When I was doing the photography for this post, Piers walked over and had a look. He said, “You’re so geeky!” Not unkindly. He already knows I’m a huge geek and often encourages (enables) it.
But I was surprised. Here, I thought I was making art and not geeking out. Art is not geeky. Is it? Maybe it is, in some contexts. I don’t know anymore; life is getting way too complicated. You can decide for me.
For some time now, I have been keeping my life organised by using six different mobile apps plus a few paper notebooks plus one productivity journal. (That is probably what’s geeky.) These numbers go up and down depending on my moods and obsessions. For example, when I’m being depressed, I use zero of them.
Then, one day, as I was adding yet another app to my arsenal and it was getting ridiculous, I thought to myself, “This is getting ridiculous.”
I needed a better way! Especially since apps are getting expensive with monthly subscription fees. And so a new obsession happened. It’s called bullet journalling and it was going to allow me to organise my entire life using just ONE NOTEBOOK:
Bullet journals have been around for a while but here’s a quick explanation for people who need more information:
- A bullet journal is an efficient and customisable method of organising and planning your life in a blank notebook using a system of bullet points.
- It evolved over the years. People started being creative and adding all kinds of artistic elements, as well as recording all sorts of data about their lives in not necessarily efficient ways.
- Many bullet journals now don’t look like the original bullet journal anymore, but evolution is a hallmark of life. I like to call the latest variety artsy bullet journal just to differentiate it from the original, which some people now call minimalist bullet journal.
I used to bullet journal five years ago (the non artsy kind). It was just bullets and text, and it got tedious and boring. I quit two years later and turned to apps. Now, I’ve had enough of apps for many reasons and am going back to old-fashioned journalling.
(Although, to be honest, I still have to keep a couple of apps around because some things are better digital, such as searchable databases and auto calculations.)
Artsy bullet journalling is perfect for combining organisation and fun, and here is how I’m starting!
First, my August cover page:
This is a completely superfluous page for a planner, but many people have it and I love it because it looks nice and acts as a divider for all the different months.
Most artsy bujo-ers do monthly themes based around the seasons, or a significant holiday, or things they love (like a movie franchise, or cartoon, etc).
My theme this month is “let’s do it as simplistic as possible and get it off the ground before I get bored”!
Next, I have my August overview page. It says “Scratch Pad” in case my writing is so bad you can’t read it:
This is where I write to-dos and appointments and reminders and any notes for the month.
Now come the trackers, which are the main reason I needed to undigitise because I need them customised to my needs and easily accessible multiple times a day. Apps are annoying for this because of loading times plus it’s harder to peek at neighbouring pages:
Daily habits are actions I aspire to do every single day, so the aim is to fill the whole page and get a full streak. (If I succeed, Piers will reward me with, say a new iPad? Right?)
My lifestyle tracker includes things that I want to do on a daily basis. But I don’t have time to do everything, so this tracks how often I manage to do each activity. It also serves as a daily reminder for me to do the thing; otherwise I get distracted and forget!
Next tracker, sleep:
This allows me to record three things:
- How many hours I managed to sleep.
- How I feel after the sleep, using a scoring system.
- Notes to explain my sleep score.
I suffer greatly from insomnia and restless sleep, so this will help me notice patterns.
Last tracker, wellness:
I made this to analyse my depression. I rate my energy, mood and health three times a day (morning, afternoon and night) so that I can notice patterns, how each affects the other, and how my sleep patterns also affect these states.
I also keep track of the supplements I’m taking daily to improve my energy, mood, health and sleep. I have a tendency to forget whether I’ve taken a particular supplement, or forget completely, so this helps.
For rating my wellness, I devised these scores:
10 is a perfect score, and 1 is cataclysmic.
I don’t like to do elaborate drawings (which is why I only do stick figures when I draw my comics) but I was forced to draw this picture because there was a huge blank space to fill in. It was a bit tedious but I enjoyed colouring it in, so that’s a plus.
Next up: Dinner menu:
I have been planning my meals in Apple Notes to help me with grocery shopping and also to remind me what I’m supposed to cook every day. I like this way so much better.
But I’m quite disappointed with the look of this spread. I was going to keep my August pages to a three-colour pastel theme, but the cartoon burger and fries begged to be coloured in bright colours so, in a moment of insanity, I caved. Now this page doesn’t sit well with the rest of my August pages and it annoys me! It also really bugs me that the cartoons are a bit ugly.
Still, I tell myself that this is just the beginning and I have a lot of room for improvement and it will get better and better, yada. (The lies people tell themselves.)
That’s all the monthly spreads done. After month comes week and day:
My weekly pages are basically weekly planners, for to-dos, appointments and reminders for the week. This week only has five days because I like starting at the first of the month.
Between each weekly page will be seven daily pages. (That’s the grand plan, anyway.) These daily pages will include tasks and appointments and a record of all the things I ate that day (to tie in with wellness tracking). Whatever space I have left after that, I will record memories, thoughts and gratitudes.
Ideally, I want to keep journalling this way for a long time, filling notebook after notebook, collecting stacks and stacks of pretty and memorable keepsakes for the future. In reality, who knows. I might get bored of the whole thing before the month is over.
Now, because this is a bullet journal, we need a bullet code, which, I hope, is self-explanatory:
Then, there are two more pages which are actually in the front of the journal, but I’m showing them last because I don’t like the look of them. Also, I made some mistakes and had to use brown sticker labels to cover them up, which completely spoiled the look I was going for:
(I need more lies to console myself here.)
Future dates is to schedule things in advance and future pursuits are things I want to do but have no time to, at present. May never have time to, but one can dream.
These pages have a different look to my August pages because I’m doing different monthly “themes”. I think. I’m kind of making it all up as I go along.
And, finally, two bonus pages that weren’t meant to exist:
I was drawing my August cover page and made a mistake, so I pasted card stock over it. Then I tried to draw it on the next page and made a mistake again! So, more card stock!
Now I have two strange pages that don’t go with the rest of my journal and I still haven’t decided what to do with them.
I’m not bothering at the moment, though. I have more important things to worry about!
And that is all. Thank you for taking the tour of my new artsy bullet journal!
I will be sharing my daily pages in my Sheylara.com Facebook page (not my personal profile) and my Instagram, so follow either or both if you’d like to see them. Ideally, you want to follow both because that will help inflate my ego.
Well, now, my Samsung washing machine is playing its “I finished washing your clothes, you slacker” tune, so I need to go see to it. You go do your job (following my social media) while I go do mine.
Then come back and tell me whether you think all this is geeky or not!