Bullet Journal Blues

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Credit: Pixabay

One of my goals for this year was to reduce the number of planners I was using.  I’m down from 6 to 4, so yay!  Unfortunately, one of the planners I’ve decided to abandon this year is my Bullet Journal.

I love the idea of the Bullet Journal – having everything all in one place is ideal for me, I thought.  What I’ve come to realize is that I’m a functional planner, not a decor or artistic planner.  I use my planner(s) to keep my life organized.  If they’re also pretty, that’s a bonus, but not a need.  Which is how Bullet Journals started – as a functional planner.

These days, all the Bullet Journals you see are the ones where amazingly artistic people have spent what must be hours slaving over gorgeous spreads.  I don’t want to spend that kind of time – writing the same calendar over and over and over, drawing (in my case, poorly) decorations, etc.

BuJo Movie Tracker Spread
Credit: Tealnotes.com

If I spent the time to draw this movie tracker, I wouldn’t have any time to watch the movies!  Instagram, YouTube, and Pinterest are chock-full of spread ideas like this for making your BuJo beautiful.

And that’s great.  Nothing wrong with decorating your BuJo, if that’s what makes you happy.  Me?  I’d rather buy a preprinted planner and create stickers to make it useful (and pretty).  I wanted to stick with the BuJo, I really did.

But after several months of gritting my teeth and forcing myself to use it, I decided it wasn’t worth the headache and guilt for me.  I spent more time avoiding it than I did using it, which defeated the whole purpose.

Someday maybe I’ll use it again.  But for now, I’m sticking with what works – and that is not using the Bullet Journal.  A lesson to remember – if it doesn’t work for you, leave it and move on.  Now I’m free to concentrate on other things.

Planner Overload

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Credit: Pixabay

When I started this blog, it was with the intent to open a planner sticker business on Etsy.  I’m still not there yet, but that’s a post for another day.

I am working on it, creating stickers that I could sell.  I’ve concentrated on things I would use first, because if I never sell anything, at least I’ve created something I will use myself.

I’ve been a planner girl since forever.  When I was in school, it was a way to keep track of my homework.  As I got older, it became a way to keep track of my life.  And I’m still using them.

Them.

As in, plural.  Something I never have done before.  I’ve always just had one planner, and it was one with a monthly spread, because I never use the weekly ones.  I want to be able to glance at my month and see what’s going on that month.  Drilling down into weekdays and hours is just too much for me.  I get information overload.

However, since I dove into the world of planner stickers, I realized I had no idea how many people seem to use planners these days – and multiple ones, at that.

In the planner community, there are two big planner companies.  Each of those companies sells multiple types of planners – different layouts, different themes, different sizes, etc.  But they also sell planners for multiple purposes.  You can buy a fitness/workout planner, a budget planner, a faith planner, a life planner, a household planner, a kids’ planner, and more.

I’ve watched plenty of YouTube videos of planner people who use these multiple planners and thought, sheesh, why would you need that many planners?

I’m now one of them.  :/

I have my original, cheap $5 2 year monthly planner.  I have my bill planner (it’s really just a small spiral notebook where I track my bills).  Now I also have a yearly planner from one of the two big companies – because I needed to know what it was like to use one before I could make/sell stickers for it, right?  And I bought a budget pack from that same company – again, because I need to know how people use it before I can make stuff for it, right?  And I’m currently trying to talk myself out of buying a planner from the other company for the same reasons.

Oh, I forgot, I have a Bullet Journal that I’ve been trying to use again.  The BuJo was appealing because it was functional and not focused on ‘pretty,’ but if you spend any time on YouTube, you’ll find tons of artists who show off their illustrated-to-the-nines BuJos.

So, that’s now 5 (5!) planners I’m using.  Which is ridiculous, I know.  Especially since some of these planners are $40 and up.  But I’m having a hard time paring them down.  I’m actually enjoying using the new yearly planner.  2 issues with it – one, it has lots of pages for weekdays that I will never use, so that’s a waste of trees and money, and 2, the monthly spread, while good, isn’t big enough.  Since I only use the monthly spread, that’s a whole month’s worth of stuff that has to get written down – bills, appointments, schedules, holidays – for 4 people, since I track everyone in my household.  I suppose I could size up to the bigger planner, but then that’s even more money (and pages I won’t use, because it also has pages for weekdays).

And even though I understand the whole ‘sunk cost fallacy,’ I find it hard to get rid of my original cheap $5 planner, because it’s good for another whole year!  And it’s bigger than my new planner, so I have more room to write stuff down.

I am planning to get rid of my little spiral bill planner, because I do like the new budget planner I’ve been using.  Recording things in both places is getting obnoxious, and the new one has much more space to write.  I guess it’s just resistance to change that’s keeping me using both.

I also could incorporate my new budget planner into my new yearly planner – the rings are designed so that you can add/remove/rework pages as necessary.  I just haven’t done it yet.  Doing those two things would at least get me down to 3 planners instead of 5, which is something.

