Traveling with a Bullet Journal has made all the difference.
I have very wise, very resourceful, very on-top-of-it female friends. I don’t know what I would do if I didn’t have a bunch of women smarter and stronger than me around at all times! One of these awesome women in my life recently introduced me to the idea of a Bullet Journal. This particular bestie is always developing and refining the best methods for productivity that work for her and when she first told me about the Bullet Journal, I wasn’t that into it, because the Bullet Journal system is analog and I’ve always been a digital girl. But then, two important things happened: the first is that I saw her using it and I was majorly intrigued. Even though my system has always been digital, I’ve done much long-form journaling in a notebook. And I like notebooks. And pens. And pretty papers.
The second was that she told me to look up some “Bullet Journal porn” – which is totally a thing – on the net. BuzzFeed had a few articles about it and Pinterest has LOADS of BuJo (the slang, of course) images. So, I listened to her, because she’s a wise lady, and I did look it up, and I got obsessed.
Before I go on, the first thing you should do is hop on over to the site of the creator of the Bullet Journal system, Ryder Carroll, at BulletJournal.com. Ryder has a brief but really informative video giving the basics of the system. I could explain it myself, but who could do better than the founder of the whole system? Jump over and take a look!
….waiting….waiting….eating chips while waiting….
Okay, now that you’re back, I can tell you why I love the system so much for travelers! As you saw in the video, the Bullet Journal system isn’t complicated. At its core, it’s about using a notebook as the ultimate customizable planner and task management system. You use a series of notations to distinguish tasks, events, notes and whatever else you may need and you create calendars for yourself based on what you want.
Pre-made planners never did it for me, because they never had everything I needed (hence why I was a digital girl – the internet actually does have everything I need!). But the beauty of the Bullet Journal system for me was that I could not only create a planner and task management system, I could also use it as my long-form journaling notebook when I go traveling. And I could keep EVERYTHING travel I wanted to in it. This is why I think the Bullet Journal is the best thing since sliced bread for travelers – we’re notorious memory makers and we also have to be at least a bit organized to hop from place to place. The Bullet Journal is a traveler’s best friend!
Because the Bullet Journal is totally, 110% customizable, it can become exactly what you want. Let me show you some of the ways I use my Bullet Journal (which is now the love of my life and goes with me everywhere) to keep my sanity on the road.
How I use my Bullet Journal to stay sane while traveling
1. I log simple, daily tasks
Excuse my terrible writing (you’re going to get a headache if you try to read it). As you can see, this is an entry for Friday, January 13, 201. In the middle of the page are my simple tasks for the day. When something came in my head, I wrote it down, and it helped get it OUT of my head. Which helped CLEAR my head. Which helps me not lose my shit all the time on the road.
2. I track habits
This is something a lot of Bullet Journalers do. It’s a simple grid with days of the month going across the top and habits goign down the side. As you get through each day, you check of the habits you managed well that day. Some of mine include “Meditate” (which I suck at), “Exercise” (which I don’t even know why I put on the list because I do it every day anyway – it’s who I am) and “Read” (which forces me to read something other than work-related stuff, if even just for a few minutes a day).
3. I have a place for gratitude
I couldn’t show you my completed gratitude log from last month (because it said things like “cute boys” and “chocolate all the time”), but this is what my gratitude log looks like – as you can see, it’s really simple! Just days of the month down the side, and then I write in each night a little thing I was grateful for that day. It works wonders for making me feel calm and centered and happy, and, well, grateful!
4. I have random pages of things that make me happy
Places (yet) to travel, books to read, movies to watch. I have spaces for all this stuff in my Bullet Journal – so I can get it out of my head! And it’s nice to have a book that’s my “everything book!” That’s one of the reasons its become the love of my life.
5. I calendar
I create the most basic calendars for my future planning in my Bullet Journal. It’s actually kind of calming and relaxing to sit down at the end of every month and have everything I need in front of me for the next one. I also really like the clean lines (cuz I’m a nerd).
6. I food log (and keep track of how I feel based on what I eat)
I’m a delicate fucking flower. It’s unfortunate, but it is what it is. I get really tired or dehydrated or cranky if I’m not carefully watching what I eat. I’m still not very good at it, but the BuJo helps a LOT! All it took was creating a simple page like this to jot down what I’m eating and how I’m feeling. (Please don’t judge me for my shitty, all-over-the-place diet this week!)
7. I journal my heart out
At the end of every day of logging tasks, I sit down and write long-form journal entries with my Bullet Journal. This is one of my favorite things about the system: it’s built however you want! I don’t know a lot of other Bullet Journalers that do the long-form thing, but to me, it feels perfect to have everything I need or want or think right there!
As you can see, my Bullet Journal LITERALLY contains my life. I also have travel plans and doodles and loads of other things in it (but NOT doodles that say “Mrs. Anjali Timberlake or anything…). If you are at all a journaler or planner or even traveler looking for a new system, I’d highly encourage you to try it!