One Dot At A Time

My Adventures In Dot Journaling

You would think someone whose job it is to spend all day on a phone and computer would totally be into an online calendar. Well you’d be wrong. I’ve been kicking it old school and hand written for forever. There is just something about writing things down that helps me remember and makes me feel like I’m actually accomplishing something. Plus, when you really need it, technology has a tendency to let you down (cough-deleting April’s issue-cough).

Written planners have been an issue for me as well though. I can never quite find one that fits what I want or need and, more often than not, I end up trading in one after another throughout the year trying to find one that does. Well that, and stumbling one that just happens to be more pleasant asethetically. I’m sure a lot of you can relate, in fact I know you can.

After attending an event hosted by Janae Fletcher (her she will be featured later this month), I found myself with struggling even harder to find an option that worked for me. Those attending swapped likes and dislikes about their various planners, reminding me just how unahppy I’ve been with every single one I’ve owned. Then there was Janae’s ten minute block idea. How the heck could I put ten minutes blocks into a planner to help me relax if the planner those blocks had to go into was stressing me out.

It took a few months, but I finally got it figured it out. I happened to stumble on a guide to Dot Journaling while waiting for The SnoCo Kid to pick up art supplies for her latest project at Ben Franlin in Monroe (yep, it’s local). Bored and curious, I flipped through it, and it wasn’t long untill I realized that I may have just found a solution to both my planner and ten minute blocks problem.

Find it I did! For those unfamiliar, Dot Journaling involves creating your own planner using a journal containing nothing more than pages after pages of dots. You read right, it is a planner with absolutely nothing inside of it. How did that solve my problem? The blank pages weren’t an obstcle, they were an opportunity, one in which I could not only create my own planner, but change what was in it, and how it worked, anytime I felt like it.

How? When you do Dot Journaling, you are taking things one day at time, instead of having pre-desinged pages laid out for you. You can include exactly what you need to know and keep track of, and if it isn’t working, then you just do it a different way the next day. I won’t lie, the blankness and one day at a time idea had me nervous. It sounded like a lot of work and more importantly, a lot of time (exaggeration) spent drawing out each day’s planning page.

Then it hit me, sitting down to do just that was exactly what I needed to create my first ten minute block in the day, one that was just for me, and oddly relaxing at the same time. Figuring out what to do each day might be easy for you, but not for me. There is always far more to do then I can ever possibly get done and all of it bouncing around in my head at the same time makes me feel like I’d rather take a nap then do any of it at all.

MY JOURNAL: Not being able to see into the future was a worry, but starting out with pages that give an overview of the whole year helps.I also added a future date section to the monthly overview that I draw at the start of each month.


By stopping, sitting down, and connecting dots, I get a mini break. Conveniently it’s about a ten minute one. It is hard for me to think about much of anything else while doing so, at least not without risking messing up. It slows down and quiets everything going on in my head, and allows me to really put productive thought into what I add to my day once my dots are all in a row.

Dot Journaling was more than just jotting down what I needed to do and where I needed to be though. It was also a way to remember important things, especially where I’ve been and what I’ve bought, as well as all of the ideas that are constantly popping into my head. My memory is a jumbled mess now thaks to the medication I’m on now, so being able to look back and find things s awesome.

MY JOURNAL: Above is what I draw out every day. There is a lot of work, but I’ve added a personal goal. Hiking season is coming and my health problems and medication make it a struggle. Now I have short and easy checkboxes that will help me get there.

More importantly, Dot Journalaing has become a way to keep myself accountable when it came to things I need to do every day for myself and my business. As silly as it sounds, having to check off boxes really helped. I couldn’t forget when it was right there staring me in my face and and checking them off has allowed my business to grow by doing the simplest of things everyday, It’s also given me a way to realisicially go after my personal and health goals, hiking season, here I come.

So now that you have an idea of what Dot Journaling is and why I like it, how about a peek into how I use mine? The most noticable thing about my journal, almost everything is broken down into 5’s. I don’t allow myself to have more than 5 tasks to do beyond scheduled appointments. I have made a commitment to do follow 5 new people and comment on 5 posts, to take 5 steps towards getting the maazine done or making it better, to send out 5 emails to potential sponsors. The number 5 is manageable, and it has made a huge difference.

Not only that, you will find that I’ve added in more of those 10 minute blocks by taking time every morning and evening to go through my Instagram and Facebook feeds. Doing so, somewhat relaxing, and it helps get some of the boxes checked off at the same time. Win, win.

I highly recommend giving Dot Journaling a try if you hate planners, your mind works like mine, or just because.

Did you know that this article, as well as all of the others featured on our website are part of a monthly magazine. It is all about shopping, eating, drinking, and playing local in Snohomish County. More importantly, it is about the ways that local choices can make your life better. Our monthly magazine is available in both electronic and print form (yes, you read right, print!). As if that wasn’t awesome enough, each issue contains exclusive content that can’t be found on our website or social media accounts. So if you aren’t getting a copy each month you are missing out.

Single issues can be bought HERE and annual subscriptions, which include exclusive giveaways and discounts, can be signed up for HERE. Finally, a limited number of printed copies are available at The Chic Boatique and Artisans Mercantile in Snohomish and Reclaimed Heart in Arlington, Vintage Company No. 7 in Bothell, Dahlia’s Vintage Marketplace on Camano Island, and Rustic Redemption in Granite Falls.

Let us know what you think! Share your comments and experiences below and don’t forget to spread the love on social media at the bottom of the page.

1 Comment

  1. Janae

    Loved all these ideas. I bought a planner I was so looking forward to. I just stripped using it. I have my Trello board and google calendar online but I still LOVE paper. It’s a mindful 10 minute block both for morning and night that keeps me sane.


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