How My Bullet Journal Reduces Stress

Because I use a Happy Planner and am learning to incorporate my bullet journaling into it, I should call it something easy like “Happy Journal”, right?  One of my important integrations is a Gratitude List, so Happy Journal would fit!  I am finding it a bit of a challenge to get into a rhythm with all of it, but when I do stop and take a few minutes every morning and every evening to “check in” with myself and my planner, I am coming to realize how my bullet journal reduces stress for me!!!

Although I resisted starting a habit tracker, I have found it to be invaluable to getting my day started off on the right foot!  It is sort of an ongoing “To Do” list for me of things that I really should be doing every day, but often forget because I’m busy and tired and approaching age 50 at the speed of light!

But more than a simple to do list, it contains the items I consider to be valuable to creating and maintaining a life of purpose and intention, while staying focused on my 2 Words for 2017!

The thing I like most about using my bullet journal is that the habit tracker is flexible!  I can flex from month to month, adding or changing habit items.  I can keep track for one month or for more than one month of certain habits I want to add or remove from my life, and follow my progress accordingly.

The habit tracker has become a reference point in my day, and when I use it, my morning and evening routines flow so much more smoothly.  I am reminded (but not nagged) to do things that help keep not only me, but my family in a good rhythm – and that certainly reduces my stress levels.  I can quickly see what items need my immediate attention, what items may not actually be as important as I first imagined, and also determine what things I need to add to my habit items.

Using a Gratitude list within my Happy Journal is a big deal for me, too.  I can easily whisper a “Thank you, Lord” for something awesome that happens – but we all know that recording these moments are both good and healthy.  It adds that sense of intention and can be seen over and over again, brought to mind and memory, and serve as a good balance for perspective – especially when things get a little wonky in life.  I have listed “Gratitude” in my habit tracker so that I can be reminded to record these moments and to be thankful for what I have been given.

It would be easy enough to just keep a habit tracker and gratitude list in a separate journal, but my goal is to really integrate everything into one go-to place, and I am finding it easier to combine my Bullet Journal and Happy Planner – and that makes me a Happy Mama!

Do you use a habit tracker?  How about a gratitude list?  How has the practice of using either one or both helped you?



Bullet Journaling in my MAMBI Happy Planner

Since using my MAMBI Happy Planner for the past year or so, I finally found my “groove” for recording notes and planning family schedules.  The MAMBI line includes a variety of extension packs including wedding, fitness, and home management planner pages.  I forgot to mention in my previous post that there are also inserts for photos, pocket folders and other dividers available as well – AND a variety of covers so you can stylize your planner even more.  The Note and Graph paper pack is my FAVORITE MAMBI addition – I love the variety of lined notes and graph paper. (affiliate links!)

Because I have been bullet journaling somewhat haphazardly, I wanted to find a way to incorporate my Happy Planner with my Bullet Journaling.  I use my HP mostly for schedule tracking and task completion.  But I don’t like to have to wait to get home from work to look in my bullet journal to remember details about things I wanted to tackle on my way home from work.  I decided I really needed to solve the problem and figure out how to add Bullet Journaling to my MAMBI Happy Planner.

Having found a couple of Bullet Journaling blogs through Instagram, I was learning more about bullet journaling, so it helped me narrow down what I could do with my Happy Planner already, and how I could add more to get the benefit of having both a planner and bullet journal in one.

Now some bullet journaling enthusiasts literally build their schedule every day.  In fact, I am following Kara Benz from Boho Berry, and she started a 30 days series that literally shows the process she goes through nightly to use her bullet journal.  That does NOT work for me – which is why I need the Happy Planner as my base.  But some of the tracking methods used by her and others have real value and offer more goal tracking – which helps me keep my eye on the future in the bigger picture.  (This post by Kara shows several layouts in her bullet journal – some of which I want to imitate within my HP).

Some of the things I’d like to add by Bullet Journaling in my MAMBI Happy Planner are:

  • Favorite meals (quick at a glance reference)
  • Books to read (for downtime that might pop up)
  • Bucket List
  • Home Project List (so when I am shopping I can stay on track)
  • Habit Tracking (I LOVE this aspect of bullet journaling because it is both a reminder and a report card!)

Getting everything on paper – not just schedules and appointments, but goals and dreams and bucket lists – makes those goals more tangible and trackable.  It is good to have a written plan with flexibility, and to be able to both look back and mark success and then look forward to see what to work toward.  This is the biggest factor in my desire to add bullet journaling to my Happy Planner…

So what do you think about Bullet Journaling?  Have you tried it before?  Do you use it now?  How has it benefited you?  Would you consider doing any bullet journaling after reading Kara’s post?


