I love making lists. I’ll make lists of books I want to read, movies I want to see, food I want to eat. I’ll make lists of lists. I have lists on this site, on my book review blog, lists on receipts I tuck into books. Recently I started a bullet journal because it looked like something made for me, and after a month of working in it I am H – double-O hooked.

This Buzzfeed article is a good intro on how to start a Bullet Journal.

Unlike people who are really into the “BuJo” culture, I keep it simple, mainly because I get discouraged easily. Google for bullet journal hacks and you’ll find scores of elaborately designed journals, stickers and calligraphy and multi-colored pencils. It’s enough for me to look at my pathetic attempt and pitch it in the trash.

Eh. I persevere. Gradually I’ll go all Martha Stewart on this thing, but for now the journal suits my needs. As some sites suggest, I got a dot-grid Moleskine journal and set up some of the core pages: year at a glance, long-term goals, daily to-dos. Found a nice pink one on Amazon.

Keep Out.

Keep Out.

For my daily goals, I set up a grid for the calendar and keep track of all the achievements. Right now I’m tracking the following:

Still deciding on a color for July.

Still deciding on a color for July.

Duolingo lessons: I’m working on German, Spanish, Italian, and French. The goal is to be able to order a beer and find a restroom anywhere in the world. I have checkboxes for one lesson each daily, and two.

Walking: I have a three-tiered goal for walking – 5,000 steps, 7500, and 10,000. I had a nice 7500 run for a while, but summertime here involves the day job and going to movies, so I have to work on making more time for it.

Writing: My goal is a thousand words daily, and I have a bonus checkbox for 2,500 words. I haven’t made it, yet, but I’m rather proud of getting at least 13,000 words written in June.

No phone at dinner: Self-explanatory. It takes 21 days to form a habit, and that’s a good one to have.

Another thing I like about this journal is that I can use it for other things. The other weekend I visited DC for half a day and I collected a few stamps:

Next stop, the Grand Canyon.

Next stop, the Grand Canyon.

I do have one of those official National Parks passport somewhere, too, but I kind of liked how I could whip this out and stamp away. I’m thinking about getting back into letterboxing, too, and this would be great for that.

More importantly, the bullet journal has helped with my writing. I have a dedicated page for proposed book titles, and I’ll soon create one for plots and character names (I tend to recycle names too often, and it’s good to keep track). I have pages for publishers and agents to target, and similar goals. I know I could be doing these things on the cloud or Excel, but handwriting goals instills in me better motivation to get things done. I haven’t been this productive in a long time.

I find, too, messing around with my journal gets me away from the computer once in a while, and the family seems to like that. It’s nice to unplug once in a while. Of course, by August this thing could frustrate the hell out of me, but we’ll see.