Hey everyone! I did something a little different this time and actually made a video. Bear with me, it’s the first I’ve ever done and I definitely know where I need to improve, but here’s the flip through of my August layout, as promised!
Some of the questions I see over and over in online Bullet Journal groups and forums all have to do with habit, mood, sleep, and general lifestyle tracking in your Bullet Journal. Common questions that are asked on a near daily basis are, “What do you track?”, “How do you track it?”, “Why/What benefit is there to tracking?”, and “Where do I start?” I thought that it might be helpful today to talk about the things you might track, and to try and answer those questions
So, let’s start with the what. What do you track? Simply put, you track anything that you want to make, or break, as a habit, or try to see a pattern in. Let’s start with the most common, habit tracking. Continue reading “Using Habit & Lifestyle Trackers in Your Bullet Journal – How, What, and Why”
Hey everyone! I’m back, and this time we’re going to talk about Bullet Journal migration! I know, I probably should have done this before I did the July Plan With Me post last week, but hey – it’s fun to mix it up a bit, right?
Migrating to a new Bullet Journal always leaves me with a sense of accomplishment. As someone who never totally filled up the more traditional planners or even journals, I’m always a little thrilled to see that I’ve managed to complete another Bullet Journal with only a few blank pages (usually) toward the end. For many though, I know the process of migration can be daunting, especially when you have a lot of collections that you want to move to your new journal. It’s partially this reason that prompted me to move to a Traveler’s Notebook system as I talked about in this post not long ago. Using the inserts for long term collections (e.g., my Year in Pixels habit tracking, colour key, etc.) means less to migrate when I start a new journal. Nevertheless, I do have some things that I bring with me into each new journal, so read on to see how I migrated into my new Bullet Journal in June of this year! Continue reading “Migrating to a New Bullet Journal”
Hey everyone! Wow. I can’t believe that June is almost over already! I know that I’d promised a June Plan With Me post, as well as a journaling challenge, but once again, life reared it’s head and conspired against my productivity. This time, however, it was for a positive thing! We spent every bit of our free time moving my S/O out of his house in June, and into mine. But it’s not over yet. We’re moving again at the end of August, this time, to what will be to our house, which is so exciting! What’s not so exciting is the packing and actually moving piece. Because of this, I’m refraining from any in-depth snail mail and art swapping until at least mid-September, and I won’t have a lot of time to spend here over the summer either.
Nevertheless, we shall persevere and I will definitely be back to weekly posting once we’re settled in to our new place. I felt bad that I didn’t get the June Plan With Me Posted though, so I wanted to ensure that you got a July Plan With Me! Read on to see what I’ve done – and what mistakes I made this month! Continue reading “Plan With Me – July”
Last week, I shared my Traveler’s Notebook with you, and how I incorporate my Bullet Journal into that system. As promised, this week I’m going to share my weekly and daily spreads! Of course, I actually changed my weekly spread layout for this week, so I have two different layouts to share. That’s the beauty of this system though – when you get tired of one layout, or find that it no longer serves you, you can change it up the next day or the next week! So let’s dive right in, shall we?
I can’t believe that it’s May already! This month snuck up on me and I almost, almost wasn’t prepared. I found myself cramming to get May in my Bullet Journal set up last week and somehow…I made it! I thought that it would be nice to share my May layout with all of you before it got too cluttered with, well, being filled in!
As you can see, I have moved to a Traveler’s Notebook. This beauty from Elrohir Leather was my Yule gift to myself and no, it’s not three dimensional! One of my dear friends got me a matching pocket sized journal for my birthday.
I am, admittedly, late in sharing this, but I wanted to show you all my October Bullet Journal setup. I kept it fairly simple this month – no 30-Day Challenges this time around! I did, however, keep with my monthly collections and I hope you’ll enjoy seeing how I use my Bullet Journal!
