Tag Archives: Bullet journal

Looking ahead

I’m tired, but I think I’m finally ready for the new semester.

Last fall was rough. Rather than go into all the details, I’ll sum up the low points:

  1. Thanks to ineptitude on the part of some folks in Santa Fe, I didn’t find out what classes I would be teaching until a week before school started — whereupon I learned I would have seven preps, including two I’d never taught before.
  2. Remote learning was a virtual hellscape of buggy software, lost passwords, and tech access issues that persisted much farther into the semester than they should have.
  3. We returned to in-person learning for about a month, from early October to early November, before somebody in our building caught COVID-19 and managed to share it with me. I realize how fortunate I was to have only a “mild” case, but it was still unpleasant, and the brain fog and fatigue lingered long enough to make the last month of my first semester of grad school unnecessarily difficult. I still managed to pull out a 4.0 GPA, but it was a near thing, and it wouldn’t have been if I’d been healthy.
  4. Being sick and exhausted and busy with grad school meant I didn’t keep up with housework the way I normally would.

By the time I got to the end of the semester, I was exhausted and frustrated and overwhelmed. Last week, I took the bull by the horns and did myself three favors: I cleaned, decluttered, and reorganized my kitchen and office during a three-day period beginning Christmas Eve; I got on the FlyLady website and started re-establishing the habits that I’d learned there 20 years ago and hadn’t needed in several years; and I started a new bullet journal using a cheap dot-grid journal I found at the dollar store last fall but hadn’t had time to set up.

Tonight, I have a shiny sink, a set of lesson plans (and most of the ancillary materials) ready to go in Google Classroom — which I spent several hours taking self-paced classes to learn over break — and a glass of sangria in hand. This is the calm before the storm of another semester, but the point here is that it’s calm, if only for a few more hours. That’s something I haven’t experienced in a while, and I’ll savor it while I can.


Make-It Monday: Bullet Journal

I kept seeing people on Pinterest talking about something called a “bullet journal.” At first glance, it looked like a good way to spend altogether too much time turning a planner into a craft project, but a couple of people I really respect kept pinning stuff related to bullet journals, so I clicked through to see what the fuss was about.

If I understood what I read correctly, bullet journals are a sort of hybrid of a planner, a to-do list, and a journal. Given my dependence on to-do lists and my longtime fondness for planners — particularly the customizable sort — I decided it was probably worth investing a couple of hours and $20 for a Moleskine notebook to set one up and see how it went. I’ve certainly owned more expensive planners over the years, so I figured I might as well give it a try.

I set this up wrong because I couldn't see the entire image on this part of the Bullet Journal website -- you're supposed to put the month on the left and use the facing page for tasks -- but given my New Year's resolution, I think giving myself less space for a task list is probably a good idea.
I set this up wrong because I couldn’t see the entire image on this part of the Bullet Journal website — you’re supposed to put the month on the left and use the facing page for tasks — but given my New Year’s resolution, I think giving myself less space for a task list is probably a good idea.

April 12: Good times never seemed so good.
April 12: Good times never seemed so good.

As far as I can tell, the big difference between a bullet journal and a regular planner lies in the index. You number the pages and slug them as you would notecards for a research paper, then use that information to make an index as you go.

I’m still not 100 percent convinced this isn’t just an unduly complicated means of customizing a Dayrunner, but it fits in my purse better, and it looks a little neater than the pile of Post-Its, napkins, and scraps of paper that usually end up scattered across my desk, waiting for me to do something about them. I doubt I’ll really use it as a journal (anything personal enough to go on paper instead of online is probably too personal for me to be comfortable carrying around with me), but after setting it up and using it for a couple of days, I think it might work well as a planner. If nothing else, it’s a chance to experiment with various features and figure out what I want to include the next time I’m in the mood to make my own Dayrunner refills. I’ll let you know how it goes.

If you want to make your own, the guy who came up with the concept has a whole website dedicated to it.