I’m always writing about how much I love the flexibility of bullet journaling. In particular, I love it’s ability to become anything I need it to: diary, planner, notebook, sketchbook etc. However, a bullet journal doesn’t have to be used for everything. I have experimented with the bullet journaling system for over a year, using different methods of planning, tracking and logging. Now I have a customised system that works incredibly well for me, and there are just three tasks that I don’t use bullet journaling for.
When I first started to use bullet journaling I thought I would use the bullet journal to capture everything that I normally wrote down in various diaries, planners and on note paper. I tried to plan things the way I saw others doing it. After a while, I realised that many of the methods other people were using really didn’t work for me. I was still feeling overwhelmed and frustrated with my planning system! It was only when I began to consider my own habits, routine and lifestyle that bullet journaling really started working for me.
1. I don’t use bullet journaling for my Grocery Shopping Lists
One of the first tasks I stopped using my bullet journal for was writing my Grocery Shopping List. Keeping this list in my bullet journal wasn’t working for me, for a number of reasons:
- turning the page meant I could no longer see the list at a glance
- other members of my family couldn’t access the list
- the list had to be copied out onto note paper to take to the shop
- I couldn’t predict how often I would make a new list, or how much space it would need
What I do now:
I now keep our shopping list up on the fridge and this works perfectly for my family. When I’m in the kitchen I can see the list at a glance and immediately jot down any grocery items that need replacing. My kids use the list too, to write down things like soap and toothpaste for their bathroom, or a particular dessert they would like! And when shopping day rolls around, the list can be grabbed by whoever is heading out to the shop.
.2. I no longer do the weekly meal plan in my bullet journal
Since starting bullet journaling, I’m so much more organised on a day to day basis. Tasks that I had always struggled to do consistently are now regular habits. One of these tasks is the weekly meal plan, which is one of the most important tasks of my week. Completing a simple meal plan every week has significantly reduced my stress levels because it makes so many other tasks easier! The grocery shopping is done faster and less frequently, the amount of decisions I have to make each day is reduced, I’m more organised when packing the kids lunch boxes preparing them snacks after school, I bake more and overall my family eats healthier.
However, planning the meals is a task that I like to complete quickly and without too much fuss. I don’t love cooking so meal planning tends to be more about practicality and getting the shopping list sorted, than it is about planning elaborate dinners. When I began experimenting with meal planning layouts in my bullet journal, I found it wasn’t something I wanted to put much effort into and more often than not the meal plan simply didn’t get done. But I also found that a basic list scribbled into my journal, with a meal next to the day of the week, wasn’t enough to keep me motivated either. I needed to combine structure with speed.
What I do now:
Like my grocery shopping list, my meal plan now lives on the fridge. As meal planning and grocery shopping go hand in hand for me, I find it’s essential to keep these two ‘lists’ together where they can be accessed by everyone in my family. I use a structured meal planner with plenty of room to write the main meal for each day plus lunches and snacks if necessary. Using a meal planning sheet that is already set up makes the task of meal planning quick and easy. I even date each meal plan and move them to a folder at the end of the week. Then I can refer to them when I’m stuck for meal ideas, and I can use entire meal plans over and over again.
If you do want to include shopping lists and meal planning in your bullet journal, try the ideas below. Using sticky notes is a great way to save time, space and create a removable list!
3. The bullet journal is not my primary place to log kid’s school events, appointments and other important family events
Every year, for the past four or five, I have bought a kikki.K Family Calendar. I love this calendar. It hangs in a central area of our home, right next to, you guessed it, the fridge! I use this calendar to log important events, appointments, birthdays, holidays, work travel etc for each member of my family. Many of these events will also be logged in my bullet journal, but I’ve found that having them on a central family calendar is essential to keeping an organised home.
Although a bullet journal can be used for capturing and planning almost anything, it doesn’t have to be used for everything. Experiment with your journal to work out what works best for you. What’s most important is that your bullet journaling helps you be calmer, more organised and productive.
Do you use bullet journaling for everything? Is there anything you prefer to plan outside of your bullet journal? Let me know in the comments!