I’M STARTING A BULLET JOURNAL

Years ago, I kept a journal.  I started in high school and kept it up for years.  All through college, I wrote pages almost every day and I have a xerox box in my attic completely full of spiral notebooks, all hand written.  I used to write out my goals at the beginning of every year.  Then med school, residency, and the electronic age came in.  I didn’t have time to write like that anymore.  So I started keeping a small notebook in my white coat and scribbling in it when I got the chance.  My journal was reduced to a “Scut List”, a post-it note with a list of things to do.  After I could not find replacement pages for that notebook, I started trying different electronic methods.  I remember using a Handspring Visor, where I could write with a stylus and take notes.  Somehow that didn’t last.  Over the years as my life got more overwhelming and chaotic with work, I kept struggling to find a way that worked for me to keep track of lists, organize my life and write random thoughts and ideas down.  I have never been one to organize my life on my phone.  I just don’t type fast enough on it, and I found there was something sorely missing without the organic touch of pen on paper.  So eventually I gave up on that, too.

This weekend I was tackling Project 365, and while I was reorganizing the dresses in my closet, I was thinking about ways to increase my creativity.  I looked up definitions of creativity online, and I read articles on how to increase it.  One click led to another and I ended up on Pinterest looking at posts on bullet journaling.  And I thought, “what in the world is that???”  My curiosity led me to Ryder Carroll’s original video on how to start a bullet journal.  I was totally confused about how to use the symbols and how to organize it, so I kept watching videos on YouTube of various people showing how they did their spreads in their journals.  I’m hoping that the built-in customization and flexibility of creating my own bullet journal will work for me.

I just started my journal last night so I’m just at the very beginning of it… but optimistic that I will eventually discover some system that works for me.  So here are 3 lessons that I learned from this weekend:

  1. How you do one thing is how you do everything.  My trip to Europe in May inspired me to declutter my suitcase and make a travel capsule wardrobe.  This showed me how planning a bit ahead saved me tons of time later.  This inspired me to relaunch Project 365, in which I declutter my closet, one item for every day of the year.  This releasing of stuff that does not serve me has inspired me to look in other areas of my life where I can declutter, hence the birth of my bullet journal.  If you want to change your life, just pick one thing to work on.  That thought vibration will eventually translate into other things that you are working on.
  2.  Don’t be afraid to make mistakes.  Mistakes are for learning purposes.  Use pen in a bound notebook.  Where you can’t rip the pages out.  I am a super-perfectionist.  In years past, I would have been too paralyzed to make a free-flowing bullet journal.  Everyone else has one that looks beautiful with doodles and stickers and embellishments!  OMG!  I would have needed to do it on scratch paper and do several drafts for practice!  You have NO IDEA how hard it is for me to make a mistake.  I started my journal and within an hour decided I didn’t like the way my monthly spread was set up.  My first thought was “Shoot. I’ve messed it up.  I wrote in a bound notebook with pen.  I don’t even have white-out.  I’m going to have to stick with this thing that doesn’t look nice for a month before I can change it.  It’s driving me crazy.  Maybe I should do this for a few days on scratch paper.  Maybe I should get another notebook and start over…etc. etc.”  Then it dawned on me to just do it again.  In the same book.  On the following pages.  I mean, who cares if pages 3-6 were a mistake?  It’s all a learning process.  So I did the spread again on page 8.  Just let the mistake pages go.  Time will tell if it works for me or not.
  3. Never give up.  I believe that there has got to be a system out there that works for me.  I just have to keep trying.  I actually learned this from playing Soda Crush on my iPad.  You think you’ll never win a level and you’re stuck on the same one for 2 weeks.  Then suddenly… unbelievably… you win.  It always works.  Always.

See you next week and stay tuned for updates!

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