#challenge…accepted? Failed?

Ah, yes. The C word. It is a truth universally acknowledged that a Dove and her friend(s) in possession of a good (or sometimes not so good) idea, must be in want of a challenge. My dear friend Car and I have a long history of challenges, and concurrent projects, and enabling, and “hey this sounds cool, wanna join me?” (which is kind of the crafters version of “here, hold my beer and get the camera ready”). Along the way we’ve suckered in a few extras who are willing to play along (an issue some challenges of their own). Some challenges are awesome. Some kind of putter along. Some are forgotten until one of us is diving back into blog archives for one reason or another and suddenly are struck with a “hey! did you ever…”

Some, however, come from nowhere (well, not quite nowhere). Three weeks ago, I got a little parcel in the mail. Squish squish. hmmmm. I know that handwriting. Flipping it over, I saw a very cheeky salutation at the top of the return address. Ah, of course! Along with being a top challenge issuer, the girl is a world-class enabler, and nestled in the little bundle of bubble wrap I knew waited my new Project Life dies. Maybe? Hadn’t we only been talking about it two days previously? Maybe it was something else? A quick glance at the postmark showed it had been posted the day before, which is unheard of. (By contrast, Car’s needleminder, posted a week and a half later, took almost a week to arrive. No wonder I was starting to worry it was lost!). Ripping it open, the dies did indeed pop out, but like a dodgy 3am infomercial, “just wait, there’s more!”.

A little kraft card and kraft covered notebook slid out as well, with those now-infamous words… “CHALLENGE ISSUED”. I couldn’t help but grin as I read the card, with my instructions inside. A small notebook, to start my own bullet journal. A concept Car had discovered around the middle of February, we thought this might be the perfect addition to our Filofax-wishing, Moleskine-loving, list-making, bordering-on-unhealthy journal addiction. Neither of us had really gotten around to doing anything about it. By the strange twists that co-incidence often takes, I had only thought at the beginning of that week, that I should get around giving it a go. And then Car comes along and makes the decision for me.


I’m now around a month into bullet journalling, and it seems to be taking me a bit to get into the swing of it. I guess this is true of any new system. For a very very long time, I have been using week-to-an-opening financial year diaries ( a hangover of my pre-children days of working in the financial industry. Old habits are hard to break). Everything goes in them, and I have slowly evolved my system to work with how I best need my information – especially now I have my delightful Echino linen cover and organiser (five months on and I still love it and use it daily), and have my little Sunday afternoon week planning ritual as I layout my week to come, get my head around what needs to happen, and then have it laid out, decorated, full of prettiness to motivate me. By contrast, the bullet journal works on a daily system, and is starkly black and white.

There is something to be said, though, for taking a quiet ten minutes or so of a morning, coffee in hand, baby happily rolling around the floor yelling at whichever squeaky toy has slighted him, watching the dark sky slowly given way to light as the colours of sunrise seep into the day, and using that time to plot out my day. It’s nice. It’s peaceful(ish). But I’m finding, crucial to my ability to feel like I mentally have a handle on running a largeish family, is having the regular weekly activities mapped out in my diary, each and every week. It’s there, colour coded by child into my week. It’s something I am still pondering on, as I set out my bullet journal, how to have those weekly recurring events anchoring my plans.

bullet journal

The other thing is the monthly summaries. It works well early in the month. If I book an appointment or a play date or plan an event, I can easily mark it on the monthly page, and then the various tasks associated with it can get scheduled into each day, and then in instances like Beetle’s baptism, on the day of (or day before), I can plot out menus and shopping lists and guests and various notes, and index them for later reference. That, I like. But if I book an appointment for the next month, or multiple months into the future, I don’t really have somewhere to put it. What do other bullet journallers do? Maybe a footnote on the bottom of the monthly tasks and notes page to carry forward? I’d like to hear your input!

