I have always been a paper person. Writing lists and keeping a physical calendar is the only method that keeps me organized. While my digital calendar is wonderfully sharable and does a fabulous job of checking for conflicts, I cannot seem to retain the information I put into it. I hate putting to do lists on there and wandering around with my phone out all of the time. Don’t get my started on how frustrating it is when you finish on an electronic to-do list and it just disappears. Crossing things off is the only reason to make a list in the first place! I just can’t let go of my pen and paper. Also, I j’adore office supplies.
When I first saw The Bullet Journal Method by Ryder Carrol I thought, “I love this idea.” An analog method for a digital world? Yes please! I immediately bought a notebook and special pens and tried it.
Except it was too complicated. Why do I have to number all the pages? Why am I constantly re-writing things? These analog repetitions are exactly the wonders that my phone does for me. The symbols made no sense to me. Then the gorgeous Instagram and Pinterest pages started to appear. My bullet journal looked nothing like either of these two extremes! So, I quit.
But I still wanted to be a bullet journal person. Desperately. This weekend I spotted Dot Journaling, A Practical Guide by Rachel Wilkerson Miller. The sub-title was “How to Start and Keep the Planner, To-to-list, and Diary That’ll Actually Help You Get Your Life Together.” More importantly, the intro identified the author as a fellow bullet journal wanna be who became confused and overwhelmed by the actual process. She writes for Buzzfeed and has a great little blurb about starting a bullet journal here.
Dot Journal is the ideal starting point for people who, like me, love the pen and paper method but do not have the time, energy, or inclination to spend an hour a day copying and recopying to-do lists and calendar items. Dot Journaling also gives clear instructions on how to set-up the journal, something I still couldn’t figure out even after watching the youtube video by Ryder Carrol.
Here is how Goodreads describes the book.
Organize your life, record what matters, and get stuff done!
What the heck is a dot journal? It’s a planner, to-do list, anddiary for every aspect of your life: work, home, relationships, hobbies, everything.
Early adopter Rachel Wilkerson Miller explains how to make a dot journal work for you—whether you find the picture-perfect examples on Pinterest inspiring or, well, intimidating. You decide how simple or elaborate your journal will be, and what goes in there:
– Lists of your to-dos, to-don’ts, and more
– Symbols that will make those lists efficient and effective
– Spreads to plan your day, week, month, or year
– Trackers for your habits and goals (think health, money, travel)
– Accoutrements such as washi tape, book darts, and more!
Dot Journaling is only about 200 pages but still manages to give you an overview of the basics, tips, and tricks, and the details you need on how to use the “special pages.” The special pages are the ones I love – the financial planner, the book reading list and the habit trackers! This is the stuff that feeds my Instagram. The book even includes how to cope with a page that the antithesis of Insta-worthy (glue them together and pretend it never happens is my favorite). With photos and short explanations of yearly, monthly and daily spreads as well as cute and simple examples of for special uses for your journal this book finally accomplished what countless other sources couldn’t: helping me understand this blended use journaling.
I read this book at the beginning of this week. I suppressed my first desire, to buy a brand new journal, and instead unearthed a previously purchased journal with a grand total of 15 pages used. One of the points the author makes it that it doesn’t need to be perfect. This is revolutionary to me. I need to get over the idea that every page will be a work of art. Sometimes I just need to embrace that “good enough is good enough” and let go of perfectionism. I’m honestly surprised that I was able to force myself to start in the middle of the month – it wasn’t even a Monday!
Let me tell you, the combination of to-do list, diary, and calendar make for a complete look at how my day went. Adding a short little note to each day turns what is an ordinary calendar into a keep-sake diary without the pressure of coming up with a long pontification of my typical Tuesday. No more will I look back and wonder why I got nothing accomplished all day. I’ll know I was sick because I wrote it down! And the joy of all those crossed off to-dos…
After reading Atomic Habits by James Clear I wanted to increase my positive habits and decreased my negatives ones. I also want to use Gretchen Rubin’s time tracking system to see how much time I actually have in a day. And, you know what, life is short and I don’t want to look back and wonder, “What did I accomplish?” This journaling is perfect for all of these needs. Realizing that has been like that first day of spring after a long winter. I feel powerful, organized, and positive about myself and my future. Ah, the power of paper.
Tell me, please!
Do you keep a journal? Have you tried bullet journaling? Any tips?