Bullet Journaling…it’s all that

I’m a list maker by nature so when my friend recently mentioned the hot trend of Bullet Journaling I was intrigued. Life for me consists of multiple lists and jotted ideas which aren’t necessarily located in the same location. Instead, they’re found beside my bed, on our office desk, in the bottom of my purse (where I could fit a small child) or in my head. I haven’t completely goofed on a major commitment, at least not yet, but the need for one common depot to house the lists in my life is apparent. Thankfully, from what I’ve begun to learn, the Bullet Journal is so much more than a simple notebook.

This modern day version of a Day-Timer, the Bullet Journal became all the rage a few years ago after thousands watched a YouTube video with interest and devotees have been gaining ever since. Call it a backlash to our digital age (where Moleskin has seen double the revenue in the past five years), this old-school organizational system is completely personal while being used for one’s to-do list, sketchbook, notebook, diary, or all of the above. Without going into the full details of the journal’s capabilities (the video is worth a watch!), Bullet Journaling works because of its unique flexibility and adaptability, holding thoughts, ideas, day dreams, goals and your schedule in one place.

When searching for #bulletjournal or cruising their Instagram account, you’ll find a plethora of ideas and examples of how people use a Bullet Journal. From artsy calendars and uber-gorgeous list making to exercise tracker or Rapid Logging. For me, I’m taking baby-steps broken down into three areas; the Future Log for an overall glance at the month ahead, the Daily Log for my week ahead (basically, my Things To Do Lists with task bullets I get to complete with a nice, solid X!) and Collections for larger projects in the making. If I decide to expand my needs in the journal, there is always room for more writing.

Honestly, there is no need to buy expensive supples if you are already content with your current notebook. The system created is truly the heart of the Bullet Journal. However, I do have to say I’m a fan of both the dot grid lines and the strength and beauty of the hardcover journals…the cheat sheet in the opening pages is also a nice reminder of how to organize each list.

Is this for everyone? Not necessarily. It does not fit in the back of trousers, it takes effort and, perhaps, a new organizational skill. But for me, it meets all my requirements by both writing items down, which forces my mind to process the information, as well as  creating order in my life. Whether you’re a list maker or not, give this a shot!  w

P.S. For you locals, Brown Ink Paper Goods cards is joining forces with other makers in Spring Market this Sunday (invite only, please email me for info) as well as a Mother’s Day Market next weekend! Come out and support your local makers!!

    there is love

    After a three month writing hiatus, it might seem cliche to focus on ways I’ve witnessed love through writing, but this is where I’ve been finding my heart, my jam, during the Winter days of wonder. These expressions or signs often jump in my face, knock me over with an inked blow, and I’m unable to ignore all the forms of heartfelt emotions seen thru writing.

    I find it in the note I leave my child on his desk complimenting him for some action or completed task, then receiving a written note in return on the other side of the paper sitting on my bedroom pillow. There is love.

    It’s in the postcards mailed to Senators voicing a passion or concern, a handwritten protest sign, or the words in Gloria Steinem’s handwritten speech. There is love.

    I see it in the written directions on a Post-it attached to a homemade lemon, ginger elixir made with care from a busy cousin. There is love.

    I’ve found it when my daughter asks to write down details of each day in her miniature wall calendar, then asking last night for a 5-Year-Journal like mine so there is space for more writing. There is love.

    It’s in a friend’s Orange Cake recipe I’ve been searching for while planning a celebration and then when I write down the ingredients on my grocery list, there is a whole lotta love…and a few oranges as well.

    In these written words I find not only love but wisdom, guidance, hope, individuality, freedom of expression and the value of each day we are given. Don’t overlook these bits of handwritten love scattered throughout your day. And while it’s on your mind, write someone an unexpected Valentine – It might be a Hallmark holiday but this one’s not to be missed. Happy Writing! xoxoxo, w

    P.S. If you live in the Twin Cities, be sure to check out the Brown Ink Paper Goods love notes now being sold at The Foundry and Room No. 3 while supplies last!

    P.P.S. If you are needing any advice on writing the perfect love letter, Sugar Paper has you covered!

    XOXOXOXOXOXOXO

      Make Life Happen

      It should be of no shock for my friends and readers to hear I am a proud, card-carrying, handwriting, weekly planner enthusiast, refusing to go to the dark side of digital scheduling (this year I’m using the gorgeous Appointed Weekly Binder Calendar). This is the only way I know how to live. Once a week, Nick (who also owns a hardcover weekly planner) and I walk through our calendars, coordinating the family’s schedule. For the most part, this process has worked beautifully.

