Journaling Madness

I’ve shared a couple brief glimpses of my latest obsession, my bullet journal. You can reference those if you like:

The Mission, Get Organized            Keeping the Crayons Sharp            Journaling and Challenge

I connected with a group on Facebook of fellow bujo enthusiasts, (Bujo – bullet journal) that are much more creative than I am with mine.  I’ve only been at this  for seven weeks, but I’ve already found a few things where I have individualized mine.

First  of all,  I didn’t go buy an expensive journal. The recommended books are Leuchterm1917, or the moleskin. Both average about $20.00.  I spent exactly 33 cents on mine on a clearance shelf at Walgreens. What can I say?  I go cheap!  Plus, not knowing for sure if I was going to like this, or if it would work for me I wasn’t going to invest much money.  I’m very happy with my little bargain buy!

2016-02-04 11.17.18

It measures 5″ x 7″, which I can already tell you is a little too small for my taste. After following some of the posts in the Facebook group, I decided to dress it up a bit and decorated the cover and back.

New Cover

New Cover

Back Cover

Back Cover

Briefly, the bullet journal system is all about  getting and staying organized. A way to keep track of whatever it is you keep track of,  your daily to do list,  the appointments, and a centrally located place for everything really.  Whether you keep a gratitude journal,  a fitness tracking and diet journal, water intake, daily devotional,  writer’s journal, personal diary – whatever it is that you jot down. The bullet journal combines all of those things  in ONE place eliminating the multiple journals, planners, and sticky notes.

What do you need to get started?

  • A journal
  • A pen

You can add washi tape, or stickers or  wahtever you want but the essentials are a journal and a pen.  I already had a plethora of colored pens, highlighters, markers, sharpies  but that’s another obsession that we don’t really need to talk about today.

I did find some washi tape on clearance of course,  that I thought would be useful to seperate my entries.

Watch the original video from Ryder Carroll over at  I admit, I watched it multiple times.  More than 3 that’s all I’m going to say.  I followed his step by step plan in my initial layout.



My first run of my legend or key is very basic.  The facing page is a vacation destination to keep myself motivated with  the phrase that sold me on the system.  My legend is on the inside of the cover. Next step is to number the pages. This is one benefit to buying a Leuchterm or moleskin they come prenumbered. I want to mention that there are lined, gridded, and dotted paper.  Mine is obviously lined as it’s just a simple composition notebook.  I’ve seen some amazing and enviable journals laid out on the dotted paper.

The index –  Items are added to the index as you progress. Then the future log -at first I thought this was a waste of time but I am finding it invaluable, and as I have mentioned before need to add a year at a glance calendar.

For my first Month at a Glance –  I followed exactly Ryder’s instructions, but tweaked them at the beginning of February.











As you can see,  my calendar is much larger and I split the page because my entries here are minimal. There has been numerous items added since I took that picture.  My monthly todo list has been added.  With today’s post, I can mark off that second goal – woohoo!

After the month at a glance,  is the daily entries.  Some of the posted bujos are very nice, neat and tidy.  They start on a new spread for a new day.  There are days when my entries are minimal –  just the todo list and maybe a specific note to myself.

2016-02-16 10.36.19

On this page you can see that on the left side I have 2 days worth –  divided by the washi tape, then  halfway through the right side I begin a new entry. I made some stickers for myself, the word count and the notepad, as well as a banner and a water bottle. If  you want a pdf copy of the stickers,  contact me and let me know I will gladly share. I just use my daughter’s glue stick to paste them in.

Have a look for yourself on Pinterest at the many varied styles for bullet journaling –  mine is closer to  Ryder’s  original. Most of the time I don’t have time to add beautiful artwork or lay out some gorgeous design.

In the photo above,  you will see the tabs that I added. Post It sticky tabs –   these are an awesome find. This makes a quick reference to go right to what I want. I added a tab for the month at a glance, which so far is just January and February.  Also, on the bottom edges I have put my little eye symbol for research – those are entries that I was brainstorming or making notes for future writing and one for dietary benefits of certain foods.

I don’t know that this little notebook is even going to get me through March and I can’t start the next one halfway through the month.  Not sure what to do about that.  Part of the  reason for a bujo is so that I don’t have more half finished notebooks.  I make a lot of handwritten notes when I am traveling, sitting in a doctor’s office, and all those lovely places that we are required to wait.

Once you see some of  the other bujos out there,  you may laugh at mine,  but that’s fine.  I freely admit that mine isn’t fancy.  It’s mine!  It works for me. Right there is the whole point. You personalize it as your own. While I like the looks of some other people’s bujos,   it’s not really me.  I spend most of my “journaling” time writing todo lists, keeping track of household issues and making notes for my writing. There are days that I consciously work on improving my handwriting.  There are other days that I don’t give a rip about the legibility of my writing.

So far, this has been a “where have you been all my life” experience.

Things I have learned so far:

I need some structure but not too much. – As I said there are days that I have my todo list and that’s about it.  Then there are days that I have pages and pages of writing. The flexibility of bujo –  I will give a 10.

Trial and error –  It’s a matter of finding out what works for you.  I can’t tell you the number of partially filled planners that I have along with partially filled notebooks. I’ve been taking my loose scrap paper stack and entering them into a back section of my notebook that I labeled as NOTES.  Change – adapt – overcome. If something isn’t working for you, change it up!  It’s a fluid process.

Things to Include in the bullet journal –  these are what I include.  You decide if they work for you, maybe add something different.  I have a friend that made a two page spread for her 5K training. Yeah, that’s not going to be in mine.

  • daily todo list – absolutely mandatory. If something doesn’t get finished one day I migrate it to the next.
  • Collections – Ryder  has included what he calls collections,  included  within a month, but I put it at the back of my notebook.  I keep track of blogpost ideas, book title ideas,  book plot ideas, books I’ve read, books to be read, books I need to review,  items acquired for our antique booth, etc.
  • Tracker –  I keep track of the blog posts to hit my goal,  my water consumption on a daily basis, exercise(not 5k training mostly zumba and elliptical), daily calories.
  • Gifts given and recieved –  I keep this in collections.  Gifts for baby showers, birthdays, anniversaries, graduation, etc. This keeps me from scratching my head and wondering what we got for John or Jane last year for their birthday.
  • New recipes –  this was one of my worst offenders for scrap paper, writing down a recipe for something that I wanted to try.  Now I have them all in a collection,  and I can make notes  after trying them  whether it was a hit or a miss.
  • Quotes –  I add these on occasion.  When I find or remember a quote that I thought was good, helped me,  I ad it in. Usually setting it off in some manner.

Give this system a try. It does’t have to look like anyone elses. Mine is certainly not as cool as some of the ladies I’ve seen on pinterest, but it works for me.  Who knows, maybe this is just what you need to move you off of the I wish couch to  taking control of your life!

Write on my friends, write on!