I started bullet journaling when I desperately needed a planner, but didn’t have 50+ bucks to spend on an elaborate planner. Bullet journaling is a very affordable, creative planning system option since whatever journal you own can be transformed into one!
Before I started, I think one of the biggest concerns I had about bullet journaling was the time it takes to make one and keep it up. After all, a bullet journal is a completely customizable planner. Creating every page in a bujo (bu -bullet- + jo -journal-) could take a lot of time depending on one’s needs in a planner. Also, pictures like these popped up every time I searched “bullet journal” on google and they definitely intimidated me:
Beautiful, aren’t they?
The only problem is, I am nowhere near talented enough to make pages like those and to make matters worse; I don’t always have the time to make those kinds of pages…
So Why Bullet Journal?
Basically, anything that is specific to your life, you can put into a bujo. If I want to keep up with a new habit I am trying to start, I can simply add a habit tracker page. If I want to make sure that I stick to a certain day or night-time routine, I can add a page for my routine’s. If I want to have a page dedicated to listing blog post idea’s, I can make that arrangement as well!
A regular planner typically isn’t built to suit your life to that extent. I am such a huge advocate for bullet journaling for the reason that no matter how arts and crafty you are, a bullet journal gets your life on paper and in order!
If you’re curious as to how the whole bullet journaling thing works or simply need a little motivation to get organized, you’ve come to the right place! As I’ve said before, I am no artsy person so what you see here isn’t going to look the prettiest but hopefully it will show you how you can make the bullet journal system work for you.
Take A Look Inside!
I purchased this journal from 5 and Below (pretty much a dollar store) and it has nothing special about it. It’s literally just a plain regular lined journal. I know some people prefer to use journals with graph lined paper or dot grid paper, but you can use whatever you like.
Only two pages can be found in almost every bullet journal you look through. These pages are the Index and the Key. I rarely use my Index since my journal came with a bookmark ribbon attached. Whenever I need to reach a page, I simply open the journal where I’ve placed the ribbon and go from there. In my previous bullet journal however, I didn’t have the ribbon so I did use the Index pretty frequently. You’ll see why in just a little bit…
The biggest perk to using a bujo is the endless types (and even amounts) of collections you can add. These are pages that hold lists that you will constantly update. I have inserted a few collections before my monthly, and daily spreads. Some pages are more updated than others, as I have kind of experimented with different kinds of collections to see how they work for me. If one does, I keep up with it and if one doesn’t it typically just sits there. I have a page dedicated to listing my day and night routine, a study log page, and this page which I refer to for a dose of inspiration/motivation.
After those pages, you start to see my monthly and daily spreads. Some people use weekly spreads as well, but I just don’t see the point in making things that specific. In my monthly spread, I just jot down my schedule. That way when I take a glance at it, I have a brief explanation of what I am to do that week.
Some people prefer to insert a few other collections or spreads between their monthly spread and weekly spread but the only extra pages I find that I need every month are pages for monthly goals, and pages for weekly goals.
Finally, my daily spreads tend to look like so! Here is an old daily spread just to give an example:
Notice how in some of the boxes, instead of a check mark or a penciled-in box there is a little “>”. If you visit my key up there ^^ you’ll see that it means “migrated”. I depend on this particular feature way more than I should but it is so useful!
If you don’t get to a task, you simply put this symbol next to the task and migrate it to either the next day, week, or month. This is yet another feature that makes the bujo so cool cause really, not everyone completes every goal/task they give themselves. It’s a very forgiving feature to have.
That’s All There Is To It!
Not too complicated (or great looking haha) and not too extravagant, yet perfectly suited for my lifestyle. When it comes to the time it takes to make the journal as a whole, I never take the time to make the ENTIRE bujo. Instead, I take one day within the first week of a new month to make the monthly/weekly spreads and the collections needed for that month. That way I can best tailor the bujo to my needs for that month in particular!
Honestly, the bujo system has been the coolest planning system I’ve ever committed to. And that’s the other thing: I am actually committed to it. I think the lack of ability to personalize (and I’m not talking about with stickers here) in previous planners that I have owned contributed to my lack of motivation to plan consistently. Because the bullet journal requires me to update it so it stays tailored to my life, I am actually more motivated to be consistent!
If you are looking into buying a planner, I recommend trying the bullet journal system first! See how much you like it and if you can make it work for you. If not, you’ve only spent x amount of dollars on a journal. No real harm done.
What planning system do you find works best for you?