Organizing the Disorganized

love a clean house. I hate putting things away or cleaning things. My husband finds it relaxing, I think it’s an interruption in my day. I love having to-do lists, but I’m better at making them (and losing them) than following them. I have a short memory. I’m the sort of person who remembers birthdays weeks in advance only to forget on the long-awaited day. My mind just loses things.

So, this year I’m trying something new. I started in August last year, actually, and because it’s stuck with me this long I think it’s worth mentioning. I just do not stick with things unless they’re books or people. And yes, my reflex was to write “books” first. I might be an introvert.

But this method is amazing, and lets me be scatter-brained and spontaneous and somehow, remarkably, organized. It’s called a Bullet Journal. It’s just a simple, dot-grid notebook, and you literally make your own planner. Some people on Pinterest and Instagram turn it into an art project and make it really beautiful. I’m not that kind of creative, but I do like pulling out my ruler to get straight lines, and practicing my penmanship.

What I love about it is that it’s entirely flexible. Both of my sisters happen to also be using bullet journals, and we all use them differently. Because the journal is essentially blank, you can use it for both your daily planning and keeping track of other things.

For me, aside from my to-dos and calendars, I have things like packing lists for various trips, a list of long-term house projects, a list of what to plant and when to plant my garden, a list of books to read, my yearly goals, and a few other pages. Here’s my reading challenge page:

reading-challenge
Reading Challenge Page

I also have a few calendar pages. Here is my Future log for things that are planned more than a few months in advance, and monthly calendar to see birthdays and events coming in a few weeks.

 

future-log
Future Log
monthly-plan
Monthly Spread

Some people have a new spread or page for each day, but I just use a Weekly Spread with sections for daily tasks, events, and appointments, with space for meal-planning and my weekly goals and a reminder of what’s coming next week. I’m ahead on my layout, but I’ll migrate the details over this weekend.

weekly-plan
Weekly Spread

It’s entirely personal, and entirely flexible.

Now, I’m no artist. I mess up every page, unfortunately (see the photo of my monthly spread). I know, though, that if I expect perfection I will give up in about a week. So I deal with my own failings and stick with it because it’s the only reason that my floors get mopped more than once every three months, and my toilets get cleaned regularly. It takes about 15 minutes per week to set up, but it’s fun! I have fancy pens and a ruler, and I sit just quietly, like Ferdinand the Bull, and listen to an audiobook and organize my week. I’ve found that when the planning is fun I’m more likely to follow through and be productive. It’s helped me a lot, actually, and I’m becoming a bit of a Bullet Journal apologist. You should check it out on the Bullet Journal website or Pinterest!

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