The whole idea behind a bullet journal is to personalize the planner experience. It allows for more organization that is tailored to each person’s specific needs. For example, I use my journal to track tasks associated with this blog, errands, personal goals, and other writing goals. This system was created by Ryder Carrol and has since taken on thousands of interpretations.
I won’t be explaining the bullet journal system in this post, but there are links at the bottom to other sites that can help get you started if you are interested in trying it out. I have also included links to some of my favorite people who give me inspiration for my journal.
I have been using the bullet journal system for over a year now, and I have nearly filled one whole notebook. It has taken a while to really understand what works for me and what doesn’t. If you are feeling stuck and unsure about your bullet journal, that’s okay. There is plenty you can do to get the ball rolling again.
What I find that most helps me when I am unsatisfied with my journal is to get inspiration from others on Instagram and YouTube. There are so many great ideas out there if you just know where to look. Try searching “bullet journal” on YouTube or “#bulletjournal” on Instagram. The creativity that some people have is insane. There are some journals that look like they should be hung in an art museum and some that are hard to look at because of all of the decorations added. I have used many ideas from other sources to implement in my own journal. Both my weekly and monthly spread have been borrowed and tweaked from social media. Don’t be afraid to copy someone else’s idea in your own journal, as long as you don’t try to claim it as your own!
While I love to see other people’s ideas and freaking adorable spreads, I have never been much of an artist. My drawing skills do not extend beyond doodles, and my handwriting is rough on even the good days. So instead of focusing on how I will never be able to make my journal as cute as someone else’s, I tell myself to keep in mind that the whole point of having the journal is to keep it functional. Otherwise, it becomes another chore rather than a way to organize my tasks and goals. I keep mine pretty simple with a touch of color and design. Decorations are great as a creative outlet, especially if you are more artistic than me, but I began doing this with the intention of using it as a planner, not a sketch book. Some people have their journals completely decorated. That’s great if that is what works for them, but I am just not that kind of person. I can’t accomplish that goal of organization if I get too caught up in selecting the perfect color for my mood that month. Which is probably why I end up with half-finished quote pages. Anyway.
Remember, the bullet journal is yours to do with as you please. If you like to draw, do it! If you want to fill all the pages with doodles and stickers, do it! If you like inspirational quotes or bright colors or muted colors or even blank pages, DO THAT! I can’t stress enough that the only way to make a bullet journal work for you is if you make it your own. There are thousands of people out there with examples and options for different ways to set up your journal. One of them is bound to work for you. Combining examples from different people’s journals is a great way to make your journal your own. Keeping things mostly simple works best for me, but that might not be how you function. Stay true to yourself and what you want to accomplish with the bullet journal.
My final reminder is to take your time. Figuring out what works for you will not take a day. There are people who have been doing this for years that are still changing and improving their journal every day. If you try out a monthly or weekly spread that doesn’t work, then start over the next month or week. It doesn’t have to be perfect the first time around. To prove this point, here are some pictures of my own journal in the first few months:
And what it looks like now:
Relax, this is something that takes time to develop. I know from experience. You will be able to figure out what works best for you if you keep trying.
If you are just getting started with the bullet journal or you are a seasoned veteran who can draw up a habit tracker in their sleep, this system is one that can constantly improve itself. You can create something that works best for you, whether it has doodles all over the page or is nothing more than a set of organized rectangles. You have the freedom to make it what you want it to be. Don’t get bogged down if something isn’t working, just wait it out and improve it the next time. I firmly believe that the bullet journal system can work for anyone with some patience, exploration, and knowing yourself. I have encouraged many friends to try it out and they have found success with it just like I have.
So, grab some pens, pencils, colored markers, and a journal and start planning!