2018 Bullet Journal

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In January of 2017 I started keeping a bullet journal. A bullet journal is a self-created planner and organizer. I love bullet journals because they are created and customized by their creator. When you buy a planner from a store there are always features that don’t fit every planning style.

Not only does bullet journaling help to keep me organized, but it also helps me to expel some creative energy.  I’ve enjoyed building up my art supplies this year and dabbling in the use of washi tapes, watercolors, Tombow brushpens, stickers, and all sorts of paper crafting goods.

I used to give updates on my early progress with bullet journaling. If you are interested check out these posts:

One Month of Bullet Journaling

Bullet Journal Updates

March Updates

Bullet Journal February Updates

I want to give you a peek at what I’ve been working on so far this year in my newest bullet journal. As you can see above, I decorated the outside of my Leuchtturm 1917 notebook with Cricut vinyl cut using my new Cricut Explore Air 2 machine. I used to own a Cricut about ten years ago, but they have come a long way and the extent of its uses is now unfathomable. Since I received it in June I have made tshirts, cards, wall art, and magnets with my new machine.

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Collections

Bullet journal Collections are pages that are ongoing throughout the time you use a particular notebook. There are so many ideas on Pinterest of things to track in your journal. I’ve chosen to track things like book lists, home improvement ideas, sports statistics for my daughter, blog schedules, Netflix shows I’m watching, a future log, and movies I’ve watched this year.

Creatives

Creative pages are ones in which I play around with creative techniques. This year I’ve been focusing on hand-lettering and calligraphy. I’ve started quite the collection of Tombow brushpens, Mildliner pens and washi tapes. I use these pages to work on skills and play around with ideas.

Monthlies

Something I started this year is using a monthly theme. Every month I start with a title page that introduces the theme and then I include those ideas in my habit trackers and anxiety trackers for each month.

Weeklies

Every week I use a similar layout to the one below. The weekly pages are where I break down my daily tasks and oftentimes I journal on these pages as well.

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How I Use It

Every night before bed I open up my bullet journal and update the weekly page with tasks and journaling. Then, I record in my habit tracker what I was able to accomplish that day. Finally, I evaluate my anxiety level for the day and track that appropriately. Doing this at night leads me to self-reflection on a daily basis. This practice has helped keep me focused and organized.

Any other bullet journalers out there? I’d love to see your pages!

The Ameri Brit Mom

 

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Bullet Journal Updates (June 2017)

I realize it’s been a while since I last updated on my personal bullet journal. Even though it hasn’t appeared on my blog, I’ve been using the thing like crazy! My beautiful Moleskine resides in its own special place in my purse and I carry it with my daily. I thought I’d share some photos of ways I’ve used my bullet journal most recently.

  1. Monthly spread and review: 

    2. Vacation Daily Tracker:

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3. Recipes:

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4. Online Course Creation:

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5. Summer Goals and Routines:

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My favorite pens to use in my bullet journal are the Paper Mate Flair pens. I love the vibrant colors and the ease at which I can write with these pens.

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What are your favorite bullet journal tools or utensils?

The Ameri Brit Mom

 

Lesson From an Aspiring Author: Pantser

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In the writing world there are two types of people. There are the Planners and there are the Pantsers. In most areas of my life I consider myself a planner. Schedules are my best friends and I do very little without first consulting them. Routines help keep me sane and the healthiest rhythms of my life are born from my desire to maintain control.

Knowing all this you may think that as a writer I might be just as organized. You may picture me with folders on my computer that keep all my files cataloged. You may envision a giant notebook where I plan out my character’s next move and how that might be felt at various points throughout the story. You think I am a detail-oriented writer (as I often dream about too.) The reality of my writing is I’m opposite of all those things.

Every fiber of my Type-A being hates to admit I’m a Pantser.

The only thing I’m good at planning ahead when it comes to writing is when I will get my sessions. Over time I’ve learned that I’m no good at planning plot. Pre-planned drafts have proven a waste of time. My Googledrive is a conglomeration of random files. Some are manuscripts and some are ideas. I even have a few files that are just one sentence in length (something that felt prolific at the time and I hope to one day use.) There is no giant notebook where I plan out my chapters–I’ve tried it, but it doesn’t work. And details–what are those?

