As said in my last post, I am going to try keeping a bullet journal in these upcoming few months. At the beginning of every month, a planning phase takes place to set up the monthly spread and get a grip on the tasks, goals, and projects of this month.
A couple days back, I designed a monthly spread with a calendar, habit tracker, mood tracker, goals, books, and projects. As this is my first monthly spread, I am not sure how this will work out but we’ll see during the month. The best feature of the bullet journal is it’s flexibility, so changing up the monthly next month won’t be a problem.
However, before getting down to the drawing of the monthly, I have to decide upon the first habits that I want to get or to change. When looking into myself, I find many habits that I want to change, varying from big to small. Going after the big boys would pose a challenge, maybe to big a challenge when starting out something new.
So, for the first habit, I made it a really simple one: keep up with my bullet journal. In order to keep up, I have to write in it every day to keep my daily log up to date. Every form of planning I tried until now never worked out. I would be able to keep up for two weeks and after that the slacking started and eventually I forgot about it. To give this a proper shot, I need to remind myself to keep using it and keep it up to date. Thus, I decided to track this habit. Hopefully, it will give an extra incentive and help me find a new and working way of planning my daily tasks.
For the second habit, I went with another simple one: feed my fish every day. It might seem like a stupid habit to track but for me it isn’t. I’ve never had a pet when I was young, so I never learned to feed something (beside myself) regularly. With the feeding also comes cleaning the tank every week and trimming the plants when necessary. Keeping animals requires constant care and when you’ve never done that before, there is a lot to learn.
I didn’t want to put in difficult habits yet, as I still have to get used to this way of planning. However, I think that I should be able to manage the third habit I choose: reading every day. It doesn’t matter what I am reading, as long as it is not the usual googling around to find the answers to my programming problems. Reading books for my operating system project fit perfectly within this habit. I do find myself commuting to work every day by public transport which gives me the opportunity to read for 20 minutes to an hour. By reading more in my free time, I can learn more things everyday. First by starting reading for my operating system and later I can read on other interesting topics like psychology, neurobiology, and many other subjects.
I am planning on creating a book list in my bullet journal to keep track of all the books I want to read and am reading. This should give me the opportunity to plan the next book when I am about the finish the one that I am reading right then.
With the mental struggles I face, it is good for me to keep track of my mood during the day. This will be another part of the monthly log. I will be tracking my mood in the morning, afternoon, and evening to see how much it swings around. Further detailed mood tracking can be done in the daily log, since I am prone to having four or five different moods within one part of the day.
By keeping a mood tracker, I hope to be able to provide an extra insight for a practitioner about the mood swings I experience on a weekly or daily basis. Furthermore, I can help myself. By analysing my mood swings, I might be able to see a certain pattern developing. If there is such a pattern, I might be able to anticipate on the upcoming mood or mood swings. Maybe, just maybe, I might also be able to help myself by creating new habits regarding a certain pattern.
Even though December is a busy month with all the holidays like Chrismas and New Year, I still want to put in some work into my projects. By defining which projects I will be working on and what I want to do, I can remind myself of the tasks in the monthly spread.
For this month, I have two major projects: setting up my first business and get this blog up and running. Recently I have decided to start my own business. However, there is a lot to be done and to be learnt before getting registered. I still have to figure out how taxes work, which taxes I’ll have to pay, and many other things. Currently, I am still reading through a guide provided by the government on all the things you should know when starting a business. When I’m through that, I have to setup a document which will cover the investments needed, risk coverage, market strategy, and so forth. A lot has to be done and that is why I consider it a major project. But still, preparation is key and when you’ve been prepared properly, the ride usually goes a lot smoother.
I’m having a lot of fun writing this blog, covering two writing subjects and a few side subjects (like the bullet journaling). Sometimes it is hard to figure out what to write about and to keep writing. As you can see, I started out in September, wrote until half October and then silence fell for one and a half month. I want to try and prevent that. I’m aiming on writing a post every two to three days to keep you all updated on my writing progress. Either it be with my operating system or with story writing.
With the habits and projects in mind, it is time to start working on the monthly log. Some people love to make this spread all artsy and such. I am not that good an artist, so I like to keep things relatively simple. I do like to put in a nice monthly page, announcing the month with a doodle or a drawing surrounding a common theme for that month. For December, I planned to drawing a forest of spruces with some fireworks.
Drawing the monthly log always takes long than the actual planning part. I do think, however, that it is a matter of time and practise. Eventually, the process will speed up but for now, it is fine for me to take it a little slower. The outlining of the log is setup first. Then, I fill it in with all the necessities: appointments of the month, certain tasks due for a certain day, my projects and their tasks, my goals, and the habits I want to track.
With the monthly log done, it is time to set up my daily log.
My daily log will differ a lot from the usual bullet journal. I have multiple things that I want to track. Aside from the normal task list, I also want to write down my motivation for the day. Later, when I flip through the days, I can analyse them during a month or see how they differ from another month. As said before, I want to track my moods and in the daily log, I’ll specify which mood it is with possible triggers.
With everything set up for the upcoming month, I’m highly curious how things will work out. If I’m able to keep up with the journal this month, I can expand the journal to contain many other things as well. I already have some ideas on how to expand it on a monthly basis. Things like a keeping track of my finances, am I spending too much money on unnecessary thing or were they good investments? Maybe a food tracker to see if I should cut out on certain types of food or a fitness tracker.
There are many possibilities with the bullet journal and its flexibility allows you to adjust it to your liking. Who knows, maybe next month, my monthly log looks completely different from this month’s. The same goes for the daily log as well. It might turn into a weekly log, if that fits me better. Maybe I expand it. In either case, I will keep you updated on my journal with the bullet journal.