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School Begins; Bullet Journaling

A New School Year Begins

As we all prepare for another school year and the juggling of new schedules and events that come with grade advancement let’s remember to not take these moments for granted. If you’re like me then the shuffling between dance class and soccer practice can get a bit hectic while managing work meetings and project deadlines, but the smile at the recital or from the goal scored is all the payment we need.

Our new schedule is four-fold with:

  • Adam, starting the 11th grade at Walt Whitman High School and playing varsity football for the Vikings
  • Sofia, our 12-year-old joy who is now in the 7th grade at Pyle Middle School
  • Akhil, who starts the 5th grade at Burning Tree Elementary School and wants to dedicate this year to becoming a better basketball player
  • Raquel, entering 3rd grade at Burning Tree Elementary School who not only sees her big brother in the hallways but is the dancing queen of our family

It’ll be exciting and exhausting, but definitely a fruitful year.

I hope everyone has gotten off to a wonderful start and wish you a safe, healthy and happy school year!

Bullet Journaling

Bullet Journaling

Bullet Journaling

Do you find yourself overly stressed due to the fact you can’t seem to organize even the littlest things in your life? Fear not, I have found one of the best ideas for such organizing needs, called a bullet journal! It’s like a journal, but with a nice twist. Keep reading to learn more!

Bullet Journaling can be anything you want it to be! It traditionally began as a method of note-taking and traditional journaling and has since grown into a creative outlet that can be home to whatever your desire. It can be a planner, journal, and sketchbook that perfectly satisfies any need you have. There isn’t a journal or planner on the market that can do that besides the bullet journal. Let’s dive in to find you the best ways to help get your bullet journaling started!

Step 1: Adjust Your Mindset

Your first notebook will be your learning notebook. Like any productivity method, it will take time to find a bullet journaling flow and structure that works for you. Don’t prematurely optimize and go all out with a handmade leather journal. Any creative endeavor involves letting go of perfection. Bullet journaling is no different so go ahead and make a mess.

Step 2: Get a Journal and Writing Utensils

Start with an inexpensive notebook – one you like but feel okay making mistakes in or throwing away if it doesn’t work out. Opt for a journal with blank pages (lined or unlined, your choice) instead of one with pre-existing sections, so you can customize it. As for writing tools, start with a pencil so you can easily erase errors unless you’re a die-hard pen person then use what’s best for you.

Step 3: Start an Index Page

The index is the backbone of your BuJo (Bullet Journal) system. Think of it like the table of contents of a book. This will be your reference key to find certain sections or pages in your bullet journal.

Step 4: Create Logs

Logs are staples of the bullet journal system. Essentially, these are places where you brain dump tasks and projects you’re currently working on. It’s also your storehouse for future goals.

In general, there are three types of logs:

  • Future Log – helps you keep track of items that aren’t yet on your immediate In Getting Things Done (GTD) terms, this is similar to a someday/maybe list
  • Monthly Log – include things like calendars and categorized goal lists for the next 30 days
  • Daily Log – includes entries for to-dos, meetings, and reminders.

Simplicity is a top tenet of BuJo, so keep your entries brief. For instance, “Write a draft of Chapter 1” or “Call ABC re: birthday plans” is more than sufficient, as long as you can interpret the shorthand.

Step 5: Pick Signifiers

Many people use bullets for lists of tasks, circles for events, and dashes for notes. Stars commonly denote high-priority items. Of course, this is all customizable, and over time you’ll arrive at a system of symbols that’s unique to you. Remember to track personal signifiers on a reference page.

Step 6: Document Items with Collections

Collections are running lists and anything you want to remember for later:

  • Books you want to read
  • Movies you want to watch
  • Friends you want to reconnect with
  • Things you’re grateful for
  • Blog topics
  • Self-care ideas

This will be personal to you and these are typically kept toward the back of your notebook since they don’t change very often.

Step 7: Make Time for It

Schedule a time to update your journal. After all, no productivity method works unless you put the effort into maintaining and updating the method. Cross off items on your daily and monthly logs as you complete them. Write page numbers on the bottom of each page, and update your Index. Many BuJo enthusiasts do a monthly or quarterly review, taking time to reflect on what they accomplished, their future goals, and to transfer items from one log to the next.

Step 8: Get Better, Gradually

Over time, you’ll home in on a bullet journaling process that fits your needs and preferences. Once you get your standard page formats down, you can move on to optimizing your process in other ways. Maybe you can work on improving your handwriting or add washi tape to make finding frequently flipped-to pages easier. There are lots of helpful online resources created by the innovative BuJo community (simple Google search will do the trick).

Historical Events

1776 – The Continental Congress officially names the new union of sovereign states ‘The United States’

1793 – President Washington laid the cornerstone for the United States Capitol

1814 – Francis Scott Key pens The Star Spangled Banner

1908 – 1st Model T rolls off Henry Ford’s assembly line

1960 – Kennedy vs. Nixon debate

1974 – President Ford pardons former President Nixon

1981 – Sandra Day O’Connor was sworn in as the 1st women to serve as a Supreme Court Justice

1998 – Google founded


Blood Cancer Awareness

National Hispanic Heritage

National Ovarian Cancer Awareness

National Prostate Cancer Awareness

Thyroid Cancer Awareness

September 10 – World Suicide Prevention Day

September 19 – International Talk Like a Pirate Day

September 21 – United Nations International Day of Peace

Events in and around the Washington, DC Metro area

September 8, 15, 22, 29 – Roosevelt Island Park Run

September 8 – Oct 21 – Maryland Renaissance Festival

September 15 – DC VegFest

September 22 – Clarendon Day

September 23 – KIDfest

September 29 – Opera in the Outfield


Thanks for reading and have a great September!

Ray P. Cruz

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