Today is my one year Bullet Journal-iversary and I spent some time looking back through the last few Bullet Journals I’ve completed. Well, two. I’ve filled two in a year. I’m on my third now, and still madly in love with this system that, when I first learned about it on the Official Bullet Journal site, I dismissed out of hand immediately. In fact, I had been looking for some new form of planner because nothing that came pre-packaged was working for me. All of the Etsy printables and semi-custom planner inserts in the world did not satisfy what I needed, and since I had no intention of becoming a graphic designer and actually *gasp* making my own printables, I found myself straying from my planner more and more.
But at first blush, the Bullet Journal system invented by Ryder Carroll seemed too confusing, if I were to be honest. Let’s face it – the world of Bullet Journaling and it’s adherents speaks a language unto its own and if you aren’t already in the know, it can be confusing at first. A spread? A collection? A future log? Migrating…what?! I just couldn’t be arsed.
It wasn’t until I saw this post over at Buzzfeed that I decided that maybe I should look into this and see what, exactly the hype is about. I credit Kara Benz over at Boho Berry for finally tipping me over the edge. I ended up binge-watching her awesome YouTube tutorials (seriously, if you’re just starting out or want loads of inspiration, check out her YouTube channel!), breaking down, and ordering what I’ve come to think of as the standard Bullet Journal starter pack – a Leuchterm 1917 dot grid notebook, Staedtler fine liners, Faber Castell PITT Artist pens (size S), and Tombow Dual Brush Pens.
But here’s the thing – none of those things are necessary to start a Bullet Journal. And here’s another secret I’ll let you in on – all of those Pinterest Bullet Journal “Hack” boards you see? There’s no such thing. The Bullet Journal itself is the life hack. By it’s very nature, a Bullet Journal is as simple as they come – or as complex as you want it to be. There’s no “hacking” this to make it easier or quicker. It’s all what you want it to be. If you want simple, Bam! Easy day. Write the date, your tasks, appointments, and any other little notes you want to remember and you’re done. The only way to make that any easier is to hire someone to follow you around and do it for you. After all, all you need, literally, is any old notebook and pen. You don’t have to get the Bullet Journal Starter Pack.
Because I am a magpie, I didn’t settle for keeping my Bullet Journal simple. It is not, however, really artistic either. It’s somewhere in -between because the truth of the matter is that if it doesn’t interest me visually, I won’t keep up with it. And if I don’t challenge myself to try new spreads or collections or improve my handwriting or doodling, I may lose interest. The beautiful thing about the system is that I can change it up monthly, weekly, or even daily – and very often I do just that. I’m always trying new layouts for my monthly, weekly, and daily spreads. The photo up top is my most current weekly, and I think I may have hit on something that works for a while.
If it doesn’t, I’ll try something new. That’s why I love this. It’s not pre-canned. This month, I have a lot of collections going. I’m tracking habits, medical symptoms, sleep, creative writing prompts, my ever present gratitude log…but in August, I tracked almost nothing because I wasn’t home much and my routine, I knew, was going to be shot so why bother?
Nevertheless, the Bullet Journal is my one stop shop for tracking swaps, letters, and anything else I need or want to – on top of keeping my schedule organized. I’ll have more pictures later on in the Bullet Journal Spread page here on my site, but hopefully you get the gist for now. There’s no way to hack a Bullet Journal, folks. I said it above, and I’ll say it again – it is the hack.
How about you? Are you into this or do you prefer the pre-done structure of a more traditional planner? After all, at the end of the day, it’s all about what works for you.
This morning on my way to the office, the group of DJs on one of the local radio stations that still insists on having a morning show (because who doesn’t love to listen to inane chatter at oh-dark-thirty in the morning before you can fully function?) turned their talk to Fibromyalgia. They didn’t seem to know what it was, given that one of them asked what it was and the others gave a collective, on air, “Fucked if we know,” reply. The general consensus reached was that it was “like, just being achey, right?” and “Well, it probably doesn’t exist anyway.”
Likely owing to caffeine deprivation, I refrained from punching my boyfriend’s stereo through the dash. This, folks, this right here is why I hesitate and hate, sometimes, to share that I have this thing. But it’s part of me, no matter how “healthy” I look, just like depression, diabetes, or autism is part of anyone else – no matter how disease or disability free they may appear to you.
