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Bullet Journals and Planners

mathmommathmom 32384 replies159 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
About a year and a half ago @abasket started this thread https://talk.collegeconfidential.com/parent-cafe/2056863-bullet-journals-journaling.html and I wondered whether she or others were inspired to try out bullet journaling. I had started something similar that year, and switched to standard bullet journaling at the beginning of this year. I've been really amazed that I finally have a system that I actually use and that improves my life. I've tried all my life to track my hours for work with limited success. What I like about the "Bujo" is that you can tailor it to what you like. So while many people do very fancy spreads - I just have two margins. The left margin I use to track tasks as suggested. The second one I use to track my hours. I like being able to interrupt the calendar for diversions - for example notes from the painting course I take once a week. I still put important appointments in my Google Calendar because it sends me alerts, but I've never been able to use electronic calendars well. I seem to have some sort of weird dyslexia about them, because I can't tell you how often I've entered an appointment on the wrong date.
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Replies to: Bullet Journals and Planners

  • collage1collage1 1768 replies72 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Thank you for posting, even though it doesn't seem like others were interested. I must have missed, or not been ready for, @abasket's post last year but yours intrigued me and I've spent the last few days learning about bullet journaling. I just created mine last night and am hopeful!

    My current system has worked relatively well but had two significant shortcomings. The first is a lack of a tracking system...I just had lists of things I needed/wanted to track in multiple places so it was easy to, well, lose track of them. And, two, my memory just isn't as acute as it was and I'm finding that when I do something (make a call, send an email) and cross it off my list, I can lose track of the issue when the person doesn't respond. I can see how the bullet journal will help/address both of these.

    If anyone has suggestions for a newbie, I'd be interested. I do get that I will figure out what works best for me and adapt but there's always that learning curve.
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  • mathmommathmom 32384 replies159 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    The index is important and just figuring out what you need out of it. I basically use it mostly as a rapid journal - which doubles as a simplified time sheet. I really like the flexiblity. Some days I use three lines other days, I might fill up half a page. When we were touring wineries last spring I wrote my impressions of every winery and when dh asks me a question about one them, I can just look it up. I've never been one to keep a journal, but this is so minimal it works for me.
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  • abasketabasket 19364 replies860 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I missed that you posted this! Glad it got bumped up.

    I am still a bullet journal wanna be. I had signed up for a class at our bookstore last year to learn more about it but was unable to make the class so had to cancel out.

    @mathmom is your system just in a general notepad or steno pad?

    One thing I do need is a more perfect way of logging some hours at work that I am paid out of separate contract. I'd take any tips.

    Maybe someone will jump on with more info about their experience.
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  • mathmommathmom 32384 replies159 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I went to Staples and got a 240 page 5"x7" journal with a dotted grid. It's got paper that is thick enough that nothing bleeds through. It has a couple of ribbons for marking a place and a pocket with a little ruler that has templates with a few small shapes that I never use. I tried using a small three ring binder, but realized it was too awkward to carry around and I realized that trying to put certain things in different sections actually was working less well than just using an index. The guy who invented bullet journals also sells one with a few pages that give the basics of the system. I use my right hand margin to record hours - if there's just one separate contract I'd just circle those hours. If there's more than one I'd use a letter to keep track of them. When I've charge my clients, I cross out their hours.

    You can definitely learn the system by just reading the book and watching a few youtube tutorials.
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  • mom60mom60 7887 replies506 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I’m inspired to look into this. Just reserved a book 📖 n bullet journaling from the library.
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  • collage1collage1 1768 replies72 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I googled bullet journal and found blog posts, etc. where people described how to get started and how they customized it for their own use. One of the NFPs where I volunteer gave out what looks like the perfect book to use at a training a few weeks ago. I'm sure any journal/spiral you have at home already will work but, in my googling, someone recommended this which is just like the one I'm using:

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/888370102X/ref=as_li_ss_tl?keywords=moleskine+pocket+notebook&qid=1454958596&ref_=sr_1_1&s=office-products&sr=1-1&linkCode=sl1&tag=betthiahe-20&linkId=866e4806df5fd4f9cf39c1a0abf86bd1&th=1

    It's pretty easy to just jump in. Now I'll have to experience it to see how to custom it for me. Hopefully I'll stick with it to give it a fair chance.
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  • IgloooIglooo 8181 replies211 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    My D love it. I am not organized enough to use tho.
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  • mathmommathmom 32384 replies159 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    @Iglooo I've struggled with being organized and using a planners all my life. For a while before kids when I was working in Germany I did okay (at least for office stuff) with something similar to a Day Runner. This is the first system I've been able to deal with.

