From bulletjournal.com (yes, the bullet journal has its own website): "The Bullet Journal is a customizable and forgiving organization system. It can be your to-do list, sketchbook, notebook, and diary, but most likely, it will be all of the above. It will teach you to do more with less."
You probably haven't seen my most recent notebook. Until just now.
Look at that mess. The state of those pages. Victims of a leaky water bottle that went rogue in my bag. A random book title on one page. A weird to-do list. A vocal warmup. No order.
I like working off of lists. I like to have a list of things to do, and checking them off as I go. Makes me feel like I am accomplishing things. And this notebook was just that - notes and lists. But if I want to get more productive, and more organized, there has to be a system in place, and it seems that the bullet journal might be that system.
If you look up bullet journals on Pinterest (I don't recommend it), you'll see that there is a whole culture surrounding bullet journals. People treat them like a damn craft project. I decided that if I want this to actually work and be something I could stick with, I need to keep it very simple. No decorations, no washi tape (seriously, look up washi tape. Google "bullet journal washi tape", and get sucked into a wormhole of Arts and Crafts).
I just need to get organized. I need a tidy place for my to-do lists, a system for categorizing the things I need to get done, and a way to cross things off as I complete them.
You can buy notebooks that are specifically designed to be bullet journals. I looked, but none of them are spiral notepads and that is an important feature, in my opinion. You can get whatever notebook you want. I got a 3 dollar one at Walmart, with a cute fox on it.
Things don't need to enter your bullet journal in chronological order, but whatever goes in it, you create yourself (unless you buy one of the premade ones). You start by making an index page, so you can find everything once your book starts to fill up.
You make a "future log", where you just write down future things and events as you find out about them. You make a page for the next month and write down the things that are happening that month and the things you need to get to complete or accomplish.
You then make your own calendar, where every day of the month has its own portion of a page, and that's where you put your to-do lists, etc, with a little square next to them to fill in when you have done it. You can also write down things that happened that day that were not part of your to-do list (don't stress about this, fellow anxiety bunnies, unexpected things occur, and you will deal).
You can make any kind of list in your bullet journal - books to read, crime documentaries to watch, songs to learn, etc - just add any new list or post to your index page so you know where they are.
It's been about a week, and I am, officially, a fan of the bullet journal. I might get some different colour pens to brighten things a little, but I do not have a need to make it it into a an art project. I think it would really defeat the purpose for me if I tried too hard to make it look pretty - it just needs to do its job, and so far, it really has been. And so have I. I have been quite productive this week and gotten pretty much everything done that I was supposed to. Save a thing or two, but it's only Thursday night, and you can still procrastinate with a bullet journal, but eventually, you're going to want to fill in that square.
Look at it.
And the neatness of my to-do's.
I found a great blog called The Lazy Genius Collective, that had a post about how to set up your bullet journal while keeping it as simple as possible - it was a great help to me, and if you are interested in starting your own bullet journal project, you oughta check it out.