How I failed at bullet journaling. (and my attempts at round two.)

28 December 2016

As I started my bullet journal months ago, part of me kind of knew that I’d likely give up on it. And two months in, I did exactly that. I think I was more upset that I spent the money on a moleskine notebook. With so few pages used, I decided to attempt another use of the book. So I ripped a lot of pages out.

I think where I failed was this notion of tracking. I wasn’t using my bullet journal for planning — no weekly or daily spreads for me. I absolutely love the ban.do planner I own, and didn’t really want to mix pseudo-diary like things with my homework assignments or notes regarding meetings or chores that needed done. And so attempting to do daily tracking in a notebook where I wasn’t doing any other daily or weekly work, well, it made it easy to put it all off. Not to mention, I have a weird relationship with daily tracking — it mostly makes me feel bad rather than holding me accountable.

However, as I mentioned, I had this whole gridded moleskine notebook. I wasn’t just about to just toss aside a $20 notebook just because there were a handful of pages I didn’t like. Tearing them out isn’t necessarily easy, but if you follow the section, making sure you get both sides of the paper (the stitching is what holds it together in the section, thus you’ll have to do both sides or the other will likely fall out eventually). Anyway. Once I had everything. It was time to start over.

The bucket list is held over from the first attempt. Going to spend the next few days adding a couple things.  I also added to my grad school requirements spread — adding in my thesis proposal requirements. I’m hoping to have my first draft done by the end of the term.

I also decided to add semester pages. While I’m not using this book for planning, I thought it’d be nice to have more of my grad school experience recorded here. This stuff will be in my planner, too, but at least this way it’s also side-by-side for the semesters. Just a way of remembering with whom and when I took my classes.

Lastly, I decided to add in a two-page spread on my overall grad school highlights. It’s essentially a mini-CV… or maybe just the best hits of my CV.

From grad school, I move into more personal stuff. Rather than attempt to fake the months from my fall semester, I just did the highlights from the whole year. Given the roughness of this year, it’s kind of nice having all of these in one place to reflect upon. (And yes, one of the entries says “caught squirrel in grandma’s house.”) I figured the best way to start off 2017 is with goals for the year. I’ll add on as I go, but I want to stick to things I feel are at least somewhat feasible. The rest can go on my bucket list.

For the monthly spreads, I’ve decided to keep things a little blank. I’d dedicate two pages to a month, and however I want to organize them or whatever I want to keep recorded, I’d have the freedom to do so. So if I really want to add in some tracking? Sure. I can do that. But there’s no standard formula for each month. (But honestly, I’m going to attempt the smaller tracking stuff in my planner, since I tend to use that almost daily anyway.)

Hopefully this version will last a bit longer. It’s a bit more of a memory book than anything else. A time capsule of at least my graduate career. It’s something I’ll be able to have for myself — yet also something I can share with my nieces as they get older, or my own kids and beyond. Maybe it’s not a traditional bullet journal — but that’s sort of the joy of bullet journals, you can make them what you need them to be.

  • I think it’s cool you’re giving it a go. I think what attempting bullet journaling made me realize is exactly what i need in a planner. Good luck!

    • It definitely shows you what you aspects you need, or at least use, most in planning and goal setting, etc.

  • Kay

    I think it’s great you’re trying again. I am doing a bullet journal for the first time this year. I already love the freedom of it in that I can change layouts if I want to or make lists/notes whenever and wherever I want. I’m hoping I’ll stick with it! I really like your highlights page, I may have to add that to mine!

    • I love highlight pages. Great way on reflecting back at all the good things. I think after I’m done with my degrees, I’ll likely switch from a traditional planner to maybe bullet journaling full time. Good luck with your bullet journal!

  • Pingback: BuJo Round 2: Monthly Spreads()

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