The MAMBI Happy Planner

Over the years, I have written often about different planning systems and binders.  I have gone from large 3 ring binders with personalized printables to trying to use my phone calendar with reminders.  I have used small purse-sized monthly calendars and thick desk-sized daily calendars.

I was emphatic about one thing:  My planner had to be both Pretty and Practical!

I also learned that I needed to be able to change up my planner as I moved through my days and weeks and months.  I needed the flexibility of using budget pages or cleaning pages or scheduling pages or note pages.  I really needed to be able to remove and insert pages so I could move it from desktop to a bag to carry.

Enter the me & my BIG ideas (MAMBI) Create 365 Happy Planner (HP)

I have been spending some time lately working on incorporating my Bullet Journal practice into my Happy Planner. Just before Christmas, I purchased a 2017 Color Your World Planner at 50% off!

and I. Love. It.

This is a disc-based planning system.  Pages are removable and interchangeable, and there are a variety of disc sizes so the planner can be thinner or thicker depending on how you want to use it.  I LOVE THIS SYSTEM!

The typical Happy Planner offers a vertical layout – each day is in a top-to-bottom layout.  Older planners had titles on the sections – newer planners tend to have more blank titles.  Color schemes seemed to have softened up a bit this year as well, so there is a LOT of room to personalize each planner by each user.

My favorite size is the CLASSIC – which again offers 7″x 9.25″ paper.  The mini-HP paper size is 4.63″ x 7″.  The BIG HP has 8.5″ x 11″ paper.

This planner – along with a few other brands – has inspired a large number of planner groups, specific to each planner.  These groups share information about sales & specials they might find online or at local stores, conventional and unconventional ways to use a planner, tips & tricks for organizing or reorganizing the layouts, and so much more!

I have 2 good friends who are planner nuts like me (YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE!) One of them decided she doesn’t like the HP at all so she gave me her unused one, and another has switched to the mini-HP and prefers it to the classic size.   In the past year, MAMBI also came out with the Big HP – which has 8.5″x11″ paper inside.

If you like the ability to add or remove pages or sections to your planning system, you should check out the MAMBI Happy Planner.  You can find them at Hobby Lobby, Michael’s, JoAnn’s, or Amazon, and other stores as well.

Here is a pretty mini-planner with PEONIES on the cover (ACK!)

And here is one of the BIG Happy Planners available, too:

All the links in this post are my Amazon affiliate links. If you decide to actually purchase an item using one of these links, I will receive a small commission which will help fuel my coffee habit. OR my Happy Planner habit. Either way, if you do make a purchase, I will thank you in advance!

Do You have a Go-To Planner that you love to use?  What is it like?  Do you use the same style every year?

Why a Bullet Journal

If you do a search on Pinterest or even Google for “Bullet Journal” you will discover a vast community of people who use a bullet-style format for planning and goal setting.  You will also find many different ways to use a Bullet Journal, and maybe some of them could work for you.

While I have used a couple of different planner styles, I have discovered that my need for a Bullet Journal is very specific:  Lists!

I have finally found a system of lists that I can stay on top of and not lose every other minute.  Cuz that has always been my issue with lists – I am great at making lists – but I am even better at losing lists.

What good is a list if you cannot find it???

My bullet journal has proven to tackle that issue for me without adding a crazy amount of bulk to my systems.  And less is better when it comes to the systems I need.

First – what do I use as a Bullet Journal?

There are many different journals – ruled, unruled, graph, or dot – which can be used as the foundation for a Bullet Journal – and there are a couple of popular brands that many people recommend:


Leuchtterm 1917

Rhodia WebNotebook

Dot:Grid Designbook: A5

{I am an Amazon affiliate – any purchases made through these links will result in a little commission for me and probably fuel my coffee fund.  You don’t have to order through my link, but I would certainly appreciate it if you did!}

I personally own a Leuchtterm 1917 and Love. It.  I do prefer the hardcover and the back internal pocket, as well as the 2 bookmarks and quality of the paper.  (Yes, I am a paper & pen freak, so I pay attention to these little things…)  The paper holds up to a wide variety of pens without a lot of bleedthrough.  I love that.  I am actually using this particular journal to record Essential Oil information – details about oils & blends, recipes, recommendations & warnings, etc.  It is a work in progress.

