And how they'll change your life a little.

With the New Year among us, I sought a resolution that wasn’t fitness or food related like everyone around me. All my friends being on their fitness trackers while I’m enjoying my third glass of wine, clearly some of our priorities differ. One thing that I’ve always prided myself on has been staying clean year-round, seasonal changes and holidays don’t stop my enthusiastic Swiffering. Somehow, with all my organizing, my daily planner rarely got touched (even though I’ve decked it out in Rihanna stickers). A hundred and two post-it-notes were clearly the most efficient way for tracking my tasks at work.

I have been obsessed with the bullet journal craze for about a year now, it started with my boyfriend keeping a journal and fast logging everything in his life. His ambitions for the week, tasks, grocery lists, and (my person favorite) date nights. I was, indeed, intrigued. When I saw all the colorful and creative ways some folks were using this journal, I was won over. I would keep a bullet journal for the month of January to see if it would keep me organized.

Thus, I began researching the different journal layouts, types of materials necessary, and writing utensils I should use. I ended up going with a beautiful pen from a company based in Switzerland called Caran D’ache. I was very drawn to them, and it wasn’t just the beautiful rose gold coloring of the pen. This blue ink pen would become my trusted companion for the month.  I would be using colored pencils for a touch of color on my daily pages and highlighters to show importance. I figured if they were good enough for Picasso to use in his sketches, then they would be more than impressive for my doodling. For my journal choice, I chose a hard-covered bright red, to match my dazzling post-New Year’s ambitions. The pages were only bullets, which meant the inner perfectionist within me would need a ruler to guide my organization. With all of my supplies acquired, I would begin my journey in a style.

Week One:

Yowza, this is a lot of creativity that I was not expecting on a Sunday. I had spent about two hours researching, looking at the different layouts that people have used. After redoing the same page three times, I made myself take a timeout. I proceeded to come back and create my starter pages composed of an index, key, monthly, and year overview. After these pages were created, the weekly and daily logging can commend.

Overall, having everything in one place was nice. I would log my grocery list, workout goals, and work tasks weekly. It was kind of like “personal Sophia, meet professional Sophia,” in a single book. I crafted a list of book recommendations and movies I was itching to see in theaters. I had to force myself to sit down and quick log all my tasks and plans, which was already beginning to feel pretty tedious. This is a mental game, you can do it Soph, keep logging!

Week Two:

This week went a bit better, I was beginning to get the hang of it. My page design still wasn’t at its peak, but it looked much better than the previous week. I wanted to begin to focus on consistency in my journaling. I began carrying around my journal and logging small items, like my water intake and specific workouts. I haven’t spent much time looking at the large-scale calendars, only my daily task pages. In order to maximize this experience, I need to spend a moment going through the preceding week and then reflecting for the upcoming week.

Luckily, my pen had a way with writing words ever-so smoothly. My journal was beginning to form a style, with blue ink skeleton and colored pencils that brightened up each page with some spunk.

Week Three:

We’re getting pretty serious. I have begun incorporating tiny post-it notes as a form of color and reminders on my pages! THIS IS SO EXCITING. They are quite versatile and can be moved around from day-to-day, noting ongoing tasks. My designs have also become refined. I’ve found the perfect layout which helps me sort my ideas throughout the week, featuring a ‘notes’ section. This journal doesn’t have a set format, which may be overwhelming without set guidelines, but let your imagination run wild and see what you create. I’ve always found a problem with the planners I’ve bought in-store because they don’t match my personal style of organization. I’ve spent countless dollars on adorable Kate Spade organizers that go unused. The Bullet Journal is styled based on your personal usage. It doesn’t chain me to tiny little boxes that limit my busy day, simply because there’s no room left to write. I can have pages and pages of tasks, and no one can tell me otherwise!

Week Four:

You have reached the Martha Stewart of planners; can I take a message?

I have finally found solstice in journaling more than just my feelings. Now, I can jot down my daily tasks, finances, health notes, and appointments in one book. Doodling flowers and scribbling last minute plans has become a forte over the last 4 weeks. This experience has inspired me to stay limitless in my journaling, rather than stuck coloring in-between the lines. I think that I will continue to journal, at least for the next month. I’ve really enjoyed having everything in one place, as opposed to random scribbled pieces of paper all over my desk. This was a great experience and I encourage all note-taking connoisseurs to take a stab at keeping a Bullet Journal of their own.

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