Self-Care Challenge (Day 166): Starting a Bullet Journal

On day 1 of my 366-day self-care challenge, I created a bullet journal to stay organized.

If you’ve been reading along with me over the past 23 weeks of this year-long self-care journey, then you’ve probably figured out that I’m a bit of a planning junkie. (I’m obsessed.)

I have to admit, this love of planning has come in quite handy during this 366 Days of Self-Care Challenge, which has me practicing a new self-care activity every day.

Over the years, I’ve noticed that staying organized is an integral component of my well-being. When I’m organized, I have a clear picture of my path forward, and I feel more motivated to work toward (and achieve) my goals. But when I’m disorganized, I feel lost and frustrated.

But getting organized is the easy part…staying organized is where the real challenge presents itself.

For years, I’ve been searching for the perfect planner – one that is flexible enough to accommodate my ever-changing personal and professional goals, yet is structured in a way that makes it easy to find what I need when I need it.

Until recently, I’d been using The Self Journal, but I quickly realized it wasn’t going to work for me long-term. For one, it’s a bit pricey ($31.99), and since each journal only covers a 3-month time frame, I would need to invest more than $120 to use it for an entire year. (Yikes!) I also didn’t like the quality of the cover. The black canvas looked nice at first, but it stained easily, making me feel sloppy and unprofessional when I carried it with me. Another drawback was the large amount of wasted space on the pages. While the daily pages did include some unique features like space for noting “wins” and “lessons learned” each day, the margins were wide and the spacing wasn’t optimal. And the first 29 pages were filled with “instructions” for how to use the journal, which seemed like a waste of space to me.

But the biggest reason I decided to move on was that I wasn’t able to personalize it. It seems that I never have enough space for my notes, which, on some days are copious, and on others non-existent. Likewise, I’ve yet to find a journal that includes enough space for annual, quarterly, monthly and weekly goal-setting.

But then I stumbled upon the concept of the bullet journal…sometimes abbreviated BUJO.

(If you’re not familiar, take a quick peek at this “How to Bullet Journal” video.)

In a nutshell, bullet journals are living, breathing planners that allow agendas and goals to be created organically, on the fly. The planner itself evolves over time, which means as my life changes, so does the look and feel of my journal. Having the ability to incorporate art into the process has been surprisingly refreshing.

But most importantly, having everything in one place–my goals, vision board, calendar, notes, sketches and ideas–feels incredible. I feel organized, calm, intentional. While I’m sure only those who are equally obsessed with planning will understand the thrill, suffice it to say that being organized is euphoric. My favorite journal by far is the Leuchtturm 1917 (Amazon Associate Link).

I admit, it does take quite a bit of time to set up a bullet journal initially, but it’s well worth the investment.

How do you stay organized?

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