bullet journaling + a d.i.y. project


What an incredibly awesome, yet long month it's been!  I've been seeing + hearing the sentiment everywhere that it feels like January 53rd ;)  Like many of you, I'm sure, I kicked off this year + this month with a new planner -- only this year, I've been trying something a little different.

I became determined to find a better way to make my weekly plans, because traditional planners leave me feeling too boxed in.  I need something a little more free-flowing.

So, for this month, I've been trying the bullet journaling method, and so far, I really enjoy it.  I followed many of the prompts on the website (linked above), and I added in some of my own shorthand and took some things out.  For instance, I added two of my own categories:  for meals, instead of the "task" dash line, I write "[BLD]" short for breakfast/lunch/dinner.  This is helpful when it comes to planning what I'm eating, as well as prepping certain things, for dinner, for instance.  Plus, I figure you eat three times a day, it should have it's own shorthand category!

Similarly, I use "[PB]" for anything Pure Barre related; whether it's planning class, taking or teaching class, and any other things that relate to Pure Barre.  I like having the separate categories so that I don't feel like I'm looking at a day full of tasks!  And some of these things don't fit that genre well, which is why I created their own category for them.

You may be someone who is perfectly content to use a traditional planner; that's fine!  I still need a bit of structure as well, so I bought a separate book that is just a calendar where I can write out monthly or recurring events; future appointments, that kind of thing.  That's one thing about the bullet journal -- you can't really plan more than a day or two in advance.  I was starting out to say this was a negative, but actually, it sort of forces you to take time every morning or evening to look at the day ahead and assess what needs doing.

Another thing I love about it is the free space to make lists as the need presents itself, as well as the open opportunity to make "brain dump" lists.  If you've never done this before...I highly recommend it.  It's just like ti sounds...you put everything that's in your brain onto paper -- without scheduling, completing, or assigning anything.  You just write everything that's in there down on paper, say for ten minutes on a Sunday night.  If you're someone who constantly has a running tab of things inside your head to get done "at some point"...I super recommend you try this.  It has been so helpful to me and every single time I do it I feel so relived that it's all out, written down -- it's weirdly cathartic!

Overall, I'll say I really do like the bullet journal, but I can't tell if it will stick or not.  I crave to be let out of the box from time to time, but at the end of the day I am a structure-loving creature of habit.  I do miss the familiarity of a planner, but not enough to cave on this bullet journal yet.  I'd give it a 7.5 out of 10 right now, just because I feel like it's working for me but it isn't quite the perfect solution I had hoped it would be.  

Of course I could not settle on a plan old notebook...I actually spent probably an hour standing in the notebook/planner aisle at Target, and I left empty-handed (besides my calendar notebook) and totally overwhelmed.  I went home and realized I had this blank sketchbook as well as some paints + decided to craft my own bullet journal!  So far, so good -- I wanted blank pages, though a traditional bullet journal calls for a dot journal.  I'm not sure why that is.  I guess because it's easy to draw in your own charts or calendars or something if you wanted to!  But I wanted mine to be blank, in the event I needed a space for impromptu lettering :)

I hope this is helpful!  I'd love to hear about what kind of planner situation you have worked out for yourself this year, and how it's going so far!  



I included the steps I followed to make my own cover for my notebook, incase you want to do the same + need a quick tutorial!


Step One: Gather Supplies

I had most of these items at home already, and chances are you do too!  If you need to buy a notebook/sketchbook, I recommend something with two sturdy covers (front + back) for this project!  I also recommend the kind of spiral bound pictured (see below) if you plan to make spray paint a part of your process.


Step Two: Disassemble + Paint

This kind of spiral is really easy to disassemble -- I was able to slip off both covers and replace them super easily!  Paint using a foam brush + acrylic, or you can take it outside and spray paint a few layers on there!

Step Three: Reassemble

Let it all dry, replace the covers and pinch the spiral back together...and voila!  You have your very own custom notebook/sketchbook/bullet journal!  Enjoy!

Mallory OvertonComment