December marked my twelfth month of using a bullet journal. In the last year, my method and style for creative organisation have changed dramatically; I’ve learnt a lot through this process and thought it could be helpful to list a couple of these lessons for those of you looking to start a bujo in the new year.
Start with the bare minimum
To avoid becoming completely overwhelmed in my first month of bullet journaling, I stuck to a one purple pen and a bunch of straight lines to create all my spreads. Yes, it looked a little boring. And nope, I didn’t satisfy the creativity lurking within me. But I did get over the hurdle that is starting something new.
It’s all in the details
Once I was used to the whole process, I went the opposite way regarding detail and colour. I made spreads for plenty of different things and allowed pastel colours to spill across the pages. This gave me the space to figure out what I actually wanted to use my bujo for.
Find the power in adaptation
Getting a better idea of what I liked and didn’t like meant I could adjust the next month to fit such preferences. This was an important step for me, as it made me realise a bullet journal is not a static thing, it is highly versatile. Each month gives you an opportunity to change your planning approach; it was this revelation that made me fall in love with the bujo method.
It’s okay to take time away
You don’t stop being a bullet journaler if you skip a month or two. I spent June away from my notebook as I was travelling, and I actually came back from my trip feeling even more motivated to start filling pages up again.
Method over madness
It is easy to get carried away with the creative side of bullet journaling, but if it isn’t aiding in the daily organisation of your life it might not be doing its job. So if you feel like you’re going a little mad with the drawings and keep forgetting what you’re meant to be doing each day, you may need to reassess.
Pinterest is a double-edged sword
It’s a wealth of inspiration, with endless pages of journal spreads appearing in front of you, yet it can also be the thing to stop you from using your bullet journal (in my experience anyway). Spending too long looking at other people’s work makes my hands freeze – somehow I find myself unable to sketch anything out. Now, I will occasionally browse the site but will allocate just a short amount of time to it.
Perfection isn’t perfect
It’s fine to make mistakes or to leave pages blank that you thought were going to be stuffed full of thoughts. Having a bullet journal is a work in progress and shouldn’t really feel like a finished masterpiece.
You’ll get ‘better’
As you learn what works well for you and how to control your artistic implements, your spreads will look more and more like how you first envisaged them to be. It’s all in the practice.
Mixing it up is motivating
Pens, pencils, paint, even tippex… Changing what you use to create spreads can give you that push you sometimes need to get started.
It should be both helpful and fun
If these things aren’t simultaneously occurring (perhaps you find drawing out spreads laborious or the continuous organisation tedious) then maybe you’d suit either an art journal or more straightforward planner better.
But don’t get stuck in convention
It doesn’t matter what other people think a bullet journal should be. If you want to do more art or no art at all then that’s up to you. You can define what you want it to act as – so take the hint before with a pinch of salt. That balance is just something I find it important to remind myself of, you may not want your bujo experience to be like that.
New stationery can be an inspiration
If you do get taken by the desire to get a little more arty, there’s nothing wrong with investing in some new stationery. After a year with my bullet journal, I decided it was time to ask for some new pens for Christmas to keep my passion going – as you can see, I’m excited to start using them in my spreads next year!
What have you learnt from your bullet journal in 2018?
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