So, in a bid to try and organise the chaos that is my life, I did some research and happened upon something that completely changed my life!
I am one of those people that love making lists - I mean LOVE making lists. Mostly it's for things like shopping, Day Zero Projects, or important things I need to try and remember. I tend to write them down in one of my many note books and then the problems begin! For example, when I desperately need one of my lists, but can't remember which notebook I put it in, or more annoyingly I can't actually remember where I put the notebook I needed last! (honestly, having a memory as bad as mine really does have its drawbacks!)
My life is currently organised by Google calendar. I find it really useful as I can share key dates with my mum and vice versa - that way we always know who is where and when :-) I also keep a paper copy of 'this week we are...' (thanks to Picklebums) that I blue-tack to the living room door, so that in theory we can all see what is happening - it's also useful to share the weeks events with my dad, as he's not on Google calendar!
I am not however, very good at keeping journals - I tend to run out of steam and lose interest (or forget where I put my diary and can't be bothered to search for it! heehee) I have written little entries sporadically on the laptop, but it's not really something that is practical for everyday things, as some days I don't actually bother switching my laptop on!
Now, one of my latest habits has been watching YouTube videos in the wee hours of the morning, when I can't sleep and it was here I stumbled upon the idea of BULLET JOURNALS!
If you have not heard of Bullet Journals before check out this site - it has the creator explaining the idea in more detail. To put it simply, a bullet journal is a place to keep your lists, diary and journal all in one place :-) and I LOVE mine!!
If you look out there, there are heaps of blogs (like TinyRayofSunshine and YouTube videos (I particularly like Boho Berry, Oganized Chaos and Alexandra Plans that explain the ins and outs of bullet journals far better than I ever could, so I won't go into those details here.
However, I would like to share the aspects that I love the most!
Here I jot down the key events happening. Even though I have Google calendar, I actually find writing things down cements things more clearly and I'm far more likely to remember them!
If I feel like it, I add my thoughts of the day. That way I can clear my head, or jot down important things like detailed feelings or how the kids are behaving, etc etc.
What I love is that you don't have to write a daily entry religiously, every single day if you don't want to. I have days that I have lumped together because I was too poorly to write. You do what works for you :-)
Habit and Mood and Energy trackers
I set up whats called a 'spread' for one month and list all of the activities / habits that I want to keep an eye on, but don't want to write everyday again and again in my daily entries. I have things like 'go to bed before 12' and 'read a book before bedtime' so that if I manage it, I can just colour in a box for that date. I also have a list of household chores I want to get done.
What is especially useful for me is to track my mood and energy levels from day to day. I can then look over the whole month and see how I felt, how much energy I had, and when. Having all charts across a double page allows me to see what habits I manage in correlation to how I feel. I can track how my energy levels fluctuate and in turn impact on what I manage to get done.
With my severe depression, having these charts each month, gives me concrete evidence of how my mood is effecting my life. I can see when I struggle the most (at the moment it's the days just prior to my periods) I've been doing my bullet journal for just over 2 months and the difference in my activity levels and mood in just 8 weeks is amazing!! Plus this gives me a good reference if and when I see my doc or anyone else to discuss my moods and difficulties I'm experiencing.
Here's where I put in all of my lovely lists! I have things like my 'read 100 books' day zero challenge, a big lists of cleaning and tidying I needed to do before a party and my wish list of things I want to save up for and buy.
The magic of this is that you can put in whatever you want! If you have goals you want to achieve or the items you don't want to forget to pack on your next holiday, just pop them down in your bullet journal. What is really brilliant, is that you can just slot these in wherever you feel like. Unlike a traditional diary, the bullet journal grows day by day, so if you fancy sticking in a list, then you can go right ahead, then carry on your daily entries on the very next page.
A bullet Journal can be written in any old notebook really, but a must have is an index at the front. Now, as I'm quite a lazy person, the idea of sitting down and writing the numbers on every page of a notebook really doesn't appeal to me! Lucky for me, there are some books like the Leuchtturm 1917 (which I treated myself to with my birthday money) that come with ready numbered pages and a handy index already done for you :-) there are of course other notebooks which are suited to bullet journaling such as Moleskin and even an official 'bullet journal notebook' which has added extras like tips to help you get started etc etc. It really does depend on you individually as to which you choose. I love my Leuchtturm 1917, as it has dotted pages which make it easy for you to do things like draw in charts, but are also faint enough not to distract me if I fancy putting in a little sketch or something, I guess it gives you enough structure without it being too imposing like lines or squares would be.
Anyway, getting sidetracked ;-) having an Index is really useful so you can find your trackers and collections easily. You don't have to index everything, just whatever you feel like. I usually just include each month and the pages it covers (so that I don't have to index every daily entry), my end of month memory pages, then trackers and collections. Works for me :-)
My most favourite aspect of bullet journaling is the flexibility it allows. Don't like daily entries? Then use a weekly spread instead. Or you could go all out and have your 'month at a glance' - to list the key events happening that month, a 'weekly spread' - a more detailed look at what's happening that week and your 'daily entries' if that's what floats your boat!
If you like having a space for listing tasks you don't want to forget, you could place them on your weekly spreads or next to your months at a glance (which is what I like to do)
What works for you one month, you might not fancy doing again, so you can just change it with ease! You can experiment with different layouts for spreads until you find one you like, or keep changing it up to add variety to your journal.
If you're the arty type, then here's a great place to show of your creative side - how about fancy illustrations, doodle challenges or pretty lettering for your dailies?
The bullet journal can be as simple or as complex as you want. It can evolve and grow to suite your current needs. You can add, leave out or tweak things as you see fit.
Now there are loads of amazing people out there, as I mentioned before, who have great ideas for you to try out, so be adventurous and have a go!
At the end of the day the best, best bit is that this is your journal! Therefore you can't do it 'wrong'! It's your personality, your memories, your choices all bound together in one special place :-)
P.S. I would just like to say a massive thank you to YouTube videos, Pinterest and the host of Bullet Journal blogs that I've found out there, without which I'd have never found this amazing new way of organising the chaos that is my life :-)