Do you journal? I don’t. At least, not in the traditional sense. I’ve tried a few times but I always end up destroying the few pages I actually write because they either sound boring to me, or I’m afraid of who might find and read them after I’m dead. I’m never sure that’s the lasting memory of me I want floating around out there.
In a way this blog is my journal; my very public journal. I’m not going to write about any traumatic childhood memories I believe scarred me for life. I’m not going to bore anyone with tales of mean co-workers or nasty bosses. (None of which I currently have, I assure you. So if any of my readers are co-workers or bosses…I’m not talking about you…all purely hypothetical.) Instead, I can put down my thoughts in a way that’s both, I hope, cathartic for me and enjoyable, or even occasionally educational, for you.
There are many kinds of journals out there; a style for just about anyone. You have your standard notebook (spiral or not), a fancy-covered blank book, or even special computer software programs. Some, most specifically those aimed at young girls, even come with their own lock and key to keep out the prying eyes of parents and annoying little brothers.
A couple weeks ago I took to keeping what is called a “bullet journal”; although, I didn’t know it was called that at the time. I’ve always been a list-maker. Not every day, but whenever I have a number of time-sensitive tasks and I don’t want to forget one. Like when we’re planning for a party, family dinner, or house guests and I have to accomplish certain tasks on certain days to be ready. The whole point of a bullet journal is a daily to-do list. I’ve been planning mine out a week in advance. I’m certain to include my work schedule, meetings or appointments, errands, household chores, exercise, and, of course, my writing. Once it’s on the list, I’m less likely to put it off because then I’d be reminded of my procrastination every time I saw a task not checked-off as completed
You can make your bullet journal as fancy as you like. Google it and you’ll find all sorts of ideas: a simple list or a categorized list, whole lexicons of symbols representing types and stages of completion, and then there are plain pages or pages decorated with your artwork. There are books divided into daily logs, weekly logs, monthly logs, and future logs. Some are so involved they need several index pages in the beginning to help you find things later. While I chose to use a decorative blank book because it feels more official than a notebook, my pages consist of simple lists. I don’t have time to categorize my lists and there’s no way I’d be able to keep track of all the symbols. I might take the time to decorate some of the pages, should I feel in a particularly creative mood, but that would take time…and then I’d have to put it on my to-do list…and I’d have to assign it a symbol…and I’d have to put it in the index…you get the idea.
The point of my bullet journal is to balance my life and work with my writing and exercise, not to become my life. So far it’s working well. Yes, there have been a few days where I over-planned my time and something had to give, but not too many. If anything, that’s another thing I’m learning, how long it actually takes me to do something.