Bullet Journaling and how I don’t really do it, but sort of do


Have you taken to the bullet journaling fad? I tried to…and failed. Sort of. Maybe not totally. Don’t worry, I also failed at those SAHM-beloved housekeeping binders, too. I’ve made two of those so I have the proof. Here’s what I mean about possibly being a washi tape washout or bullet journal failure.


 Source                                                  Source

Note: Both of these are from classes people teach. Click the link to see their blogs.

I keep seeing all these marvelous journal pages in my Pinterest feed. I have major journal envy. Art journals with mixed-media collages, Bible study journals with beautiful graphic-like illustrations, amazing natural journals and fabulous travel journals–all reinforce my inability to draw anything or create cool collage. I can live with that–it has been a life long source of embarrassment that I simply cannot draw. I’ve tried to learn. Toddlers clutching candle-sized Crayolas in their sticky little hands and scribbling on paper covering the dog’s back do a better job. I cope with this.

Lately it’s bullet journal envy that’s got me in it’s iron grip. If you’ve been off line for a while then you may not have met this new craft/time-finder/order-maker system that basically combines OCD/scheduling/listmaking/art/scrapbooking. Well, I used to do tons of scrapbooking. And, with something like adult ADHD. list-making is pretty important. But I’m not at all OCD–I can sleep soundly knowing there’s a weeks dishes left to do any time, any place. Never mind,  I took the plunge. I bought a journal. I watched the video. I looked at great sample pages. I created a Pinterest board. I bugged my bullet journal-loving friends for ideas and photos. I investigated printables. I fangirl-ed Boho Berry big time! Nonetheless, I’m a Bullet Journal School Dropout, big-time.




Then, as I was tying myself up with expensive Japanese washi tape and  a fabulous, colorful gel pens I had an epiphany! Yes, an epiphany. I know, it is a cool word, isn’t it? Epiphany.  I’m not a failure at all. I was just ahead of the curve. Rare in my life, but it does happen. Ok, I can’t keep track of closed circles or open circles and the only thing that ‘migrates’ in my life is laundry from the dryer to the coffee table, and lets not even discuss the anxiety that Greater Than or Less Than symbols have caused in my life since 4th grade,  but I do this….in my own weird way, of course.


My Method


Desk List



First of all, let’s take the To Do list–my Desk List, I call it. It stays put on the left side of my desk at all times. It sits there atop my statistics tally sheet so I can find them. That lesson was learned a long, long time ago. First thing Monday morning I brainstorm everything that needs to be done. At the top are job-related tasks. At the bottom are personal things. As you can see, the list grows as the week goes on. I also have a huge desk blotter calendar and email calendar. I have to write things down with pen and paper to get them into my brain. This is such a crucial thing that earlier this year, when my best-ever freebie notepad ran out, I went in search of a duplicate. I actually splurged and gave T.J. Maxx $3.99 to have that same format of paper, but in a pretty design. Pretty is good. It’s even got cool inspiring phrases like my dear Boho Berry uses. See? I sort of bullet journal.




The spiral notebook is my Book of Firsts–a type of observation journal used by nature watchers. I use this when I remember it. It’s not adorned, it just records any firsts like the first time I see yellowed tobacco leaves in a field, I know the season is nearing a change. It’s just the habit of paying attention. I don’t have a real Nature Journal because I simply can’t draw, but a lot of people enjoy doing those as well. They are usually a bound sketchbook, but can take any form the user chooses. Some people keep their Firsts on the calendar for obvious reasons. A bullet journal could easily contain Firsts and even a nice drawing to accompany the first. See? I sort of bullet journal.


I cannot function without two types of paper: 8 1/2 X 11, narrow-ruled legal pads to track big projects (not pictured) and mini Composition notebooks to keep in my purse. I use the mini-books to scribble great quotes from the audio books I listen to, to jot ideas for my books in progress, to keep prayer requests when I make it to Sunday School and for other stuff on the fly that needs to be remembered. Also not shown is a spiral book of 3 x 5 cards for when I want to memorize a Bible verse. Essential, obviously. Well, obviously a prayer list and Bible reading schedule or inspirational Bible verses and quotes are very appropriate for a bullet journal. And “Brain Dump” pages are one of the hallmarks of bullet journaling. See? I sort of bullet journal.


This plain red blank book is my Reading Journal. I also used Goodreads.com so I’m not as up-to-date as I should be on entering books here. I like the idea of leaving this for my great-grandchildren. I use a simple star rating system. Five Stars would be one of a very, very few fabulous books. I’ve kept a book like this for many years. My to-read list is just on Goodreads since it would take the whole book!

Source                                 Source

I’ll give you that these two fabulous reading and to-read list pages are way, way cool. They rock the topic and then some. But my plain-Jane page does what it needs to do for me. See? I sort of bullet journal.

