Sometime today my instagram account will hit 10,000 followers. I started it on a whim because I really liked taking pictures of my bullet journal and it seemed silly to crowd my personal feed with those pictures. In celebration I thought I’d reflect on the major thing that makes me stick to bullet journaling since August, 2013.
I always say that bullet journaling is perfect for the chronic list-maker. And it is! And it is perfect for me because I’m a chronic list maker. However, that’s only the “planning” part of the big picture. I use the hashtag #PlanDocumentCreate on a lot of my instagram photos because that is what bullet journaling has allowed me to do. It has given me one simple system for planning my days, documenting my life as it unfolds, and creating art. Three things I’m compulsively drawn to do by some innate force. Three things I’ve done in random methods and systems my entire life. Three things I can now continue to do with one small notebook that travels with me everywhere I go.
This is the easy part. I plan my life in my bullet journal in an assortment of ways. I have my daily pages (or in the case of the page above, 2-days for the weekend) my weekly pages and my monthly pages. All that help me maintain order in my chaotic life with 3 kids, a full-time job, 2 volunteer positions, and an ultra-running hobby that requires I run anywhere from 30 to 70 miles a week. I plan my life with other pages as well, there’s the gift ideas list and the vacation planning page. There’s the run log and the wish lists. There’s the page with information about that project at work and pages categorized for my volunteer positions in our local track club and our local triathlon club. I plan everything in my life in this small notebook.
In a past life I tried scrapbooking and never stuck to it because it just took too much effort to make everything perfect. I write a lot about my life on my personal blog, and that’s great at documenting things, but what do you do with the memorobilia itself after you tell stories? Tickets to concerts. Notes from teachers. Art from school. I stick everything in my bullet journal that I can. I put my race bibs in there and my ticket stubs. I let my kids draw in it to document their art skills. I include programs from plays and napkins from restaurants. If the item is too big? I stick it in an envelope and tape it to the page.
I’m not a talented artist who spends time quilting or knitting or painting, but I have the drive to create and it has always manifested itself in the form of a doodle. Doodles on the notepad by the phone growing up. Doodles on my notes in school. Doodles in the margins of my books. When I discovered Zendoodling as an actual thing that people do I became obsessed and now I keep at least one zendoodle page going at all times in my bullet journals. This allows me an easy release for some of that creative energy and it gives me an immediate access to that meditative energy that doodling gives me.
Sometimes life is overwhelming and my doodling allows me to clear my head. I’ve been known to sit in the parking lot at work before going in, just to do a few minutes of doodling to calm my anxiety if I have a big day ahead. This notebook with me at all times allows me that escape whenever I need it.
There’s so many days planned, memories made, and art created in these notebooks. I’m currently working on volume 10. Some I stopped early to coincide with a new year or a calendar date perfect for starting a new notebook. But for the most part? They’re full. They go in my “Go Bag” when we have threats of bad weather because I want them to stay on my back so as long as I’m safe, they are. My kids flip through them when they’re bored. They love seeing art from school or drawings in there. These silly notebooks and this silly hobby has helped bring so much order AND joy into my life I wish I had discovered it 10 years ago.