Bullet Journaling is an alternative to using a traditional planner. While it still includes writing in a physical notebook, it is more customizable. If you are considering bullet journaling, like everyone – I would recommend looking at the creator of the system’s explanation. That being said, I think it’s helpful to have more information on why this system is so useful, thoughtful and creative.
What is a bullet journal?
It’s a physical journal which you can use to write down tasks, to do lists, future goals as well as anything else you want to track or record.
What other things can you track or record?
You can track literally anything from books you are reading, movies you want to see, recipes, memories, packing lists, travel plans, budgets, habits, appointments or literally anything else you might want to write down.
How is this different than a traditional planner?
You create the spaces for what works for you. Instead of starting with a set layout printed into a book – anything you want in a bullet journal, you create.
That sounds like a lot of work! How do you have time for it?
You can put as much or as little work into a bullet journal as you want to. With just a couple lines, you can create a spread for the week. However, you can also create more complicated designs if you are feeling more creative. That’s the beauty of the system – you can put in as much or as little work as you want to.
Why should I choose this instead of a regular planner?
I love having everything in one place – from habits, to my mood tracker, to itemized steps of a project. It’s compact, user friendly and creative. While there are obviously huge advantages to having a paper planner which is ready to be written in – a bullet journal affords more personalization.
Some tips to get you started:
- Start by doing a little research for inspiration – Look on Pinterest, Youtube and Instagram to find what type of bullet journal will work for you. Do you want it dotted, quad, lined or blank? Are you going to be more minimal or use doodles and lettering?
- Don’t worry if it isn’t perfect – Sure, my early bullet journal spreads are sort of cringey. The writing is weird. I didn’t take the time to measure out where I should write. I had complicated spreads. However, without this trial and error, I wouldn’t have grown in my creativity. I make mistakes all the time (especially with dates) and I do this great thing – I ignore them. Nobody is going to care. I probably am not going to notice the next time I look at the page. I’m sure in six months I’m going to have evolved a ton more.
- Feel free to experiment – bullet journals are a great way to try doodling, lettering, watercoloring, collaging – whatever creative pursuits can be taken on paper can be tried in your bullet journal. Do as much or as little as you want to.
- Don’t feel like you have to change up a spread that works for you – I’ve been using a pretty simple weekly layout for several months now. It’s pretty plain – not unlike a typical agenda. But I can customize the fonts I use. I change up my doodles. Sometimes I use doodled icons. Sometimes I let it be just text. I don’t have to think about how I’m going to lay it out. Maybe soon I’ll change it – but for the past few months – it’s been pretty straight forward.
- Write out the dimensions of your journal – if you are using a dotted or quad journal – write out the dimensions on a key in the front of your journal for easy access. This way, whenever you are making a spread – it’s easier to measure out the places you need to put lines.
- Don’t rush out and buy tons of supplies – use what you have to start. When you first look at youtube, Pinterest or Instagram (including my own), you may see tons of different supplies that people use. Start with whatever you have around. Realistically – you can use whatever pens and markers you have. Once you have a style that you are comfortable with, you can start to add and customize to suit your bullet journal ~goals~
- A bullet journal only works if you keep it up – there’s no point getting too complicated if you don’t have time for it. Two years ago, when I first tried Bullet Journaling, I gave up because my spreads were too complicated and I was in the midst of grad school. Now, I have more time for bullet journaling and I’ve dumbed down what I record. I’ve been at it for six months now and am so happy and at peace with my current journal.
I would love to see and hear about your bullet journaling tips and tricks. If you have any suggestions for me to improve my system – feel free to let me know! Also – if you have an Instagram or Pinterest I can follow – I am always looking for more inspiration. Happy planning!