Dealing With Dyspraxia: Bullet Journal
Like many dyspraxics, I am chronically disorganised. I’ve spent years making lists and downloading apps in an attempt to function like a pulled-together adult woman — a woman who doesn’t miss meetings and appointments, or constantly find herself searching for vital information and essential items at the very last minute. No matter how hard I try, my brain just doesn’t process things properly, and I can never remember the things I need to.
The Bullet Journal system was a revelation. One little notebook functions as a calendar, to do list, diary and planner. It’s entirely flexible, so you can pick and choose the bits that suit you. And you can use it as much or as little as you like, to keep on top of whatever is going on in your life. How I wish I’d heard of this before I went to uni! You can get all the information at the official website here, but this is how I use mine…
Arguably the most important page, the Index keeps track of everything you’re keeping track of! Number the pages in your book — either all at once or as you use them — and every time you start a page for something new, record it in the Index. Simple!
There are a bunch of ways to do this, but I like the simple bracket calendar method. It’s great to have a visual representation of how long you have until important events, and you can add to your colour code as you have new events to add in.
Similar to the calendar, this section helps you to plan in advance. It’s as simple as a two-page spread with a section for the next few months — I have the next six months in mine, but you could do 12 or even 18, depending on how early you generally know about things! Use this section to track events, birthdays, tasks and reminders that you don’t need to worry about right now, but definitely shouldn’t forget!
At the start of each month, I create a two page spread like this. With each day of the month listed down one side, it’s easy to track events — even easier if you already have them in your Future Log to copy over!
The other page is split in half. On the left, I track the healthy habits I’m trying to stick to against each day of the month. And on the right, a monthly to-do list; the idea is that each month, anything you haven’t done can be carried over to the next month’s list, but only if you still think it’s worth your time.
Here’s where it gets a little confusing — the Bullet Journal system uses a collection of symbols to track different things that might be going on each day. You can use their suggested symbols, or come up with your own.
As you can see on my key, an open circle shows an event. A bullet point is a task: I put one line through the cross if it’s something I’m in the middle of, and two when it’s complete. Drawing an arrow over the bullet point means that the task has been ‘migrated’ (moved) to a different list — maybe because you didn’t do it today so you want to move it to tomorrow, or because you’ve moved it from the monthly list to a specific day.
A dash is the symbol for a note — these should be short and sweet, and can be used as a way to track things that happen that day. I’ve found these really helpful for a bunch of different things — like letting the GP know exactly how long I’ve been ill, or keeping track of when my last period was!
I also use some custom symbols: a heart to record things I’m grateful for; and a little dumbbell to record exercise. You can create symbols for whatever you like.
‘Modules’ is just the Bullet Journal word for ‘random pages’! A module is a page you create to track or record one specific thing. I currently have modules for books I’m reading, things I want to buy, and even a cleaning tracker.
You don’t need to worry too much about these pages when you’re starting out — it will become clear to you what you want to track as you use the journal.
I’ve found this system so useful that I now have two bullet journals — one for my personal life, and one for work. Some people use one book for both, but I much prefer to be able to separate out my tasks and maintain my work:life balance!
I’m no expert on BuJo, as I’ve only been using it for about two months myself — but I just had to share my thoughts, as I think this method could be pretty revolutionary for my fellow dyspraxia sufferers! If you have any questions, feel free to tweet me. And if you’d like to learn more, here are some brilliant blogs and online resources you can explore:
BulletJournal.com — where it all started
WTF Is A Bullet Journal? — a great intro piece by Buzzfeed
20 Bullet Journal Instagrams You Should Follow — Productive&Pretty’s rundown of the best #bujo inspiration on Insta. You’d be amazing how huge bullet journalling is!