Los Altos resident Kanesha Baynard is starting the new year with an indexed, rainbow-hued approach to organization. She uses bullet journaling to catalog what’s going on in her life with the old-fashioned assistance of a pen and paper.
As a “creative outlet for tracking your information,” Baynard said the journals are meant to dismantle the notion of a rigid task list – instead illustrating future goals (and chores and doodles) through whatever process translates best for each individual thinker. Product designer Ryder Carroll created the concept of bullet journaling, which has been further popularized in colorful journaling photos shared on Instagram and Pinterest.
Baynard is scheduled to lead a free workshop on how to start such a project 7 p.m. Jan. 12 at the Los Altos main library, 13 S. San Antonio Road. The workshop is tailored to adult and teen participants.
A life coach by trade, Baynard said she was drawn to the inclusive, adaptable approach journaling brought to managing tasks and goals. She noted that a bullet journal doesn’t even require committing ink to paper, if that triggers nerves – feel free to start a design using sticky notes moved across pages as tasks get accomplished.
Baynard’s daughter, a senior at Los Altos High School, is just wrapping up a college application process that required her arts-oriented style to work with deadlines and documents usually associated with a linear, spreadsheet-based approach.
Searching for a creative way to defuse tension around timelines and tasks, Baynard first came across the bullet-journal concept.
“I didn’t want this to be a push/pull,” she said. “I was researching ways for an artistic brain to navigate the process. We translated the concept of bullet journals to what we’re doing. And it translates to anything you have to plan or track.”
Baynard added that you use a visual cue to contain the chaos.
“In the college search, there are so many things to do and only so much time,” she said.
One key to staying sane is to remember that it counts as working toward your goal, even if you’re only doing one little thing at a time.
Baynard is a believer in connecting parents and children through creative projects – aside from college apps – but said that too often, “when you get to a certain age, parents stop playing with their children.” Playing with journal formats were a way for her and husband Tahllee to explore the ideas of academics, applications and – perhaps most importantly – life harmony with their daughter.
“We’re all so tethered to our mobile devices,” she said, adding that she loves the offline experience of pulling out a paper notebook to organize ideas or projects. “Everyone can do this. You can play with and abandon layouts, and start again. The system only has to make sense to you.”
Although many (probably most) journalers begin by looking at others’ layouts for inspiration, Baynard said it’s the format of the information that intrigues her, more than the Pinterest-worthy details of ornate illustration. Poor artistry and crabbed handwriting are welcome in this arena.
For more information on Baynard’s upcoming journaling workshop at the library, visit sccl.org/losaltos.
6 tips for bullet journaling
• Select a journal or notebook that provides blank, ruled or grid pages. Markings.com has a 3-in-1 journal that offers multiple page options.
• Create specific list pages or logs to catalog information (e.g., upcoming college fairs, counseling office workshops, books to read, volunteer opportunities, scholarship options, colleges/universities of interest, networking opportunities).
• Establish weekly schedule layouts to track school work, extracurricular activities, college prep items and downtime.
• Create a list of questions from two perspectives: high school student and parent.
• Use color-coded sticky notes to track activities and tasks. This enables you to move task or action items from one day to the next.
• Dedicate a journal page to “Habit Tracking” to record your daily mood, how well you are managing your time, wellness activities you are engaging in and when you seek more help.
– Kanesha Baynard