Getting back on track!

  Howdy everyone! It's been awhile since I have had the time, or energy, to sit down at the keyboard and type a little something out for you all. December is a hard month for those of us who make stuff for family and friends. It wears you out, completely. Add to that changes in works schedules, coordinating holidays with family, children really not wanting to school (and having no energy to fight the buggers), and you end up with no time to get some thoughts and fun stuff on a webpage. So, here I am (Shelley has had a lot more work and hours thrown her way lately, so not sure when she will have time for a post either!), plunking away on a Friday, trying to get my thoughts together after only one cup of coffee.
  So, I have several drafts, created by the lovely Shelley, about our adventures at the Fall Fiber Fest in Hopkins MN in November, and I promise to get those up here! However, today I'm going to talk about something I started doing in November: bullet journaling. It's all the rage, let me tell ya, if you believe Pinterest. I have seen things....  For some additional information, go to:

  The first link is the original, and the others show ways that others have set theirs up. Mine is not at all as fancy as theirs. I "tested" the system in November, using a notebook I had lying around, being wasted. I had some pretty colored pens, and that was it.

Please forgive the cellphone shadows in all my pictures. I have a better camera, but I thought I had taken a bunch of photos already, and I hadn't, so I quick took some for the blog post today. I did polish the table though, so it would look nicer underneath stuff, haha!
 So, for my first bullet journal, I created a title page. This is actually a little different. I like to state my purpose on the first page, simply for myself. Gives me a sense that I might actually know what I am doing. It's a lie, but I like that sense, ha! Anyway, I listed the purpose of the journal, giving myself room to add to it, if I wanted to. This is different than an index page, or a future log page, etc.
  So, after I had done that, I created a symbols page, and then opposite that the index page. These are important pages when starting out. The symbols that you use for tasks, completed items, etc, are there in case you need reminding as you start out. I kept mine really simple: a dot for tasks, an x for completed tasks, a dot and arrow for tasks that need to migrate to the next day, a dash for thoughts and notes, and a line through a word for tasks/thoughts removed/canceled.

 I created a "Year at a glance" page, even though it was really only 6 months. These pages are for important dates, like birthdays, surgeries, etc. Realize that, at this point, I was still trying to figure out this whole system. The beauty of the bullet journal is the evolution of it. What works one month might change the next as you get into the system. While this style I have here worked in the outset, when I started my new one, I changed it completely.

 So here I have November important dates, and a notes page elaborating on things to do in November. I didn't find these to be particularly useful after all, but like I said, I was figuring out the system. I like to make lists; I always forget where I put my lists, but I like to make them, so I don't get so overwhelmed. Depression goes hand in hand with anxieties, and so I would often find myself completely overwhelmed with tasks and duties, work and family, and would just not do any of them. With this particular system, I could make the tasks bite sized, and not feel as anxious.

  Ok, so I found that I liked the system. It was so very customizable, and I wanted to keep working with it. So, after getting some Christmas money from hubby's Grandma, I bought a pretty new journal. I also broke out my old Creative Memories scrapbooking stuff. I have, seriously, had this stuff for YEARS. I was going to sell it, see, so I had to get the big bag of stuff. Yeah, I'm not good at the top down marketing things, so I just occasionally bring it out for big art projects. Well, I have all of the fine and bold tip markers, stickers, etc, so I could decorate my journal really pretty.
Ta da!!
  Ok, so I am still keeping this one pretty simple. The journal is one from Barnes and Noble, and it's a teal leather bound style one, with unlined pages. Most bujo (shorthand for bullet journal; learn something new every day!) users swear by ones like the Leuchtturm1917 dotgrid A5, or Moleskine notebooks. For beginners, honestly, just get a lined notebook. Don't go buying the expensive ones until you know you will want to use the system. A notebook that will fit in your bag/backpack/purse/diaper bag/whatever is the size you will want. Back to the photo: the stickers come from the CM kits, and this one has the seasonal stuff in it. I love stickers, but never remember to use them. Maybe this will work; the beauty is that if I decide not to use them, it will change absolutely nothing important. The Mary Kay makeup bag came from my lovely friend Sara, who used to sell it for a short time, and when she quit it, she gave me some goodies. This bag was once my notions bag for my knitting, and now it has another life as a pencil case. I haven't had to buy much, because like any creative person, I have a ton of stuff just laying around, looking for a new life as something useful. Let me reiterate: do not go out and buy a bunch of new stuff to do this journal. You, most likely, already have a lot of what you will need around your home.

