Bullet Journaling as a Planner

I discovered Bullet Journaling, or as it is lovingly called – BuJo – at the end of last year and decided to try it out with a little trepidation. Being (I’ll admit it) a perfectionist, I was worried that I would hate myself if my BuJo was anything less than a masterpiece. And yes, I was a little intimidated by the gorgeous Pinterest-y spreads and worried that it would take an unrealistic amount of time to set up. But I liked the idea that Bullet Journaling is 100% customizable. You can make your BuJo HOWEVER YOU WANT IT. Awesome.
I started in a cheap notebook from Target and tried it out for the month of December. I was hooked. Turns out that Bullet Journaling is a super fun outlet for creativity and doodling. I found that I’m not worried about it being perfect because I can always do it differently or better next month or next week! AND the time I spend setting up each month is really beneficial for getting stuff figured out and organized, not only on paper, but in my head.


This is how I set up my BuJo, but (as previously stated) you can set yours up HOWEVER YOU WANT! That is the pure beauty of it. Seriously.

So here’s mine. I set up a Future Log with a little space for each day of the year so that I can record things happening later, like doctor appointments, days off school and other events.16244975_10104047315609138_1428200959_o
Then when I go to set up my month, which I only do about a week in advance, I simply transfer the info from my Future Log to my Monthly Log. I love this because I write it down all at once, and it gives me a really good idea of what I have going on for the month.


Each week, I transfer the data from the Monthly Log into my Weekly Spreads (or Dailies), which gives me a really good idea of what I have going on for the week. I write down everything from my son’s soccer practices and to-do’s, to what we’re having for dinner. (I even have a little chef icon I draw just to make it easier to see at a glance.) I also include a little chart in an effort to drink more water, which I follow with pretty spotty success. But anyway, I try. And it’s fun to doodle, if you’re into that sort of thing.



And if you’re not into doodling, guess what – YOU DON’T HAVE TO DOODLE! You can make your BuJo HOWEVER YOU WANT. Got it? Don’t believe me?

Ok, in an effort to make this realistic and lower the bar that Pinterest has set impossibly high, here’s my husband’s Bullet Journal:



His is about as bare bones as it gets. He is almost completely left brained, and his BuJo totally works for him. He simply lists his long-term to-do’s and transfers them into daily task lists. Like me, he has different symbols for things that are more high-priority, tasks that he has migrated and those he has completed. That’s it!



So we are a two BuJo household and my six-year old is probably going to make it a three BuJo household pretty soon because he is a total planner and looks at the calendar everyday. My three-year old? Not a chance. We’ll be lucky if she even knows where her notebook is.

But the beauty of Bullet Journaling, is that you can totally make it work for you. If you’re sick of being pinned down to a specific planner, or like me, you left pages blank because you just didn’t find it functional, then this is a good choice for you because yep, you got it – you can make it however you want it!

If you’re curious to learn more about Bullet Journaling, I encourage you to search it online and on YouTube. BulletJournal.com will give you a simple look at the structure of Bullet Journaling. The YouTube channel Boho Berry, is a fun resource if you’re into doodling and looking for more ideas to make your BuJo work for you.

More than anything, I encourage you to look inwards and ask yourself, “What do I really need to keep my plates spinning?” Then start and then restart and change it from month to month and from week to week. You just might find that your BuJo can really be a handbook for your crazy life and that everything can actually fit in one book in a semi-orderly way.

And that, my friends, is real perfection for our real lives.  



Emma’s spinning plates include momming, wifing, substitute teaching and running her small business with Trades of Hope. When she isn’t busy with that, she can be found bullet journaling, organizing, knitting, baking, traveling, reading, dating her husband and hanging out with friends and family, all while listening to music. She is British, an ongoing survivor of bipolar disorder and an avid Belieber.

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