Bullet journals are really trending right now. Actually, the fact that I just started one probably means they were really trending two years ago. I’m a little slow on the trends. But I have one now!
If you, like me, want to start a bullet journal, then you, like me, will type “how to start a bullet journal” into the magical search box on the Google. And you, like me, will find many blog entries and essays about how to do a bullet journal. And none of them will fully address the true bullet journal needs that you have as a pastor.
So, as a public service to you all, here is how to create a bullet journal for pastors.
First, go the office supply store and examine their embossed leather notebooks, fancy fountain pens, and art-quality colored pencils and markers. Next, take your 50% off coupon to Michaels and buy a cheap journal. Scrounge pens and markers from the junk drawer in your house or the bottom of your purse.
Next, leave a page blank for the “Index” you will forget to fill in.
Then make your “Future Log.” This is a 4-page spread for every month in the year where you put significant dates. For example, on January, March, May, July, September, and November of my “Future Log” I have written “Saturday prayers,” which means I am supposed to post a prayer on Rev. Gals every Saturday of that month. Such careful documentation and planning has resulted in me only missing two (or three?) of my prayer posts so far this year—and it’s already March! Consider color coding your months to fit the liturgical season. (Or not.)
Next, at the beginning of the month—say, March–list important events and significant to-do items. Then at the beginning of April (fine, you can wait until April 2), “migrate” everything on your March to-do list to your April to-do list. Continue this process each month until you actually do the item on the list or, more likely, until you get tired of writing the same thing on the list every month—a thing you apparently don’t actually need to do because you’ve got along just fine for the past six months without doing it.
After your monthly to-do there is a weekly page with scheduled events, to-do lists, etc. Lather, rinse repeat.
Finally–the beauty of the bullet journal—you can create “collections.” That basically means a list of anything at all that you want to keep track of and/or log. Commonly suggested collections are: books to read, workout trackers, menus, budget items, vacation plans, cute things your (grand)kids say, blah, blah, blah.
Sure, health and finances and leisure time are important. But as pastors, we have more pertinent collections to consider. I promised you a pastor-specific guide to bullet journaling, so here are some ideas for collections that pastors might want to include in their journals:
- Jokes and stories everyone has already heard
- Words I think in my head but should NOT say in my sermon
- Words I pretty much never think in my head but SHOULD say in my sermon
- Things I put on my to-do list every week that I actually have no intention of doing
- Things it takes me longer to write on my to-do list than it takes me to do them
- Books people have loaned me that I will never read and will probably lose
- Things that are NOT my job but I’ll do them anyway because I just can’t even right now
- Things I believe that may potentially be heresy
- Things other people believe that are definitely heresy
- Jobs I could get where I could work regular hours then come home and watch Netflix for fun rather than having to watch for sermon illustrations
- Things to bring up with my spiritual director/therapist (Consult previous collections.)
I hope you find this guide helpful as you embark on your own journey into the world of bullet journals. Feel free to suggest more collections and share your own bullet journal tips in the comments section!
Rev. Joanna Harader serves as pastor of Peace Mennonite Church in Lawrence, KS. She actually found this internet guide really helpful–if anyone wants to start a bullet journal for real. Also, she is inordinately proud of herself for learning how to draw those cool banners.
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