Bullet Journaling 101: How to Start a Bullet Journal

What is a Bullet Journal?

Have you ever thought about starting a bullet journal, but you thought the pages you saw on Instagram and Pinterest looked too complicated? This is the post for you. I’m going to share with you how the original bullet journal is set up and then how I customize the system to work in my traveler’s notebook instead of the traditional Leutturm1917 or notebook. The most important thing I want you to take away from this post is this: anyone can keep a bullet journal regardless of artistic ability, time, or funds. As long as you have access to a pen and any notebook, you can keep a bullet journal, or bujo, as some enthusiasts call them on Instagram.

This post contains affiliate links to Amazon.com.  If you purchase products from these links, I’ll earn a small commission at no extra cost to you.  To read my full disclosure statement, click here.

bullet journaling for beginners
Bullet journaling 101

Bullet Journaling Basics

If you’ve never heard of a bullet journal before, go read what the creator of the system, Ryder Carroll, has to say about the system here, and then come back so that I can break it down for you. I think it’s important to read what the creator has to say about it, but there are a lot of technical terms used in the link, so I’ll simplify the key ideas below.

Key and Index

Whatever style of notebook or journal you choose to use for your bullet journal, you need to make sure the pages are numbered so that you can index your entries. If the pages are unnumbered, take the time to write in the page numbers to spare yourself a headache later. Since your bullet journal can be used to record anything and everything, you want to make sure you can quickly locate your entries.

key and index for bujo
The index and key pages for my current bullet journal. I keep it embellishment-free since I need to be able to find what I need quickly.

I’m the first to admit that in my current set up with my traveler’s notebook, I don’t index all of my weekly pages because the insert I record them in is almost exclusively for weekly spreads and has a limited number of pages. I keep separate inserts for my collections (more on what this is later) and journal entries. However, I do index collections.

The key is straightforward. These are the symbols you use on daily and weekly pages to be able to have an overview of your daily and weekly tasks. I use commonly used symbols for my bullet journal. I use a square for tasks, circle for events, and triangles for appointments. In addition, I use exclamation points for important reminders, lightbulbs for ideas, hearts for good memories, and dots for general notes. Below is a close up of my key so you can see how I fill in my symbols.

bullet journal key
A closer look at my key. You don’t have to be artistically inclined to create symbols.

You can use whatever you’d like for symbols for your own bullet journal. They don’t have to be complicated or even well drawn. All you need is are symbols that make sense to you and you are consistent in their use.

The Future Log and Monthly Log

The future log is one of the biggest complaints people have about bullet journaling because it can be difficult to record future plans in your journal if you make your daily and weekly pages as you go. However, if you take the time to make space to make an overview of the year, you can fill in as much of the year you know about on those pages. I like the suggestion of drawing a grid for a six-month calendar on bulletjournal.com’s getting started link here.

The monthly log is a more detailed overview of your month, complete with important events, dates, and a to-do list. As for me, I combine my yearly and monthly log. In my traveler’s notebook, I have an insert with calendar pages and each month has a notes section I use to keep track of important dates, to-do lists, and reminders. Sometimes, I’ll highlight or write directly on the calendar squares, but I find that simply writing in the Notes section is enough for me. Below is an example from April:

monthly log in bullet journal
I love decorating my monthly pages with a theme but you can make your pages as simple or embellished as you’d like. There is no right or wrong way to decorate your pages.

Daily and Weekly Logs

This is the core of the planning part of your bullet journal. You can record your days individually on their own page, a week at a time, or do both. I find doing a weekly layout serves my purposes best because I don’t always have time every day to create a new layout. A key to successful planning is to make a point to sit down once a week to plan out the week ahead. I use Friday afternoon to create my layouts and on Sundays, I reflect on my previous week.

weekly layout in bullet journal
Here is one of my weekly layouts from April. I include a section to make a note of upcoming events and a small habit tracker.

On each day of the week, I use the symbols from the key to record my plans for the day and I check in at the end of the day to fill out my habit tracker. If you are unfamiliar with habit trackers, read my post here.

Migration

Migration is simply the process of rescheduling a task that has gone uncompleted. The act of physically rewriting a task until you get it done makes you think about your priorities. If you are consistently unable to finish a task, you need to think about why that is happening. After rewriting a task a few times, ask yourself if you really want or need to complete the task. If it is important, look at your schedule to see if there’s something you can move to make it happen.

Collections

One of the cool features of bullet journals is you can keep collections of anything and everything you can imagine in them. You can track shows on Netflix to binge watch, books you’ve read or want to read, self-care ideas, savings, Instagram followers, or places you want to see. One of my favorite pages I made in my collections is dedicated to my one little word of the year, Rise. Make sure you index your collections so that you can refer to them later.

One Little Word Rise page in my traveler's notebook
One Little Word Rise page in my bullet journal

The Magic of Bullet Journaling

If you are still feeling overwhelmed after reading about bullet journaling, don’t worry. Your bullet journal does not have to be elaborate. I highly recommend you start simply, with a pen and your notebook of choice. Washi tape is an inexpensive tool for decorating and can make your pages pop without a lot of extra work. If you find that you don’t like your layout on a given day or week, all you have to do is change it the next day. Unlike a planner with preprinted layouts, you don’t have to wait to make changes. There are no rules to how you record your works, only that it works for you.

The key to successful bullet journaling is that you take the time to check in with it every day for at least five minutes. I like to do this at the beginning of my day after morning pages and right before bed. Even if you only have time to look over your daily to-do list in the morning, you’ll be better prepared for the day ahead.

Tools to Start Your Own Bullet Journal

If you need further help deciding if bullet journaling is right for you, check out my post 5 Things I Wish I Knew Before Starting My Bujo. Ready to get started? Below are several supplies to begin your own bullet journal. You can also check my resources page for more tools.

If you purchase anything from the links below, I’ll get a small commission at no extra cost to you. I appreciate your support!

If you have any questions about keeping a bullet journal, ask me in the comments. I’d love to help you get started!

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how to start a bullet journal
Bullet Journaling 101

How to Use Your Bujo for Self-Care: Reflection

Welcome to Week 8: Reflection of the Bullet Journal Challenge series! In case you missed it, the #BulletJournalChallenge announced on www.bulletjournal.com is the perfect way to find inspiration for all the ways you can use a bujo for self-care. The details of the challenge are here. My post about Week 7, professional care, can be found here.

