As previously mentioned, I have been toying with the idea of journalling or diary-keeping, and bullet journalling was a method that I encountered recently.
I tried it out in December, decided that I liked it, and wanted to adapt it in some way that works for my brain. I have also been wanting to journal regularly, so I decided to get a good start in this year.
Just as a caveat, I cannot have too many things scattered around because I am very easily distracted, for example different journals for different purposes. I have tried it before, and it distracted me to the point where none of the journals got used at all.
I have also tried different smartphone apps, but being a gadget-y person, I ended up spending more time adjusting settings to my liking, than actual journal or note-keeping.
Here is how I adapted the bullet journal to my brain, and how I keep everything in one journal.
My 2015 bullet journal + daily journal
I bought the Moleskine Soft Cover Daily Diary/Planner which features one day per page, because I wanted to force myself to journal everyday this year. I know Moleskines have a bad reputation, and I am not pleased with the paper quality, but I will go into my reasons in another blog post.
Setting up the Bullet Journal
I had a whole pack of loose-leaf B5 size 26-ring papers that I bought in Taiwan many years ago. The paper quality is really cheap (ie fountain pens are a big nono) but I didn’t want to throw them out, so I decided to cut them into Moleskine (Large) size and tape them in. I did that in December, which I found worked for me, so I decided to go ahead and do it for 2015.
Below, you can see I taped some of these loose-leaf papers with washi and deco tape in between 1 and 2 Jan, and the monthly spread. My experience in December told me that I would not need many pages. This journal is just personal, and I lead a rather quiet life, so there isn’t much going on (as you will see later).
A week into 2015, I realised that I could actually use the Moleskine’s 4-month on a spread view for the bullet journals ‘month-on-a-page’ view, since it is formatted the same way. As I said, I lead a quiet life (not much events) so I don’t need yet another piece of paper for a monthly view.
It can also reduce the number of pages I insert, as the daily Moleskine is pretty thick, and I am afraid it will explode or, at least, unravel (given the made-in-china quality) by mid-year or so.
So below, I transferred the Jan monthly views into the Moleskine monthly view. It works fine, I just have to write slightly smaller, and use a thinner pen than usual.
I can also use this to set up future months and plan ahead. The bullet journal idea uses collections for future events, but my brain cannot function that way unfortunately.
Here is a glimpse of the January daily spread. As you can see, nothing happens. I go to work and come home on most days. The weekends are slightly busier in January, mainly because Lunar New Year is around the corner, and I have shopping to get done. I also record money spent, but not every single cent, mostly unusual spending, such as a more-expensive-than-usual lunch at a cafe ($21 versus the usual $4 lunch) or if I buy clothes or shoes, or take a taxi.
Doing My Daily Journalling
At the same time, I use this for daily journalling. I have been wanting to do so for some time, after watching so many journalling Youtubers and Hobonichi Techo users etc. I still have to force myself to sit down for 30 minutes a night to do so, but after 2 weeks, I am quite pleased with the results and hope to carry this on.
It is difficult keeping a journal when life is so quiet, so due to lack of inspiration, I turned to Pinterest for ideas. That is the whole point of Pinterest anyway!! I also took some inspiration from the multitudes of Hobonichi Techo videos and images, and from other art journallers etc. That being said, I am NOT an artist. I cannot draw to save my life, and I dislike it when the journal is just filled with TOO MANY random things stuck in. I do like some cute stuff, but too much can BE too much sometimes, so I try to control myself and write as much as possible. If there are empty spaces, then I fill them in with a few stickers or deco tape.
Both the daily journal and bullet are being refined as I go along, so there might still be some minor tweaks. Overall I am quite pleased with the system I have right now, and hope to keep it going. I cannot wait to see what this 2015 journal will look like once it’s nicely filled up by June or December.