Bullet Journals | Some Thoughts on Trackers & Logs

Some of you may or may not remember (I wouldn’t blame you if you didn’t) that, a while back, I did a blog post on bullet journals and how I had bought one in the effort to (essentially) get more shit done. I’m a fairly organised person as a rule and I love a good bit of stationery but I sometimes do end up just not doing things because I forgot I had a momentary inclination to do it. Writing ‘to do’ lists obviously combats that forgetfulness and having a system in which you get to tick off or colour in tasks you’ve completed helps to combat laziness by creating a visual representation of productivity (or lack thereof).

Well, that post was drafted for weeks and then I fell off the wagon with using my bujo and my post ended up spiraling from there into me musing whether I was using a bullet journal to its full potential (spoiler alert: I wasn’t). In an attempt to get back on the wagon, I have recently picked up my bullet journal for the month of May with a renewed determination to use it productively.

However, whilst drawing up my May monthly spread, I realised I hadn’t used the previous month’s tracker at all and then thought ‘well, hey, do I actually want a tracker?’ It seems pretty pointless for me to have a tracker which includes daily tasks like ‘make bed’ or ‘read’ because I do that every day anyway – it’s a habit that has formed through repetition. But at some point (presumably) I had to develop that habit and make it a priority. Can trackers be a way to visually make certain tasks/habits a priority?

My half-completed habit tracker from February

And once again we come up against another crux of the matter:

  • Are trackers only seemingly pointless for me because I’m tracking things I already do regularly?
  • I’m using trackers essentially as a way to get into habits – is this the “right way” to use them?
  • Would I prioritise different things in my life if I made the effort to track them? (Not wanting to “break the chain” mentality etc.)
  • Do I often fail to develop some habits because I don’t prioritise/track them?

The whole beauty of the bullet journal system is that it’s able to be personalised to any individual’s situation or needs. For example, I work regular shifts Mondays to Fridays so I very rarely need a section of my bullet journal to track those. I don’t (yet) go to the gym with enough regularity to want to record what workouts I do. I’m no longer in school/university so I don’t need a section to note down homework assignments (though, my god, I wish I’d discovered bujos during university I would have been so much more productive). I don’t need to have any sections devoted to things that don’t fit with my current lifestyle.

To this effect, I’ve done away with having weekly logs which delineate my ‘to do’ list by days – there’s no point, I mostly end up migrating tasks anyway, and it actually made me less productive when I did this. Plus I don’t get home until 6pm most days so I don’t spend the majority of my day with my bullet journal actively writing down tasks. I don’t use a bujo at work because it’s unnecessary, personally speaking.

How I’m doing my weekly log now

So now I have a two-page spread for each week. On the left-hand page I do a little mini weekly calendar with enough space to write any meetings/twitter chats/social plans, as well as a section to write what blog post I want to publish that day. As my housemate Liz works variable shifts, I often also jot down what shift she’s working on any given day, so that I can make tea for two (or not) depending on when she will be getting home. On the right hand page I simply have a weekly ‘to do’/notes where I list everything and anything I need to keep in mind that week. This is where (if anywhere) I use the symbols Ryder Carroll sets up in his key. But I’m not tied down to assigning a task to a certain day, which helps me a lot.

Despite the fact I’ve ditched monthly trackers, I’m toying with the idea of including a small tracker at the bottom of this right-hand page, to track how much coffee and water I drink. I drink waaaay too much coffee and not enough water so I’ve started to make sure to get a glass of water from the water cooler every time I make a cup of coffee at work (it helps that I have to walk past the cooler on the way out of the kitchen) and it’s been working fairly well. Perhaps this could actually be a useful thing to track, whilst I’m trying to develop this new habit and drink more water?

My very unaesthetically-pleasing coffee/water tracker

The whole point of this post is this: the bullet journal system is designed to be minimalist in its setup so that it’s organic; it can grow with you as you realise what features you do and don’t need and it can evolve from there into something that suits your specific needs. I think I’m finally realising that. There’s no harm in setting up a month one way and then realising you don’t use certain sections and so you get rid of them the next month – that’s fine, that’s healthy, and that’s the way I’m going to treat my bujo from now on. Watch this space…

I’m curious, bullet journallers out there – do you use monthly trackers to track habits? Do you use it in a visual ‘break the chain’ kind of way or do you track differently i.e. moods and sleep trackers? Let me know in the comments!


Goodreads | Twitter | Tumblr | Instagram | Bloglovin’

Bullet Journals | My Rationale & Initial Thoughts

Yes folks, you saw that right – I started a bullet journal because I’m just one big cliche.

I’d previously half-heartedly tried it in squared notebooks and found it did help my productivity, for as long as I kept up with it. My main problem was that I didn’t keep up with it, or invest enough time in it, or make it enough of a priority for it to be the first thing I turned to when planning anything. I’m trying to change that, so at the beginning of the year I bought kind of an expensive notebook (a black leuchtturm1917 with dotted pages – yes I’m that much of a cliche) and I invested money as well as time because if I’ve spent £10+ on a notebook, I tend to at least want to see it through to the end, you know?