This post contains affiliate links to Amazon.com.  If you purchase products from these links, I’ll earn a small commission at no extra cost to you.  To read my full disclosure statement, click here.

Reflection on the bullet journal challenge
7 Ways to Use Your Bullet Journal for Self-Care: Reflection

This week, I’ll round up a few of my favorite ideas from the challenge and share how the challenge has helped me decide which habits I want to keep track of in my weekly layouts.

Personal Care

Journaling

My favorite way to use my bujo for personal care is the journaling section of my traveler’s notebook.  Sometimes, I’ll decorate the pages, but this space is supposed to be for my benefit, so if I only want to write, I’ll use the pages either for a brain-dump or a regular journal entry.  If I’m feeling stuck or looking for inspiration, I use a journaling prompt.

Personal Care pages
Here’s my insert for journal entries in my traveler’s notebook.

Physical Care

Morning and Evening Routines

I’m not a huge fitness buff, though I enjoy doing gentle yoga and going on walks when the weather permits. I chose morning and evening routines because I think the way we start and finish our days has so much impact on our emotional and physical well-being.

If you’re at a loss for morning and evening routines, here are a few of my favorite ideas:

For mornings:

  • Morning pages
  • Eat breakfast
  • Prayer/devotion/mantra/setting intentions for the day
  • Exercise (walking, yoga, dancing, YouTube workout, etc.)
  • Spend five minutes reviewing your bujo and plans for the day
  • Listen to an inspiring TED talk (either as you get ready or on your commute)

For evenings:

  • No screen time two hours before bed
  • Journaling
  • Coloring
  • Reading
  • Exercise (walking, yoga, dancing, YouTube workout, etc.)
  • Morning pages”  (if your mornings are truly too crazy, you can write your pages at night)
  • Prepare for the next day (lay out clothes, prep meals, pack bag, etc.)
  • Go to bed at a reasonable hour

Psychological Care

Make a Not-To-Do List

Are you someone who needs to quit worrying about something or are you a chronic people pleaser? If so, this suggestion can be a powerful tool to help you. Make a page dedicated to all the things you want to stop doing. For example, you could write “I’m going to stop worrying about what people think of me” or “I’m going to stop putting myself last.” You could also use the Not-To-Do List to help you with a positive self-image and write “I’m going to stop feeling bad about my body.” The stories you tell yourself are more powerful than you may realize. Make sure the stories you are telling yourself help you become your best self.

Psychological Care
When creating your Not-To-Do List, it may help you to remember your “Why.”

Emotional Care

Mood Trackers

There are a few different ways you could incorporate mood trackers in your bujo. You could choose to record your mood in a tracker on your daily pages, weekly spreads, monthly pages, or make a separate page for tracking your mood for the entire year. I was inspired to use the My Year in Pixels idea that can be found on Pinterest and Instagram. Every day, I color each square the corresponding shade for each mood and as the year goes on, it’ll be fun to see all the different colors. So far, it has been a colorful start to my year!

My Year in Pixels
My Year in Pixels was already turning out to be so colorful even in February. I can’t wait to see what it looks like by the end of the year!

Environmental Care

Cleaning Schedules

There are a few ways you could use your bullet journal to keep your cleaning routine. You could make a separate page to refer to your master cleaning schedule for weekly and monthly tasks. I find it helpful to have my daily cleaning tasks as a part of my to-do list in my bujo, mixed in with my other action items for the day. Alternatively, in your weekly spread, you could make a checklist of all the cleaning tasks you want to accomplish that week and check off each item as you complete them. I personally can’t make my cleaning routines a floating list because I know if I don’t schedule my tasks for a certain day, I won’t get it done.

To simplify my cleaning routine, I follow Clean Mama‘s routine. As a blogger, writer, and mother, I don’t have a lot of time to devote to cleaning my house, so her easy-to-follow schedule helps me stay on track even on my busy days. I won’t go into her whole system because she does an amazing job of explaining it here.

This book has changed how I look at cleaning (and I’m not a domestic goddess.) If you purchase through my link, I’ll earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. I appreciate your support!

Social Care

Collections

There are a few different collections you could keep to help you with social care. My favorite way to do collections pages is to keep lists. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Keep a contacts page with the names of people in your circle who support you. You should keep their contact information next to their name so that you can send them thank-you notes for their help.
  • While on the subject of contacts, you could keep a list of your immediate friends’ and family’s birthdays and other meaningful dates so that you can plan ahead.
  • Make a list of all the ways you show love to yourself, either through a written list or sketches.
  • Keep a page of happy memories to reflect on. You could either make this a written list, or if you’re feeling artistic, you could sketch the moments on your pages. You could also add photos to your page of happy moments.

Professional Care

Trackers

Depending on what your career is, there are many ways your bullet journal can help make your professional life easier. If you’re a project manager or engineer working on an assignment with several deadlines, you could create a tracker for your project’s key milestones. If you’re a fellow writer, I find that keeping a submission tracker helps me keep up with not only who I submitted my work to, but also when. This makes it so much easier for me to keep track of when I need to follow up with a piece I’ve submitted.

Other tracker ideas for helping your professional life:

  • If you’re on the hunt for a job, keep a tracker with the names of places you’re applying to and leave room for the date you first contacted them for the position. You could also write down relevant information about the company or the job on this page.
  • Bloggers, you could make a tracker for your page views, social media followers, and so much more! Blogging has so many numbers involved that having a tracker will help you so much when you’re looking to work with a brand for sponsored content. As time goes on, it’ll also serve as a record of how far you’ve grown.

For more tips on stress-free habit trackers, check out my post here.

Reflection on the Bullet Journal Challenge

weekly layout in bullet journal
A weekly layout from the beginning of April.

My biggest takeaway from the bullet journal challenge is that there is an infinite number of ways that I can be using my bujo to help me take better care of myself. After completing the challenge, I thought about which habits I most need help with keeping track of, and for the time being, I’ve narrowed it down to these five:

  • exercise
  • breathe
  • fiction
  • read
  • declutter

I still have been struggling to keep up with exercise, but for the purposes of my tracker I count dance parties with my two young children, yoga, and going on walks as exercise. As long as I do one of those things, I get to check off the box for the day.

