I’ve been feeling more and more scattered and subsequently anxious. I’m not sure if it is just age, the stress of relocation, or the return of my chronic pain and all the other crap it brings with it. I started thinking that despite my struggles with to-do lists often dragging me down mentally that perhaps my brain could be a bit clearer if I got things down on paper. Enter the Bullet Journal, a sort of DIY paper planner that you build as you go to suit your own individual needs!
As tends to happen, this system also crossed Cate’s path about the same time and we both have jumped in. I think Cate has so far limited hers to work. Since I work part-time from home the household is part of my “work” too. I’m struggling to find a way to hold myself accountable for taking care of me and am hoping this may help me in that goal as well, though so far I haven’t gotten there.
My struggles with to-do lists in the past is that they overwhelm me and I end up in sort of paralysis. It took a bit for me to find a balance in how many tasks are really realistic to put down in my daily logs. Of course ,with the chronic pain issues that can be hard to predict in advance. I’m finding I’m doing pretty decent with the dailies now. I’m usually focusing on one or two main tasks for work, usually about two tasks for the household (laundry, vacuuming, etc.), and a task or two for the online classes I’m taking, depending upon how smoothly the software/web site is running.
There is a very strong community out there for people using this system and they are all very supportive. Many share their spreads, hacks, and systems freely in hopes it will help someone else. When I first ran across the Calendex system I thought it was crazy. It certainly would not work for me as an index, but as the layout floated around in my head a bit I was suddenly inspired to use it as a way to keep track of recurring tasks.
Since we moved I’ve been much more religious about cleaning. But, there are those things that don’t get done weekly and I wasn’t doing so great at keeping track of when they should be done or were last done – washing the vacuum and the air purifier filters, cleaning the blinds, etc. Plus there are other things around our home that happen on a semi-regular basis like DH’s Fridays off, mom’s Audible subscription renewing etc. This is perfect! I can flip back and refer to it when I’m making out my dailies to see what is on the docket to get done for the day.
After almost a week of dailies I found there were tasks popping in my head that didn’t need done “right now” or even on a particular schedule, but I wanted them to get done soon on an as time allows basis. I knew just tossing them into the dailies whenever they popped into my head was going to make me feel defeated because I’d have too many tasks left open so I thought I’d try a weekly spread. Plus, that gave me a place to note down over the air TV shows we’d like to catch if we can and events in the upcoming week.
I ended up duplicating my efforts on the household chore front. Though now that the week is over I’m sad to say if it weren’t for those on the list, there would be very few filled in boxes. I’m still trying to find a way to keep track of what I’d like to get done in a way that doesn’t make me feel defeated.
I know part of the issue was some of the tasks were really too big. The green boxes were work projects and those never proceed at the rate they could because I am almost always awaiting more details or data or what not for a few days. I ended up giving a couple of the work projects their own page with it broken down into smaller tasks and I’m pulling a task or two from that page into my dailies and that is working fantastically!
The things that require going anywhere languish. Since December Brandon has decided to rip into anything in plastic and get into trash cans when left home alone. It takes about 20 minutes to Brandon-proof the apartment before leaving. DH doesn’t want him left home alone for more than about two hours at a time right now. With relying on mass transit/walking for transportation that means I can get somewhere and turn around and come home and not actually get anything accomplished like get my hair cut, do any shopping.
I’ve also moved my meal planning into my BuJo. I have been planning our meals like this for a while now and as long as we stick to it (something we could improve on) I’ve drastically reduced our food waste with this system. I make note of the foods coming in our Friday CSA delivery from 4P Foods (green) and anything that is needing used in our fridge or pantry (red) under “Foods to Use.” Then on the right I take down 5-8 recipes for the week and all of their ingredients marked with a dash. I compare that list to the foods to use list and shop my pantry/fridge and make it a plus if I have or will be receiving the ingredient. Then I transfer all the dashes over into the proper category under “Shopping.” We use InstaCart for a lot of our shopping so I add a dash when I add it to my InstaCart order and make it a plus as I unload it from my delivery. Stuff in purple are things that I really need to pick up and are available at our really poor grocery store next door (I swear it is like a time warp to the grocery stores of my youth in rural Minnesota). I’ve found there are certain types of items that I just really don’t really want to deal with InstaCart on.
Heading into March I want to add a gratitude spread and I think a spread for the month to track health-related things. I’ll keep the dailies more or less as they are, but I need to decide whether to keep the weeklies or make pages for the different sort of tasks kind of how I did for my work projects and then each day or every other day pick one task from each of those pages? Or maybe a page for low-energy tasks and higher-energy tasks? I’m open to suggestions!
Do you bullet journal? I’d love to hear how you are making it work for you!
If you haven’t heard of this I definitely encourage you to check out the original concept at BulletJournal.com. There are also some great resources to be found at Tiny Ray of Sunshine and Boho Berry as well as hundreds of videos on YouTube of people showing you their BuJo set ups. There is a huge Instagram following with #BuJo, #BuJoJunkies, #bulletjournal and many other hashtags. Wonderful support can also be found in the Bullet Journal Junkies Facebook group.