my bullet journal that's barely a bullet journal.

I've been seeing all the fancy bullet journal ideas floating around Pinterest for a  couple of years now, and while I stand in awe of the stellar individuals who find it cathartic to spend forty bajillion hours organizing and decorating their to-do lists, I don't number among them.  It just didn't seem realistic for me and my no-nonsense ways of list-keeping.

But I've recently been watching Facebook Live videos from Life(in)grace (whom I just adore), and in one of them, she details how she keeps her bullet journal.  And (spoiler alert) it's not a fancy schmancy system of hand drawn calendars and calligraphied shopping lists.  Basically, her bullet journal is just a composition notebook full of lists and notes, with a table of contents to make everything easy to find.  Period.  THAT. IS. ALL.

And I was like, how genius is that?  Instead of having one rando sheet of paper with my shopping lists, and another random bunch of index cards with my reading notes, and a few half-finished journals full of sermon notes, why don't I just keep everything in one simple place?  Maybe I'm a total idiot, but my mind was blown.

So I've been relying heavily on my bullet journal for the past few months.  Here it is in all its understated glory:

The basic gist is that I keep my whole brain in this tiny book.  I chose a smaller notebook than the composition notebook she recommends, simply because I can cart it around the house more easily, and it fits well inside my planner and/or my purse.  It has become as necessary to daily life as my glasses.

So what all do I keep in here?  Well, first, my table of contents, because a notebook full of lists becomes infinitely less helpful if you can't find anything.  As I fill the book, I number each page and just go back and add it to the list at the front.

You can see there is really no order to things; I just turn to the next clean page when I need to start a new list or set of notes, but because of the table of contents I can still find everything quickly.  Easy peasy.

I keep a running to-do list each week, to which I stick a new post-it each day with the day's list.  It is literally the unfanciest bullet journal on the face of the earth.

This is how tidy my lists are at the beginning of the week.  (You can see that I have to write down what texts I need to send, because I don't always have the social energy to text.  I'm Paige.  I'm an introvert, and I'm terrible at living on this side of the millennium.)

Yes, I menu planned hot dogs.

The weekly list stays the same, but the post-its change throughout the week.

Here are the other things I've been keeping in here over the summer:

Monthly goals
Birth prep
Prayer list
Facebook Live topic ideas
Blog topic ideas
Freezer meals to make before baby's arrival
Notes from vlog series I've been following
Travel prep list
Grocery lists
Registry list
Author mentors I'd like to learn from
Hospital packing list
Meal plans
Weekly blog plans
Sermon notes
Homeschool prep
Amish delivery price list
Online purchases to add to checkbook
Online class notes
Library activity dates
Thank you notes to write
Library class notes
Craft ideas for school
Books to add to my library or Amazon lists
Prep notes for starting women's Bible study/book club
Callista's milestone dates
School supplies to purchase

All of that would be in my head (or, more realistically, index cards and cluttery post-its everywhere) if I didn't have it all in one place.  The best $3 I've ever spent.

AND! It has become a mommy-daughter activity, as Penelope has jumped on board with her own bullet journal.  She likes to keep lists of story ideas in hers, as well as to-do lists and weekly plans.  She has a little pad of post-its she keeps in the back for fitting occasions, as well.  We are birds of a feather.  (I know these photos are super blurry, but she's just so adorable I had to post them.)

You would not believe what a lifesaver this thing has been.  I've already purchased and stickered another one to have ready when this one gets full.

 And that is how I keep my brain from leaking out of my ears.


todd said...

i love that Penelly has jumped in on this. there is no one else i'd rather have her looking up to or becoming more like than you!

Lissa said...

Love it! I was totally with Edie when she said it was basically what she'd been doing for years but with less organization. I think it's the table of contents that is mind-blowing.

Amanda Cushman said...

This speaks right to my list loving, OCD heart!

paige said...

You are just the best. I love that she's jumping in, too! It's fun to share this with her.

paige said...

Isn't there something so satisfying about looking at a bunch of lists? And the table of contents is basically a list of lists, which is why I think I've found this method so intensely practical AND gratifying! I knew you'd have my back on this.

paige said...

Lissa, I totally agree- the table of contents is a total game-changer! So simple, but so helpful. I also think I needed somebody to turn on the lightbulb in my mind to keep everything in one place - that it's okay to keep sermon notes and shopping lists in the same notebook.

Maggie said...

I went back to revisit this post because my brain needed a reminder on the bullet journal concept (got all excited about it and then had a baby and then forgot what I was supposed to do - think I'm disorganized? Think I need a bullet journal, maybe??) and I just so happened to see in one of these photos of your journal -- MY NAME. Now, I'm just going to pretend that I, the friend who lives far away and who you've really only met one time, am so important to you that I got a line in the famous Paige VanVoorst bullet journal that week. I'm going to ignore the fact that you probably know other humans named Maggie and that I likely wasn't the special one. I hope that's ok. Oh, and whatever it was you were supposed to do for/to me, I hope you did it and were able to cross it off. Crossing things off is the best part of list-making!