I put “breathe” as one of my habits because it’s a simple, effective way to help me be mindful when I’m busy or stressed. This is especially useful if I don’t feel like doing a longer meditation. Sometimes, taking a minute to only focusing on breathing with the phone on silent and the tv off is all I need for a reset.

“Fiction” is on my list to help me remember my why. My first love is writing fiction and it’s easy for it to fall by the wayside as I work on the blog and get caught up in my everyday routine. Having it as part of my habit tracker holds me accountable.

It feels strange to have “read” on my list since I love reading so much, but lately, I’ve needed the reminder to read for fun. It’s nice having a relaxing hobby on my to-do list.

The last item in my habit tracker, “declutter,” is so important but can be difficult for me to remember to do sometimes. I struggle with the idea that decluttering doesn’t have to take a long time, and so what I’m trying to turn into a habit is setting a timer for 10 minutes and seeing how much decluttering I can get done in a short amount of time. This is an area I’m still working on but I’m confident my habit tracker will help me reach my goal.

Did you participate in the challenge? I’d love to hear your thoughts about it, especially if it inspired you to change how you use your bullet journal. Tell me about it in the comments section.

The Bullet Journal Challenge Series

If you’re interested in participating in the challenge on your own time, I’ve listed each week’s topic here:

If you’re on Instagram, make sure you follow the hashtag #BulletJournalChallenge for inspiration! Also, if you’re reading this long after the challenge is over, I encourage you to do the challenge anyway.  Self-care is so important to your overall well-being, and it’s never too late to start taking better care of yourself.

More Tools to Use Your Bujo for Self-Care

If you’re looking for more inspiration for using your bujo for self-care, sign up for my email list to receive free journaling prompts and printable quotes for your bujo. I’ll be adding more freebies, so check your inbox for updates!

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Reflection on the bullet journal challenge
7 Ways to Use Your Bullet Journal for Self-Care: Reflection

{Affiliate} World Stationery Day Competition

Hosted by Old English Co.

four planners
You could win all four! Source: oldenglishcompany.com

In honor of World Stationery Day on April 25th, Old English Co. is hosting a contest to win a set of four gorgeous planners. Scroll down to check out the planners and details for how you can win!

This post contains affiliate links to oldenglishprints.com.  If you purchase products from these links, I’ll earn a small commission at no extra cost to you.  To read my full disclosure statement, click here.

 

black planner
Source: oldenglishcompany.com
planner interior
Interior of the blush pink and gold planner. Source: oldenglishcompany.com
four planners giveaway
Enter to win all four planners! Source: oldenglishcompany.com

 

blush pink planner
Source: oldenglishcompany.com

Contest Details

To enter the giveaway, click on the link here: https://oldenglishprints.com/pages/competition-win-a-set-of-planners. Enter by April 25th, 2018, and the winner will be chosen at random on April 26th, 2018.

four planners
You could win all four! Source: oldenglishcompany.com

All you have to do is email Old English Co. your favorite stationery products from their website. For inspiration, check out: https://oldenglishprints.com/collections/planners

four planners giveaway
Enter to win all four planners! Source: oldenglishcompany.com

Good luck to everyone entering the contest!

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If you won, would you use all four planners or gift a couple to your friends? Let me know in the comments.

How to Use Your Bullet Journal for Self-Care: Professional Care

How to Use Your Bullet Journal for Self-Care: Professional Care
How to Use Your Bullet Journal for Self-Care: Professional Care

8 Ways Your Bujo Can Help Your Work Life

Welcome to Week 7: Professional Care of the Bullet Journal Challenge series! In case you missed it, the #BulletJournalChallenge announced on www.bulletjournal.com is the perfect way to find inspiration for all the ways you can use a bujo for self-care. The details of the challenge are here. My post about Week 6, social care, can be found here.

This week’s topic is professional care, which includes:

  • Work
  • Purpose
  • Finances

This post contains affiliate links to Amazon.com.  If you purchase products from these links, I’ll earn a small commission at no extra cost to you.  To read my full disclosure statement, click here.

Below are eight ways you can use your bullet journal for taking care of your professional care needs.

Work

Trackers

Depending on what your career is, there are many ways your bullet journal can help make your professional life easier. If you’re a project manager or engineer working on an assignment with several deadlines, you could create a tracker for your project’s key milestones. If you’re a fellow writer, I find that keeping a submission tracker helps me keep up with not only who I submitted my work to, but also when. This makes it so much easier for me to keep track of when I need to follow up with a piece I’ve submitted.

Other tracker ideas for helping your professional life:

  • If you’re on the hunt for a job, keep a tracker with the names of places you’re applying to and leave room for the date you first contacted them for the position. You could also write down relevant information about the company or the job on this page.
  • Bloggers, you could make a tracker for your page views, social media followers, and so much more! Blogging has so many numbers involved that having a tracker will help you so much when you’re looking to work with a brand for sponsored content. As time goes on, it’ll also serve as a record of how far you’ve grown.

For more tips on stress-free habit trackers, check out my post here.

Brain Dumps

A popular exercise to promote creative problem solving is to brainstorm 5-10 problems and solutions related to your work every day. If you don’t want to use your morning pages to do this exercise, you could use pages out of your bullet journal for brainstorming. Don’t forget to index these pages; you never know when one of your brainstorming sessions might hold the answer to a problem later on!

Calendars

If you’re a blogger or a writer, you could keep a copy of your editorial calendar in your bullet journal. Keeping an editorial calendar will help you always know what you need to write next and prevent you from wasting time brainstorming your next topic.

Other ways you can use your bullet journal’s calendar:

  • Make a note of important dates for your deadlines.
  • Keep track of conferences related to your profession. Even if you can’t attend, you know to be on the lookout for news related to the conference or convention.
  • Write down the dates for meetings and interviews. Even if you keep track of these on your phone or a digital calendar, you can be sure you won’t miss an important interview or meeting if your app fails.

