Bullet Journal

My brain is exhausted.

And why would that be? you ask. Is it because you have been concentrating hard on the next Valeria Book? Yes, I did work on that this morning, but that isn’t the reason. Is it because I have been brainstorming? No, not today. The reason is because I have jumped on the latest organizational trend. Two words.

Bullet Journal.

I used to be a paper mini-calendar carrier. My life depended on it. I counted on being able to delete items out of my meat computer because I had stashed them on a paper back-up, which I referred to daily. That left my busy brain time to do other fun things instead of worrying, “Are you going to remember your dentist appointment? Will you remember to bake that cake for the potluck?” When I got an iPhone, I gradually shifted over to the electronic calendar. It was really handy. And I always have my phone with me, so if I need to check a date, there it is! Not like the disaster when I lost my paper calendar. (I tend to lay things down and forget where I put them.) I also used to use a steno book as an ongoing list pad. (Until I would lose them)

So what is wrong with my current system? Actually nothing, really. It’s working ok to help me not miss appointments, etc. And I have a stack of Junior legal pads so I can willy-nilly make lists and lose them without too much fuss. I use Apple Reminders to handle different kinds of keep-up-with lists. But…

They have no soul.

They aren’t a tangible item, for holding now or looking at in the future. When you are paying your salon bill and juggling your phone calendar for the next appointment, you don’t have time to type in and enter everything you’d want to. There is no room for creativity or random thoughts, unless you juggle multiple apps to enter what you want. Umm… Ok, I just wanted a nice, pretty, bound book with all my stuff in it! And margins to doodle in! Visions of my bundle of gel pens floated across my mind.

Once I decided to do it, (and January is THE month to change one’s system!) I couldn’t sit still until I went out and got a book. I chose a L-1917 sky blue book with dots. (Its actually a Leuchtturm1917, but I like to be able to pronounce words in my mind when I write or read them.) I ripped open the plastic, admired the sleek blue cover, the elastic band closure, the double ribbon bookmarks, and I gathered up some gel pens, my favorite roller ball pen, and my set of pigment art pens, and then I sat there, frozen. What do I do first? 

I had gone over multiple instructions on multiple websites for how to set up the journal. The first I remembered was the index. And then the “future log.” But I couldn’t put my pen to paper. What if I wrote “page 2-3 Future Log,” and then “Page 4 January,” and then realized there was something that should have gone in between them? My book would look messed up from the very first entry of the very first bullet journal I had. I would have to look at a mistake for a whole year.

What pens should I start with? The art pens? Black? Should I color code anything? If I decided to later, I couldn’t come back and color-code anything I had already done in black. I very seriously considered making a streak across the index page with a pen, to say, “Nothing worse I can do to it now!” And then I could just dive in. 

(I know; it sounds stupid. But there are people out there who will identify!)

Finally I wrote “2-3 Future Log,” and then stared at it for another 15 minutes while I tried to remember how to do the next part EXACTLY RIGHT. 

I tend to be a perfectionist. (Really?) No, I’m not saying I’m perfect, or that I think I can be perfect. But I pay a lot of attention to excruciating details, and sometimes that’s good, and sometimes it’s paralyzing. After telling myself multiple times, “It’s okay to mess up. It’s just a blank book that no one will see but you. Who cares if it isn’t perfect? It doesn’t matter!” I was able to dive in. 

I ditched my art pens for my black gel pen which didn’t show up as much on the other side. Eventually I switched over to my black roller ball pen, which was better. I made the “January” page, but decided I’d rather have done it differently. So that’s what I’ll try in February.

I know, I know. It’s all pretty silly, that it took me a couple hours to just get the first page done! But I’m hoping that it will help me be more creative and do the things each day that I purpose to do.