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Bullet Journaling For Chaos Bitches

This is a tribute well to my partner, who is starting Uni this year and is absolutely terrified of failing. Even though he is extremely capable, smart and well they can handle most of the shit yeeted at him. So this blog is for them and well anyone else who wants to understand bullet journaling from the perspective of moi.


Firstly I did not create the bullet journal method but this guy, who also has ADHD, Ryder Carroll. He has a whole book, planner collection and everything else. It was created by a person with ADHD but a lot of the people who use it don’t have it. Genuinely the idea behind it was to adapt to the user and reduce wasted space because well you accidentally forget about it for a day, week or month. Which in all honesty I have done before.


So I think the first and possible hardest and simplest lesson about bullet journaling is well, you are allowed to fuck up. It is a journal system that learns with you. It is never going to be perfect like you will never be but with you it will grow. It will change depending on what you feel are your needs at that moment. It won’t predict the past or fix mistakes of the past. That is okay. You are allowed to fuck up your bullet journal. Start again from any point or get a new one if your perfectionist ideals are making you run from your old one. That is why I love bullet journaling. It allows me to be imperfect and accept it. I don’t have to fit into someone else's idea of what a bullet journal is meant to look like. Or any organisational system that is premade by anyone else. It let’s me fuck up, grow, and try again.



How does it work?

Well for a bullet journal there are a few key elements:

  • A Pen/Pencil - You need to fucking write in it

  • A Notebook - Any will do to begin with. I use a dotted A5 one (reasons I’ll explain below)

  • A Key - To notate wtf things are.

  • Braindump/Planning Spread - These are commonly seen by many people as monthly or weekly spreads and so on.


The rest is honestly up to you. If you want to add or take away certain things then do so but in my years that this is what it comes down to. So let’s delve into each point a bit more.


Except the first point, that one seems a bit freaking obvious. Other than two other additions I would make with it. Get a pen you enjoy writing with. One that helps you write better and stress free. If you are in the UK, Cult Pens are amazing (not sponsored they are literally just a good distributor). The second addition is writing shit down helps you process, and remember things so make sure you write it out. The science is there. I am too lazy to find the sources but they are everywhere. Google it.


The Notebook


Well for this you can either be picky or literally use the empty notebook that you have if it doesn’t matter to you. I personally have a dotted notebook, this allows me to make personal layouts so much easier. However a decent one is on the pricier side of things. Honestly you don’t need one starting out. For me, I started in a lined notebook to try out the system and when it worked for me I allowed myself to get a nicer dotted notebook. The one I have now cost me about £20 but took 3-4 weeks to arrive. It was worth the price and the wait but again that is entirely up to you to decide. If you want the easy option go for that notebook you already have. It is easier and you are only starting out. Doesn’t matter if it is half filled or whatever you just start in the middle.


The Key


For this I have a picture of mine below. You can add colour to yours but honestly other than for making spreads easier to look at I rarely use any colours in my Bullet Journal. All you need symbols for are:

  • Tasks

  • Events

  • Notes

  • Important

  • Irrelevant - which I recommend crossing out

For tasks you need to be able to show it is completed for the obvious. I like to have a scheduled “<” one, if it is a task you should do another day, and migrated “>” because you don’t finish everything. These are simply just arrows in each direction.

a key from a bullet journal
The Key I Use

Events are just appointments, irregular classes or occasionally class cancelations (classes aren’t included usually because they are regular and to a timetable), therapy, exams, meeting and so on.


Notes literally can be anything from pouring your feelings out to writing out more information about how to access what for the test or whatever you need to write. I don’t tend to write my feelings down however when I need to. I do it in my bullet journal.


Important… I have two of these. Purely because I am starting distance learning in a month or so, if I can get the freaking funding. One is for due dates, or important/significant class requirements. The other is something that needs done urgently for work & this blog. I do recommend at least having one. Even if you rarely use it. It is useful to have. Especially since I assume you forget to do shit a lot.


Irrelevant shit. This happens a lot and is usually cluttering your brain. So this is permission to essentially cross it out. It’s not important and you don’t need to spend time on it. This can be used to get something out of your mind like an annoying task that you technically have no control over. Cross it out. I use it a lot more often than I thought I would. Really freaking helpful.

a weekly spread with colours for each group
Using colours to separate my weekly spread

Going to jump back to the colours. I don’t use them daily because well it takes time to use another pen. They are helpful in my spread though. They help separate sections, ideas and task groups. Which reduces the mental clutter. Genuinely make brain happy. Shown left/above:





Braindump/Planning Spread


Why did I use conventional bullet journal terminology? Because we are not here to be conventional. You get to completely pick and choose what works for you.


A braindump spread is literally a page you use to braindump information on. You can have specific ones for assignments, work projects and so on. I usually have a weekly spread where I categorise all my tasks for the said week. Making it so much easier to see what I have to do for work, my own projects and to look after myself.


You will have your daily to do’s and thoughts throughout this book but having a brain dump page honestly helps me sort through it. In mine I have:

  • yearly overview - This lets me book in birthdays, long term tasks, events. Honestly it really lets me forget about it until I can do something about it. Rather than have it clouding up my brain and getting overwhelmed

  • weekly overview - It changes weekly genuinely. My week to week needs grow depending on my health, workload and so on. Most of the time I look at a previous weekly spread and go ‘what can I do to make this help me better?’. It is not necessarily to make me more efficient but to be able to take care of myself and not overwhelm the brain with too much.

  • assignments/tests - Don’t have this yet but with starting distance learning in a month a spread for this is really going to help me. I will definitely show you my plans for them once I figure out when I have my semester syllabus.

  • health braindump - This one is literally a braindump with cats on it. Why cats? Because people give me cat stuff a lot. So I usually have dates and reminders on when I need to do health check ups, order prescriptions and so on. Literally forget to do things like going to the dentist (it is like a yearly occurrence, do you expect me to remember? I don’t). So I put it all on one page.


Things like habit trackers I don’t draw in. I learned this neat hack that I can print it out and tape in a yearly one. So if I finish the notebook I can just ✨ transfer ✨ it to my new one. Saves time, hassle and my sanity. I only really have ones for my blog, bullet journal use, exercise (I wanna be able to do the sports I love), and reading cos that list be loooong.

 

Honestly the last thing to do with your bullet journal is use it. I write out my tasks every day and lay them next to my laptop so I can see what I should be doing. Rather than constantly thinking about food.


If you want to steal my habit tracker for A5 click here. It prints two on A4 and you just have to cut it out. Do be aware you will link yourself to my google drive. I won't use your email at all and that is a promise.


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