Collections

Here are a few collection ideas that can help your professional life:

  • Make a collection of your accomplishments at work, so that when it’s time to update your resume, you don’t have to guess about the dates you reached milestones with your projects or won awards.
  • Make a list of your favorite professional development books, blogs, and podcasts.
  • Keep a physical contacts list of your top contacts such as previous employers, mentors, and other professional contacts so that you can always have this information ready. This saves so much time when applying for a new job or if you’re looking for leads for an assignment.
  • Make a page all about your dream job and ways you can work towards having it. You can use this page as motivation while you chase your dream.

Purpose

Collections

Here are a few ideas for collections to help you define your purpose:

  • Make a list of your favorite inspirational quotes. (Need help with this? Check out my post here for some of my favorite quotes and some free printable journaling cards!)
  • List your favorite personal development books, blogs, and podcasts. My personal favorite is The Artist’s Way, by Julia Cameron

If you purchase through my link, I’ll earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. I appreciate your support!

  • Write down your personal mission statement. This could be as silly or serious as you want. Below, you can see mine:
Personal Mission Statement
Personal Mission Statement in my commonplace book.

Journal

If you’re feeling adrift or the idea of writing down your personal mission statement sounds intimidating, you may benefit from journaling or doing morning pages for a few days to see if you notice any recurring themes in your personal life. If you’re new to journaling or in need of inspiration, subscribe to my email list for prompts and updates here.

Finances

Trackers

There are so many different ideas for financial trackers on Pinterest and Instagram. Just search for #savingstracker or #spendingtracker for inspirations. Here are some ideas for financial trackers:

  • Savings tracker: If you’re saving for a particular goal, like the down payment on a house, vacation, or a car, you could decorate the page to match the theme.
  • Spending tracker: You could do this a few different ways. You could either keep track of the amount of money you’re spending or if you’re trying to do zero spend days, you could keep track of the days you don’t spend money.
  • Bill tracker: You can keep track of bill due dates and amounts here. Make sure you leave room to check off when you’ve paid your bill.
  • Credit score tracker: If you’re working towards improving your credit score for a big loan such as a mortgage, you could keep track of your credit score from month-to-month here.

Collections

Do you need help staying motivated to keep up with your finances? Collections can help you. Here are a few ideas:

  • Make a note of your favorite blogs and podcasts on finances, saving, and budgeting.
  • Make a list of things you want to save for, both big and little. Don’t be afraid to dream big here!
  • Create a list of your favorite books on budgeting and finance. Mine is The Total Money Makeover, By Dave Ramsey

If you purchase through my link, I’ll earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. I appreciate your support!

The Bullet Journal Challenge Series

If you’re interested in participating in the challenge, I’ve listed each week’s topic here:

If you’re on Instagram, make sure you follow the hashtag #BulletJournalChallenge for inspiration! Also, if you’re reading this long after the challenge is over, I encourage you to do the challenge anyway.  Self-care is so important to your overall well-being, and it’s never too late to start taking better care of yourself.

More Tools to Use Your Bujo for Self-Care

If you’re looking for more inspiration for using your bujo for self-care, sign up for my email list to receive free journaling prompts and printable quotes for your bujo. I’ll be adding more freebies, so check your inbox for updates!

7 Days of Journaling Prompts Renew EditionSubscribe to my email list to receive your copy!

 

Subscribe for printables + access




Do you use your bullet journal to help your professional life? I’d love to hear your ideas in the comments!

How to Use Your Bullet Journal for Self-Care: Professional Care
How to Use Your Bullet Journal for Self-Care: Professional Care

 

How to Use Your Bullet Journal for Self-Care: Social Care

How to Use Your Bullet Journal for Self-Care: Social Care
How to Use Your Bullet Journal for Self-Care: Social Care

Welcome to Week 6: Social Care of the Bullet Journal Challenge series! In case you missed it, the #BulletJournalChallenge announced on www.bulletjournal.com is the perfect way to find inspiration for all the ways you can use a bujo for self-care. The details of the challenge are here. My post about Week 5, environmental care, can be found here.

This week’s topic is social care, which includes:

  • What are you doing to show yourself love
  • Happy moments to reflect on
  • Make a list of people who support your effort

This post contains affiliate links to Amazon.com.  If you purchase products from these links, I’ll earn a small commission at no extra cost to you.  To read my full disclosure statement, click here.

Below are three ways you can use your bujo for taking care of your social care needs.

3 Ways You Can Use Your Bujo for Social Care

Habit Trackers

In my layout this week, I left a space for “social” in my habit tracker to keep track of keeping in touch with friends and family once a day. My intent is not to simply click like on one of their posts but to check in with either a text, call, or private message once a day. I’m not always very good at keeping in touch with friends and family when I’m busy with my kids or my writing, so I’m thankful for this week’s theme for the challenge.

Bujo Weekly Layout
My layout for this week of the challenge.

You could also make a separate layout to keep track of friends and family if this is a habit you want to track long term. This is especially helpful for long-distance friendships and for those who want to have relationships go deeper than liking posts on social media.

If the idea of keeping a habit tracker sounds overwhelming, check out my post on keeping your habit tracking stress-free here.

Collections

There are a few different collections you could keep to help you with social care. My favorite way to do collections pages is to keep lists. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Keep a contacts page with the names of people in your circle who support you. You should keep their contact information next to their name so that you can send them thank-you notes for their help.
  • While on the subject of contacts, you could keep a list of your immediate friends’ and family’s birthdays and other meaningful dates so that you can plan ahead.
  • Make a list of all the ways you show love to yourself, either through a written list or sketches.
  • Keep a page of happy memories to reflect on. You could either make this a written list, or if you’re feeling artistic, you could sketch the moments on your pages. You could also add photos to your page of happy moments.

Affirmations Page

If you don’t do affirmations in your morning pages, you could use a few pages out of your bujo to write down daily affirmations. If you don’t want to use a whole page devote to affirmations, you could always write down a daily affirmation on your weekly or daily pages. The important part of affirmations is that you remember to repeat it to yourself throughout the day. Don’t write it in the morning only to forget about it after a few hours. It may help you to revisit the page you wrote the affirmation on later in the day to keep it fresh in your memory. I recommend checking in with your bullet journal at lunch and just before bed if you can spare the time.