      Little did I know, our family was in need of an entirely separate calendar to involve everyone and work out any conflicts which always arise!  It all began with a class I took last Spring given by my friend Suzie Stegic, the professional organizer of Profound Change. The theme was setting up for a new season with many helpful ideas, one of which was creating a SUMMER CALENDAR for the family. I liked the sound of it instantly, my gut saying we needed it! Suzie suggested positioning it where everyone can see then adding birthdays, festivals, art fairs, hikes…anything your family wanted out of Summer. What a perfect way to honor their ideas as well as providing the power of a pen, something we continue anyway we can.

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      By June the calendar was up in the pantry with lots of opportunities for kids to express their wishes in their own handwriting.  And just as importantly, the giant calendar provided a common space to combine Nick’s and my calendar and also to include soccer games, swim practices, adult commitments, etc., as well as flagging conflicts weeks ahead of time. I color-coded sports commitments, overly decorated holidays and birthdays, highlighted vacations with large caps…anything to help the family navigate each month.

      When September approached, I was hooked on this process and have continued to use the large hall calendar this Fall. The kids can see which days they have sports or school commitments, when they’re scheduled to help cook a family dinner or find an open night for games or a movie. As Suzie says “That giant paper calendar makes intentions become reality. You can make a 5 year plan version! What do you want out of life??!! Put it out together in PAPER. Brain to hand, idea to physical, beautiful paper. Make life happen.”

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      Regarding our paper choice, the russel+hazel Desktop Calendar Pad is the perfect size for our needs but others might like to personalize it by using family photos with a Social Print Studio’s Wall Calendar or use the Chalkboard Wall Calendar by SimpleShapes for a larger space and more writing.

      This might sound burdensome or overwhelming but, I promise, this process can provide you with clarity of mind and an awareness of how to spend time with yourself or family all through written words.

       For you locals, Suzie’s classes are full right now but she’ll soon update her site with future options!!

        Summer’s End

        The chorus of crickets in the evening, cooler mornings, and the images of Food on a Stick (aka Minnesota State Fair) can only mean one thing….Summer is winding down (queue multiple sighs). But before you pack away those tents, s’mores sticks and bug spray, sit for a moment with pen and paper and write a letter. Why? The reasons are plenty…

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        • Encourage your child to write a letter of appreciation for the Summer internship or paid job, even if it was mowing the neighbor’s lawn. Employers remember these kids!
        • Send a note to the staff at a Summer destination who made a difference on your vacation.
        • Write a quick Thank You to the neighbor who consistently opened their doors to the neighborhood gang or looked after your home while on vacation.
        • Create a family letter to the Summer nanny heading to college, mentioning memories and good wishes on the new campus and include a picture or two.
        • Express your appreciation for the friend who encouraged you to run around the lake for the first time and listened to your highs and lows while doing so!
        • Support a child to share Summer highlights (or books they read) in a short to note to their teacher from last year who will be touched he or she wasn’t forgotten!
        • Write a note to a grandparent who took your children to multiple destinations throughout the Summer.
        • Surprise a friend with a Just Because letter. I received one yesterday and it couldn’t have arrived at a more timely moment.

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        And finally, today being Letter Writing Day is reason in itself to keep the postal service busy! So  before closing up for the night, take a few minutes to sit with yourself or family members and be reminded of the value we place on relationships which surround you each day.

          Deep Sigh

          Over the last four months as I took a welcomed break from blogging on Brown Ink, whenever my thoughts would turn toward what “THE” first blog post would cover, I often became anxious. I felt…ooohhh, the topic needs to be mind-blowing or something that encapsulates my passion about writing. Something fresh, a new take on the importance of writing perhaps. And yet what I truly realized wasn’t a complete surprise at all but something I have written about through the past five years of  blogging; it simply comes down to the value of journaling. And why, more then ever, I feel so strongly about the need to keep a journal.

          As Spring turned into Summer, there were more highs and lows in my life than I had planned. With unexpected sadness in my family as well as feeling a bit lost after closing the Brown Ink Paper Goods store, (though the decision was one I have never regretted), I found myself sinking a bit, looking for direction and clarity. Thankfully, I not only continued to journal in my daily diary but I also began writing in my long format journal as well.

          As I’ve mentioned in past posts, The 5 Year Dairy provides support to my life in a variety of ways. Not only does the diary become my personal time capsule, holding little bits of each day which fly by at lighting speed (ahhhh!!), but lately I’ve been looking back to see what life was like just a few years ago. I’m often reminded of why I make changes in my life and see growth in myself and my children which is so difficult to notice on a daily basis.

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          (My current favorite journal, the Tailored Journal from Sugar Paper)

          And for the first time in awhile, my long format journal has become my own little therapist. It’s through the act of writing where I can throw it all out there, share whatever I need to, messy or not, embracing my sadness, joy and everything in between. Often feeling a bit of weight lifted as I sign off, like the deep sigh after a good cry. Within each entry, I gain a little understanding to what makes me the friend, daughter, sister, wife and mother I am and strive to be.

          It’s never too late to start writing or begin again. I swear you won’t regret it!