Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Super Simple Bullet Journal Ideas for Busy Moms










Friends, I'm a busy Mama.  I have four kids who I happen to homeschool.  They are with me all the day long. I have lots on my plate and so many hobbies that it's starting to become a concern. I want to keep my life straight, but I have no interest in spending hours upon hours decorating my to-do list.



I'm going to assume you already know all about bullet journaling basics, because it's super popular right now.  If you don't know about it, head here to read the best simple guide I've ever seen.  I am all about simple.  I don't use all of the bullet journal system.  I don't generally write down appointments  (those go in google calendar) and I don't write down memories in my bullet journal. Except every once in a while I'll write down something to make sure I transfer it to my "real" journal.  My deep thoughts, travelogue, daily life journal. I keep that separate because I have no interest in keeping my to-do lists forever.

I do keep a separate journal that I write memories in.  It's pretty and full of doodles and washi tape and I spend a lot more time on it, because I want to keep it forever and pass it down to my children.

But my bullet journal is simply for writing to-do lists and ideas before they completely escape my brain.  That is a thing and it happens to me frequently  If I don't write down a task or put an appointment in my calendar, it's gone.

I love to do a weekly bullet journal page and I organize this by type of activity.  The reason I love a weekly spread is because some days I hardly get anything done.  This could be for any variety of reasons: kids are sick or need extra attention, we're constantly in the car going to practices, scouts, etc. I'm not feeling very high-energy, or an emergency comes up and we have to drop everything to take care of it.  I have found that list my to-dos for the week is much more effective--for me-- than a daily list.



This is generally what my pages look like on Sunday afternoons.  Prepping for the week ahead, I write down everything that I can think of that needs to happen. Meals I know we already have the ingredients for, before I look through my pantry/fridge/freezer, cleaning/organizing projects that I knew need to happen or I will go crazy, that kind of thing.

Then throughout the week, I add things each evening, or as I think of them throughout the day.  And my spread starts to look a little crazier.  The photo below is about halfway through a week. I cross off completed items with a highlighter (the colors mean nothing. It's just whatever highlighter was close at hand) or a pen if I can't find a highlighter. It's a very flexible method.



My weekly categories usually include the following:

HOME

This includes anything that needs to be done at home.  Including a little tracker for my simplified FlyLady Schedule.  I have pared down the flylady system to work well for me.  Essentially, I pick an area of the house and work on organizing/cleaning it every day that week for 15 minutes.  My goal is five 15 minute sessions.  Some days I skip it all together and some days I do two sessions. Even if I only get to it a couple of times during the week, this method has been super helpful.

COMPUTER

Anything that has to happen at my computer:  paying bills, printing things, emails to send, purchases to make, budget items, etc.

ERRANDS

Things to pick up.  This is not where I keep my grocery list (that goes in Evernote).  But it is where I write down odds and ends we need to buy at places other than the grocery store.  Also, returns to make, or things to drop off, or library books, etc.

MEALS

Our meal plan for the week.  I don't generally assign a day of the week, but I do keep in mind that we'll need some very simple meals on crazy weeknights and this time of year we also need something we can eat at a soccer game. (Our go tos for soccer games are chicken salad sandwiches on crossiants and baked sandwiches)


A LIVELY HOPE

Things I need to do for this blog and my shop.

I usually add a little tracker for Pomodoro sessions in this section.  I like to see how many hours I'm actually working on blog/shop related stuff.  

HABIT TRACKER 

I do not include items that are already habit on this tracker.  Things I am working on and want to make sure they happen more frequently go on here.  Right now my tracker includes: violin (practicing with my 3 year old); make bed (I've gotten out of the habit recently); Read aloud (to my big kids before bed); Sketchbook (part of my daily practice for this year); and Homeschool Morning Time (this one really is a habit already, but I like checking it off my list, so I continue to add it in. :)

SERVICE/CALLINGS/RELATIONSHIPS

This section is for projects I'm working on for the kids: upcoming handmade birthday gifts or Project Life pages.  As well as things I need to do for church or extended family service. Birthday cards, notes to friends, etc. all go in this section.


Other pages I use frequently include:

BIRTHDAY GIFTS AND CHRISTMAS GIFTS

Our four kids all have birthdays within about 9 weeks of each other, and Christmas is 3 weeks after the last birthday.  This can make the last quarter of the year pretty stressful.  So I like to keep track of gifts in my bullet journal.  These pages are among as fancy as I get (this is not because of a lack of artistic talent, by the way. I am an artist and letterer.  It's purely a matter of choice.  I choose to spend my time checking items off my list instead of creating the list.)  It really helps my brain to see them arranged like this.  And then I highlight each box as the gift is completed/wrapped.  Then I can see at a glance how many things I need to do and how much I should be stressing.


Our Christmases are intentionally very simple. We buy tickets to a play (usually at an amazing local theater) for both sets of grandparents every year.  We go all together (the big kids and Jason and I  with both sets of our parents) and it's become one of our most favorite traditions.  The kids look forward to choosing a play every year and we all enjoy the time together.  


OTHER PAGES I USE FREQUENTLY:

  • Blog Post Ideas
  • Product Ideas (for the shop)
  • Projects in the Works
  • Brainstorming Future Projects
  • Meals in the Freezer. This is a list of meals, or parts of meals that are ready to go.  I cross them off as we use them.
  • Planning pages for Trips/Packing Lists
  • List of projects I want to accomplish on our school breaks.
  • Long-Term Home Projects
  • Yearly, Monthly, Quarterly Goals

SUPPLIES I LOVE:

Leuchtturm 1917 dotted journal (I've used one like this for the past 2 years and it holds up really well to daily use/abuse)
While my bullet journal is extremely simple, I love, love, love the system.  It makes a huge difference in my stress levels and the amount of things I can accomplish in a given week.
Of course, this is just what works for me.   If you love to elaborately decorate your bullet journal, go right ahead! No judgement here.

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