The Bullet Journal Challenge Series

If you’re interested in participating in the challenge, I’ve listed each week’s topic here:

If you’re on Instagram, make sure you follow the hashtag #BulletJournalChallenge for inspiration! Also, if you’re reading this long after the challenge is over, I encourage you to do the challenge anyway.  Self-care is so important to your overall well-being, and it’s never too late to start taking better care of yourself.

More Tools to Use Your Bujo for Self-Care

If you’re looking for more inspiration for using your bujo for self-care, sign up for my email list to receive free journaling prompts and printable quotes for your bujo. I’ll be adding more freebies, so check your inbox for updates!

Subscribe

Subscribe for printables + access




Bullet Journal Supplies

Here are my favorite tools for making my weekly layouts in my bujo. If you purchase anything from my links, I’ll earn a small commission at no extra fee for you. To read my full disclosure statement, click here.

How to Use Your Bullet Journal for Self-Care: Social Care
How to Use Your Bullet Journal for Self-Care: Social Care

How to Use Your Bujo for Self-Care: Environmental Care

7 Ways to Use Your Bujo for Self Care Environmental Care
7 Ways to Use Your Bujo for Self Care Environmental Care

Welcome to Week 5: Environmental Care of the Bullet Journal Challenge series! In case you missed it, the #BulletJournalChallenge announced on www.bulletjournal.com is the perfect way to find inspiration for all the ways you can use a bujo for self-care. The details of the challenge are here. My post about Week 4, emotional care, can be found here.

This week’s topic is environmental care, which includes:

  • Home
  • Embracing nature

This post contains affiliate links to Amazon.com.  If you purchase products from these links, I’ll earn a small commission at no extra cost to you.  To read my full disclosure statement, click here.

Below are seven ways you can use your bujo for taking care of your environmental care needs.

Home

1. Cleaning Schedules

There are a few ways you could use your bullet journal to keep your cleaning routine. You could make a separate page to refer to your master cleaning schedule for weekly and monthly tasks. I find it helpful to have my daily cleaning tasks as a part of my to-do list in my bujo, mixed in with my other action items for the day. Alternatively, in your weekly spread, you could make a checklist of all the cleaning tasks you want to accomplish that week and check off each item as you complete them. I personally can’t make my cleaning routines a floating list because I know if I don’t schedule my tasks for a certain day, I won’t get it done.

To simplify my cleaning routine, I follow Clean Mama‘s routine. As a blogger, writer, and mother, I don’t have a lot of time to devote to cleaning my house, so her easy-to-follow schedule helps me stay on track even on my busy days. I won’t go into her whole system because she does an amazing job of explaining it here.

This book has changed how I look at cleaning (and I’m not a domestic goddess.) If you purchase through my link, I’ll earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. I appreciate your support!

2. Decluttering Challenges

If you’re participating in an online decluttering challenge or you’re inspired by Marie Kondo’s book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing,  you could make a habit tracker specifically for completing the challenge. This would work for either its own separate layout and page or within your daily and weekly pages.

Weekly layout in bullet journal
My habit tracker this week includes a 10 minute declutter and on each day of the week, I have my daily cleaning task listed.

3. Home Projects/Spring Cleaning

If your home is about to undergo major renovations or you want to do a deep spring cleaning, you could make a separate layout to keep track of the projects you want to complete. If you’re feeling creative, you could draw the outline of a house and write in the tasks specific to each room.

My husband and I are looking to move in the near future, so I will be creating a layout based off of all of our to-do lists for getting our current house ready to list and our requirements for our new home. Stay tuned for updates to this post for pictures of the layout!

Embracing Nature

5. Observations from Walks

If you want to incorporate mindfulness with a healthy habit, recording your observations from going on walks is a great practice, whether you go walking alone in trails or in a more urban environment downtown. You could journal conversations you overheard, animals you spotted, or unusual plants you saw while out. If you’re unafraid of getting your bullet journal messy, you could keep pressed flowers or dried leaves from your walks taped to your pages.

6. Ideas for Beautifying Your Neighborhood

You could create a page for brainstorming ideas about volunteer opportunities, charities, or small acts you could do to help make your neighborhood a better place. You could break down the ideas by time commitment, from simple ideas such as bringing a trash bag with you on your next walk or visit the park to pick up litter to bigger projects, such as volunteering for cleaning up along the highway or a community volunteer day event.

7. Waste Reduction Ideas

If you’re looking to reduce the amount of waste you produce, you could devote a page about your goals. Break down your goal, whether it’s zero waste or simply wanting to produce less trash per week, into actionable steps. Start small, and give yourself time to reach your goals. You could use a habit tracker to keep yourself accountable while you work towards your end goal.

The Bullet Journal Challenge Series

If you’re interested in participating in the challenge, I’ve listed each week’s topic here:

If you’re on Instagram, make sure you follow the hashtag #BulletJournalChallenge for inspiration! Also, if you’re reading this long after the challenge is over, I encourage you to do the challenge anyway.  Self-care is so important to your overall well-being, and it’s never too late to start taking better care of yourself.

More Tools to Use Your Bujo for Self-Care

If you’re looking for more inspiration for using your bujo for self-care, sign up for my email list to receive free journaling prompts and printable quotes for your bujo. I’ll be adding more freebies, so check your inbox for updates!

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7 Ways to Use Your Bujo for Self Care Environmental Care
7 Ways to Use Your Bujo for Self Care Environmental Care

 

How to Use Your Bujo for Self-Care: Emotional Care

4 Ways to Use Your Bujo for Self-Care: Emotional Care
4 Ways to Use Your Bujo for Self-Care: Emotional Care

Welcome to Week 4: Emotional Care of the Bullet Journal Challenge series! In case you missed it, the #BulletJournalChallenge announced on www.bulletjournal.com is the perfect way to find inspiration for all the ways you can use a bujo for self-care. The details of the challenge are here. My post about Week 3, psychological care, can be found here.

This week’s topic is psychological care, which includes:

  • Things that bring you joy
  • How you reset
  • Tracking experiences and how you feel

This post contains affiliate links to Amazon.com.  If you purchase products from these links, I’ll earn a small commission at no extra cost to you.  To read my full disclosure statement, click here.

Below are four ways you can use your bujo for taking care of your emotional care needs.

