It’s hard to believe that I’ve been bullet journaling for two years because to tell you the truth, when I first got started, I honestly thought it was just going to be a flash-in-the-pan hobby that I would outgrow or get bored of. I’m so happy and proud of myself that I’ve stuck with a system for so long that has not only changed my life, but has made me a part of a wonderful community that constantly inspires and motivates me to want to be a better version of myself. Now I’m not going to sit here and pretend that keeping up with bullet journaling for so long has been easy, so I’m going to share with you today what I’ve learned in my two years of bullet journaling… the good, the bad and the ugly.
- Find what works for you – When you first discover bullet journaling, it can be easy to be swept up in all the different styles and beautiful artwork that is out there on Pinterest and Instagram. Take some time and see what style speaks to you the most and use that as a starting point. Are you more of a minimalist or do you need color and doodles in your journal? Once you’ve figured that out, from there, play around with different layouts and don’t be afraid to experiment! Experiment with vertical versus horizontal layouts, take a stab at the Dutch door method, use a Calendex or a regular future log. The beauty of the bullet journal is that if it doesn’t work out one week, or one month, switch up and try again. The possibilities are endless!
- Keep it simple – Don’t get overwhelmed with everything out there and don’t browse around too long, otherwise you’ll fall into the trap of not knowing where to begin. Make a list of the spreads you really need, or items you really need to track, and as time goes on you’ll add or subtract from that list. Don’t fill your journal with “fluff” as I like to call it just because you see someone else on Instagram has put up a pretty spread and you want to use it. Ask yourself, “do I really need this spread?” or “How will it benefit me?” You may find that adding new spreads just because you want to fill up your journal will defeat the purpose of being productive in the first place.
- Take a break if needed – There was a stretch of time where I felt pressure to make my bullet journal pretty or had to make my pictures Instagram worthy, otherwise my bullet journal wasn’t what I needed it to be. I found that at times, I didn’t always have inspiration or the time to keep up with making my usual colorful spreads and that was okay. I decided to take a step back and go back to basics and remember that my bullet journal was a tool for productivity. There were months where I didn’t add color to my weeklies or didn’t have the time to invest in my journal the way I wanted to. I knew that as time went on I’d get my groove back, which I eventually did and I felt more inspired than ever. Sometimes going back to basics, gives you the jump start that you need to get the creative juices flowing, and that’s perfectly okay.
- Don’t compare yourselves to others – The wonderful thing about bullet journaling is the community. It is so supportive and inspirational but it can also quickly turn in to a place where all of a sudden you think your bullet journal isn’t good enough. I’m asking you to stop that thinking right now! The beautiful thing about bullet journaling is that no two bullet journals will EVER be alike. Your bullet journal is a direct reflection of who you are and is a testament to what you are going through at a certain moment in your life. By comparing yourself, you are taking that power away from the beauty of your bullet journal. So who cares if you don’t have the best handwriting or you can’t draw that well? Your journal is uniquely yours and there is no better feeling than having finished a bullet journal, flipping through the pages and knowing that it is a direct reflection of YOUR life, thoughts, dreams and day to day happenings.
- Create a ritual – Make the process of bullet journaling fun! Figure out what time of day works best for you for bullet journaling. Are you a day or night person? Once you’ve determined what time of day works for you, get your supplies out, find a place and set aside 20 minutes to reflect or write down any pressing tasks that you need to complete. Make it part of your daily routine and remind yourself that you deserve that little slice of time to focus on you and your productivity. Those 20 minutes of self-care will make all the difference for your personal growth.
- Remember its purpose – When you find yourself bored or disconnected or not motivated enough to keep up with your journal, remember why you started it in the first place. Was it because you needed to track certain habits, or simply writing down to-dos, journaling, more of a creative outlet or a combination of those things? Whatever the case, remember WHY you started a bullet journal in the first place. If it’s because you got caught up in the trend of it all, then maybe it’s a system that’s not for you. Bullet journaling is making an investment in yourself and is the ultimate tool of productivity and the time you put into it, you will ultimately get back.
- Invest in good supplies– Just like bullet journaling is an investment in yourself, the tools and supplies that you use ultimately reflect that investment. If you are a beginner, start out simple and if you find that bullet journaling is quickly becoming a passion, than invest in a better journal, or better pens or markers. To see a list of the supplies I’ve used throughout the past two years, check out my supplies page to help you get started.
So those are the major things I’ve learned throughout my bullet journal journey these past two years. Now granted when I started, there were only a handful of resources and bloggers out there that were dedicated to bullet journaling, so take advantage and use the plethora of resources that are available to you now that the community has gotten much larger. If you remember the tips I’ve shared, hopefully you will have a successful journey in bullet journaling like I’ve had.