I have also explored the idea of using digital planners for all these things, but honestly, I like using an analog planner.  I like writing with my pens, the feel of the paper, and the stickers.  Digital planning just wouldn’t be the same, plus I’d be worried about it all somehow getting hacked.  So for now, analog planning is the plan.

I’m still trying to figure out if the Bullet Journal is something I want to stick with.  I like that it’s functional, but I’m discovering I would also like it to be pretty.  Something that seems a lot easier with my yearly planner than the BuJo.  We shall see.

Doing It Backwards

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Source Credit: Pixabay

I’ve talked before about how I’m a person who needs routines.  The stability of routines is a comfort to me, but I often find it hard to follow a routine.  It was easier when I had a full-time job, because the job itself required routines – you had to show up on time, lunch was a scheduled time, you went home at a scheduled time.  Since most of my day was scheduled for me, life was somewhat easier.

For many years I was a stay-at-home mom, and I’m thankful that I had the opportunity.  I only work part-time now, and I’m finding it more difficult, especially as my kids get older, to find a routine that works for me.

When my kids were younger, their days consisted of routines (mostly because of school), so it was easier to stay on track, especially when I was also working full-time.  Once I wasn’t, and they were older and able to take more responsibilities themselves, I found myself with time on my hands and no idea what to do with it.

Well, that’s not strictly true.  I had things I wanted to do, I just couldn’t seem to make myself do them.  I mean, I wasn’t working, I wasn’t tied to a job routine, so my day could be whatever I wanted.  Unfortunately, that usually meant my day was either spent mindlessly in front of the TV or reading.  Now, I don’t consider the time spent reading a waste, but I certainly wasn’t getting anything else done – cooking, cleaning, laundry, etc.  You know – all those things that make your household run smoothly.

For the past few years, I’ve had a part-time job and that has helped.  The days that I work I am forced into a routine.  However, that still leaves me with much of the week unscheduled and unstructured, and usually me bored out of my mind.  Boredom is bad for me for many reasons – I eat when I’m bored, I get overwhelmed with all the things I think I should be accomplishing, and that kind of thinking sends me a downward spiral.

Finally, I hit that wall.  You know the one – where you finally decide enough is enough and you have to get off your lazy bum and get something done.  Determined to find a way to force myself into a routine, I tried a variety of things.  I tried the Fly-Lady method – which is great, but just doesn’t work for me.  I tried making lists (I’m a list-maker from way back).  I tried Bullet Journaling.  I couldn’t stick with any of them.

I have a ton of empty journals – because I love analog writing.  You remember that, right?  With an actual pencil or pen and paper?  But I never seemed to stick with writing in journals either.  I decided to try something different.  Instead of a never-ending to-do list that only ever seemed to get longer, no matter how much I did, I decided to do it backwards.

I would keep track of things I’d done, but only after I’d done them.  Which sounds kinda crazy, now that I’m writing it down.  But so far, it’s working! At the end of the day, instead of focusing on all the things I didn’t get to, I can see all the things I did.  I’m still not accomplishing as much as I want to with this method, but I’m certainly accomplishing more than I used to, which is the goal, so I’m going to call this one a win!

My First Fail

My OCD need for organization has been the butt of many jokes in my life. My children find it hilarious that I can’t remember what I had for dinner last night, but I can tell you if someone moved my stapler two inches. (Maybe that’s just my OCD and not my need for organization, but that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.)

I’ve always been a ‘neatnik,’ as my mother would have said. I like things to have a place and for things to be in that place. There are things I don’t do – like organize my clothes by color or season or things like that (because I don’t have the time, nor do I care, frankly). When it comes to my office and files, however, I want everything neat and tidy.

I started using daily planners in college to help keep track of homework, due dates, etc. I’ve been using them ever since. However, I usually have just purchased a generic daily planner and used those. I like having my month laid out so I can see everything at once. The planner was something I liked and used because I wanted to, but once I had children, it became a necessity.

A few years ago, someone mentioned a bullet journal and I was intrigued. I did some research and decided I would try it.

Huge failure.

My need for perfection ruined my use of the bullet journal. I felt like I had to not only be an expert at using the bullet journal, but also be a fantastic artist and decorate it beautifully as well. Which, of course, didn’t happen, and I got so frustrated I quit using it and went back to my generic planners.

Fast forward to about 6 months ago, and I discovered the planner/sticker community on YouTube and Etsy. I was instantly hooked – a way to stay organized with a planner and make it look cute and fancy, but with stickers! As I dove deeper into the idea, I realized a sticker business was something I was interested in. I could work from home, set my own schedule, have some extra income, and satisfy my own need for creativity and organization.

I don’t know if this business idea will work out, but that’s part of the fun, right? I might succeed, I might fail. Either way, at least I will have tried, which is more than most people can say. I’m still working out the logistics of everything – setting up my Etsy store, making product, learning about incredibly boring things like sales tax and online business, but it’s all slowly coming together.

I’m also a huge procrastinator and I suffer from sometimes debilitating bouts of imposter syndrome, but I am determined to see this through. So follow along and watch me fail and learn.