Big Journals


In spite of the picture showing two books, there are actually three. I forgot to photograph the snazzy plaid spiral notebook I keep my writing conference notes in. Trust me, it’s Boho Berry-worthy in terms of overall cover attractiveness. These two regular sized Composition books are my Commonplace Book, that is my book of quotes, and my Reading by Geography Log. In the photo, the red Geography Log corresponds to the photo in the upper right corner and the Commonplace is the upper left. Fairly straightforward–I do think the geography book would be amazing with little flag stickers to denote the state or country! With the Olympics not far off, I bet someone on Etsy is selling them, too. One amazing Boho Berry tip I’m stealing soon, is to print out a map on sticker-paper and then color the various states or countries represented. This works very well for a travel journal or a bucket list as well. See? I sort of bullet journal.

What’s Yet to Come?

Habit Tracking

In addition to the great map idea (in the video at the bottom of this post) I LOVE the idea of habit trackers. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not OCD. I won’t be tracking each time I drink a glass of water or keeping a tally of the steps I walk in my sleep. But a fitness habit tracker is a great idea. I use Map My Walk, a phone app, when I walk outside. I keep my gym progress in my head and my weight I prefer to not know. Trust me, I don’t forget it.

Remember that Homemaking Binder? Yep, many people put that sort of stuff in here too. I have a cleaning schedule–I clean whenever I must host a graduation, wedding, baby shower or funeral. Ok, it’s a little better than that! But I don’t obsess.  I do plan to print out (on sticker paper!!) some tracker pages or buy tracker page stamps. I can’t draw a straight line even with a T-square so I’m fine with these methods.

Savings tracking is also popular. There are a lot of great visuals for this and, you guessed it, I want to print a couple and see how I do with them. When I remember, I use Dave Ramsey’s free zero-dollar budget form online. My money is pretty well accounted for on payday. Any extra is usually squandered joyously spent on books.

Wish lists–either from your family for gifts or your own or for your home, any type wish list is good too. When I owned my home, pre-Pinterest, I kept a wish list file with the actual list and samples of projects torn from magazines or photocopied from library books. It was very helpful. Today Pinterest does that pretty well, but the file let me keep price quotes, business cards and other things together. Today you can, of course, scan all of that and keep it electronically–just add a link to your Pinterest board. But having it in paper is still very handy for shopping so you don’t look like a phone-addict.


Source (left)               Source (top)   Source (bottom)–not Great Tips here, too!

Like any fad, bullet journals have spawned an entire industry of supplies. Different journals, pens, stickers–you name it. Most one-time scrapbook supply companies now cater fully to the journaling crowd. Drawing classes are surging and a new style of handwriting/calligraphy called hand lettering is sweeping the blog-a-sphere. Different people swear by different brands of journals and debate lined vs plain vs French-lined vs graph paper! Remember your Mom’s best advice? Be Yourself. Do what works for you. I find no need to drag all of this around with me. Nor do I like hauling a bag of supplies along to make it all look good. If that’s your thing and you really enjoy it then do so! And, I’d truly love it if you came back and posted some page examples in the comments. I’m that freak who enjoys seeing people’s vacation photos or dog videos or scrapbooks.

Now, I insist you click and watch Boho Berry’s Summer Road Trip! Not only does she show you awesome bullet journal page, but she’s a savvy road trip Mom with super ideas for your next family road trip–including the map idea I mentioned above. Below the video is a link to my Pinterest Bullet Journal board.








16 thoughts on “Bullet Journaling and how I don’t really do it, but sort of do

Add yours

  1. I really enjoyed reading your attempt at Bullet journaling. I tried it but I got tired of trying to get it done for the whole week. I usually end up putting mine on a general list. At the top of the list are the ongoing things, followed by specific todo’s’. I tried to maintain a digital based list but I get tired of trying to bring up the app I want so I’m back to the paper. I agree with you in that I cannot draw anything and expect it to come out looking the way its supposed. My cleaning is never spotless and I keep an ongoing list of topics on one of those little pads that it in your back pocket. Thanks for the laugh.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi,
    Do you know SlapDashMom? She wrote a post on using Bullet Journaling to decrease anxiety that I picked as the winner for my Inspire Me Monday Linky party.
    Thanks for bringing your post to the Blogger’s Pit Stop last week.
    Janice, Pit Stop Crew

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is what I need in my life – a tutorial for a bullet journal! I am going to save this and copy you, it is amazing! I really want to make my own so I am going to give it a go. I always worry I will make a mess though and I really like my notepads so I don’t want to ruin it, I would be so sad! #twinklytuesday

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I also sort of bullet journal, too, but not quite. I first came across the concept on Instagram and only really investigated it there and kind of adapted it to my own ideas and needs. I didn’t buy a notebook, though, I used a freebie company hardback spiral bound notebook and covered it with collage, made section tabs (although my meal planner section is still empty!) and tried to make it pretty. I mostly use my weekly planner section where I write my goals for th week and to do lists, sometimes for each day, too, but not always. It’s also useful for noting down things that happened, at the moment notes about potty training each day, for example. I still have a long way to go to being organised and I keep writing the same things in my to do lists week after week that I haven’t got round to doing! #TwinklyTuesday

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If it works that way then that’s what matters. I showed in my post what works for me. I really believe bullet journaling is just the new scrapbooking. Seems to have come from that, to-do lists and smash books. Thanks for reading! Please come back.


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