For years, I have started Bullet Journals and never stuck to it. I have changed how they look, what I track, extras that I promise I will follow, but never continue after a few months. I even tried using the My Happy Planner, and had more fun creating the pages than filling them out on a daily basis. So what has changed (or at least what I think will make the difference)?? I am now working from home full-time for the foreseeable future. Now how am I going to stay on top of work, home, my son’s school and everything else? I need to write it down!!
What I love about the premise of Bullet Journaling is you can make it whatever you want. There are so many groups and pages on Facebook, posts on Pinterest, and pictures on Instagram, you can get your inspiration from everywhere. The things I always try to add is cleaning, fitness, food, finances, and appointments. Some people do weekly spreads (one week covers two pages), daily, or monthly. It depends on how much you want to track…or how little. In the beginning of each book, I always put a calendar for the entire year, which allows me to add any important holidays, appointments, trips, etc. This is where I put holidays, birthdays, appointments, trips, and whatever else I think is good to track.
Then it is time to really customize it. At the beginning of my journal, I create items to track for the entire year. I have a mood tracker for each day, an activity log for exercising, my debt snowball tracker, and my house cleaning schedule.
For each month, I start with the monthly calendar overview, my habit tracker, and a gratitude log. I then move on to my weekly plan.
So, lets break down how I set up and use each of these items.
One thing I want to track is my overall mood each day. Why? Because it is fun! Maybe there will be a pattern and it would be interesting to see that unfold. On the next page I put a log of physical activity. I attend Orangetheory fitness classes multiple times a week and want to start walking or running and doing yoga as well. This will keep track of what days I do what activity.
On the next two-pages, I track my debt snowball. My husband and I have paid off $60,000 over the last two years and are doing our best to pay off the rest of our debt by the end of 2021 or beginning of 2022. I am a very visual person and being able to see our progress gives me motivation to keep going!
Now we get to the house cleaning schedule. I created this spread based on FlyLady. The concept is to break your house into multiple zones and focus on only one zone per day. This should take no longer than 15 minutes each day. The first couple weeks may take longer because you haven’t been keeping up with the area, but after this becomes a normal part of your schedule, it will take less time! I decided to draw a rough layout of my house and color-code the zones. My schedule is as follows:
Sunday: My son’s room – This includes dusting, vacuuming, picking up all toys, changing sheets, & putting away clothes
Monday: Living room, sitting room, spare room & craft room – This one might take a little longer than the others. I plan on picking up blankets (maybe throw them in the washer), dusting and vacuuming each room, putting everything in their proper spot (especially in the craft room!), & ensuring the spare room has clean linens on the bed.
Tuesday: Hallways, stairs and loft – This won’t take long as all I need to do is vacuum, dust and pick up any clutter
Wednesday: Kitchen and dining room – Not only do I need to vacuum and mop, but go through the fridge and toss old food, wipe down the inside and outside of the fridge, oven and microwave, and wipe down all counters.
Thursday: Master – I will go through the bedroom, bathroom and closet. Make sure clothes are all put away or in the laundry, dust, vacuum, make sure clutter is put away and deep clean the bathroom.
Friday: Bathrooms – Clean all other bathrooms in the house
Saturday: Laundry room – This will be the day I catch up on all remaining laundry. I also will sweep and organize the shoe racks.
Now onto the monthly and weekly spreads…
At the beginning of every month, I create a habit tracker and gratitude log. Every person wants to track different things, and having a visual reference that I can color in every day makes it more fun to keep up.
This year I changed up how I am going to track my daily habits, but this is a little more fun than just checking boxes…but we will see how it goes. Some examples of habits I track:
• Orangetheory Fitness
• 10,000 daily steps
• Meeting my water goal
• Eating right or sticking to my menu
• Daily cleaning tasks
• Daily declutter tasks (check out this site for daily small things to declutter the house)
• Spending no money
• Balancing the checkbook
• Organizing or going through my email (it gets super overwhelming when I don’t do it daily)
All of these tasks are easily achievable, but I find that if I have a list or somewhere it is written down and I can check it off, I will be more likely to get it done. Who doesn’t like checking something off??
My last monthly tracker is a gratitude log. At the end of the year, I would love to look back and see special memories I may have forgotten. I also want to use this to make myself look at something positive that happened that day. Being negative isn’t hard, but staying positive can be. Why not find a way to step back and smell the flowers?
So…how to I remember all these things? I have a weekly spread with an area for meal planning, water intake, declutter task of the day, picture of the day, any appointments or notes, the cleaning schedule and an area to jot down ideas for my blog or even to do at a later date. I keep this spread easy to follow, mostly because I am not artistic at all and I prefer clean and simple. This is what is open on my desk next to me all day. I make sure I know what is coming as far as appointments, what I need to clean and even prep for dinner.
Overall, this does take time to setup. The Happy Planner is another popular option for a planner that have templates already created and you just fill it in. You can add stickers, washi tape, doodles, or anything you want to personalize it. I gave that a try before, but I was never able to stick to it. I think part of my love of bullet journaling is actually creating the journal itself. If something isn’t working out the way I want, or I want to add something new, I just change up the following week. Using the grid notebook makes it easy to create checkboxes or color in the squares.
Not everyone needs to write down their plans or schedule. Maybe you have an app on your phone or just have an amazing memory…but I forget a lot. If it is written down, it isn’t happening. This is so true with work tasks as well. I found that a bullet journal gives me the personalization and customization I need to keep me less crazy and on top of daily life.
What are things you like to (or need to) track daily, weekly and monthly? What methods have you discovered keep you motivated to stay on track? I would love to see or hear other ideas and give them a try!