It’s not, and I cannot stress this enough, “just, like, aches and pains.” I’ve spent nearly half my life in or working for the military, in jobs that were physical. I’ve done more than my share of manual labor and hard work and I can tell you now, I know what aches and pains are. What Fibro does to me quite transcends that. But although I cannot take the medication available for it, I still consider myself lucky among my fellow Fibro-Kids. What I don’t have are the myriad add-on diseases that tend to come with it. And for now, I can still work and usually function – as long as I’m meticulous about managing it.
Yes, I do manage it as best I can, and I have to do it without medical assistance due to the high rate of adverse events I get to experience on the medication. Yep – I tried. And failed. But that’s OK! The last year has been a journey and it’s one I don’t think I would have been nearly so successful on had I not discovered the world of Bullet Journaling, and the motivation that bloggers like Kara Benz of Boho Berry or Megan over at Page Flutter have given me. My typical day has changed so much in the last year, and it continues to evolve.
Why? Because one of the interesting things about Fibro is that it’s like dancing on the edge of a sword. At least, that’s how it feels in me. Individual results may vary. For me though, I find that if I do too much, I’m over the edge into flare-up territory (and if a flare-up is bad enough, I really can’t move for a while). If I do too little, hey look! Here we are again in that territory! What this really means is being meticulous about routine, habits, and tracking everything. For someone who would prefer spontaneity over habit, this…this was hard.
We’ll talk about the Bullet Journal another day, but what I will say right now is that I would be lost without it. And in my never ending quest for the perfect layouts and spreads to try online, I found that there was this community within that is totally dedicated to living a better life. Over time, with their inspiration and unknowing guidance, I’ve built a routine that I look forward to, even if it does mean getting up really early on a week day. I definitely can see and feel a difference physically and mentally when I fall away from that routine too.
The other thing I’ve learned is that I need to forgive myself more. With almost 20 years in military service, it’s really hard to undo a lot of what I “know”. Rather, it’s hard to let go of the negative aspects of that training and life while retaining the positive. I never had the ability to forgive myself for, as I would think of it, “being weak”. But I’m learning!
These days, my routine looks something like this:
+ Morning writing – Before I do anything besides stretch (that mummy stiffness is…it’s something), I sit down and get everything that’s cluttering my head out onto paper. Once it’s out, I feel a whole lot clearer. I recommend checking out Julia Cameron’s Morning Pages post if you want to learn more. Suffice to say, I can’t believe the difference this exercise makes.
+ Meditation – I’m really not a yoga or spiritual zen person, but I have to admit that taking just a couple of minutes after my morning pages to sit with my eyes closed and focus on deep breathing has made a world of difference in how I face the day.
+ Exercise – The interesting thing about Fibro is that it’s a damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don’t disease. I mentioned earlier that if I do too much or too little, I’m up a creek. That means walking more when it hurts, and making sure I move for a few minutes at least every hour. And exercise. Again, the difference between suffering through 20 minutes on a stationary bike or treadmill, or doing a low-impact, high calorie burn workout (I use my Fitstar app for this), or doing nothing at all, is clear to me.
+ Habit Tracking – Back to the Bullet Journal. I track the habits I need to keep up. Everything from sleep, to calorie intake, to exercise, to creative time (that’s really important for my mental well being). On the very next page, so I can see everything in one spread, I track my Fibro symptoms each day, and my mood. If I can see a pattern between doing or not doing something, and symptoms decreasing or increasing, then I can try new ways to keep the symptoms low, or at least have a good idea of what I’m doing right!
It’s important to me that I rule this, not the other way around. A key element of that is to ensure that I keep the depression that comes with it at arms length as best I can, and keep fit – again, as best I can. Mind/body connections when it comes to physical health are absolutely real, and I need to make sure that I treat both the way they need to be.
I know that not everything will work for everyone; that Fibro is different for everyone. I’ve offered a few ideas here to help if you’re at sea, but keep fighting, and finding what works best for you.
*Note: I receive nothing in return for sharing the links associated with this post. These links are not affiliate – they are only shared here as resources for those who are interested.