I will confess, I got off to a blistering start, but this last week has been insane, so I’ve fallen back to the system I know. I do have intentions of getting back to it this week though. I think I just need to work out these few teething problems and it’ll come together? I’m hoping, because I really like the idea. I’ll give it a red hot go in April before making any concrete decisions. And look at that cover. Is it obvious it’s been living in the kitchen command centre, or is it obvious? I really need to make up a pretty cover for this little book – I may take up Car’s suggestion of attacking it with my mixed media supplies and then covering it mod podge.


Today is the perfect day for a bullet journal, really. Lots happening. Lots of places to be and things to do. Lots of notes to make and stuff to remember. And of course busy life always seems to collide with ridiculous creative mojo. Ideas everywhere, so I’m noting them down (which also should go in my bullet journal! Note to self…) Today I’ll consider the crafty aspect complete if I can finish just one Project Life page. Even that might be a stretch, with Miss Butterfly not well. We’ll take the day as it comes. Have a great Tuesday (however you organise your to-do list today! If you use something other than a diary or a bullet journal, I’d love to hear your system).

The bullet journal marks completed pins number fourteen (of fourteen required to date) in my “totally pinspired” challenge to turn my pins into projects – I pinned it here. We are aiming to complete a minimum of two pins a month. For all my Totally Pinspired projects, click here. You can find my Pinterest boards here, and my completed pins board here. If you’ve been totally pinspired as well, I’d love to see what you’ve been making!

15 thoughts on “#challenge…accepted? Failed?

    • Author gravatar

      Was wondering how you were getting on! TBH I have a habit of forgetting I have to fill out, but it is good (size wise) to drag about with me, so i can leave the filofaux at home.
      A few other things bug me, but Im guessing the will be ironed out as the months go by! Still wanting to stick with my filofaux though – works so well for me & my mind!

    • Author gravatar

      Oh PLUS! i watched a movie today & the main character had a filofax

    • Author gravatar

      I bought myself an InnerB after Christmas. I love it. However I’m finding that I still write stick it notes and have them everywhere. Maybe I should try this bullet system. (It is very similar to a system my husband uses at work, wonder if it comes from a defence idea)

    • Author gravatar

      I started a bullet journal in January and am still using it daily! I found a solution to where to put future dates… at the beginning of my journal I made a two page spread for EVERY month. Not just the one I am on. I can write my appointments for the entire year, then each month I copy them to my new month’s schedule. Hope that makes sense to you. It works great for me!

    • Author gravatar

      Those recurring tasks! Gah! I create daily/weekly/monthly task lists and then affix a transparency over them with a washi hinge. Check off tasks with a dry erase marker. I usually circle tasks left incomplete so they are done first in the next day/week/month cycle.

    • Author gravatar

      Ah, same problems as me, hence adding a double page for each month at the start of the book like robinsnestof5! I also have added a weekly page at the start of each page for general summary of events and to-dos. You’ll see tomorrow 😉

    • Author gravatar

      If you go back and look at the original bullet journal video/ posts, you’ll see that he designed it with a future planning section at the beginning of the journal so that you have somewhere to go to jot down those items for future months. It works quite well and keeps you from having to migrate information too many times. Also, for the reoccurring items, have you considered a kind of collections page or section where you can check items off daily, weekly or monthly as needed? I find that this works best for household chores and financial items rather than writing them over and over again. As for the plain black and white aspect, the bullet journal can be as minimal or as elaborate as you want it to be. There are those who combine it with their prayer journals, art journals, etc to have everything in one place instead of in multiple journals. There are also those who use smaller separate journals for each and bind them together in a single reusable leather cover. You just have to figure out what works for you. Good luck!

      • Author gravatar

        Thanks for your input! I just think this system isn’t really for me, at this stage in my life. A lot of my recurring things are like playgroups and bible study and swimming lessons where I really need them right there so I can see what each day has room for. I’m sure there are some superstar mums who can make the bullet journal thing work, but it seems the diary-plus-notepad-combo fits my brain better and does the job of keeping all my paper “bits” together enough for my needs 🙂

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