Bullet Journal: One Notebook to Rule Them All

I did it, ya’ll.

I bought a bullet journal.

My systems have been digital for 3, maybe 4 years. Before that I always had a calendar on the kitchen wall, sometimes one in my purse, too, though I could never find a planner that did everything I wanted it to do. A few years ago – several phones back – I decided to put everything on my Google calendar, which has worked because it’s simple and all my stuff is Google; also because Wayne and I can share calendars. We don’t often need to, but we can.

I’ve used a variety of digital productivity apps. Generally I use something for awhile, Gtasks or Todoist, and then eventually life feels overwhelming in some way and I waste spend an afternoon researching apps and systems because ISTJ, people. If something is wrong in my life, it must be the fault of the system.  Obviously the system. Not me. Ahem.

But I’ve been watching the bullet journal stuff float around for awhile, and thought it might be nice to rely less on my phone, but also to keep the contents of my brain in one place. And to have a customized calendar system, although I still plan to use my digital calendar.

I looked at notebooks online, and in about 4 stores, but, frugal minimalist that I am, in the end I decided to go with a simple and cheap composition notebook with grid paper.


That way I’m not too intimidated to write in it, and if it doesn’t work out I won’t be wracked with guilt over the cost.

(Although, I did hold in my hands a $35 journal in Barnes and Noble made of Italian leather and oh my goodness it was so soft. I was sorely tempted.)

But did you notice the pens? I splurged on the colorful Sharpie pens!

Aaand then I wrote in regular black pen.



I’ll work on the colorful thing.  My bullet journal will not be the fancy, colorful, artsy kind. Maybe someday I’ll use a tiny amount of washi tape. I’ll work up to it. But right now I just need an organized place to dump my brain on an ongoing basis.

Also, you’ll probably notice that I messed up on my very first frame. To quote Ramona Quimby, “Guts!!” I used white out to cover the mistake. I suppose life will go on.

I used tabs to mark various sections of lists: to do, blog ideas, family trip ideas, things to buy, things to research later, etc.  I have a separate piece of paper in the back to keep a running grocery list.  I plan to paper clip it to the back of the notebook, if I can find a paper clip. They seem to have disappeared in the move.

I have a separate commonplace book, but I might want everything in one notebook. Still thinking about that.

So that’s my initial set up. We’ll see if it works for me. Do you prefer digital systems or pen and paper? Have you tried a bullet journal or something similar?

About waymel

Navy wife. Homeschooling mom. Adoptive parent. Pianist. Introvert. One who loves quiet and beauty.
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6 Responses to Bullet Journal: One Notebook to Rule Them All

  1. jenhamrick says:

    It looks very neat and pretty and makes my heart happy. I love your colorful sharpies!

    I have a planner (that I always buy from target on clearance), and I use Google calendar a little bit, and a notebook strictly for homeschool planning, and then a notebook that I use for EVERYTHING. I also have a habit of making lists in my phone but I don’t like that as well as the good old-fashioned notebook of yore.

  2. shirley wilmoth says:

    I have loved notebooks and colorful pens since I can remember. I remember finding an old journal in the basement of my family home when I was about 6 years old and as I pretended to teach my imaginary class, I glanced at my notes and seating chart. I always have notes and planners and composition notebooks, and now I’m going to have a Bullet Journal. …Thanks Melanie. Great idea

  3. Rebecca says:

    I have never heard of a bullet journal, but my soul rejoices at the thought of that new notebook and pristine sharpies! I know this will shock you all, but I keep my schedule completely on my phone. Generally I keep a running shopping list there, too. However, since I am passionate about office supplies and generally opposed to technology, I may have to reconsider!

  4. Robyn says:

    I guess we all come by our love of office supplies and organization honestly! I have a list on my phone and for work a paper list always at my side. I also have a planner, but I use it to mostly write down things after they happen.

  5. shirley wilmoth says:

    update if anyone cares………I am using my bullet journal and love it and love the way my kitchen counter looks without constant piece of papers on it. Thanks Melanie for a very good idea.

  6. Pingback: Bullet Journal, Take Two | waymel

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