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What is a Bullet Journal?

Day 002 - interior of a bullet journal

Sample Future Log – from my 1st Bullet Journal

What is a bullet journal… and why did I start one?

I believe it was my good friend Cait who first introduced me to the concept, or a version thereof, as we sat over lunch in a hotel in Carlow one of the days.

She had a plain black covered notebook that had some sort of system going on, seeming to involve categories and shading the page edges so you could easily flick back to the section you needed.

Given my 20-notebooks-for-different-things-on-the-go-at-the-same-time habit up to that point, which even I knew was vastly unmanageable and wasting time and energy, not to mention paper, I was intrigued by the key concept.

ONE notebook.

In which to keep ALL THE THINGS.

And organised so you could find the things when you needed the things.

Intriguing indeed.

However, at that point I wasn’t ready for learning a new system. So I muddled on.

I honestly don’t remember where or how I came across the bullet journal specifically after that. But by the time I’d seen it around a few places, and figured the Bujo (that’s what we call it dahling, because shortening it to BJ just wasn’t working out for anybody) was in a boom… I was ready to see what all the fuss was about.

PRO TIP: Don’t go on YouTube or Instagram and search for Bullet Journal to get yourself started. Overwhelm central. They’re all so… complicated. And artistic. And so many stickers and washi tape. Do you know what washi tape is? Oh, you will!

My first Bujo began in October 2016, with a notebook and pen. That’s literally all you need, I promise.

Any notebook, any pen.

OK Lora, but what the feck IS a Bullet Journal anyway, and why do we care?

Right. Sorry.

From the official website at www.BulletJournal.com:

“Bullet Journal® (or BuJo® for short) was created by Ryder Carroll, a digital product designer living in Brooklyn, NY. Through many years of trial and error, the system has evolved into the ideas presented here [on his website]. He sees this as an evolving, adaptable practice meant to be self curated as you determine what works best for you.”

At its most basic, it’s a blank journal in which you keep a combo of foundational elements – you’ll hear terms like index, monthlies, weeklies, dailies, collections, future log, and more. Some of which are self explanatory, and some of which we’ll dive into in future posts.

To me, the really important things about a bullet journal are:

  • Everything in one place – this keeps everything in context for your life overall; so you not only know what’s been going on, but also a general idea of why.
  • Sticking to the system – you have a structure, an index, a way of managing tasks, and you know where things go each day/week/month… and how to find them again when you need to.
  • Adapting and evolving – this doesn’t mean changing the system up all over the place, it means using the bujo on a regular basis, figuring out what works and what doesn’t FOR YOU, and adapting/evolving it to a practice that is perfect for your life.
  • Having a safe place to put things – this is vital for my busy brain; having a system that I can dump EVERYTHING into, and the trust in that system that it won’t be lost or forgotten, so I can genuinely let it go once it’s in the Journal and my brain knows I don’t have to hold onto it any more right now. Freedom!

 

Setting Up A Bullet Journal

An example of a real quick set up would be to get a notebook and pen, leave a few pages for an index, then divide the next 2 pages into 6 sections, 3 per page. Write the names of the next 6 months at the top of each of these (1 per section, in case that’s not clear), and note in any upcoming events, plans, or big picture things to track for those months. Come back to it whenever you think of anything – you have a safe place to put stuff you need to remember now. And BOOM, there’s your future log.

Number your pages, then turn back to the index and write in: FUTURE LOG – PAGE 6 & 7, or whatever pages it’s on.

Now go to the next page, and title it with the month we’re in now. Don’t wait for a new month, or a new week – just do it from today. Stick a few boxes in to draw a calendar on the page, or simply just write the date number and day down in a list vertically along the side of the page. So:

  • 1st – Sun
  • 2nd – Mon
  • 3rd – Tue

Or start with whatever day you’re on right now, and keep going all the way down to the end of the month. This is your monthly record. In here, I bring the stuff from my future log that I need to plan for, and any regular stuff I have to do, eg my Meditation Class I run each Monday, with the time and location if you need that. I’ll also put deadlines in here, and bills that are due, and other stuff like that I need to know is happening.

It may seem repetitive right now to transfer the date from your future log you just wrote in… but as things start spreading out you’ll need both. Or not, maybe monthlies will do grand for you, but I like the future log for far reaching stuff and to see my months laid out together with the big ticket items right there – mostly so I don’t over commit.

Repetition is ok too though, the act of writing things down helps us remember and store them, and it’s building the trust loop with your brain that reassures it that things are definitely secure and in an actionable system.

I’m going to leave it there for today, as there’s a lot to cover in the bullet journal and all that goes with that, because it’s so bloody useful.

