Honestly, it’s life changing is a regular series where we talk about the weird and wonderful possessions we can’t imagine life without. Think of it as an ode to the mundane, bizarre and, sometimes, wholly unnecessary products in our lives.
Whenever I have a free evening, a spare couple of hours on the weekend, or when life is just getting too much; I sit on my bed, prop up two pillows behind me, and get out my bullet journal. I pour out my pencil-case full of my favourite pens, open up Pinterest for inspiration, and draw.
I draw for hours. Or write. Or plan. Or colour in.
My bullet journal is a dotted notepad with 250 pages, a contents section, two book-markers and a pocket at the back to keep scraps of paper in. It’s a Leuchtturm1917. And I never realised, three years ago when I forked out nearly £20 for one, that it would change my life.
Because when I did a mental scan of my day-to-day activities to figure out what one item I wouldn’t be able to live without – for our Honestly It’s Life Changing series – it wasn’t my phone, it was this journal. (And my backpack too, of course.)
I’ve written about the practicalities of bullet journalling before – how to do it, why people like it, and how it helped me organise my life – but people find it hard to understand why this dotted notepad is such a game-changer.
The thing is, I’d feel distraught if I lost it. The notepad itself – while it has the perfect thickness of pages, dots that make it easy to draw out boxes, and is sturdy and bold – is just the beginning. It’s the activity this notepad brings that gives me so much joy.
Sometimes I’m so busy that I don’t tidy my room for a week, forget to reply to friends’ messages, get a serious lack of sleep, or eat toast for dinner four nights on the trot – but I never get so busy that I miss getting this journal out on a weekly basis.
Because honestly – truly – it makes my life easier (and happier) to live.
I use it to write lists. Things I need to do, buy, plan or see. I wrote a packing list because whenever I stay away from home, I freak out that I’ll forget something – so I refer to it on a weekly basis (this page always has one of the book-markers in). I’m always adding to these lists, ticking things off, and starting new ones.
I use it to plan my week. I draw out a weekly diary for every week of the year – and fill it out with appointments, social plans, things to remember that day, or gym classes I’ve signed up to. Thanks to the dots, the weekly diary is easier to draw (with the boxes all the exact same length and height, obvs).
I use it to brain dump my thoughts. I write when things are going well – moments I want to look back and remember – but I also use it for stream-of-consciousness writing when I’m having a tricky time, and try to recognise things I can be grateful for.
I use it to store important life letters. You know, those appointment letters or scraps of paper with important bits of information on that you can’t lose. They all get stuffed in the back pocket – and this notepad is always with me, so those important scraps are, too.
I use it to be creative and draw. And I feel like I’ve got a new hobby out of it – one I want to improve at and one I find joy from. There’s tonnes of inspiration online with others who have the same notepad, so it’s easy to recreate their themes and drawings.
I use it as a form of self-care. Most importantly, I use it when everything around me seems to be running at full speed and I feel like I can’t keep up. I guess you could do this with any notepad – but trust me, the dots, bookmarks, contents page and pocket make it all so much easier.
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