The very first post I did for my blog (The Basics of Bullet Journaling) on my old site is still here for viewing, but now that I’ve been in this community for a while, I wanted to give you the lowdown of some things I’ve learned.
Like many, I struggled with the very idea of starting my bullet journal. It’s as if your brand new Leuchtturm1917 is some sacred artefact: afraid to tarnish it. As I’ve stated before, I spent months longing for the perfect setup, the perfect idea, the perfect first set of spreads. I pinned, I saved on Instagram, I screenshotted so many Google image results (which are now lost in the abyss of my 22k photos…) and on and on!
I hope to break your cycle of hesitation by cracking these bullet journaling myths!
1. You’ll ruin your notebook.
I’m sure you’ve all seen Ryder Carroll’s introductory video to the Bullet Journal system and countless other channels of information. Most people interested in bullet journaling are looking for a system that works better than the pre-printed planner’s they’ve found. I initially started my search for the “perfect” planner because my job required a never-ending, ever-changing to-do list. Most of what I found focused more on appointments and projects. While I had both of the former, I mostly dealt with daily tasks that didn’t repeat, and I needed a way to track it.
The Arc, M by Staples, was the closest I came to a functional journal for work. I designed these pages myself and printed them off every week, and they did pretty well…until a curveball got thrown into the mix! That’s why I wish I found bullet journaling while I still had that job!
The system is intended to provide you with a way to customize your planner to be exactly what you need, but you can’t possibly know what will work perfectly for you until you give it a try, until you put that pen to paper.
After all of my hesitation, I finally did it. And man. It was U.G.L.Y. But I did it. And no, it didn’t work for me, but I tried again with my next spread. Then again. And again. Now I’m about ten months in and while I’m still making constant tweaks, I’ve got a much better idea of what I need. You need just to do it to figure it out.
When I look back at my early spreads, I don’t feel like I’ve wasted those pages or ruined my notebook. Instead, I see a timeline, a view of how I’ve changed and evolved in these short ten months.
2. It must be a beautiful masterpiece.
I think a lot of people hesitate because they see all these incredible and artistic bullet journals spread across all our social media platforms. If you look at Ryder’s video, you can see just how simple it can be. Search on Instagram or Google for “minimalist bullet journal”, and you’ll see what I mean. Take away the artwork. Take away the fancy hand-lettering. Take away the doodles (which I struggle calling doodles because they’re all so damn gorgeous pieces of art). What’s left? A functional, practical, entirely custom planner to help you get organized in every aspect of your life.
Here’s the thing. They still look great. Take for example this December spread by @minimalistbujo. It’s very simple, very functional, yet still beautiful!
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Oooh it's already December! Time flies by! Happy Monday ❤ I'm still using this alastair-like monthly task list, I like how it makes my month and tasks a little more concrete and stops me from putting way too much in here that I'll never be able to complete 😊 . . . #noukkaplans #minimalistbujo #bulletjournalmonthlylog #bulletjournal #bulletjournalcollection #bulletjournalinspire #wearebujo #bujolove #bulletjournaling #bujo #bulletjournalcommunity #planner #plannerlove #plannergirl #bujoinspire #bujoinspiration #bulletjournalinspiration
I have to admit that I love artistic bullet journals. They’re incredibly beautiful, and I’d like to think I’m floating towards that side, but I wasn’t always like this. I had so many complicated design ideas that didn’t pan out because I was incredibly out of practice. Did you know that before I started bullet journaling, I haven’t done anything artistic in at least five years? I used to draw all the time, and it just fell by the wayside when life happened. What you want to do with your bullet journal later is up to you, but the forefront of your mind should be about productivity.
3. You need the latest and greatest supplies.
Bull. I’ve got my mother bullet journaling with a notebook from the dollar store and a cheap pack of pens.
Do I love my Leuchtturm1917? Abso-effing-lutely, but if I’m in a position where I’m not able to get that notebook for whatever reason, you bet your butt I’m using anything I have lying around. I know a lot of people rave about the dot-grid pages in some notebooks, but it’s just about esthetic. My mom uses a lined journal, and it still looks and works great!
There’s a ton of hype around a lot of these products. You must have a metal ruler. You must have Pigma Microns or Staedtler Fine Liners. You must have Zebra Mildliners or Tombow Dual Brush Pens. Yes, these products kick ass, but they’re a luxury, not a requirement.
Do me a favour and grab any notebook you have lying around, find a pen, a pencil or even a damn crayon (moms will get it. I’ve taken many notes with crayons in a pinch!) and just start!
4. I’ll spend all my time planning, no time doing.
Welllllllll, this one is really up to you. If you’re looking to make something quick, easy and functional, it can take you 5 minutes to set up once you’re done your future log. Just write the date and start writing your tasks!
Personally, bullet journaling has become my favourite hobby. I spent quite a while playing with it (and it’s why I started this blog!), but it’s because it’s something I just love to do. You can spend as much or as little time as you’d like. There is no time requirement.
Dare to be imperfect.
By the time I figured out that the above four myths were bologna, I was at home on maternity leave and no longer needed it for work. It was too late for me. It’s proven incredibly useful not only for my personal life but for running my home daycare as well, but I feel like I missed out on something while I was employed. Had I chosen to go back to work, I would have kicked its ass, just saying.
You will never get it perfect on the first try so just start so you can figure it out!
I hope this has helped, drop me a comment below if you have any other myths or tips!!