The Bullet Journal has become more and more well-known over the internet in the past few years, after digital product designer Ryder Carroll first implemented the idea, in an attempt to organize his life in a way that normal planners and diaries just couldn’t cut.
Since then, the idea of the Bullet Journal (or ‘BuJo’ (yeah, I don’t like it either)) has been changed, adapted and turned around by each and every person who has adopted the initial idea, in an attempt to create something specifically for them, in a time where phone calendars and reminders rule.
I’ve been meaning to make this post for such a long time, but my reluctance to let anyone see just how unorganized my life is kind of stopped me. Because, in reality, the whole point of what I’m about to show you is to try and organize my life. And I’ll be honest, it has not gone to plan.
So, as a disclaimer, to anyone who has, or is thinking about creating a Bullet Journal for themselves, it does not have to be perfect and beautiful like those people on Pinterest. If you’re a perfectionist who can also draw, and you want your journal to be beautiful and artistic, that’s great. But for most of us out here, a simple, personalized planner is all we need. It’s all about who you are, and what works for you (and also how much time you have to make each page of your journal like the Mona Lisa).
So, I’m about to show you what my bullet journal (if you can call it that? I don’t even really use the bullet points…) looks like, how I (try to) use it, and maybe it can give you productivity nerds out there a bit of inspiration.
I started my “Bullet Journal” in May this year, so I’ve had a fair amount of time to get into the rhythm of things. I started attempting to create this journal after seeing countless Buzzfeed posts and pictures on Tumblr of beautifully organized and decorated planners that I would kill to be able to make.
I also started because, while I used PoundlLand weekly planners throughout college to record homework and exams, etc, I wanted a place that I could plan my weeks, but also a place to record my random thoughts. Before then, I’d been using countless other, extra notebooks to write down to-do lists, plan blog posts and other little things I needed reminding about. I found myself getting lost in a sea of them, and never actually remembering what I needed to, and accomplishing those tasks. I thought that, if I created this all-encompassing diary, I’d just have one thing to carry around, and that would be that.
Of course, I never stick to these ideas 100%, but using the BuJo has been incredibly useful when I have to remind myself of something for the coming weeks, and writing weekly to-do lists (far better than daily, as I never have enough to do daily to even warrant a list).
For my first Bullet Journal, I decided to use a notebook that my best friend Sophie bought me for my 18th birthday. I’m not sure where it’s from, but I thought it was perfect. It’s A5, lined (which I prefer) and just really simple and cute, with this shiny gold pattern on the front and back. It’s super discreet, which I like (being very secretive about my many many notebooks).
So, when I first started trying to make my bullet journal, I downloaded and printed a bunch of blank month-calendar things, and stuck them into the page at each month. Here’s what it looked like:
I really loved this, as it gave me a chance to be creative with making flip-out parts, and decorating the blank templates. However, eventually I felt a bit restricted size-wise with my cutouts. Admittedly, I could have just printed them a bit bigger, but I fancied a change, And that brings me to how I set out my months now:
I find this way a lot more spacious, and it also gives me a lot more creative freedom than the cutouts. However, if I wanted to go back to being more minimal and neat in my approach (which is just so not me), I think I’d stick with the print-outs.
Then onto the weeklies. These are a lot less pretty, and a lot more ad-hoc, unfortunately for those neat-freaks out there. Because I’m a disorganized mess, I tend to write out each day of the week, and the date, every month in advance, using a two page spread. On one side, I’ll write the dates and things that I need to do/remember/or what’s happening on that day. Opposite this, I’ll write my weekly to-do’s, which tend to be extremely varied.
While this method might make some of those who like prettiness cry (I’m sorry, I’m not artistic or neat), this method works for me. It’s quick and easy to update and check when I need, it allows me to jot down random thoughts as well, such as blog post ideas and when I might post it, and just works for me.
As you might have noticed, I don’t actually use any of the real Bullet Journal techniques, such as trackers, bulleting events and such differently, but that is just me. It’s the eay I work, and I don’t have the patience to sit around faffing with decoration and trackers. But if that would work for you, then please do give it a go!
There are a few more little bits I wanted to share with you that I included in my journal over the months, and one of which was my revision timetable.
Now I cannot, for the life of me, stick to a timetable like this. It didn’t work for this one, nor has it worked for any others I might try to stick to. I’m a waffly, flaky person (much like an ice cream cone), and I can’t stick to schedules or anything, because honestly life is just too short. But, I was really proud of this page and this idea when I was studying for my A Levels, and it might offer some inspiration to those who may need it this year.
Another little, more personal part, of my Bullet Journal is my ‘Memories’ pages. This is one I’ve actually stuck with since the beginning, and I’m really liking how they turn out. At the end of every month, I write down the previous month’s main events (generally the ones that made me happy, but if something big happens, I’ll still record it). I started doing this because, at the end of 2015, so much had happened that I wanted to remember, but I knew I never would just from memory alone. So, along came the memories page. I’ll sit and have a rethink over what’s been going on, read through my previous pages in the journal, and just chuck them onto a pretty page, with some drawings to remembers (cause, come on, they’re cute!). Here’s the one I made for March this year:
And there you have it. That’s my (not so) Bullet Journal, 2016. I hope no one cried at how messy it is, and I hope it’s given some that little push they needed to start their own.
I was thinking of making this a regular type of post, maybe seasonal, so that I can post updates on things that have changed in my journalling system, and any tips and tricks I’ve found. If that’s something you’d be interested in, like or comment on this post!
Thanks again, hope everyone’s October is off to a spooky start!