    One thing I always skimp on, but is part of the philosophy is that you should spend a few minutes every evening reflecting on the day. What you got done, what you didn't and why. What tasks are you avoiding? Do they need to be scheduled differently? Can someone else do them if you never get them done? Stuff like that.
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  • CountingDownCountingDown 13441 replies110 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    How is this different from a DayTimer? (serious question) I used one for years, but got tired of hauling it around. Didn't make sense to just have a planner at home, though. I hate electronic reminders, so don't mess with them. Most of them don't seem to want to mesh with Google Calendar and I'm not re-entering the info.

    I do live and die my my lists, though, and generally have one page for a week that I drag around in my bag and check off as I go.

    DH gets Molskine journals all the time as gifts on his business trips. Have tried using them to record what we do on vacation to help me with sorting the (literally) thousands of pics I take, but never wind up doing it. I wind up leaving the book at home because my pocketbook is already filled with other stuff I *have* to take, and I can't carry a heavy bag.
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  • mathmommathmom 32384 replies159 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I'm not sure that it is THAT different - except that it's completely up to you how to lay it out. I found the DayTimer setups too fussy for me. I like being able to mix up rapid logging with the calendar and appointments. I like the fact that you end up rewriting a lot of lists, which actually makes you decide whether or not they are actually that important. Some of it is kind of counterintuitive. I do still use my Google Calendar for electronic reminders, since I am apt to get lost in a task and forget appointments. Unfortunately I have the really bad habit of inputting things in the wrong week in electronic calendars - it appears to be some weird form of dyslexia or ADHD because I do it over and over and over again!
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  • HouseChatteHouseChatte 714 replies1 threadsRegistered User Member
    My planner is a 7" x 6" loose leaf binder with about a dozen sections. Monthly calendar is a big one, especially since I've already put in my 2020 pages. Also have sections for: address book (I am a dinosaur), monthly expenses, retirement planning scribbles, master grocery lists, gift ideas and records of what was given, dog info (vet, breeder, boarding kennel info, weight, whatever), passwords, and to-do lists.

    I wouldn't be able to make my life work just from a calendar, even daily with a lot of space to write in -- the format would be too restrictive for me.
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  • abasketabasket 19364 replies860 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    @CountingDown sounds like your lists are sort of a good start to a BJ. There are different levels of course. It's more than a calendar though or a DayTimer - I think this is a pretty easy to understand article about BJ - made interesting through the graphics they include!

    https://www.buzzfeed.com/rachelwmiller/how-to-start-a-bullet-journal

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  • HouseChatteHouseChatte 714 replies1 threadsRegistered User Member
    @abasket Helpful article. I need a "*)&#% I forgot to do last month" section!
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  • mathmommathmom 32384 replies159 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I love the BuzzFeed article.
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  • bitcohenbitcohen 3 replies0 threadsRegistered User New Member
    Works for me.
    I started with the standard Scribbles That Matter bullet journal and adapted it gradually at work, here is what I do now:
    I write in black except for the exceptions
    1 page per project, title is in black highlighted in yellow
    subtopic can be written in uppercase blue
    I draw horizontal lines to separate those subtopics
    I use green or red stars if I want to give some kind of priority
    bugs' number are written in blue
    important notes are written in red, details of a finished task are written in green
    That's all, no fancy monthly pages or habits though, only one page each week for the tasks that I'm given, and a notebook for long term projects.
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  • HImomHImom 34347 replies391 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Just curious— do you all keep these journals after you’ve completed them and does storing them get to be a problem? I know I’ve been tossing old calendars and notebooks— just ending up with too much paper.
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  • mathmommathmom 32384 replies159 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I started real bullet journaling this year and semi-bullet journaling last year. I've had to refer back to both to follow with billing and other work related things. They take up a lot less room than my office files.
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  • abasketabasket 19364 replies860 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I would sort of see this like taxes (haha) - at work I keep a running notebook for notes, conference call notes, to-do lists, conference notes, items donated for programming,etc. When one notebook (spiral on top is what I prefer because I'm left handed), I store it and start another. If I don't go back to a notebook after a couple of years or so I might toss it. I probably go through 2 notebooks a year. Not exactly bullet journaling though and I'm guessing still you would only have a couple notebooks a year.
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  • HouseChatteHouseChatte 714 replies1 threadsRegistered User Member
    @HImom I do keep past years. Since mine is a loose-leaf binder and the calendar part is just a small section, the paper backlog doesn't get that bad. Other sections usually stay current with minor tweaks; I update rather than replacing a lot at a time. Very little storage drama as a result.
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  • HImomHImom 34347 replies391 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Hmmm, sounds tempting. I may have to go back to having some paper in my life instead of tons of little pieces of paper here and there. How do you keep looseleaf pages from falling out? Do you buy the reinforced paper, @HouseChatte ? That's an issue for me sometimes.
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