Listen. Life is crazy. #canigetanamen.
In order to have any amount of peace in my life, I need a planner. A place to write down all the things that are swimming around in my head. Some place other than the back of a receipt to jot down ideas. A safe spot to keep all my lists, like the list of books to borrow from the library. It all needs a place to live. Utilizing a planner helps me maintain my sanity, which my family appreciates.
A while back, I discovered the joy of using a traveler’s notebook to plan my life. It’s been practically perfect in every way. It’s a fairly simple, straightforward, easy to customize system that has served me really, really well. My traveler’s notebook (TN) was the perfect size to tote around in my purse, and it was super durable.
It just so happens that last month, every notebook in my TN needed to be replaced. So I headed to Hobby Lobby to grab a few new notebooks. As I was trying to decide which to buy, I got distracted by the selection of bullet journals. And just like THAT, I decided to give my TN a break and migrate to bullet journaling.
WHA?!? YES. I did it. I still can’t believe I made the switch, but so far using a bullet journal has been a really good thing. Here are the nuts and bolts of migrating to a bullet journal.
What is a bullet journal?
Simply put: a bullet journal is a place for all the things you want to remember.
It’s very versatile. You can use it as a planner, a calendar, a habit tracker, Christmas lists, or anything else you want to keep track of. It ALL fits in a bullet journal.
You can find bullet journals with whatever type of pages you prefer – lined, dot, grid, blank. Bullet journaling is a very “you do you” way of planning. There’s pretty much no wrong way to do it.
There are tons of bullet journaling ideas and layouts on Pinterest, if you want to check out what it’s all about. It’s a rabbit hole you won’t regret. And then we can be addicted to it together. 😉
Why migrate to a bullet journal?
My method of using traveler’s notebooks was very similar to the idea of a bullet journal. Each notebook was dedicated to a particular facet of life (weekly planner, yearly calendar, finances, lists, notes).
It seemed a bit silly to have to buy and replace multiple notebooks throughout the year, when instead I could invest in ONE bullet journal. It just felt much easier to have one notebook to manage.
So I’m packing away my TN for awhile. It’s a bittersweet thing, because I’ve been using it faithfully for two years. My daughter tried to talk me into giving her my TN since I’m not using it. No way, toots. I know I’ll return to it someday. But for now, I’m moving into a season of bullet journaling.
Tips for migrating to a bullet journal
Maybe you’ve considered moving to a bullet journal. Here are a few things to consider when you’re ready to take the plunge and jump into it.
Decide what size you need.
I picked up my bullet journal at Hobby Lobby. They had a good selection of bullet journals in two sizes – A5 and a larger 9.5″ x 7.5.” I bought the larger, thinking it’d be handy to have more space to write. After using it for almost a month, I’m kind of regretting purchasing the larger size. The bigger size is harder to carry around in my bag and feels bulky and awkward. I can’t see myself pulling it out to use while shopping or running errands. Maybe I’m just in a transition phase from being used to the smaller size of my TN. We’ll see.
Include an index.
In my TN, it was very easy to locate what I needed, because of how the notebooks were separated into categories. I was feeling a little angst about how to locate all the different lists and things in my bullet journal since all the info would just be randomly mashed together. The solution: I’m creating an index and it’s saving my sanity right now. Numbering all the pages (or twenty pages at a time) and including an index on the first page of the bullet journal ensures that I can easily find what I’m looking for.
Don’t be afraid of the white space.
This is the hurdle I’m literally dealing with right now. There are so many blank pages in this journal! And each page is so big – there’s so much white space on each page. I’m having to remind myself that blank pages do not serve me in any way. In order for this journal to be helpful, I am going to have to write in it. Fill it up. Will there be mistakes and messes? Yup. But will I feel better about my life once it’s all captured in this notebook. YUP. (And sidenote: I do have a white-out pen for mistakes. Because I’ve already had a few. White-out is definitely your bullet journal’s friend.) Which leads me to my next tip…
Plan your pages in pencil first.
When I’m feeling overwhelmed by the blank pages in my bullet journal, it helps me to grab a pencil and literally just pencil it out. If I’m doing a calendar or a habit tracker, I’m really bad at freehanding it. So I grab a pencil and outline where exactly I want everything to be on a page. Then once I’m satisfied with the layout on the page, I go back over it with a fine-tipped marker. It’s a little time-consuming, but helps me avoid buying stock in white-out pens. 🙂 And once I get a layout I like, I’m able to easily copy it in pen without having to use pencil first.