Get started with that much sure, for now, and we’ll chat more next time.  

 

Lora x


If you’d like some support in setting up a brand new Bullet Journal, you can take our Beginners Class Here!

Fáilte – Welcome To My World

I don’t know exactly where to start with this, so I guess I’ll start here. Welcome!Do The Work Brain Dump

It’s around my mid year review, in 2018, and I’m looking back over my quarterly goals, some of which I’ve ticked off and some I didn’t even begin. Hey ho, that’s how it goes.

Looking back a little further to my annual goals, I think I’m doing ok with those too, and at least there’s a little more wiggle room. I still have half a year yet, right?

As we move forward here, I’ll share more specifics of stuff like that, but for now I just want to set the scene.

I am a non-binary but mostly female presenting, grey asexual panromantic who usually identifies as Bi (coz bi erasure is a thing), 40 year old white Irish mother of 3 teenagers in a wonderful and fulfilling life partnership with a straight cis storyteller guy. I’m a journalist, author, heritage professional, tour guide, educator and self-sustaining entrepreneur, legally sanctioned life rites celebrant, Pagan Reverend and Priest of a demanding Irish deity, informally diagnosed with C-PTSD and underlying general anxiety disorder.

Wow. Even writing it all out like that, it’s a lot. And I’m looking at it right now wondering what I’ve forgotten off it and who I’ll offend by leaving out references to things that relate to them.

Shush Brain. We’re good, I got instant edit capabilities, like, right here.

I have, let’s just say, a lot of balls in the air.

Some of it is because I’m currently the primary earner in the family, while my partner gets his feet under him in his new business. Some of it is because I’m really fucking creative, like, painfully so with all the ideas I have that spark off in my brain… usually around problem solving for other people or situations. That’s the other thing – I have this WORK I have to do in the world as part of my spiritual beliefs. In my way of seeing things, community leaders, priests, people in positions of power or influence in religious and/or social settings, we all have a responsibility to make the world a better place. So some of the stuff I have to get done is along those lines, and I guess that’s partly where this project is coming from too.

There’s also my mental health problems, difficulties, issues, whatever you want to call them. They go back a long way, and they run deep, and I’m in a constant process of trying to find balance between surviving in the day to day, taking care of myself adequately in order to basically function, and the desire to heal and grow, to untangle all my shit, figure it out, and get ‘better’.

Whatever that might look like.

On my Facebook and Instagram, I often post snippets of the system I use to get all of this straight and sorted in my head. I mean, I think of it as my survive and thrive system, but other folk seem to get a lot out of it too. It’s largely based around my version of a bullet journal, with a few other tools I use to supplement that, or expand on it.

I began wondering if I did a daily-ish blog describing my self care, bullet journal, trauma management/healing, business planning and execution, generally getting shit done ‘system’… would folk be interested in that? Would it be useful beyond my friends?

I asked my friends, and they seemed to think it was a good idea. I guess now I’m sort of asking you too. Time will tell!

To be honest, this isn’t an entirely altruistic idea either. I think it would help me too – keep it like a sort of journal to dump my daily brain stuff into. Plus I want to get back to daily article writing/blogging as it has a positive knock on effect for so much of the business and writing work I do. And, I actually get so excited about, and so full up of, and so obsessive around, and so much craving for understanding of, all my STUFF. Maybe this will serve as an outlet so I don’t have to keep waving my bujo (bullet journal) in the faces of my nearest and dearest. Bless their patience like.

This would have to make me a little income, at least cover costs and my time, but definitely won’t be a primary or even secondary income – I have a LOT of different income streams, which you’ll hear all about if you plan on following along – but because it’s me, I would have to make it worth my while, as I honestly can’t afford the time otherwise. So I’m going to be straight up front honest about that side of things too.

The next thing to settle was, what to call it?

I’m going to cover a lot of different topics, and I think there’s a bit of an overwhelm in the general planning communities when it comes to seeing the Insta-perfect lifestyles of the top influencers, and this will NOT be that. I’ve already used many sweary words, and frightened off most of the huge christian segment of the planning community, and probably done a million other things that knock me out of every niche in this self-development – business – planning – healing – personal growth market.

And we’re only on the first post. #oops #soznotsoz

I pulled out my bujo for a brain dump, because let’s be real here, it was half eleven of a work night and I needed to get all this outta my brain so I could try and get some sleep. And suddenly it was clear, and from there it flowed.

Do the Work.

This is my dose of reality, this is my healing journey, this is my entrepreneurial empire building, this is my personal ‘survive and try to thrive’ system.

Welcome – Fáilte!

Lora x

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