Using my bullet journal to help track progress during the 24 in 48 Readathon

Well, so far it has worked reasonably well and I’ve ended up utilising the journal for my reading/blogging purposes. As it came up to the end of January, I hadn’t completely forgotten about it, though it is far from integrated into my daily life as an instinct. However, this is progress (Rome wasn’t built in a day etc. etc) and I thought it might be fun to share with you my bullet journal and my progress with it so far this year. It will also be a good way for me to keep track of how I’m doing with my bullet journal and which areas of it I need to keep and which I can just ditch-

*record scratches*

No, I must be honest now. I drafted this post, fully intending to share with you my yearly spreads and monthly spreads and how I track things and my weekly layouts and all that jazz, but the truth of it is between starting to draft this post and finishing it, I accidentally didn’t bullet journal for a few weeks. ‘Why’ you ask?

Well, I’m beginning to question the entire rationale behind bullet journaling and if it is really for me.

You see, I work standard hours Monday to Friday and I can’t really use my bullet journal during work to scribble to-do lists because a lot of the student information I deal with is personal stuff I can’t then remove from work. I get the same train every morning/evening so travel isn’t something that needs planning. I don’t have a social life to speak of and the most wild my plans get is to go to the cinema or maybe to do a grocery shop. My blogging and social media use isn’t professional or regular enough to require a schedule. I’m not a freelancer who has a great online shop or lots of projects with different deadlines. But admittedly I have found a use for the trackers in bullet journals, especially tracking reading progress during readathons or to keep track of what books I’ve read in the year, and I enjoy using the monthly trackers to track habits such as going to the gym or doing laundry. It’s just the weekly log/daily to-do lists bit that I don’t really use to its full potential – more often than not, days are mainly full of a list of tasks I optimistically hoped to get done but inevitably end up ‘migrated’ to the next day and then the next day and so on and so forth…

An example of my monthly trackers

This is a classic case of ‘do I not use a bullet journal daily because I’m just not yet in the routine of using it?’ or ‘does not having a routine of blogging mean I don’t use a bullet journal daily now but it would improve my blogging if I did?’. Because, let’s face it, my productivity probably would improve if I kept a better track of what I get done in a day outside of work. In a way, it would guilt me into doing something because I’d want to do things so that I would be using my bullet journal to its full potential. Which is possibly not really what bullet journaling’s noble mission is but hey ho, we get to the same outcome, regardless of rationale.

I’m not really sure if this blog post about bullet journals has a point. Basically, I bought one, I used it quite well in January and then my use of it tailed off and I’m trying to identify why that happened. Is it me or is it the bullet journal? I’m not sure, but maybe we need to give each other another chance.

Do any of you lovely folks use a bullet journal regularly? Or have you tried and decided it’s not for you? Or maybe you haven’t ever tried it and don’t want to? Please do comment below because I’d really love to hear about your experiences with bullet journaling, regardless of whether they were positive or negative – maybe they will help me form my conclusions about the whole thing.


Goodreads | Twitter | Tumblr | Instagram | Bloglovin’

24 in 48 Readathon

When is it probably the wrong time to participate in a readathon? When you’re reading a long af book like Tolstoy’s War and Peace. However, I’m still going to do it, because I’m curious as to whether I can actually get close to reading for 24 hours in 2 days – which is what this readathon is all about!

For those who aren’t aware the 24 in 48 Readathon is just what it says on the tin – participants try to read for 24 out of 48 hours, over the course of a weekend.

weekend
(Sorry, I couldn’t resist the gif.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can either start at 12:01am ET and use a time zone converter to find out what time to crack those books open where you are in the world or you can simply start reading at 12:01am in whatever time zone you’re in. Personally,I’m going to do the latter because I don’t fancy waking up at 5:00am on a Saturday. No, no way.

I like the concept of this because there aren’t any goals besides trying to reach 24 hours of reading. I can never commit myself fully to the Dewey’s 24-Hour Readathon on account of the fact that I enjoy sleep too much but, the goal of reading for 24 hours of the course of a weekend, well… that I can try to do. I am under no illusions – I will probably fail spectacularly and only read for a few hours, but I’d still like to try, and I’d still like to track it because, if nothing else, it would be useful to know where my hours do actually go on a weekend!

Bujo tracker and TBR stack for 24in48

I’ve put together a stack of books to choose from, and I hope mixing up genre, format, and topic of book will help to keep my attention. I’ve also split my potential reads into short, medium, and long length reads, so I can mix it up when I need some instant gratification of being able to read a book in an hour.

And, of course, this provides me with the perfect opportunity to put my bullet journal trackers to good use, I even created this one specially for the readathon thanks to the inspiration of Susie’s readathon tracker.

So, I have books, I have time, I have snacks, I think I have everything I will need for the weekend and 24 in 48 Readathon. I’ll probably be updating via Twitter and Instagram so stay tuned there if you’re curious about how my reading is going. If you’re participating, let me know below! Otherwise, I’ll see you on the other side.


Goodreads | Twitter | Tumblr | Instagram | Bloglovin’