How Bullet Journaling Saved Me From Mom Brain

Do you ever feel like your memory is shot?  Like you can’t seem to keep things straight, or there are simply too many things to do in a day to remember it all?  If you do, I have just the ‘thing.’ Today I want to teach you all about the wonders of the bullet journal, and how it can make your life a more organized place.

Before I had kids, I thought that “mom brain” was just a myth – and then reality hit when got pregnant with our first baby.  I am 90% sure that my brain has been floating around on a missing poster on the side of a milk carton ever since.  I was horribly disorganized, couldn’t remember dates, birthdays or appointments, and found myself missing events ending back at the grocery store for the third time in one day, because I kept forgetting that one thing on my list.  There was simply too much to remember, and between sleep deprivation and hormones, my memory was a mess.

I hated always feeling like I was out of the loop, and frustrated with myself for forgetting things.  Then one day at work, one of my co-workers introduced me to the concept of a bullet journal, and the skies opened up and the angels started singing! It was a game changer.

Did you know that scientifically you remember more key information when you write something down?  So that means, that if you use a bullet journal regularly to mark down appointments and to-do lists, even if it gets left at home, you will be more likely to remember what you wrote.  Cool right?

There is not a mom out there who doesn’t manage one million lists and to-dos in her brain.   It is my single most powerful tool for saving time, saving money, and simply keeping our lives more organized. So let me show you the basics, and how I use mine to keep me more on top of life.

What is a Bullet Journal?

If you are not familiar with a bullet journal, or you have never heard the term before, here is a quick video that explains its very basic structure:

What I love about a bullet journal, is that it is whatever you need it to be.  Its essentially a personal planner, but SO much better.

Do you need to keep track of birthdays?  Make a collection for that.

Need a monthly calendar?  Cool, put one in.

Need to keep track of your bills? Me too, create a page for that.

Do your kids have a complicated sports schedule?  Sweet, pop that in there.

Need to take meeting notes? Make a collection for that.

It can be artsy, it can be beautiful, it can be a disastrous mess – but whatever it looks like, the goal is to help you to stay organized.  The beauty of it is that it is all sorted out by the index so you can easily find what you are looking for later.

Pages I use:

The Weekly Log

A weekly log is a way to map out your week.  There are a million different ways to lay them out – Pinterest and the Bullet Journal Junkies facebook page are where I find most of my inspiration.  When you first try out this system, test out new things until you find something that is a good fit for you.

I have taken a long time to come to a weekly that works perfectly for what I need.  I found this log from Boho Berry, and I adapted it until I settled into the rhythm of something that was both simple, fast to layout, and  functional for my life (click here for her bullet journaling 101 series).

My weekly layout

As you can see, I have the overview of my week on the left, so I can see what is happening at a glance.  I have two columns, one for timed events and one for tasks/events that are day specific, but do not have a time attached to them.

  • A little side plug for Jess, at Dolce Ink.  She made me my book mark and I am so in love with it! I am considering having her make me a new one with four dividers for my 2018 journal.

to do list

On the opposite page I have a running to-do list for the week. This is really where the magic happens for me.   I am constantly adding and crossing things off of this list as I go.  Whatever doesn’t get done by the end of the week, gets rolled over to the new week.

I added in a Saving and Debt tracker so that I am able to keep track of the dollar amount for each of those accounts at the end of each week.  This helps it stay visible for me as we are working to achieve our goal of being debt free.

You can make daily pages as well, but for me personally, this spread is everything I need it to be.

The Habit tracker

Each month I have been trying to work on one habit to improve myself or my life in some way.  There is something really satisfying and motivating to me about getting to check something off a list, or color in a box.  It sounds so silly, but it really does work.

habit tracker, bullet journal

habit tracker

I want to look at my habit tracker and see a visual representation that I have been trying to better myself, and when I see each of those blocks colored in, I feel like I am doing just that.

You can put anything you want on a habit tracker.  Did you do something kind for someone else day? Have a shower?  Look at the budget?  Take medications? Drink water?  Compliment your kids? Read?  Do devotions? Workout?  Pray? Whatever you would like to make a regular practice, this is a great way to watch your progress.

The Meal Plan:

When we cut back our grocery budget significantly, this little meal planning dashboard became a weekly must for me.  It has been one of the biggest tools to our success, and I absolutely love it.  It’s simple, and yet extremely functional.

I have a full post about my meal planning process, and how I use it to save me money on my weekly grocery shop.  Read all about that here.

Interested to try it? These are the products I am loving.

*This post contains affiliate links, meaning I get a small commission if you chose to purchase items that I recommend*

These are products that I use and love, but I want you to know that you can absolutely do this with a cheap notebook and a pen.  Thats it.

I currently use a Rhodia A5 dot grid notebook and it’s the bomb.  The paper is silky smooth, and there is minimal ghosting or bleed through with the markers and pens that I use regularly.  The size is perfect for tossing into a bag, so I have it with me when I am out and about.  If you want a soft cover, go for the Rhodiarama, or Rhodia Goal Book. These two options are a bit trickier to find, especially in Canada, but I order mine from Bureau Direct out of the UK – believe it or not, this was the most reasonable prices I have found.


I have been using the basic color palette of the Faber Castell PITT artist pens since I started.  They have very minor ghosting in my notebook, but not enough that I find it distracting.  Using different color combinations for my layouts each month makes the months easier to differentiate when I flip through.

 

Finally, the last handy tool is a six inch ruler to use while drawing up your layouts.

Stay tuned for a segment on how I use my bullet journal to better our finances 🙂

Have you tried this system?  If you have, tell me what you think in the comments below. I am a nerd at heart and I truly want to hear all about it!

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  1. Thanks for the great article! I use bullet journaling, but I never knew what it was called before, but now I plan to do it more regularly and keep it all in one place. And I love the meal plan template as well. Looking forward to reading more of your blogs!

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