Throughout the past two years, I’ve really focused on finding my voice and style as an author. I’ve found that my best writing comes from organic sessions. I sit down with a cup of coffee and I let the characters lead me. I listen as they talk. I watch as they interact. And I record all of these things as they happen.

I usually start the story with a sentence that seems catchy. I have no idea where that sentence will take me, but I give myself permission to have no clue. My best work has come from this strategy.

If you were to ask me about my current manuscript and how it ends I would tell you, “I have no idea. I’m not even sure what the conflict is at that point.” If that makes you cringe do not fear–I used to cringe too. I have chosen, however, to write in this manner because it is how my best work is produced.

First drafts are always a little silly and require a ton of makeover no matter how well planned they happen to be. That’s why I enjoy the journey of being a Pantser. I let the first draft happen. I don’t stifle it with plans of my own or inject my personal agenda into the scenes. I know I will have to edit and revise regardless if I have a plan or not. So why not enjoy the suspense of exploration?

I accept my style as a Pantser because I know that in the end, stories always come together. It’s exciting to start something new and to be led on adventures as opposed to dictating the process. As a Pantser, I can say that my writing speaks for itself and I am truly the vessel it uses to tell it to the world.

As a mother so much of my life requires a plan. I need to know who needs to be where and when. I have to schedule my own writing time around everyone else’s schedule. That is another reason I enjoy being a Pantser–it’s something I can do on a whim. I allow myself to write whatever comes and I accept that it’s okay.

Any other Pantsers out there?

The Ameri Brit Mom

My Sunday Routine

A pot of coffee is brewing. My daughter is tuckered out on the couch. My husband is off at the gym with some friends. These are the moments I long for all week. Sunday afternoons have become my most productive and rewarding time slots thanks to the new rhythm my family has established this fall. I begin my time with a mug of coffee. It’s my reward for making it through another week. Once the caffeine has tapped into my bloodstream, I’m ready to conquer the week ahead. I’ve learned that the successes of the week ahead are determined by my productivity on Sunday afternoon. This is a peaceful ME TIME that leaves me feeling like Mama Warrior every weekend.

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1. Meal Plan

Across my table I spread out my planner, every cookbook I own, and a box of family recipes. I spend a twenty minutes or so scouring each of these resources in addition to my recently posted pins from Pinterest in order to create a weekly meal plan. Also, I build my grocery list as I go. I always begin with meal planning, because in our house my husband does the grocery shopping. I can send him off to the store while I continue to work on my Sunday routines.

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2. Laundry

Next, I clear out all of the hampers throughout the house and clean all of our clothes for the week. In a perfect world I’d be caught up every Sunday, but the reality is that some Sundays I have more time than others to complete the laundry. At the very least I try to be caught up with laundry every other weekend. This helps make the house seem clean and gives each of us several options when it comes to step 5.

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3. Blog Plan

My routine for blogging has adjusted a bit this year to account for several personal projects that take up substantial amounts of time. For the most part, my blog posts are written over the weekend, and scheduled to be published throughout the week. I spend most of my Saturday mornings crafting posts and writing, but on Sundays I put the final touches on posts and get them scheduled for the week ahead. I also track my weekly stats from my site in my blog planner which is something I sit down and work on every Sunday afternoon.

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4. Sunday Basket

I started this project back in April, and it has really helped to control the mass of papers that can tend to collect all over the house. Throughout the week we receive paper after paper from mail to schedules to artwork from my daughter in her pre-school class. If we get something we know we will throw away (like junk mail) we throw it away immediately, otherwise we place it in the basket to be acted upon on Sundays. On Sunday, I sort through the basket. I make three piles: file, throw away, or action required. Then, I go through and complete whatever action is needed for each piece. This really helps to control the paper madness that can so easily get out of control. This idea comes from Organize 365.

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5. Lay out clothes for the week

Another huge time saver for the week is to determine my attire for the whole week on Sunday afternoons. Generally, on Sundays I have a much more inspired attitude toward my clothes than on a late night or early morning. Clothes have been freshly cleaned and with a little extra energy from the coffee (or extra rest during the weekend) I comb through my closet and jewelry box and create my wardrobe for the week.

I know that each household looks different and we all have routines that work for us and our families. I’d love to hear how you tackle the weekly organization and scheduling for your house.

The Ameri Brit Mom