Bullet Journaling – June Preview

Since discovering the wonders of Bullet Journaling in March, I’ve been a huge fan. I discovered a fantastic Google+ community dedicated to discussing and trading tips for bullet journaling and  become fairly active there. Since I’m a couple of months in, I thought I’d share how things are going for the month of June.

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One of the first things I did this month was separate my work items from my personal and Educating [Geeks] items. I immediately regretted this. One of the things that really allows Bullet Journaling to work for me is keeping everything in one place. Every time I split things into multiple books, my work book continues to function, but my other books completely fall by the wayside. I’ve written plenty in my work journal this month, but nothing in my personal/E[G] book. Not helpful at all.

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Part of the reasoning behind moving work stuff into its own book was so that I could experiment with a dot grid paper. I’ve been using a large Moleskine professional which I loved at first, but now that I’m more serious about bullet journaling, I’m no longer smitten. The structured layout of the pages doesn’t quite work for me with the way I want to pull my bullet journal together. I wish the layout was identical on every page rather than being mirrored. Even if that was the case, I still think It’d be happier with a grid layout. I’m pretty confident I’ll be buying a large Leuchtturm book for July. I like that the pages are pre-numbered and there’s a built in indexing system. Both of these were some of my favorite aspects of the Moleskine professional, so it’ll be nice to have those in my next book.

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Since I was experimenting, I just printed out some dot grid paper for free using an online paper generator. I hole punched everything and stuck it in an empty binder I had laying around my office. I love the dot grid paper. It gives me much more freedom and the large size of the page is nice as well. It’s convinced me to buy a dot grid or lined grid book when I buy a new one next month. Despite how much I like the larger sized paper, I really like the portability of an A5 sized book, so I think I’ll go back to a smaller paper size. I do not enjoy writing in the binder. I keep finding myself taking the paper out of the binder to write in and then putting it back in when I’m done. Not really sure why, that’s just what happens though. I’ll be glad to have a nice bound book that lays flat. Somehow, I’m way more comfortable writing that way.

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With the grid paper, my notes look much cleaner, more concise and they’re easier to read and keep up with. And I love the dot grids because they’re less obtrusive than the lines on a grid.

Additionally, I’ve continued to use my Coleto pens, which I was turned on to thanks to members of the Google+ Bullet Journal community and I’m totally in love. For those of you who don’t know, Coleto pens are a customizable multi-pen that are made and sold in Japan. Instead of being locked in to standard red, green, blue and black pens like what you can normally find in the states, Coletos allow you to select which colors you want and you can replace the ink cartridge at any time. They’re also higher quality than the standard multi pens you can buy here. I never enjoyed using the ones I bought at Staples or Office Max because they skipped a lot and the pen tips came in larger sizes than I like using. My pen of choice for years has been a Pilot Precise V5, but when I started writing in Moleskines, I found they left a really heavy shadow on the back sides of the pages and bled through when I doodled and colored things in. One of my favorite things about Coletos is they come in ultra fine points in 0.5mm, 0.4mm and 0.3mm. I’m partial to the 0.4mm.

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If you decide to start buying these, there are a few things to know. First, when you buy the pen bodies, they come empty – no inks included. So you’ll need to get a starter kit which includes inks, or buy some ink refills with your order. get ready to start scouring the internet for suppliers. There are some good basic sets on Amazon, but there’s a lot less variety. A lot of the G+ community users like and use jetpens.com and they seem to have a decent supply at okay prices. I’ve found the best prices and best selection on Ebay of all places (though I probably shouldn’t be surprised by that). I’m not a huge Ebay shopper, but they have hands down the best prices for refills (I’ve found them as low as $1.48 per refill). I’ll be going there first for refills and new pen bodies when I want something a little more unique.

If you’ve been using the Bullet Journal system or Coleto pens, I’d love to hear about your experiences in the comments!

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