The idea of keeping a journal or diary has been around since the invention of writing. Essentially, that’s why writing was invented–to catalogue information. Journaling just became a more private form of detail splurging; a place to connect with oneself on a deeper level, complain, and remember the good times.
The journal is exceptionally good at what it does. But it’s needy–it requires cultivation and it feeds off your time.
So the bullet journal (or BuJo) was invented.*
I first heard about bullet journaling last year in May. I was instantly captivated by the idea of a journal/planner fusion that can be tailored to fit one’s needs. It can be quick and simple or time-consuming and full of detail.
In the words of the Lazy Genius, the bullet journal is like a potato.** In my words, it’s like tofu. By itself it’s plain, but it can become just about anything.
As far as my bullet journal is concerned, I prefer to use it more as an organizer/planner. Some people also use it as a kind of ‘brain splurge’, which is awesome too, but I prefer to keep my crazy thoughts separate from my day-to-day plans (that’s right–it’s not BuJo or journal/diary. You can do both!)
My first bullet journal was ultra simple. I didn’t want to do it wrong or make it too confusing and ‘busy’. It wasn’t very big, and I wasn’t very space conscious, so it only lasted me seven months. I loved it though–I felt like it helped me understand just how much I could accomplish and when.
In the nine days between finishing my blue BuJo and receiving my new black one in the mail, I realized just how much I had come to rely on it. Even though I only spent a few minutes on my bullet journal each day, I felt unproductive and incomplete without it. When my new one arrived, I showered it in TLC and discovered that the fun-pretty look was a lot more me. It does take a little bit more time, but I’ve kept my day checklists dirt-simple so that I only have to pretty my pages up when I want to.
Here are the 3 types of pages I think are the most important in any bullet journal.
1: Index. The whole style of a bullet journal is that you don’t have to plan out your pages or save space for anything–just stick them in consecutively and write down what’s where in your index.
I sort of wish I’d moved the numbers over more, because the strip of empty space just strikes me as a little awkward–maybe one of these days I’ll doodle something there.
2: Future Log. Again, this is so one doesn’t have to plan out the months beforehand. If you have an important date to remember, just jot it down in the future log and then migrate it to your monthly log when you get there.
I decorated this page with some linocut stamps that my family and I made a few months ago! My only issue with them is that they tend to bleed through the paper a little.
3: Monthly Log and To Do. I found the monthly to do list especially helpful. It allowed me to keep track of my bigger plans for the month without having to do any fore-planning as to what days I would do the tasks. As you can probably tell though, I’m still working on actually completing everything on my lists… I do, however, like to think I’m getting better at it!
Here’s another fun page:
I felt like I couldn’t put this one in the ‘most important pages’ section, because while I love the Year at a Glance, I don’t find myself using it that often. It is good for remembering birthdays and holidays, and it’s a fun page spread in its own right. But, meh.
And here are the super fun pages that are helpful and I absolutely LOVE them!
For obvious reasons, I really like this page. It helps me stay organized, and it’s pretty to look at. I love the calligraphy idea for the word ‘blogging’, which I borrowed from Pinterest. However my poor spelling skills caused me to forget one of the Gs, so I had to sneak it in afterwards. The result doesn’t actually look too bad!
I’m very proud of this page. It’s like a mental bookshelf/film collection, and adding in the little characters was fun; I’ve left myself a few blank spaces to stick some more in if I ever get bored. To mark off the ones I’ve read or seen, I just color them in! It’s certainly much more fun than my old bullet journal which looks really boring in comparison.
To conclude, bullet journaling can be anything you want it to be. It’s not difficult to start either–just get yourself a notebook and some pens or pencils, take a deep breath, and go for it.
The worst thing that can happen is that you hate it; you feel like you can’t make it pretty enough, or straightforward enough, or it’s not helping you. If so, maybe you’re just going about it the wrong way. Creating something 100% unique is very hard to do, but you are different from everyone else. Therefore, only you can come up with a style of bullet journaling that suits your needs.
*According to this website we have a digital product designer named Ryder Carroll to thank for it.
**Check out what she has to say on her Ultimate Guide to Bullet Journaling!