjoy the ugly version of it just as much.
The best side effect of all
My children grow up seeing my struggles with planning. So I am very determined not to let them leave my home to start their own without teaching them the importance and basics of organizing and planning. My younger ones develop their own methods and systems so naturally and seamlessly that I’m amazed by it many times, but my eldest is not into these sort of things. She’s 15 and already claims the same reasons I’d had for years: no discipline, no consistency. I can’t get her to do anything on a regular basis, and she doesn’t cooperate in any writing-involved projects. She is creative and crafty though and has a great sense of art.
In August I convinced her to try Bullet Journaling for school. She was utterly disorganized and felt the need to change but couldn’t figure out what would work best for her. She’d seen my BuJo and liked it, so finally was ready to give in and try. I pulled out a nice butterfly patterned notebook from my stationary pile, and she started to conquer it. Page by page. I was the most surprised that she liked it and was determined to make good use of it. Because she doodles better than me and has an eye for graphic design too, her Journal is much more beautiful than mine. But this isn’t as important as functionality. Thankfully that seems to work fine for her too, so I can watch her getting more organized and disciplined. A thing I almost gave up on. Don’t tell her, but in secret, I keep dancing around with joy, that I finally found something to help her to be more productive that she accepted. A small miracle. But for me, this is the most significant benefit of Bullet Journaling!
We’ve found a great tool to organize our lives as we need it and we took two entirely different ways, but both ways work for us: mine for me, and hers for her, because we have the freedom to adjust it to our own needs. This is the ultimate tool to do-it-your-way your planning!
Bullet Journaling pros
For us, the advantages of Bullet Journaling are
that it’s customizable. This is the most important. We can personalize it.
Yet it gives a solid structure, so we don’t get lost and confused.
The design is like snowflakes: no two pages are the same. We love variety yet consistency.
When we get overwhelmed with the ideas, doodles, supplies, we just simplify.
We can adjust it to all the changes in our lives: to leave sections out when we don’t need them anymore, or implement a new one when needed. It applies to space usage too. Incredibly flexible.
It’s an at-least-5in1 notebook. It is a planner, a calendar, a journal, an information center, a tracker, and whatever you want it to be. All in one.
Boosts our creativity.
Increases our productivity.
It’s the most efficient planning system I can teach my children to equip them. We already proved it. 🙂 I don’t want them to start life with such a bad drawback that I had. And they won’t.
Bullet Journaling cons
The disadvantages for me:
Although I love creating all the pages in my Bullet Journal, it takes too much time however simple I make it. But there is a reward for investment: productivity. Yet I wish it would take a little less time.
And that was all. No more disadvantages for me.
If you are busy, use it to journal too!
My favorite part of it is the Journal. I used to keep a journal as a young girl, but then life took over, and I miss journaling a lot. I’ve been in a season for more than 20 years now when I just cannot fit journaling or even morning pages into my days. Not even for therapy. But I do keep a textbox in my BuJo for each day to briefly jot down all the most important things of the day. That saves me for now until seasons turn again and I’ll have more time for journaling too.
Our experience with Journaling supplies
We have two different notebooks with my daughter. I have the Leuchttrum, and she has a simple one, no brand. I have promised her to purchase a Leuchtturm when she needs to switch because designing is a huge challenge for her with all the ghosting issues she has. Leuchtturm is worth it not to struggle with the lower quality paper issues. I highly recommend it. We also find that gel pens tend to mess the pages, so we strictly stick to fineliners and brush pens.
My Bullet Journal is entirely me. As I experiment, make mistakes, spoil it or restart, it mirrors my life. If I’m struggling, that can be told by simply looking at my BuJo. When I’m in a more organized spell, you can see that too. And you can certainly say that I’m inconsistent and a recovering struggler. But this is fine. It makes me love my BuJo even more.
My daughters BuJo tells me a lot about her.It helps me to get to know her even better. Bullet Journaling is something we have in common now. In these sensitive teen years, we need every little thing to make a connection. BuJo is one of these for us. You shouldn’t miss the opportunity either!
I'm a wife to a wonderful man and mother of 9, soon-to-be-10 amazing kids. I'm constantly working on to be the mom I always wanted to be, and to make our house to be my dream-home finally. My goal is to help and encourage you to be the best mom you can be.