I also own a cheaper version with dot-grid pages (and thinner paper) which I am currently using as my Bullet Journal.  Now this baby is what is keeping me sane.  And the more I dig into it, the better my systems are working together!  Currently, my lists include:

  • Budget / Bills
  • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner ideas (especially helpful for school!)
  • Recipe section (so I can find my go-to recipes in a flash)
  • Tasks & To-Dos (this is essentially my Brain Dump section)

I have created “dividers” of sort by using Washi tape along the edges of 1 or 2 pages taped together so that I can find each section easily without making the edges stick out and get ruined in my purse.  Because I carry this Bullet Journal in my purse everywhere.

I have chosen NOT to use it to outline my schedule in any way.  I have found that I can’t settle on a way to map out my schedule in this format, so I’m skipping that altogether.  I have a weekly page that I use on  my fridge – so the hubby can see it, too – and I use a Happy Planner (which I will probably talk about later at some point) for schedules and work projects.  Frankly, my phone is my primary scheduler, mainly because I can utilize digital appointment reminders and alarms.  But once it is in my calendar on my phone, I pretty much rely on my written schedule for reference.

I will show pics tomorrow so you can see the list sections for yourself!

Really, there are TONS of ideas out on Google or on Pinterest if you are interested in seeing some Bullet Journal styles and formats, and you can even find printables to use, as well.  This, just like so many things, has fostered Facebook groups and Instagram hashtags, so keep an eye out if those are your preferred social media streams!

This is the book I own for my Bullet Journal Now (Amazon link – I’m an affiliate so I could earn if you choose to purchase via this link)


WFMW: How A Homekeeper Notebook Works

wfmwbannerKRISTEN Last week, I posted about having A Homekeeper Notebook, and then due to the wonders of technology, lost the post. It has been reposted… This week, I can write about the way a home notebook is set up and practically used.

You know the things that are important to your life. You are aware of the things you need to stay on top of and keep track of, and when and how you actually lose track of those things. This is why A Homekeeper Notebook (whether you work full time or not) can really be a valuable tool. If you are a wife & mom – you ARE a homekeeper regardless of the actual work you may do.
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WFMW: A Homekeeper Notebook

I lost the original post this week due to “technical difficulties” which are now resolved – and wanted to repost it for Works for Me Wednesday, hosted by We are THAT Family


This week’s WFMW edition is to share OUR GREATEST TIP. And honestly, being Queen Martha’s daughter, I’ve had access to a TON of great tips throughout my life. But for me as a stay at home mom – the greatest tip I have to offer is
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Thought Full Thursday: Settling In… Gearing Up…

Since I began my Stay At Home Mom (SAHM) journey over a year ago, actually BECOMING Keeper at Home has been quite challenging for me.

First, I had to undergo a personal transformation that allowed me to understand more fully the value, the responsibility, the role that “Keeper at Home” entails. Having worked after the births of both of my girls, I was just a “working mommy” and learned to find satisfaction in what was necessary for us at the time.
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Making Your Home Sing Monday: Juggling Act

I can SOOOO relate to this post at Moms The Word today!

I won’t admit how many times I’ve discovered a load of laundry in my washer – 2 or even 3 days after it’s been washed. UGH! It’s easy to forget that I started the load – my washer & dryer are in our dungeon basement, and I only go there to DO laundry. I need to find a way to post a reminder somewhere around my house so I can avoid that yukky sour smell!!! Continue reading

Ta-Da! Tuesday – My Basic Home Notebook Forms

I decided to go ahead and begin to list the Basic forms I’m using daily, and how I’m setting things up in my Home Management Notebook System. Later I’ll post pictures and explain how I finally got it all set up.

I have five general color-coded sections in my system:

Food & Menu (Green – as in green, leafy vegetables which are good for you).

Schedules/Cleaning (clear/white – an overabundance of clear protector sheets).

Blogging (Blue – coordinate the “Bl…” theme – and it’s my favorite color and my favorite hobby – you get the idea…)
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Friday Favorites – Notebooking

Searching the internet so much over the past year for help in my transition from working full-time in an office to being a full time HomeKeeper, I have read many articles on organization, housekeeping tips, menu planning, tips for frugal living, homeschooling, and more. I kept reading about Notebooking. Or having a Control Center, Control Journal, or Home Notebook.

I’m a HUGE fan of organization tools. I will buy them – set them up – and then not apply them. SIGH… However, that is the main purpose for establishing my new NOTEBOOK – to get over that hump and BE productive, useful, purposeful in my daily routines!
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