Mood Trackers

There are a few different ways you could incorporate mood trackers in your bujo. You could choose to record your mood in a tracker on your daily pages, weekly spreads, monthly pages, or make a separate page for tracking your mood for the entire year. I was inspired to use the My Year in Pixels idea that can be found on Pinterest and Instagram. Every day, I color each square the corresponding shade for each mood and as the year goes on, it’ll be fun to see all the different colors. So far, it has been a colorful start to my year!

My Year in Pixels
My Year in Pixels is already turning out to be so colorful. I can’t wait to see what it looks like by the end of the year!

Other Habit Trackers

One of my habits this week in my tracker simply says, “breathe” to remind me to pause at least once a day and spend a few minutes each day only focusing on my breathing. This sounds easy enough, but it’s shockingly an easy thing to forget when you’re busy and taking care of two small children as I am. I find that after I do this mini-meditation I’m much calmer and relaxed.

If you find yourself frequently stressed and think that you don’t even have a few minutes to just breathe, then it’s even more important that you take the time to do it. You’ll thank yourself later. If the idea of keeping track of habits sounds too consuming to you, please read about how I keep my habit tracking stress-free here.

Weekly Layout for Emotional Care
This week’s habit tracker was all about emotional care. Even the simple reminder to take a moment to focus on only breathing has been so helpful.

Make Lists

I’m a big fan of list making. I think it’s a fun, simple way to journal and you can include so much information without it taking a lot of time. Lists you could make for your emotional self-care include:

  • Things that bring you joy, even if it’s as simple as a going on a walk.
  • How to reset your day when your feeling stressed or going badly for you. You could give yourself quick fixes like a playlist that always cheers you up or write down books to read when you’re feeling low.
  • Favorite memories of the month.
  • Funny quotes you overhead while out and about.

Document Your Days

Here are a few ways you could add documentation to your bujo:

  • Leave space in your daily or weekly pages to leave journal entries. If you’re worried that journaling every day sounds like a huge time commitment, write only a single line about your day each day.
  • Write a Week in Review either on your weekly pages or directly after the weekly pages. Jot down the highs and lows of the week, along with your favorite memories and events you attended.
  • Make pages entirely devoted to journaling. Index your entries by topic so that later you can quickly find pages about certain topics. You can revisit how you felt about certain days or events if you take the time to do this.
  • Take pictures with either a Polaroid Snap or print the ones from your phone and place them in your bujo with a dated note about the picture.

Here are my favorite tools for documenting pictures to include in my bujo and scrapbook. If you purchase anything from my links, I’ll earn a small commission at no extra fee for you. To read my full disclosure statement, click here.

The Bullet Journal Challenge Series

If you’re interested in participating in the challenge, I’ve listed each week’s topic here:

If you’re on Instagram, make sure you follow the hashtag #BulletJournalChallenge for inspiration! Also, if you’re reading this long after the challenge is over, I encourage you to do the challenge anyway.  Self-care is so important to your overall well-being, and it’s never too late to start taking better care of yourself.

More Tools to Use Your Bujo for Self-Care

If you’re looking for more inspiration for using your bujo for self-care, sign up for my email list to receive free journaling prompts and printable quotes for your bujo. I’ll be adding more freebies, so check your inbox for updates!Subscribe

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4 Ways to Use Your Bujo for Self-Care: Emotional Care
4 Ways to Use Your Bujo for Self-Care: Emotional Care

How to Use Your Bujo for Self-Care: Psychological Care

4 Ways to Use Your Bujo for Self Care: Psychological Care
4 Ways to Use Your Bujo for Self Care: Psychological Care

Welcome to Week 3: Psychological Care of the Bullet Journal Challenge series! In case you missed it, the #BulletJournalChallenge announced on www.bulletjournal.com is the perfect way to find inspiration for all the ways you can use a bujo for self-care. The details of the challenge are here. My post about Week 2, physical care, can be found here.

This week’s topic is psychological care, which includes:

  • Relaxation
  • Creativity
  • What can you say “no” to?
  • How do you prioritize self-care when life is crazy?

This post contains affiliate links to Amazon.com.  If you purchase products from these links, I’ll earn a small commission at no extra cost to you.  To read my full disclosure statement, click here.

Below are four ways you can use your bujo for taking care of your psychological needs.

Habit Trackers

The most straightforward way to use your bujo for psychological care is to use your habit trackers to keep track of which creative pursuits or even simply track relaxation as a reminder to take some time to yourself. If creative pursuits are something you enjoy, but you haven’t made them part of your routine yet, start small. Don’t feel like you have to add a lot of new habits in one week. If you read the previous posts in the series, you know that I don’t track too many habits at a time. To read more about why I only track a few habits at a time, click here.

This week, the habits I made sure to include in my tracker were journaling, sketching, and writing fiction. I made a point of distinguishing writing fiction instead of only saying “write,” because I wanted to make the effort to work on my fiction projects that have had to sit on the back burner for the last few months (more on this later.)

Psychological Care
This week helped me focus on my “why”: why I blog, why I spend my time the way I do, and why I love to create.

Make a Not-To-Do List

Are you someone who needs to quit worrying about something or are you a chronic people pleaser? If so, this suggestion can be a powerful tool to help you. Make a page dedicated to all the things you want to stop doing. For example, you could write “I’m going to stop worrying about what people think of me” or “I’m going to stop putting myself last.” You could also use the Not-To-Do List to help you with a positive self-image and write “I’m going to stop feeling bad about my body.” The stories you tell yourself are more powerful than you may realize. Make sure the stories you are telling yourself help you become your best self.

Make a Page Dedicated to Relaxation

You could make a list of all the things you like to do to relax, including a list of books or shows you watch to help you unwind. In addition, you could list your essentials for relaxation, whether it’s bath bombs, magazines, favorite pair of cozy socks, or a peaceful coloring book. After you make your checklist of essentials, you could make a step-by-step guide to how you relax to look back on next time you’re feeling tense.

Here are a few of my essentials for relaxing. If you purchase products from these links, I’ll earn a small commission at no extra cost to you.  To read my full disclosure statement, click here.

