“I have 8 sketchbooks that all have the same purpose, really. None of them are filled up.”

— Something I wrote in an old journal from 2016

I’m a messy, scatter brained, artist-type through and through. I like the idea of the Container Store, but it’s not my natural habitat. I was born with a “would lose my head if it weren’t attached” gene. I used to argue these poor habits made my life more spontaneous but the truth is it just made life more stressful. At one point towards the end of college I decided enough is enough.

I made a literal vow to be more organized. I trained myself until it stuck. I might still lose my head if it weren’t attached except that now I write myself a reminder on a post it note. And I keep that post it note in my daily bullet journal.

This is a bullet journal:

*TYPO: the symbol for ‘move to monthly log’ should be <

Don’t let my doodles deter you. Once you get the hang of it, Bullet Journaling is an elegant and simple way to organize and manage Life.

Here’s the official, and more in depth, tutorial.

Evolution of the habit

Much like organization, I was not born with a documentation gene. Just for kicks, I made a quick infograph of my journal entries from 2016-2018. Lots of gaps. I’d hop on the bandwagon and eventually fall off. Come summertime I’d usually forget that I even had a journal.

It’s taken years, but I have finally built journaling into a daily habit. Everything clicked in 2021; the birth year of the Binder Beast:

Bullet journal, BuJo, Bullet journal system, BuJo tour

The volume above holds my day-to-day of 2021.

Of all my most recent personal growth spurts, this is one I’m most proud of. Having a logbook like this has become an invaluable resource.

My favorite benefits:

As a reference:
1. I’m able to look back and see the last time we changed our smoke detector batteries, or washed our duvet, or changed our air filter.

2. Documenting the little things helps me notice and appreciate the little things a lot more. Time moves faster the older we get. I find myself thinking, “how are we already halfway through the middle of the month already?” a lot. Having this resource slows things back down. “Oh yeah, last week we went to the library, spontaneously went out for ice cream, and I finished that book.”

3. It’s a self-help pep talk road map. I skimmed through the most challenging weeks of last year and it reminded me how temporary moods/emotions are. That also becomes reassurance; I will eventually persevere. “If I made it through that, I can make it through this.” The daily log also becomes a road map of sorts; with glimpses into how I persevered on specific days.

In real-time:
1. My friends get their bday cards on time.

2. It keeps me mindful of habits and intentions I’ve set for myself.

3. Getting thoughts on paper frees up space in my head which eases The Overwhelm.