Field Notes: Journaling (Part IV)

With a swish of her tail feathers, January fans her wings and prepares to fly away. It seems only yesterday she alighted on the perch beside me, and we mused about priorities and To Do Lists. But February is spotted on the horizon, and she has come to exchange places with the restless January.

It’s hard to believe that four weeks ago, I had proclaimed to move closer to my goal by focusing on “First Things First” with a bullet journal as my magic wand. Did I arrive at my destination, or did I linger too long by the berry bushes and forget my promise? Or perhaps I nearly reached the finish line, only to throw my journal down in frustration? Well, my Curious Hearts, in this post we shall dive a little deeper and find out!

Did the Bullet Journal Help Me Prioritize?

The reason for choosing “First Things First” as January’s theme was to prioritize all the To-Do’s in my life, focus on what was most important, and slowly (but surely) make it down the road to start my own business. I didn’t expect my online shop to pop up by the end of January, but I wanted to get the hang of knowing when to say no to things that didn’t matter quite just yet, and yes to the things that did.

I must admit that there have definitely been a few occasions this month where I said yes when I should have said no… But what’s done is done, and I fully commit to any obligations I have and intend to finish them strong. Most likely, there will be plenty more times in the future where I will say yes to something I shouldn’t, but when I do, I think it is important to not give myself hell for it and instead, embrace it.

Minus these few instances, I would say that the bullet journal has been a decent help, especially this past week. In my second Field Notes, I observed that fancy grids and graphs didn’t do much for me in terms of prioritization, so I stopped creating them.

What I did continue to do was write down my To-Do’s for the next day every night. I looked at all my Asana tasks that I had to do – for work, personal errands, and for Wondershins – and I picked out and wrote down the most important things I had to get done. During the weekdays, this is usually 2 to 3 tasks. Weekends, about 5 to 7.

Even though there are other tasks on my Asana, I knew that I had to complete the ones in my journal before taking off after the other tasks. In this sense, I was able to prioritize and focus on what I needed to get done.

Are These Important Tasks Leading to the Opening of My Shop?

Over the month, I am glad I learned that I could only truly accomplish a small handful of tasks each day. It made me understand better the time that I had and what could be achieved in that time. Because I have so many other non-Wondershins tasks to do, I can’t say that all of the things I did resulted in me getting a step closer to starting my own business.

One thing I was consistent with was getting these Field Notes blog entries published. In my last Field Notes, I mentioned that I had hoped my journal would be packed full with thoughts and ideas by now (to my disappointment, it still isn’t).

I didn’t have the time to journal the lengthy thoughts running through my head everyday, but that’s what these Field Notes are. They may not be in my journal, but by writing these observations, I have siphoned off some thoughts into this sort of Pensieve to allow more pressing ideas to take up that now-vacant space.

Writing these Field Notes weekly is also priming me to turn this into a journaling or writing habit. I am a firm believer in Habits, as they are things we continuously do without consciously thinking too much about them. We just do them. And once you get caught in a Habit, there you can start practicing, improving, and growing.

Bullet Journal Habit Tracker Layout by @wondershins

What Are My Favorite Parts of Journaling?

The convenience and the imperfection.

With a handful of pens and a notebook, you can immediately begin journaling and doodling whenever you want. There is no extra time spent wondering which type of paper to use or setting up a paint station. I love that I can pick up the journal and write anywhere in the book at anytime. When I come across a line in the book I am reading that I thoroughly enjoy and wish to remember, I open my journal and jot it down.

Of course, there will be time for watercolors and canvases, but when it comes to getting your ideas down quickly, this journaling method is extremely convenient.

Since this is my journal, it really isn’t intended for outside eyes. I could attempt an ink doodle that turns out to be an embarrassment, but it doesn’t matter because I don’t have to show anyone. I know that applies to anything you may draw, but there is something even more casual about journaling.

There is no pressure of finished or perfected artwork in this journal, because they are for ideas and sketches. The pen smudges and crinkled pages add character to this journal of mine, and I love it all the more for its little flaws.

What Are My Least Favorite Parts of Journaling?

Occasionally, I would think to myself that bullet journaling for the month was a mistake. I was adding a new medium to my already-packed schedule. What was I thinking?

Overall, it was a wonderful experience needed to improve on my drawing and writing skills, although I don’t think I was able to art and bullet journal to its fullest potential. There are so many things I can do and want to do, but like all things, journaling takes time. In fact, it takes a lot more time than I originally thought. Sure, it is convenient and it certainly is quicker than if I chose another medium. But to really journal, I need to find time to sit down, uninterrupted, and allow my thoughts to flow across the pages.

This is why part of me is so bewildered that January is almost over – I haven’t gotten to the good part of journaling yet!

Will I Continue to Art / Bullet Journal?

As mentioned above, I am a firm believer in Habits, and I do feel that journaling is a very good Habit to own. I hope to continue working on getting my ideas down in a quick and efficient way, though I may not show as many journal illustrations in the following months. It is definitely a useful medium to practice with and improve.

However, with February comes a new theme and a new medium to concentrate on…but I do plan on continuing journaling for reasons listed above – focus, prioritization, convenience, and perfect imperfections.

February approaches, so we’ll see what she has to say. For now, farewell, dear January! We will miss you soon.


The creation of Wondershins started more than a year ago, and sometimes the slow pace at which it is going can feel discouraging. How do you keep inspired and moving towards your goals?


  1. Firstly, I must say how inspired I am reading your January journey, and being able to follow along in a way that feels overarching- comprehensive- episodic. These Januaries have been a delight- one following another- seeing little windows into your process and whys and resolutions and determinations and shiftings and revisions. So, regardless of how you feel about the habit of journaling, you have been creating another sort of habit, just as you said. Blogging regularly, taking time to consider in a weekly way, and I find it all so incredibly inspiring. Well done, my friend. You are stirring in me a new habit of my own to find a quiet moment to savor your habits each week. ^.^

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