Planning for the week with a Bullet Journal

Its no secret that I’m not naturally a super organised person. I wish that I was because life feels so much easier with a bit of order. One thing that has really helped me in the past is a bullet journal. When I had it in my bag I felt in control because I knew that all my to-dos, events, appointments and shopping lists were right there. When life was hectic and my brain was frazzled, my trusty bullet journal would be there to keep me right. Over time though the habit slipped and eventually stopped altogether. Now feels like the right time to bring it back, especially now that I’m going to be tracking habits and trying to simplify my life.

What is a bullet journal?

Its a system for keeping track of dates, tasks, appointments and pretty much anything else you want to keep track of. Designed by Ryder Carrol as a quick and simple way to log information, it can be as simplistic or as complicated as you wish. The original tutorial, filmed by Ryder himself is below and explains how it works and how to set your journal up.

As the idea of using a bullet journal spread and became more and more popular, some of the more artistic users adapted the daily, weekly and monthly pages to suit themselves. This resulted in the beautiful and creative spreads that are all over Pinterest and Instagram. Have a look on my Pinterest board if you want a few examples.

What I love about the Bullet Journal is that you can adapt it to suit your needs. I wish I was capable of producing the beautiful pages on my Pinterest board but I have neither the time nor the artistic ability. Below is how I use my bullet journal and how I’ve adapted it to work for me.

My Bullet Journal

Please excuse the flash mark on the above photo, I had some lighting issues. I must add photography to my list of skills to improve. If anyone knows of any good online tutorials or courses, please send the links my way and I’ll look into it soon! I use a dotted notebook for my bullet journal as that’s what I prefer but any notebook will do, especially if you are just starting out and learning what works best for you. I use weekly spreads instead of dailies, the reason for this is I draw out my spread at the weekend and then its ready to go for the whole week. Once I found a design that worked for me I stuck with it and after a few weeks I could draw it out in autopilot in about 10 minutes. Possibly less, I’ll have to time myself one day!

I lay out the days of week in the top part of the page. I like this layout because my whole week is in front of me, I can see what I have to do on which day, when my appointments are etc. The bottom part of the first page is my meal tracker. Lets zoom in a bit.

 

Going down the grid are the days of the week. Along the top are Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner and Snacks. The last column with the badly drawn teacup symbolizes how many caffeinated drinks I have had that day. I don’t normally drink coffee so I’ve always thought that my caffeine intake was fine but I drink a lot of tea. When I started counting how many cups I was drinking a day I was shocked to find that it was often 6+. So I’ve started alternating with decaf and aim not to drink more than 3 regular cups of tea a day. In each little box I jot down what I have eaten that day. It keeps me accountable so I can’t eat lots of rubbish and pretend it didn’t happen, we’ve all been there… If I eat it, its getting written down.

I’ve just restarted bullet journaling but I’m already feeling more in control just by having a place to note everything down. I might tweak the layout over the next few weeks but for now its working well for me. Do you use a bullet journal or do you have a different way of planning your week? Let me know below.

Take care,

Hayley x

First steps

Every plan has to start somewhere. The problem I have is I normally do too much, too fast and get burnt out and frustrated. In my first post I came up with a list of skills and habits that I think (and hope) will make my life easier. Now I’m trying to come up with a proper plan instead of the “flying by the seat of my pants” style I normally go with. For each goal I’m going to take a couple of little steps to get me started. At the moment I’m between jobs and once I get a job I’ll be moving to another city a couple of hours away, so it makes sense to start putting things into place now before life goes manic again. Plus in the meantime it gives me something to focus on, I’m not used to having so much spare time!

Goal 1: Learn how to plan and prep meals ahead

Once I start working again, the plan is to have work lunches and dinners ready to go. If it’s waiting for me to heat and eat, I will. Have you ever had a decision to make, not an important one, something trivial like what to wear or what to eat and felt completely overwhelmed by choice? Might just be me but sometimes making a choice is the exhausting part! If my meals are already prepped, I don’t have to think about it. “This is what I’ve prepped so this is what I’m eating”. There’s no temptation to order a takeaway or binge on something unhealthy because the quickest and easiest option is right in front of me. While I’m waiting to move I want to try out some recipes that I think would work well for meal prepping. Work out what I like and what I don’t so that when life gets crazy again I know what my favourite recipes are and how to cook them. I’ve also recently bought a soup maker. Is there anything better than a mug of hot soup on a cold autumn day? Plus if I make it myself I know exactly what is in it, so I’m going to get to grips with using that too.

Little steps:

  • Learn more about meal prepping. Read blog posts, watch videos, look through cook books and magazines.
  • Choose a few recipes and try them out. Discover what works and what doesn’t.
  • Get acquainted with my soup maker.

Goal 2: Declutter, organise clothes and make a capsule wardrobe

Lately it feels like I just have too much stuff! A couple of years ago I tried out the idea of a capsule wardrobe and it was great but when I moved away for work the habit slipped and the clothes crept back in.