More Ways to Use Your Bujo for Psychological Care

If life has been chaotic for you, keeping up with self-care and your own well-being can easily be neglected. If you fall into the trap of taking care of everyone else but ignoring your own needs, then you should consider making a “When was the last time I…” page in your bujo. At the top of the page, write out the phrase, “When was the last time I…” and underneath it, list out some of your favorite self-care practices that you have a hard time remembering to do. Next to each item listed, leave room for you to write the date after you complete it. The next time you feel worn out, return to the page and check to see if you’ve been neglecting yourself again.

I could have used a list like this over the last few months as my life became incredibly busy. I write fiction, but I was constantly letting my other responsibilities take priority over writing. It was making me feel restless, but I wasn’t aware at the time that was what was bothering me. During this week’s challenge, I revisited writing fiction, and though at first, I struggled to put pen to paper, afterward I felt much better than I had in weeks. Making a “When was the last time I…” page is high on my to-do list of collections to include in my bujo.

The Bullet Journal Challenge Series

If you’re interested in participating in the challenge, I’ve listed each week’s topic here:

If you’re on Instagram, make sure you follow the hashtag #BulletJournalChallenge for inspiration! Also, if you’re reading this long after the challenge is over, I encourage you to do the challenge anyway.  Self-care is so important to your overall well-being, and it’s never too late to start taking better care of yourself.

More Tools to Use Your Bujo for Self-Care

If you’re looking for more inspiration for using your bujo for self-care, sign up for my email list to receive free journaling prompts and printable quotes for your bujo. I’ll be adding more freebies, so check your inbox for updates!

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4 Ways to Use Your Bujo for Self Care: Psychological Care
4 Ways to Use Your Bujo for Self Care: Psychological Care

5 Things I Wish I Knew Before Starting My Bujo

Bujo
5 Things I Wish I Knew Before Starting My Bujo

Are you new to the bujo community? Did you know you can use any notebook to start your first one? Here are a few things I wish I would have known before starting my own bujo. If you don’t know what a bujo (bullet journal) is, I highly recommend going to read about it from the creator of the system, Ryder Carroll, here, and coming back to read the rest of this post.

This post contains affiliate links to Amazon.com.  If you purchase products from these links, I’ll earn a small commission at no extra cost to you.  To read my full disclosure statement, click here.

1. You Can Use Any Notebook (But Size Matters!)

If you scroll through Instagram or Pinterest for bujos, more often than not, you’ll see layouts in gorgeous notebooks, journals, and traveler’s notebooks. However, before you go out and splurge on an expensive journal, you can test out the bujo system in any spare notebook, even one you’ve already written in! The system works as long as you use it and you can make it work in anything as long as you have a key, an index, and you keep up with your pages. If you are wondering if the bujo system works for you, this is a great way to test it out. My first bujo was in an old journal that I repurposed and covered (the original cover didn’t suit me.)

One thing to keep in mind when you’re ready to purchase your bujo’s new home is the amount of space you’ll have to work with for each page. For 2018, I switched to a traveler’s notebook and it’s much more narrow than the Moleskine journal I was used to during the summer of 2017. It does impact how I make layouts. So far, I’m loving my traveler’s notebook, but there are pros and cons to using it for my bujo. (I’ll likely make a post in the future about this.)

2. Mistakes Can and Will Happen (and It’s Okay!)

It’s easy to be intimidated by the picture-perfect layouts of other people’s bujos on Pinterest and Instagram. One thing to keep in mind when you’re looking at other people’s pictures online is that you are seeing the final, polished product. There’s no real way to know if the person who posted that beautiful spread got it right on the first try or if it was the 20th attempt at the same page. Really, though, it shouldn’t matter how many tries it took someone or if they are naturally gifted. Each person’s bujo tells a unique story about their user. You do not have to be artistically inclined to successfully keep a bujo. No matter what your skill level it, it’s fun to watch your growth as you continue to use your pages and improve over time.

I made a short video about some of the mistakes I’ve already made in my bujo this year. You can click on the link here or watch it below. (I apologize for the abrupt ending; my baby was waking up and I wanted to get to him before he was loud enough to be heard in the video.)

3. Be Mindful of Where You Keep Collections

If you watched the video, you’ll know that one of the mistakes I made early on in my traveler’s notebook was keeping my Year in Pixels page in the same insert as my weekly layouts. I’ll go through this insert long before the year is over, so I’ll either need to redraw it in another insert only for collections or simply cut out the page and put it in the other insert.

Whether you are using a traditional journal or a traveler’s notebook like mine, making use of your index and recording each page number for the collections you keep in your bujo will also spare you a lot of headaches trying to figure out where everything is.

4. The Amount of Freedom

Your bujo can be anything you need it to be and you can customize it however you want. You could go minimalist with the layout or go all out with detailed drawings, stickers, and washi tape. There are no wrong answers for the amount decorating you can do. You can also make collections for anything and everything you can think of. I have seen collections for books to read, 30 Day Challenges, Netflix series to watch, self-care routines, and all kinds of health trackers, just to name a few.

Even if you don’t feel like making a fully decorated page but you want to jot down ideas or journal, you can do that on your pages, too. Just give it a place in your index so that you can refer to it later. It’ll help you gain perspective to go back and read your pages long after you’ve written them.

5. It’s Never Too Late to Change Things

The part about having a bujo I love the most is that if something isn’t working for me, I can change it whenever I want. If you are the kind of person who struggles to stick with one planner the whole year through, a bujo may be the answer your looking for. If you suddenly decide you don’t like horizontal layouts for your weekly spreads, you can switch to a vertical layout next week. You can freely experiment with the pages and learn what works for you. If a habit tracking system isn’t working for you, you don’t have to keep using the same tracker. I talk about changing up my habit trackers here.

It’s also worth noting you can start a bujo whenever you want to. You don’t have to wait for January 1st to start. You could start in the middle of April and not have to worry about wasting pages. You’d start keeping track of the dates from the day you start, not the beginning of the year.

If you are brand new to the bujo community, what would you like to know about keeping a bujo? If you’re a veteran, what would you like to have known? Let me know in the comments. I’d love to read your questions!

If you are ready to buy a bujo, here are some of my recommendations. If you purchase anything through my links, I’ll earn a small commission, at no extra cost to you. I appreciate your support!

