Welcome to another guest feature on the blog – where I get to balance the other parts of my life and get to highlight awesome wisdom from others in the bullet journal community. Today I’m so stoked to bring you Cristina (@shilen.qc). She had captured my eye and heart with her black and white, minimal, and super functional bullet journal style. I think you’ll love seeing how she uses her journal to balance her ever-evolving family life, child’s health and schedule, and home. Comment with your questions and love below!
Being a full time mom was a difficult transition to make. I have always been a systematic, organized person. Until I had my daughter who is now three years old. It’s crazy when you have adorably smart, super clingy and hyperactive toddler trump your routine on a daily basis and leaving you drained as you move on with your chores and top it off with other stuff like budgeting, trips, schedules, appointments and a lot more. Yes, nothing is more precious than warm hugs, wet kisses and lots of I-wubb-you’s. But the thing is, I have forgotten to take care of myself, I have forgotten to breathe and let go of the overwhelm and self-doubt. I beat myself up for suddenly lacking the organizational skills I used to have. I often felt disappointed for being unproductive and getting NOTHING done.
After discovering the Bullet Journal 6 months ago, it has been a lifesaver for me. I use the Bullet Journal basically for health and home management. I incorporate my daughters’ progress in my own bullet journal and she is getting along quite well. Although we have some slip-ups with routines, she needs time to adapt to it . What matters to me now is the process we go through in our daily lives in order to fulfill our goals together as a family. I am now able to enjoy more time with my daughter, for myself and the family without sacrificing my other responsibilities. The flexibility of this system has taught me to be self-forgiving of my shortcomings as we take each day in small steps.
I have been using cheap spiral notebooks and a personal planner for bullet journaling. Only two months ago, I did a little experiment with disc-binding, by making my own A5 sized notebook with small discs and dot grid paper. I instantly fell in love with disc-bound notebooks, it’s the best of both worlds! Pages are movable and I get to choose what type of paper I want. It’s highly customizable, and quite practical for me too.
I have to admit though, I love looking at amazingly decorated planners and bullet journals yet I chose to be on the minimal side despite my love for stationery, for the main reason that I am always on the go. I like simple, structured layouts. It has to be straightforward, just like the original format of the Bullet Journal, but with a few minor tweaks and add-ons. I try to fancy it up a bit with some dot stickers and highlighters (specifically in love with the grey ones. — “Grey highlighter is sexy,” as you said it, Jessica!) These layouts are my favorites as I find them very useful for me:
- The weekly / daily combination which gives me an overview of events, tasks or projects within that week which are further broken down in the dailies. This layout also includes meal planning, personal trackers (particularly for sleep and hydration) and a weekly review.
- A budget and expense log where I of course monitor our finances. I also use an online order log which fills up quite fast.
- The habit tracker which includes my daughter’s’ health and hygiene, learning activities and sleeping habits.
- A master grocery list is really handy since after giving birth I lost a few sets of neurons and now I have difficulty remembering things.
My planning routine entails a weekly set up usually on weekends and I plan daily in the morning for 10-15 minutes. It’s really simple when you get used to it. Just start one and make it simple. This is where most of us newbies fail (been there — lol). But yes, start with the basics and then gradually work your way out with what you think is essential for you. Don’t hesitate to experiment, so you can discover your own preference and style, be it artistic, minimal or a mix of both.
The best thing I’ve learned since I started a bullet journal is the importance of self- forgiveness. If sometimes things don’t work out as planned, or your habit tracker ends up untouched, or you don’t get anything done in a day or two, stop, breathe, and let go. “Your journal, your rules.” Whatever you put in your bullet journal, you make the rules, and sometimes, it’s okay to break them.
Cristina Quintero-Casuga is a registered nurse turned mom on duty to a smart and strong – willed little girl, Izzy. A stationery lover and an aspiring minimalist, she also enjoys reading, doodling, mmorpgs, graphic design, and cooking. Cristina shares her bullet journal happenings at https://www.instagram.com/shilen.qc/.