Friday, June 15, 2018

Lists, Crosschecks, and Bullet Journaling for the Un-Cute

Welcome to the smorgasbord that this blog post will be, as evinced by the title.

I made a (I think) rather lovely summer reading list for myself last month. I varied genres and difficulties, library books with already owned. Books I'll fly through, and books I'd only attempt during my school-free days of summer.  Since making the list in late May, I've read about 11 books. Only one was from the list. (Dread Nation.)

(Well. I also started to read All the Crooked Saints, and after about two chapters decided it wasn't for me. So I've at least addressed two of the books.)

All of which is to say, I don't do a very good job at following my own plans.

So it only makes sense, then, that I have a shelf on Goodreads called "Buy for my classroom," a wishlist at Powell's called "Classroom Wishlist," and a wishlist at First Book for my classes, AND that all of those lists include both overlaps and unique items. So I went through all three of them, plus the list of books students never brought back this year (well, the ones they checked out and didn't bring back--I don't have a good list of books that just sort of drifted out of my classroom), and put together this list, which I will most likely ignore as well:

The circled ones are my tippy tippy top priorities. I will probably get at least a couple of those. I still struggle with buying books I think students SHOULD read (Ramona Blue, Amina's Voice) instead of what they WANT to read (Milk & Honey, horror). It's not so much that I'm a snob, just that I am a confident enough reader to tackle things that require some investment of time and thought to get to the payoff, while many of my students just go, "Oh, it looks really long, and when I read the first two pages I was confused" and pick up Smile again instead.  A lot of the books I think they should love they do love, if I read them aloud. 

I couldn't help but notice the difference between the aesthetics of these two layouts. My summer reading list is something I planned (look! alphabetized!) and even sketched elements of in pencil before committing. The spread I made today is just jotted down as I perused lists online. I made the title somewhat neat, although I didn't bother to think about spacing, and I threw down some washi tape to make it cute. 

This is why I've stuck with bullet journaling for a year and a half, despite being chronically unorganized and constitutionally resistant to plans. Even though the ones on Instagram are (duh) gorgeous and themed and scrupulously laid out, mine doesn't have to look like that to work for me. If I feel like playing around with color and form I can do this:

and if I just need to get some thoughts down before I forget them, I can do this:

Okay, so I stuck some washi tape on again--what can I say, my kid and I saw a sale and caved! And I sketched a bucket next to my summer bucket list, but then again, I scrawled that list sideways next to the other lists I was doing, so clearly this was something I just tossed together as I thought. 

And if I really hate a spread--I can turn the page and keep going. No need to be precious about it. 

I know some people wonder why anyone would sit down and create their own planner week by week when there are already planners one can buy, but this method actually does more for my organization than buying a planner and using it for 2 weeks would. I think my bouncy brain actually needs the variety that I get in my bullet journal. I don't feel hemmed in by it, so I don't have to resist it. 

Okay, since this has been such a random post, I'm just going to end by sharing some tweets I saved recently for various family members.

For my sister, who has moved in with us for a couple of months while she tried to find a new place to live:

For my daughter, who made us perfect omelettes during spring break and has yet to successfully recreate that experience:

And for my husband, who recently asked me if I'd clean out the fridge because he was getting overwhelmed by all the yogurt containers that don't actually contain yogurt any more:


  1. I could never do this, but I do admire the lovely bullet journals people keep. Good luck with your summer reading list. I read (and liked) a few of those, and I hope you get Far From the Tree for your classroom. I adored that book.

  2. Haha, that last tweet describes my fridge perfectly. I love looking at people’s bullet journals, but I don’t think I could commit to one for myself. I print out a calendar every month and cram everything into the little squares. It seems to work well enough. I use spreadsheets for all my reading-related stuff.

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

  3. I'm jealous of your bullet journal. I simply don't have it in me to do it myself. I went from having elaborate weekly spreads to having one page with monthly goals, a page with my TBR, a page with my book purchases and then my blogging schedule. That's it, haha.


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