Life Lessons From My Bullet Journal


I'm a planner, a jotter, a (very unskilled) doodler, a notetaker and a list maker. I'm a junkie for old-school paper planners, and sometimes I have trouble committing to just one for an entire year. After some weeks of writing, I realize there's no space for the things I have to say—or there's too much space. Or the saccharin-y quotes added for inspiration turn me off every time I turn to a new day's page. Or maybe the problem isn't the planner at all but the 24-ounce kale smoothie that sat next to it, in my work bag, contained in a seemingly solid Mason jar that actually wasn't solid at all. That really happened. In July of 2016. 

This year, I committed to one book: a navy Leuchtturm1917 that, like everyone else on the planet, I would make into a bullet journal—a BuJo, for those in the know. (Note: I definitely do not call my book a BuJo.)  Right on time, midway through January, I had an overwhelming urge to purchase a Panda Planner, and then, a week later, the Passion Planner. But padding my life with my stuff I didn't need was exactly what I didn't want to do. I resisted. I reminded myself that the beauty of the "bullet" (sometimes I do call my book this) is that it's incredibly flexible. If one week you decide that one way of organizing your life and your thoughts doesn't suit you, you can just switch it up the next. 

So I stuck with it. Seven weeks into 2018 (or so my bullet says), I'm noting patterns: I'm writing more, and getting done personal-life tasks have taken a backseat for a long time. I feel more focused and my commitment to being (or attempting to be) a thoughtful person seems stronger. Except today I acted like a total asshole much of the time. Proving there's no perfect system.

At the end of each week, I review all the things I've done and notes I've jotted down and come to, and write out, a few cliche conclusions. Trite as they may be, they're working working for me. Here's my life-lessons list so far: 

  • Always say yes to the run.

  • Ask for what you want. Often, you get it.

  • When someone offers you honest insights, listen.

  • Quit buying shit you don't need. (In my case, another red lipstick.)

  • Play.

  • Go to the show. Being around creative people is exhilarating. (Side note: I didn't follow my own advice last night and I'm sad about it.)

  • It feels better to find where you align and focus there, than to nitpick the differences.

  • Trust that you know what you need, and what your kids need.

  • If you don't have anything nice to say, shut up. (A not-so-nicely put variation of my mom's mantra.)

  • Don't get the pixie cut unless you're keeping it forever—it looks horrendous growing out. (I just reviewed seven years' worth of photos for a project.)

  • If you feel ready, you are. Don't overprepare.

  • Know when to rest.

  • If you keep your-in-the-moment freak-outs on the inside, you have less explaining/apologizing to do later.

  • Yes, you do have time for yoga.

  • Trust you're on the right path.

Nicci Micco