About two years ago, I started my first bullet journal. It was a yellow Leuchtrum and I lasted about a month before I gave up. When I decided to give bullet journaling another go – I realized that the point of the process is to make it work for you. That being said, here are some of the biggest bullet journal “rules” that I break.
- Not having a key – I don’t use a key in my bullet journal like the original system suggests. It just doesn’t work for me. I frankly don’t have enough to do that I plan that far ahead. Instead I write daily to do lists. A task almost never makes it into my bullet journal unless I will complete it on that day. Instead, I just list the tasks that I completed.
- Future Planning – I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I’m not super goal oriented as a person. I have one major goal in life and that’s working towards getting permanent residence in the European Union. Because of this, I don’t typically need to drill down from a monthly spread to a weekly spread to a daily spread. I keep a list of my largest monthly tasks. Normally, this is only 4-5 items. While I do note when they are complete, I don’t feel the need to write them in a number of places.
- Separating out my lists from my daily spreads – Typically, I don’t feel the need to have a separate section for lists and my daily or monthly spreads. I find it to be a little bit limiting and certainly not functional for me. My lists typically involve things that I’m interested in that very moment. I like to keep them with that particular month. There are a few lists that I will admit would have been helpful to have separated out – like my address book or some of my favorite lessons. I appreciate that I learned this one my own through trial and error. I’ve actually decided to have a new “lists only” bullet journal. Maybe that’s crazy but I think it’s going to work better for me.
- No Index – Since I go more or less chronologically, there’s no need for me to use an index. All I need is one little paper clip or tab to mark the beginning of each month. That’s enough for me. I don’t have enough list spreads to really need an index.
- Using a Quad planner – I absolutely hated using a dotted planner for so many reasons. The first was that whenever I was making a habit tracking spread, I had to create the boxes. I felt like it was a lot harder to measure out each weekly or monthly spread also. When I got ready for re-starting my bullet journal, I bought a moleskin with a quad grid. It makes my life so much easier. Not only is it easier to measure out my spreads, fill in habit trackers and generally draw straighter lines without a ruler, it honestly does not bother me at all to have the squares within spreads. The point of using a bullet journal is for it to be easier for you. Don’t feel like you have to follow exactly what you see online. You may choose a completely blank journal or the more traditional dots. I’m happy with my quad.
- Limited supplies – Every bullet journal will tell you to start with two things: a journal and a pen. That’s true. However, many bujo enthusiasts also have calligraphy pens, rulers, stencils, markers, highlighters etc. I really started with a moleskin and a set of fineliners (which I already owned). I didn’t have access to Leuchtturm 1917 here, so I bought a Moleskin which I really loved for it’s more compact design. As I became more and more committed to the bujo life, I slowly gathered more supplies. However, I am extremely conscious to only buy what I will use on at least a weekly basis. I regularly declutter my stationery supplies once they seem to get too cumbersome.
Anybody who truly understands the point of a bullet journal will understand that you should really make it work for your personal needs. My bullet journal isn’t always gorgeous. It isn’t always ready for Instagram. It’s messy and experimental and inventive and I think it’s really helped me with channeling my creativity. I don’t think I would love it as much If I couldn’t see the growth from spread to spread. What is your favorite bullet journal rule to break? Let me know down below.