Bullet Journalling 101

Helping Me Find Inner Calm

What do you get if you cross someone who loves to be organised with grief, pregnancy and a pandemic – a disorganised, jelly legged version of me!

Right, cards on the table and as geeky as this makes me, a new diary has always brought me excitement! The problem is, as much as I love them and have good intentions, I wouldn’t really use them properly. I’d scribble things in there, keep my dates organised, but then mid-way through the year, I’d then realise I’d basically neglected it and so I’d buy a new mid-year one! Eat. Sleep. Rinse. Repeat.

Part of the problem is that I’ve never found one that does everything I want! (you see, it wasn’t me being a bit hopeless after all!! 😳). I like to feel organised and I enjoy planning things, but I also need something to make me feel accountable and to be able to note down things that I’m feeling/experiencing.

A couple of years ago, I came across something that almost did everything I wanted – it was a ‘Leaders in Heels’ Journal, but at £50 and only available to export from Australia, I just couldn’t justify spending this sort of money again. I did actually use it for an entire year though and so I wanted something that would do the job, but at a more affordable price.

Keep reading to access my exclusive discount.

2020 didn’t have the start we expected – I think that’s a fair statement for most of the world! For us personally, we knew we were awaiting the inevitable passing of my Mum who’s cancer had spread and gave her just 3 months to live. We also then found out that our second baby was busy growing in my tummy and then there was the threat of Coronavirus spreading in the East of the world and quickly making its way towards the West.

I like to be in control of my life and it makes me feel better when things are organised and planned, so the last few months have presented a challenge to say the least. I’ve spent the last few months getting used to being comfortable with the uncertainty (something my husband is super cool with) and with not being able to control or organise in the way I normally would.

With us being in lockdown, I’ve had no distraction from my emotions (well, except for trying to entertain my 18 month old every day) and I’ve been working on ways to dealing with this – thankfully hubby is trained in CBT and Acceptance & Commitment Therapy (ACT) so I’ve got some great guidance on that and I’m trying hard to ‘stay present’. However, I wanted something that I could do to proactively plan and organise what little we did have that I could control. I was then talking to my sister about journaling and how I wanted to see if it might help me feel a little bit more organised and she mentioned Cate Hamilton and her ‘Bullet Journaling’ course and that it might be something I would enjoy. I spoke with Cate over instagram, and she kindly offered me free access to her Bullet Journal for Beginners online course.

I’ve had a Pinterest board for Bullet Journalling for as long as I can remember, but I’ve never quite plucked up the courage to start one. I loved the idea of being creative and designing something that completely met my needs, but starting one gave me the ‘fear’ as it would be a completely blank book that I needed to design myself, keep neat and hold myself accountable to keep going with it!

What is it all about?

Cate’s course is a brilliant approach to creating your own journal in a simple, effective and fun way and for me, this course has been an absolute game-changer. Cate’s course took the ‘fear’ away and gave me the confidence to start one that would meet my needs. Not only have I created some easy diary pages, I’ve also included doodling/colouring – the perfect opportunity to practice mindfulness – a habit tracker, To Do lists, space to note down positive affirmations and a weekly reflection box to encourage me to journal and reflect on how I’ve been feeling. Previously, I had a diary, a blank journal and a ‘To Do’ list book to do all of these things. A bullet journal is different though!

The thing that has taken my head the most time to get around is that you don’t design your entire years Bullet Journal right now, you plan a couple of weeks in advance. In a way, this in itself helps you cope with the uncertainty of the future and stay focused on what matters in the coming weeks. There are some fixed parts that you start with like a year planner and then I’ve also included a ‘Month to View’ plan in mine too – and whilst initially, this made me feel a bit concerned that I might not be able to plan as I wanted to, actually what it enables is the ability to change your design as you go. I’ve just drawn up the next three weeks of July and even my ‘week to view’ pages have changed from the first one I designed. The key and the biggest benefit of a Bullet Journal, aside from the complete personalisation, is that it helps you achieve what you need to do and keeps you focused on the why – enabling inner calm and you to be more mindful.

The course is around 1.5-2 hours, but you can dip in and out to the modules as and when you want to. Cate explains the theory behind it, created by Ryder Carroll who was a digital product designer, and provides the ability to Marie Kondo your brain! This was exactly what I needed! Cate starts her course with a full tutorial on how to set it up – including the journal she personally uses. Another great thing about Cate’s course is it’s online and you can work through it at your own pace.

In a nutshell:

1) Its great if you have so much in your head and can’t find a good way to organise it!

2) Don’t be put off by the fancy language – its really not as complicated as it sounds! I’ll put a quick blurb below.

3) Your bullet journal is whatever you want it to be! Don’t be put off by the ‘Pinterest/Insta’ perfect examples, use them for inspiration and then make it what you want it to be! It’s your journal.

4) It doesn’t have to be pretty! Your journal should be functional for you and your needs. Don’t overthink it.

Glossary

Index: Your bespoke contents page for your bullet journal

Future Log: Your year-to-view – various different styles – Pinterest is a great source for ideas

Monthly Log: Your month-to-view – again Pinterest is a great source for designs. I’ve also added a monthly habit tracker

Daily or Weekly Log: Depending on your personal preference, this is your space for all the stuff you’ve got to do today or this week! I’ve gone for a weekly log for now and have also included my To Do list and a space to migrate stuff I forget to do to next week.

For more info:

I’m happy to share more on my own Bullet Journal if you want to message me on Instagram or alternatively, you can message Cate directly. You can also find out more about her fantastic course on her website

Discount:

Cate has also given me a 20% off code to share with you, just use ‘SURREYMUMMA20‘ at the checkout to get the course for only £20. This is valid until the 12th July.

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