 

 

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Bujo
5 Things I Wish I Knew Before Starting My Bujo

The Sunshine Blogger Award

blogger award
Sunshine Blogger Award

I’m breaking away from my usual format to share some fun news: Edel Pace, the creator of Pacemaker, has nominated me for The Sunshine Blogger Award, which is an honor given out by bloggers to fellow bloggers who write creative, positive, and inspiring content. The purpose is to showcase our community of bloggers and lift each other up. I’m deeply touched by the nomination!

Rules

  1. Thank blogger (s) who nominated you in the blog post and link back to their blog.
  2. Answer the 11 questions the blogger asked you.
  3. Nominate 11 new blogs to receive the award and write them 11 new questions.
  4. List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo in your post and /or on your blog.

My Answers

1. Why did you start a blog?

I started Simply Kelsey Jo to launch a platform for me to become a free-lance writer and author. I want to use my blog to support my ability to do what I really want to do: take more writing workshops and write fiction. I would like to eventually self-publish, but when I factor in the costs of hiring an editor and cover artist, it can become expensive. The idea of asking someone to work for “exposure” is repulsive to me, so I’ve decided to use any money I make from free-lancing and the blog to go towards those costs.

I could have easily taken up any number of work from home jobs, but I decided I wanted to contribute towards other people’s well-being and inspire creativity in their lives. It’s my hope that my blog reaches people who need to know that it’s okay to embrace their imperfections and take life at a slower pace.

2. What is your favorite book (s)?

I’m a bibliophile, so this question is difficult for me to answer. My tastes in books are all over the place. I love Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, the Lioness Quartet by Tamora Pierce, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman, Alice and her Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Caroll, Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, and the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling, among many others (just ask any of the poor souls who have ever helped me move.)

3. What is your favorite post you’ve written?

My favorite post that I’ve written so far is Why You Should Do Morning Pages (Even if You’re Busy) because morning pages are so important to my routine. I owe so many insights into my personal life from showing up to write my morning pages. It’s a habit I think everyone should take up, even if they don’t consider themselves to be writers.

4. What is the most adventurous thing you’ve ever done?

I’m not the most adventurous type, to be honest. Skydiving, rock climbing, and the like are not my cup of tea. For me, starting up my blog and free-lance writing business is a huge adventure in itself!

5. Your favorite food is ____________.

It’s a tie between California Rolls, Cashew Chicken, and homemade potato soup. It really depends on the season and the mood I’m in.

6. What piece of advice would you give to a younger self?

Everything you are experiencing now is temporary. The experiences you are going through now will help shape your personality, but they do not have to define you. You are not bound to your past, so go forward and create your own future.

7. What is your favorite inspirational quote(s)?

“Comparison is the thief of joy” -Theodore Roosevelt

“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.” -Maya Angelou

  1. “You are allowed to be both a Masterpiece and a Work in Progress, simultaneously.” -Elizabeth Gilbert

For more of my favorite quotes, check out this post here.

8. A country/place you would like to visit.

I’ve wanted to go to Japan since I was a teenager. I’d love to arrange a visit to Studio Ghibli and their museum! Also on my list: Ireland, Scottland, Denmark, and the Netherlands. I’d love to go back to London and Cardiff someday, too. I haven’t traveled outside the U.S. much, but I’d like to visit more places!

9. What is your favorite season? Why?

Fall is my favorite season. If I could live in a state of perpetual autumn with the weather cool but not cold, comfortably wear boots every day, and enjoy warm comfort food, I’d be in heaven. Maybe I should add Portland, Oregon, to my list of places to visit? I’ve heard the weather there is similar to what I described. I love the clothes, the colors, and the food of fall. It also signals a time of change for me, even more so than the new year. It reminds me of that back to school feeling of new beginnings.

10. The one thing you’re most proud of.

I’m most proud of two things:

  1. Raising my two young children to the best of my abilities. My oldest is growing into a sweet, empathetic boy with a mischievous sense of humor and a contagious smile. My youngest is the happiest baby I’ve ever had the privilege to spend time with and I can’t wait to see what kind of person he becomes. I feel very blessed to be their mother.
  2. Pursuing my dreams of making a career out of my writing. It doesn’t even matter to me at this point if I succeed or fail because many people go their whole lives without even trying to make their dreams happen. It would be a huge disservice to both me and my family if I didn’t at least try to make my dreams happen.

11. Hard copies of books or an e-reader?

I will always prefer physical copies of books over an e-reader, even though when I do start publishing my longer fiction it will likely be in the form of e-books (simply for the sake of cost.) I love both the new and old book smells, the weight of the book in my hands, and being able to admire the cover art/spines on my bookshelves. I also find I retain information better when I read a physical copy versus something on a screen. I do see the appeal of e-books for their space-saving capabilities but I will always need my stacks of books. I hope that someday I place my own books on my shelves, too.

My Nominees

Though some of these bloggers write outside of the niches that I blog about, everyone on this list posts inspiring, positive, and creative content that leave me feeling better after reading it. In no particular order, here are my nominees for The Sunshine Blogger Award:

  1. Jen of The Paper Revival
  2. Alexandra of The Happy Life Formula
  3. Emma of Teaspoon of Nose
  4. Kalyn of Mascara and Grace
  5. Natalie of Towards Greater Things
  6. Ris of Finger Puppet Press
  7. Katie of She Embarks
  8. Fabiana of Nourish + Prosper
  9. Laura of The Mindful Momblographer
  10. Angela of The Pinky Project
  11. Sarah of Simple Happy Life

Questions for my Nominees

  1. Why do you blog?
  2. Are you an extrovert or introvert?
  3. What is your favorite way to spend a day off?
  4. How do you turn a bad day around?
  5. What songs are in your current playlist?
  6. What are you reading right now?
  7. What are your goals for 2018?
  8. Outside of blogging, what are your hobbies?
  9. Coffee, tea, both, or neither?
  10. Do you use a planner? What kind do you use and why?
  11. What is your favorite way to practice self-care?

Thank you again to Edel for the nomination.  If you are unfamiliar with her blog, she writes about using positivity to overcome obstacles, book reviews, and ordinary people making extraordinary changes. Nominees, please tag me on social media when you have your answers ready. I’d love to read your responses! Readers, please check out Edel’s blog and those of my nominees for more inspiration.

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