This is my heart, my mind and my life — the last six months of it, anyway — in the form of a pocket-sized bullet journal, and I’m so deeply attached to it I can hardly even tell you. I’ve been sharing some of the spreads on Instagram the past few months (collected together under #ktminibujo) and have had requests that I write more about it. Ok!
I’ve mentioned before that I’m a lifelong blank-book junkie. I’ve had more diaries, sketchbooks and datebooks than I could count (many of them still in a big rubbermaid tub that moves around with us from place to place) — but it’s been quite a few years. In more recent years, I’ve been tempted by Ryder Carroll’s Bullet Journal system, just because I love both organizational systems and paper so much, but “bujo” is sort of a cross between a planner and a diary. A paper-based planner is not really an option when your days are as complicated as mine, and I’ve never stuck with a diary for more than a few entries at a stretch. Still, I’m drawn to how flexible and customizable the basic concept is, and I’ve incorporated certain aspects of it into my web-based planner system. But seeing examples on Instagram of the incredible spreads and concepts people have come up with, within the larger #bulletjournal ecosystem, is incredibly inspiring to me. And then came my making journal, with its slight nods to bujo here and there. And then came the prototypes for the beautiful memo books (and leather cover) that finally made it into the webshop at the end of last week.
The samples came at a moment when I needed some help, to be honest. The first few months of this year were rough, and I was feeling both frayed and disconnected — from myself and everything else. One day, in looking at some of the “habit trackers” people have designed for themselves, I had an idea for charting my well-being and its influences, and I had the perfect notebook in which to do it! After that, I was besotted with my little book. It’s truly either in my hand, my pocket or right next to me at all times. Its very presence — the act of interacting with it — has done wonders for me.
There’s not much that’s core bujo in it, but it owes everything to the flexible, freeform, ever-evolving ethos of the system. There are no “dailies” or “weeklies” but there is a quarterly overview (a sort of “future log”) where I’ve listed top-level deadlines and initiatives for myself, to keep me focused on the big picture. In addition to my monthly “mood” charts with their occasional one-line entries about the day, there’s a page for each month that serves as a timeline, on which I record the highlights: travel, dinners out, time spent with friends. I’ve tried to make note of what we’re watching or reading or listening to, as I miss having a reading journal. And I’ve found myself actually writing a diary entry at the end of each month, sort of recapping life and where my head is at. But along the way, I’ve found myself craving more visual, dimensional, full-color representations of what I’m up to — to be able to actually SEE what I’m doing — which has taken all sorts of forms: from incorporating my spring make list into my Q2 priorities (which accounts for how much of it I’ve actually gotten done!) to enshrining my 10×10 outfits, logging my bathroom renovation measurements and shopping list, and sketching my Summer of Basics plan. I even included my little summer mood board because it makes me feel happy. I draw pictures and diagrams, glue things in, anything goes! And I have the notion that perhaps I’ll have prints made of a few relevant IG photos from the same time period, and enclose them at the end.
For all the books I’ve filled (or half-filled) in my years, I’ve never had anything like this one — so much more a reflection of the timespan than any written journal or datebook. And I love that I’ve got six months of life rather beautifully encapsulated in this small volume (or will, once the final four spreads are filled with Squam and Portugal this month). At that rate — two of these per year — even if I kept it up for 10 years, it would occupy very little space in the world and yet tell such a story.
So yes, I’m deeply attached to this notebook — the first thing I would reach for in a fire — and thankful to Ryder Carroll and every bujo-er who’s inspired me so far.
. . .
There’s nothing to say a bullet journal has to be beautifully designed or elegantly hand-lettered or anything at all — it can be as simple as what Ryder demonstrates in his video or whatever you want it to be! — but if you want to look at some of the bujo Instagram feeds I find most inspiring, see @abulletandsomelines, @vestiblr, @tinyrayofsunshine (so many others!) and of course @bulletjournal
And you can find my perfect little notebook over at Fringe Supply Co.
PREVIOUSLY: Do you keep a knitting journal?