My Fabulous Life

My Life On Paper – How a Visual Journal Changed Everything

Disclosure: This is a sponsored blog post in partnership with BIC. All opinions expressed are, as always, my own.

We’ve all got a million things on the go and with multiple kids, activities and events, it’s important to find a way to stay organized. Until recently, I relied on my phone’s calendar to keep our family organized, with a back-up family calendar on the door for everyone to see. For the most part, this worked, though I was often adding sticky notes to the door calendar, adjusting the phone calendar, or simply forgetting to add something in! Random thoughts or reminders that popped into my head throughout the day would be scribbles in the margin of a day planner.

I had heard and seen all the buzz online with visual organization journals (trademarked names out there include bullet journals or bullet diaries) but truth be told, they seemed really intimidating because they all looked Pinterest perfect. I also didn’t know where or how to start.

What I discovered is that there really are no rules for visual organization journals, but there are some helpful tips and basic ideas to get you started. I’m absolutely not a Pinterest worthy guru, but the basics that I learned to get anyone started include:

1. Pick a journal that’s lined or unlined, it really doesn’t matter, and some writing tools to get you started. I opted for BIC Cristal Up ball pens because of their simplicity in design and of course, the quality that comes with a BIC pen. The colours are vivid, don’t bleed and yes, they all match in the set so everyone knows they are mom’s pens (no touchy!)

2. Next, you’re going to create 3 logs throughout the journal. First, you’ll have a monthly log which is a great way to step back and look at the month ahead. This can be a one-pager providing an overview of your to-do list of plans, goals, and events in the next 30 days. Second, you’ll have a weekly log which is what’s shown here! I use two pages for the week and as you can see, the weekend doesn’t require as much space because there isn’t as much craziness happening. That also leaves me some room each week for a look-ahead to-do list with important highlights from my monthly log, and a reminder list – it’s also a place for pretty quotes and other doodles. Finally, you’ll have your 3rd log which is the “Everything Else” or “Goal Log”. I keep this page towards the back and add to it as needed. Here, you may pop in things like a list of books you want to read, movies you want to see, or maybe a list of ideas for future blog topics (if you’re a blogger 😊).

3. Finally, commit to your journal! Make time every Sunday night to sit down and plan your week. As you journal more, your weeks may start looking more Pinterest worthy, and you may add more embellishments, colours, doodles and more, BUT THAT ISN’T NECESSARY. This is your Visual Organization Journal and no one else’s. In fact, no one else has to see it so it can be as messy or colour-coordinated as you’d like.

If you’re like me and love pretty pens, paper, doodles and putting your thoughts to paper, a visual organization journal may be just the thing missing from your life! I truly didn’t realize the change it would make when I first attempted it, but it has helped me tremendously in my “brain-dump” at the beginning of the week. It’s a weird sense of relief to put everything down on paper, and give my brain a break not having to remember EVERYTHING!

Do you have a visual organization journal? If not, have you been apprehensive to try it because of the drive to make it Pinterest worthy? With the holiday season upon us, I encourage you to give it a try, or perhaps set a goal for the new year to make it happen. I think you’ll find, like me, that it can make all the difference in bringing some peace to your busy life, and might even help you sleep better at night, too! – your brain knows you’ve got this, mama.

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  • I bought my first grown up planner and am loving it to help me stay on track. I like the suggestion of sitting down for a few minutes every Sunday just to mentally organize myself.

  • I’m a stationery addict. I like the IDEA of bullet journals, but know that I’d make an effort to colour in the dots for approx 2 days and then go, “meh”. I am a compulsive list-maker, though.

  • I didn’t know the lists I’ve been creating every week almost my whole life had a name! Can’t live without them and digital doesn’t work as well for me.

  • I love having a place to write everything down. Yet, even though I do, I still manage to forget things! I find recording tasks and things that need to be done gives me a sense of accomplishment and keeps me focused and organized.

  • I have used a bullet journal now for 2 years and it is a great tool to keep myself and my family organized. Like you, I use the calendar on my phone, but I found that I was missing things. I no longer use the boxes, I just put a checkmark. I also add my fitness stuff each day.

  • I love writing everything down! I love lists and I guess I’ve been doing ‘Bullet Journaling” for quite a few years without actually knowing what it was called or that it was a thing! Ha! Maybe I’m more trendy than I thought I was! LOL

  • I use a store bought planner and I am very picky about how the pages are set up. I could make my own but I’m just too lazy! Lol!

  • I have the Cozi app that’s my primary organization system, but I would like to start doing more short & long term goal lists going.

  • I love love this journal. Mine is less organized and it’s fallen by the wayside lately but I use it mostly for financial tracking these days which helps keep me from wandering far from the budget.

  • At the moment I have 3 different calendars on the go, and then a book of lists. It’d probably be good to have all the info in one spot. I usually change up how I do things (depending on how many calendars and writing journals I get for Christmas 🙂 ) There have been times when it looks Pinterest worthy, and then times when it looks like the work of a 4 year old 🙂 (Mostly the latter!)

  • This is great! I always got by on just remembering thing … Or thinking I did lol. I started writing and making lists and I absolutely love it. I feel much so much stress relieved by not having to remember everything.

  • I constantly use lists and notes to myself or others but occasion it’s happened that a note or list falls off the table or someone has turned it over to write something on so I’ve been thinking about journals as everything would be in one place. But I find the whole idea rather daunting. But this bullet journaling actually looks doable to me. I’ll have to give this a try.

  • I love BUJO too. I just started in May of this year, and use a college ruled book like you do. I enjoy having the space to write out my diary thoughts but also keep organized! I am loving my mood tracker and money spending budget!

  • I have bad time management skills and am horrible at organizing/journaling. This looks like it can help me in those areas. Whether I have follow through though remains to be seen. Love the different coloured pens though

  • I really need to adopt a visual journal like this. This would be very helpful with weekly meal preparation. Thanks for the great tips!

  • I used to have a planner when I worked full time, but has since fallen by the wayside. Perhaps something I could pick up again in the New year.

  • This is fun and simple. I am not an artist so I can’t do elaborate but I love your set up and if I don’t get it done on the day I am supposed to that visual reminder is still there. And fun pens… I love fun pens!

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