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Bullet journal epiphanies
On my most recent foray to the library I stumbled across Ryder Carroll’s The Bullet Journal Method and on a whim I figured I’d read it through. I’ve been bullet journaling in some form or another since 2017 when I was desperately trying to figure out how to keep track of everything going on in my brain. It’s been overall very helpful and I’ve been adjusting my approach with every journal I’ve gone through.
Now I’m about two thirds through The Bullet Journal Method and I almost want to reboot my 2023 journal.
Throughout the years I’ve been reading a lot of articles on “how to bullet journal” (some of them from Carroll himself), I’ve watched Youtube videos from people talking about their practice, setting up their spreads etc, I’ve scrolled Pinterest for hours looking for useful and pretty setups I could take inspiration from. I’ve been experimenting with elaborate habit trackers, pretty spreads and a myriad of different types of other trackers and collections; most of them I forgot to update after a day or two and others I didn’t touch at all after they were set up.
These days my setups have mostly been whittled down to a monthly overview, a weekly overview and then to-do lists and the occasional semi-diary blurb. Which, don’t get me wrong, has worked well enough for me so far, it just hasn’t been optimal and I’ve been agonizing over where to put certain things and how to organize all the different knowledge I’m collecting. I’ve been looking into trying to use things like Logseq for all the random bits and bobs but I always fall off and most of my stuff has haphazardly gone into the notes journal without any kind of sorting.
Finally reading the actual book about the bullet journal system has made me realize just how much I’ve either misunderstood or simply not known about when it comes to how and why the system is designed and works the way it does. Turns out it helps a lot to get it all laid out within the context of the system as a whole rather than getting garbled and modified bits and pieces from other people’s practices. 😅
There’s a lot in there that I kind of already knew, but was missing context to or the actual ways to implement it into the system in a smart and intuitive way. For example I had a rudimentary understanding of how collections work from reading articles (you set up a collection for a project or similar and put page numbers in your index), but it didn’t click for me how to keep that actually organized since I never got the whole index part to work for me. Now I know more in depth how collections work and what a collection can actually be. I was missing the context of the overarching system before.
But the real kicker for me so far has been the way a lot of previously abstract concepts have started to click into place. The exercises for mental inventory, the “why” test, breaking down goals and tasks into sprints, the questions to ask yourself when trying to figure out what really matters to you…
Again, most of these are things I already logically knew about, but it never sunk in and stuck and I don’t think I ever really got it before.
And then there are these two quotes that really set fire to my brain;
“Failure is an essential part of the creative process.”
“If you can’t appreciate your achievements, then what’s the point?”
Ouch. Those hit me right in my perfectionism and my imposter syndrome.
I constantly struggle with caring too much about pleasing others, caring about what other people think, and I’m constantly putting myself and my achievements down. After a lifetime of doing these things it’s really hard for me to actually figure out what I enjoy and care about. I was never able to set up and utilize goals spreads in my journals because I didn’t know what my goals were or I set arbitrary ones based on other people’s opinions and ideas for what and who I should be. Now I’m starting to feel like maybe, just maybe, I can figure out my own goals.
First step though is going to be me acknowledging and celebrating all my wins, big and especially the small ones.
Step two will be to be more consistent in leaning into the things I want to do and do them the way I want to do them. For example I need to remind myself to stop thinking about everything I do as a product or something that needs to cater to an audience. Like this newsletter. I started it because I missed writing the way I did in my LiveJournal, but with every letter I keep fretting about if I’m writing well enough, if I’m writing about anything interesting or deep, who’s my target audience, is this interesting to anyone else etc etc.
Instead of just, y’know, writing what’s on my mind, like I set out to in the first place and let other people decide if it’s interesting to them or not.
People pleasing is hard to shake, especially when it’s so entangled in social anxiety and your personality, but I keep trying! It’s exhausting trying to live after other people’s norms and expectations and as I’m closing in on 40 I’ll be damned if I don’t start living for myself, finally. Also,
So, in the spirit of acknowledging and celebrating my wins, I’m here writing this and working on embracing doing things that spark joy (again).
Another thing to celebrate is that I just sent off a batch of Twitch emotes for a client that I’ve been working on for way too long (my clients are saints and I appreciate them so much 🙏💜). I’m pretty proud of myself for figuring out how to do the animated ones in this batch since I have very limited animation knowledge and still they turned out pretty good!
I’ll see if I can share them with you once my client has had a chance to implement them on his channel.
And a small win to round it all out. I finally deep cleaned and rearranged my desk to be less messy and to weed out some things that were just taking up both mental and physical space. Now I’m onward to work on some ‘homework’ for my mentoring session!
And play some Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity with my partner. Because there’s always time for chill and games on the couch!
I hope you’re all having a lovely week and I’ll see you in the next one! 💜