You guys, I am 37 weeks pregnant and had some serious Braxton Hicks contractions the other night! With plenty of work to get through at the day job, a long list of wishful to-dos in my photography business, and some personal tasks I'd like to check-off before this baby comes, I'm taking organization a little more seriously these days!
Allow me to introduce my new favorite thing- bullet journaling with my Leuchtturm 1917 notebook!
Now if you're not familiar with bullet journaling, you can check out the info page here on the website where "bujo" first got started. But basically, it's a DIY planner system where you start with any ol' blank notebook and customize it to exactly what you need. It can be a super creative sketch book or a super simple analog planner. You can get sucked down a rabbit hole of inspirational spreads by googling "bujo" or "bullet journal inspo," but honestly, my little notebook doesn't even try to be pretty. It's purely functional and it allows me to keep all of my to-do lists, scheduling, and notes in one place. No more post-its everywhere! Typically, most bullet journals start with a key that lays out a series of common icons that you'll use in planning your days. You use those icons to bullet-out your game plans into tasks, events, or notes.
The official bullet journal people recommend a particular set of icons for your key, but I've found my own groove. My tasks are represented by a block so it looks more like a "to-do" and I still get that satisfying feeling of checking it off! If a task doesn't get completed and I want to not that I've "migrated" it forward, I use the " > " symbol. If the item is more of just a calendar item, like a doctor's appointment, it's just noted that day with a small circle.
And the reason this system has helped me tremendously is because it has forced me to be more realistic about what I can get done! I used to have this overwhelming to-do list and then when I saw how much remained, I'd get a little panicked. Now I have a hopeful to-do list at the beginning of the journal, but now what gets committed to each week and on a daily basis is much more do-able. Anything that doesn't get finished has that little migration arrow and I have to re-write it. So if its something that keeps getting migrated, it forces me to ask myself, "Is this really a priority? Do I need to stop putting it off or do I need to move it back to my overall, wishful list that doesn't take up my mental energy?" This system reminds me to give myself more grace because there are only so many hours in a day.
I use mine primarily for calendaring, managing my to-do lists, and meal planning. I also keep a running list for "gift ideas" and blog posts. Then, at the end of each month, I do a page devoted to memories and accomplishments to help me stay encouraged and grateful. Other people also use charts to track spending and healthy habits, but I've not kept up with these charts. But that's the beauty of it- it's totally customizable to what you want your planner to be and you can change it up as you go.
You can certainly use any notebook you have lying around, but I am in love with my super portable Leuchtturm. I chose it over moleskin or any other blank notebook is because the pages are already numbered, indexes are pre-printed, and there are two ribbons to serve as bookmarks. There's also handy folder in the back, but I think Moleskin has that feature too. Leuchtturm also comes with some perforated pages incase you need to make a tear-out list (hello my birth plan!) or something less permanent.
So anyway, that's a sneak peek into my bullet journal/planner that's always within arm's reach! I know everyone has their little systems for organizing life! If you're looking for a more analog method that's still customizable, you might want to give this one a try!