Eventually, I was using Google calendar. The hubs & I have ours set so we can both see what the other is up to, appointment-wise. We don't put work details in there every day: my day is pretty standard and his is too unpredictable, so neither would be a good use of time. Google calendar is great, but it's simply that: A calendar. I wasn't tracking any kind of productivity, beyond Post-it to do lists that got thrown out when finished. And I wasn't doing any kind of reflection writing anymore.
I had started keeping some lists, goals, etc. in separate notebooks based on subject. That kind of worked, but I often found that I was always needing something in a different notebook (and never the one(s) I had with me, naturally). Soon, I was drowning in little notebooks that were maybe 15-20% used and I just wasn't keeping up with them anymore either. But I needed to be doing SOMETHING to keep things on track. Brain fog makes all the days/hours/thoughts run together to the point I know I thought about doing something... but did I actually do it? Did I talk to the hubs about doing it? Did I actually talk to the hubs about doing it, or just think I should talk to the hubs? and on and on... The brain fog is the worst. And the more you have running around in your brain, the worse it gets. Somehow, you gotta get that stuff out and the most effective way I've found is to write it down.
Enter the bullet journal. I had heard a few podcasters talking about them and initially, I was skeptical. These women talked about their bullet journals (some call them 'bujo's for short) with the same gusto and enthusiasm as the Covey devotees had 15 years ago and the Crackberry addicts 10 years ago. I knew that I needed to get back into some kind of practice, to feel more organized and less like I was forgetting everything all the time. And hearing most of my English/composition teaching former colleagues' words in my ears, I knew something written was where it's at. (P.S. Those English teachers were right, science says. Also, here.)
If you do a Google search, you'll find ALL KINDS of things about bullet journals: articles, links, shopping suggestions for pricey European brand notebooks, calligraphy pens, stencils, rulers, art pens, markers, stamps, tape (WASHI TAPE ALL THE THINGS, Y'ALL!!), covers, custom printed layouts,.... I could go on all day.
If you go to Pinterest, it's even worse!! From the undoubtedly beautiful and aesthetically pleasing images there, one might think they needed to learn 12 types of hand lettering, be an artist, have a full compliment of art supplies and maybe a minor in graphic design to do this bullet journal thing. Also, you quickly think you need to track EVERYTHING in your life. There are literally spreads online for any topic you could possibly want to track.
And Instagram. Some of the kids on IG are not only making beautiful spreads in their journals, but also nailing the #bujolifestyle to the hilt. Intimidating, but you can see that this is a thing that has caught on and hooked people!
(I recommend looking at all these links LATER - or now, if you wanna be inundated with feelings of artistic inadequacy. haha)
Let me be clear: That is all well and good. The people who make every page into a masterpiece are just fine. I love to look at them sometimes and relish in how gorgeous they all are. The people who are using this practice as 'me time' or self-care: rock on with your talented selves! But none of that is required to have and use a bullet journal.
After struggling with the nagging feeling that I knew how this would go, again, or that I didn't want another expensive hobby, I decided to go to the source and see what the hype was about. This is what you see:
looks around, mumbles to self, 'I have a notebook and a pen...'
After a quick scan of their site, I decided to take a few minutes and watch their video on YouTube. If you're interested, you should, too. I'll be right here when you get back.
Then I found 2 articles that solidified that this was worth a shot: this one from Buzzfeed and this one from Lifehacker. I looked at those and thought, I already have the bare minimum to get started - may as well. I grabbed the most recent of my partially-full notebooks (which I had been keeping notes from my nutritional therapist coaching calls and my therapy sessions), grabbed that roll of washi tape, marked off a new section of the notebook and dove in.
After several months of my style of bullet journaling consistently, I can say that this is scratching my itch and making me feel more together! More on what I do coming soon!