How Bullet Journaling Got My Sh*t Together (When Nothing Else Worked)

I was the child who tore through a house like a ball of chaos.  I was messy, loud, and constantly creating with things like paint, crayons, markers and tiny little pieces of paper. 

I was surrounded by organized, strong women who kept the ship on course while I could explore every weird little corner of my brain, and while that was really helpful in my creative growth, I think it also kind of helped shape me into the hot mess that my life became for my adolescence and early adulthood.  You win some, you lose some. 

I need to emphasize that this was bad, guys.  Iā€™m talking "spend savings on a digital camera and lose it in 48 hours" bad.  I'm also talking "replace said camera and lose it in a snowbank, only to find it in the spring when the snow melts" bad.  I was a swirling mess of losing things, forgetting assignments, being exhausted (because it took so much brain power just to cover the basics in my life) and on top of that, I was given as little responsibility as possible.  I didn't have a house key.  I wasn't able to drive.  I didn't have much of a social life.  My family wasn't in the business of making me miserable, it was just clear at the time that I couldn't handle adding any more to my plate.  I was barely handling the basics, and I kind of thought that was just who I was.

Now, eventually, like most people, I started to grow out of it.  I never had the clean house my homemaker grandmother instilled into my mother, and I think that's ok.  I ate my veggies, paid my bills, feed myself and my cat, and while I didn't do all of those things perfectly, I got them done and it was ok.  Could I take on more responsibility? Was I meeting expectations that my professors had of me?  Not even close.  But I was somehow paying my rent, feeding little baby Autumn (my cat) and dressing myself, so I thought it was good enough and that slowly, I'd get better at it. 

I never really did, though.  I took my bare minimum of adulthood as far as I could, and I did try.  I really, really did.  But every time I would try to push myself and take on more responsibility, I'd burn out in a week or two, all my current engagements would crumble, and I'd feel super shitty about myself.  I'd buy a cute planner, use it for a week, get bored because it lacked a super specific function I wanted to track, and completely stop using it.  I'd straight up let my life fall into disrepair because my cute lil planner wasn't a) entertaining to use and b) not customizable enough to fit my ridiculous range of hobbies and goals.

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Then, one day, while I was deep, deep into a Youtube spiral, I found Bullet Journaling.  I wish I could tell you exactly what video I found, but alas, I cannot, I can only link one of my faves below for you, one that will give you a nice overview.

This build-as-you-go planner system, full of cool habit trackers and monthly, weekly and yearly spreads that you build an fill in yourself was everything I wanted. It was engaging, fun to do, and while I don't journal daily (anymore), I could journal right in between my weekly spreads, so looking back at my old journals gives a concrete look at both my emotional state and the responsibilities and lifestyle I was leading around that time.  You can even use an index to keep yourself even more organized!

Another thing I love about bullet journaling (or #bujo) is the online community around it.  A quick search anywhere (especially Instagram, Pinterest or Youtube) will give you lots of results and ideas, from more minimal spreads to elaborate, beautiful, illustrated and colourful options.  I usually go for a more minimal option, and I don't do everything that bullet journallers do, but I've found a system, I make it my own and I've found something that works for me.  If I'm still a hot mess, I'm definitely the good kind now, like a cinnamon bun hot from the oven when the icing gets everywhere.