How My Bullet Journal Changed My Life

I’m a planner, but I’m also not a planner. BUT I do like having a planner. I struggle with this because there are so many planners out there that just don’t fit my needs and it’s frustrating sometimes! I usually make my own planner, but last year I bought a Simplified Planner from Emily Ley and I really enjoyed it. However, it still wasn’t 100% what I needed.

Enter, the bullet journal.

I’ve been using it since January 1st, and it’s downright amazing! I’ve had some people ask me what it is, so I figured I’d share about it here! I used this article as a guide when I was setting it up back in December. I haven’t looked at it since then! This will hopefully be a simple overview to what a bullet journal is!

Basically, what you do is you get a notebook of your liking (I prefer ones with dotted pages!) and you just start. You don’t have to wait for the first of the month or even the first of the year! That’s the beauty of it! You just start with a blank page whenever you like, and you fill it in as you go!

The Index.

This is what you start your bullet journal with, and it lists everything that’s in your journal! All you do is write down what it is, and then the page number after it!
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The Future Log.

Well, here’s the thing about a bullet journal – you don’t set up the entire year at once. So there’s no future monthly calendars for you to enter important dates on. So you do it on the future log! For example, right now my journal is up  to February, so anything beyond February that I need to remember goes into my future log. Then when each month rolls around, I take a look and add it to that month’s calendar. bullet journal linda barry photography-3

Year At A Glance.

This is just handy to have! bullet journal linda barry photography-4

Monthly Spreads.

So I start each month with the dates listed out, as well as monthly tasks. I mainly use the tasks page to keep track of the bills and anything that I notice I do on a regular basis – like photos of Lily!
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Weekly Spreads.

You can do this however you want! I like to have mine spread out over two pages, but sometimes if I only have one page available because of a “collection” page, I’ll stick it all on one page. This is because I like to see my full week at once!
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These I make as they come up. There are some things that I find I would be writing over and over again, so you put them all in one place, and mark the page and title in your index! For example: Restaurants to Try! Instead of having them all scattered throughout my planner as I get recommendations I’m putting them in one spot. I also have a collection for questions for my pediatrician (because those come up a lot!) and physical therapy exercises I have to do. bullet journal linda barry photography-7

Here’s why the bullet journal has changed my life.

Zero wasted space.

Gosh, I would look at planners online and in the store and there was always extra stuff that I just did NOT want or need! But it had other things I liked so I would get them, and instead have all this extra nonsense I never used. You put exactly what you want and need in the bullet journal and that’s it!

It’s really visual.

The symbol system has made it really easy for me to see each day if I need to go somewhere, or there are just things I need to do, or if I want to remember something I did! For example – hearts for special memories, dots for things to remember (like which day I washed Lily’s diapers), squares for things to do, triangles for things I need to do that require leaving the house, diamonds for business tasks, and so on. Then, as I complete the task, I fill in the symbol and it’s super obvious at the end of the day/week which things did not get done!! Seriously, it has changed everything for me! Especially remembering which days I did what!

It can be as fancy or plain as you want.

If you look on Instagram, there are so many beautifully done bullet journals! I love them and they look so good, but I just can’t do that, and I’m OKAY with that. So I keep mine really plain and simple. But the beauty of it all is you can do whatever you want with it!

One thing that I would do differently next time is to get a lay-flat journal. That’ll make it much easier to view the pages without having to hold the book down!

Phew. Okay! Thanks for making it to the end! I wish you luck in your endeavors!


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  1. […] I’ve taken! Just last week I decided that my notebook needed an index, like the way I do it in my bullet journal. Since there’s so much information in there I want to be able to look at my index and find what I […]

  2. […] the beauty of it. It truly comes down to whatever you find you need in your life. I wrote this blog post about it years ago, that despite the age, I think it still explains it in more detail pretty well! […]

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You can usually find me adding books to my never-ending “to read” list; challenging myself to do things like not shop for a year; sneaking crispy m+ms from my secret hiding spot so I don’t have to share them with my daughter; and melting over seeing my children smiling at each other.

Oh and I guess I should mention - I’m a seasoned Portland wedding photographer who provides not only kick-ass wedding photos, but also a meaningful and laid-back experience from the time you book to the delivery of your final images. 

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