Moving on: the title page. That sense of purpose I get from it was what I like. I put a couple of quotes on it too. The first one is that famous Tolkien one: "Not all those who wander are lost", and the second one is by Kevin Smith: "Nobody writes your story but you." I will probably add others, and doodles too, as time goes on, but I kind of wanted to start 2017 with some good advice.
   Next is the Index page, so very, very important to the bujo. Ps, mistakes will happen, and whiteout will be your friend, no joke. I already had to adjust some page numbers, due to mistakes made in creating some of those pages, so I cleaned it up a bit that way. Some people I have seen like to use lots of washi tape, stickers, fancy headers, etc. I love to look at that fancy stuff, but it doesn't really help me stay organized. It actually makes me feel defeated that I didn't think of all that pretty stuff, so I just keep it relatively simple. Again, try different fonts, pens, stickers, etc, until you find your groove.
   Revamped full year at a glance. I originally did this at my Dad and Stepmom's house before New Years. Kev and I had the whole house to ourselves (kids were with Grandpa at the farm, and Grandma had appointments), so he worked on his sermon, and I created this. If you look close, you will see some torn paper at the center. That's because I started this year, and realized I hadn't left enough room for all 12 months. Out it came, and this was made. I have birthdays circled, which may or may not help. Sorry friends and family, I have been trying, but I suck at sending cards. I also put a saying for myself at the bottom: "May this year be better than last year". Good advice, Alyssa!
 So, this is the January important dates page. I put the title at the top, then created a line of the dates down the left side. It is kind of a month at a glance thing, and I am still not sure if I like it or not. I will try it for this and next month, and see if it helps. You can also see that my Jan daily log is X'd out on the next page. I had started my daily log, and decided I didn't like the way it looked. This is what happens when you look at Pinterest at bedtime; you get ideas. Anyway, I didn't feel like tearing out another page, so I just crossed it out and moved on.
  This is a layout style I saw on several blogs, and I liked the boxes. They had all kinds of things going on underneath, like trackers for water consumption, etc, but I like having space for weekly notes and thoughts. I can list what I need to do in that open space, while the tasks sit neatly in their little boxes. Let us just say that this layout is fine, if you write tiny, or neatly, or have a lined notebook. Also, drawing all those freaking boxes the same size, page after page, sucks. I even tried creating a template to just trace, and it was worse. So, I tried it, and I will use the pages already made until the last week of Jan, where I will go to the new one I decided on.
   Like I said, I have all these CM things, and one of them is templates for page corners. I thought I might like pretty corners. Yeah, I don't. They take up too much space. I decided to just make this a Dump page. This is a page in a bujo that is for dumping ideas on. I was looking at different headers, etc, and just doodled on this page. You will need at least 3 dump pages in the journal. Just, trust me on the this one.
   A lot of the blogs and Pinterest types (and Instagram too; just use #bujo or #bulletjournal, you will find things!) use daily log headers that are like little flags, etc. So, I looked at different styles that I might like to do. I have finally settled on the box with the shadow behind it, with the date written in the box, and the day of the week written after it. I also decided to color code each month: the shadow on the box for Jan is red, Feb is orange, Mar is green, etc. I will also use that same color on the page numbers. Just seemed the right amount of fussiness, without all the hours of decorating.
   This is my first attempt at a habit tracker. Many bujo enthusiasts swear by them. Since a great many of them use those dotted journals, they create little boxes easily. I, obviously, did not. It's ok, though, since this was my first one. I might just see if I can find a free downloadable one I can print out and glue into the book. It's not really a cheat; it's a way to neatly record the habits I want to track. So far, I'm really good at making my bed. Not so much the other stuff, like this blog. But I want to get better, so here we are!

  This is what I finally settled on for the daily log system. Most don't recommend planning this far out, but I like to give myself  3 daily entry logs per page, and count out the pages I will need per month. "But what if you screw up, as you will inevitably do, Alyssa?" Well, voice in my head, I'm glad I asked myself that. I will re-number the pages, and edit my index page. And that is one of the reasons I really like this system. Yes, I have my calendar on my cell phone, where I can get electronic reminders to go the doctor, show up for work, etc. There is just something about having something to hold in your hands that you can creatively put together, to keep your lists and thoughts in one simple, easily held package.

  So, in conclusion, a bullet journal is a customizable system for keeping yourself from going crazy, looking for that list of things you thought about last week. (Yes, I have done that) They can be as simple as the original bullet journal creator made it, or as fancy as some of the life journals I have seen. (Oye, do they do anything other than journal????) If you're looking for a system to get yourself in order, grab a notebook and a pen, and create a title page. If I can do it, so can you!

*disclaimer: I am not paid by anyone or anything to talk about this. This is all my opinion, and experience with this. The links posted are just the tip of the iceberg; check what is out there!


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