Little steps:

  • Declutter room. Bin or donate anything I don’t have a use for.
  • Sort clothes. If it doesn’t fit or I haven’t worn it for over a year then it has to go.
  • Make an autumn capsule wardrobe. Box away all my summer clothes and choose what I’ll be wearing this season.

Goal 3: Get back into the habit of using a Bullet Journal

There’s a blog post about my bullet journal coming soon. I used a bullet journal every day for over a year and it was brilliant! One week at the beginning of the year I stopped, I don’t even know why but once I stopped I found it really difficult to start again. I didn’t want there to be a random gap in the dates, as silly as that sounds and the longer the gap became the harder it was to restart. So I’ve bought a new notebook and I’m starting afresh.

Little steps:

  • Set up bullet journal and get going again!

Goal 4: Make a budget and shop smarter 

This one is more in the research stage at the moment. I’m living at home while interviewing but once I secure a job and move away a budget will be essential. I’m looking for a bit of inspiration.

Little steps

  • Research! Read blogs, articles and websites to learn more about how to set myself a budget that will allow me to save for my big goal, a house deposit.

Do you give yourself little steps to work towards big goals? Let me know in the comments =)

Take care,

Hayley x

Never be afraid to try something new

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Life is busy and complicated. I’m not complaining, it would be kind of boring otherwise. I’ve always enjoyed the challenge of learning something new and if what I learn could help make life feel less busy and complicated, then even better! My main flaw is that whenever I have a brainwave and think “I’m going to do this/learn that!” I get overexcited, try to take on too much too fast and end up quitting, through either frustration or burnout. Or both in equal measure. Ever been there? Enthusiasm is good but I’ve come to realise that planning and organisation are crucial too. Throwing myself head first into something without really knowing what I’m doing is exciting at the time but in the end, unlikely to work out.

That is the purpose of this blog, to help me keep on track with what I’m doing and why I’m doing it. It’s a place to talk honestly about what I want to achieve, what’s working, what isn’t and what I’m going to do next. I have lots of goals and ideas floating around but almost all of them fall into three themes. I want to save myself time, money and effort.

Time. It’s something that you can’t buy and for most people, including myself, there never seems to be enough of it! I hope that by working on skills that improve my time management, I’ll have more time for the important things.

Money. My never ending quest to save for a house deposit. I’m doing my best but there’s always room for improvement. I’m a single buyer and don’t have a high income. I’m a nanny by trade, which I love and wouldn’t want to change any time soon, however childcare generally isn’t a well paid profession. It just means I have to save harder and look for more inventive ways of scrimping or  earning extra money. Like I said earlier, I enjoy a challenge, which is good because getting a mortgage in my circumstances will be a big one!

Effort. If a habit or skill can make life easier then fantastic. However often to save time and money you need to make an effort. That’s why effort is my third category because at the moment time and money are my priority.

I decided the best way to add a bit of order was to get everything out of my head and onto a scrap piece of paper. I sat for 10 minutes just scribbling down every idea that came into my head. Skills I want to learn, habits I want to make (or break!) goals I want to pursue, things that I want to research in the future, basically dumping everything out of my head and onto paper. When its all laid out in front of you its so much easier to group things together and make sense of everything. When I was done I had 3 main goals, 2 areas I want to research more into and a few skills and habits that I clustered together based on type.

Goals

  • Save for a house deposit: Not much more needs to be said about that, I need to save and earn as much as I can if I ever want to be a homeowner.
  •  Learn new skills: The whole reason I’m starting this blog is to teach myself new skills that will hopefully help me out with reaching my other goals.
  • Feel more organised: I just want to feel like I know what I’m doing and that my life isn’t disorganised chaos basically!

Skills/habits

  • Meal plan, meal prep and eat better. I’ve grouped these 3 because they all tie in together. I want to plan what I’m eating, prep beforehand so its easy to grab and go and that should mean eating better as a result.
  • Declutter, organise, make a capsule wardrobe. I have done all 3 of these before a couple of years ago and I was very happy with the results. Unfortunately then life happened and the clutter and clothes slowly crept back in. I’m going to try again but change my approach so that this time the habits stick.
  • Make a budget, shop smarter. I want to get a better understanding of how much I’m spending, what on and find ways of spending less.
  • Bullet Journal. I used to adore my Bullet Journal. It went everywhere with me in my bag and I always knew what I had to do that day and what was coming up that week. But then once again, life happened, habit slipped and then stopped completely. I plan on writing a full post about this soon and starting up my bullet journal again, I actually felt like an organised adult when I had one!

Research

  • Mindfulness
  • Forming habits

I plan on researching the above topics as they are both things that I’ve had an interest in for a while.

So that’s why I’m here! Feel free to join me on Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. In tomorrows post I’m going drill down into what I want to achieve in different areas and make an action plan! Have you taught yourself a new skill recently? If you could choose one new habit that would change your life, what would it be? Let me know in the comments below.

Take care,

Hayley x