Mark Twain

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do ...
Explore. Dream. Discover." Mark Twain

Monday, November 9, 2015

A journal of a different kind.

Over the years I have had almost every kind of calendar / planner you could name.  They were always paper - never digital.

This year I went "rogue."   With little structure in my life - no job or caregiving duties to wrap my days around - I assumed my simple life could be reduced to a simple bullet list on 3x5 cards. Each day a new card.  Undone tasks transferred to the next day's card.  Completed cards - thrown away.

Well ... it hasn't been pretty!  Not pretty at all.

First off the cards would be prepared and then ignored.  Opps!  That's a fail!  Then cards got lost.  Great.  Now I have to rely on my 68 year old memory.  Another failure in the making.  Finally, if the cards were completed, they were trashed and the information was lost.  Mostly that wasn't a big deal because things like ... clean toilets, do laundry, and take a walk - aren't huge losses if they aren't saved for posterity.

But other lost details were sometimes important.  It is nice to when your last mammogram was done, when that specific bill payment was sent (since the post office lost 3 pieces of our mail in the last 6 months) and did you send that birthday card/anniversary card/wedding gift?

So the 3x5 cards had to go!  I searched and searched for a planner - finally bought one.  But it was totally ignored.  I was back to the 3x5 cards (the writing, the ignoring, the losing, the pitching.)

Enter the
 Bullet Journal.

I learned about bullet journaling from a blog I follow called Assortment.  The blogger just started using a bullet journal and I followed her link to a Bullet Journal site to watch a video.  It all clicked in my brain.  Then I watched some videos of other bullet journaling folks.  I learned that your journal can be as minimalistic or as elaborate as you desire.

Here are the pros from my perspective (I think I will use bullets ... Ha!  )
  • It is analog - just the kind of planner/journal I prefer. 
  • It has a stitched bound spine - not loose leaf or spiral bound.  Yet it lays flat. 
  • Pages are not printed with a manufacturer's organizational structure.  Pages are dotted - sometimes a grid.  You create your own structure and boundaries. Simple or complex. 
  • No wasted pages (like financial tracking, or telephone lists, or exercise logs - unless you add it in.)
  • I am less likely to lose a book - not like those illusive 3x5 cards.
  • There is no fixed end date - like December 31.  Use up the pages then move onto a new journal.  
  • Structure can be customized on the fly.  Reduce or add more as needed.
The cons (and there is only one for me):
  • You build the journal - that almost sounds like a pro statement, but it does involve some time to set up.  I think I can off set that by keeping my journal simple - it doesn't need to house my whole life.  
That is it.

I watched several YouTube videos on this topic and it is interesting to see what folks include.  Shopping lists, weekly menus, recipes, reading lists ... you name it.  Some journals include decorations like a scrap book and a place for actual journal writing (not bullets.)  Some include tabs, others include add-in pages that are preprinted to minimize set up.  All are stored safely in a simple book.

Or it can simply house an organized bulleted list of tasks using the Bullet Journal techniques described at  Check out the link to get a quick sense of how it is set up if interested.

My new bullet journal was delivered today and I am off to set it up.

I love lists and bullets and keeping on track to get things done.  Keeping my fingers crossed that 3x5 cards are history ... and this tool helps make things "pretty" again.


  1. I love lists too Elaine!! And I love my Happy Planner. I am still working on getting it set up exactly how I want it to work for me. Good to see you blogging. I miss you!!

    1. Aw, Paula, thanks. This year I feel like I am just "outside" myself a lot. Not so organized or focused. Sort of drifting from one thing to another. Hoping to rectify that - especially going into the busy months of November and December.

  2. Hi Elaine, Nice to see a post from you.
    I jot things down in a planner that is more just like a big calendar. The bullet journal sounds like a good idea. I'm off to check out the link.

  3. I'm going to check this out. Sounds like it would be a great start to the new year.


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