Updated: Jan 22
I know I haven’t talked much about this recently, but that’s because I’ve spoken a lot about it in the past, and I wanted to take a little bit of a break from it, so that you guys don’t feel to burdened by me going on and on about bullet journals. Now, the last time I talked about them, I told you to start simple. Don’t add too much design to it, because you’ll get overwhelmed by it.
Today, I’ll talk a little bit about how it can help you organise your life and your tasks, and how to try and minimise your trackers, in case you start micromanaging. It’s easy to say, “I’ll add this tracker here” or “I’ll put this collection there”, but actually doing it may just make you fed up with it, and that’s not what you want.
What Is The Point?
The purpose of a bullet journal is to help you keep track of the things you do every day. It’s literally a journal, or a diary, that helps you remember your appointments, your habits, your daily tasks, and whatever projects you’re working on. Now, the reason it’s called a “bullet journal” is because whatever task you do, or whatever appointment or event you need to attend to, is jotted down beside a bullet point.
Ok, so as you can see in the picture, it’s not just any old bullet point, it’s a box or circle, which you check off, once you’ve completed it. So, essentially, a bullet journal is a checklist. Now, for some it’s pointless, because you could just write up a checklist on any scrap of paper, and use that to check off your tasks for the day, but for someone like me, who tends to look at the week as a whole, and plan days in advance, a bullet journal is something that is much more useful.
What’s The Difference?
There is a world of difference between a regular store-bought journal, and a bullet journal. First off, a bullet journal is customisable where a regular one isn’t. The lists, collections, planners, and trackers you find on a regular journal might entertain you for a while, but eventually, you might just forget about it over time.
Finally, you wouldn’t be able to change the layout of your weekly, daily or monthly spread, in a regular journal, because they’d already been printed out according to the company’s preference. You wouldn’t be able to make up your own images and trackers, since theirs would be in the way, and if you’re working on a lined journal, it’d be difficult to draw doodles in the margin, or place stickers in the right places.
A bullet journal allows you to do all that, because you wouldn’t be working with lines, and you most certainly wouldn’t need to measure out your lines with a ruler. For example, in a regular journal, if I wanted to draw a line down the middle of a page, I’d have to measure out how big the page was and try to find the true middle and attempt to keep my ruler straight at that point.
Another thing about a bullet journal that I find very useful is the fact that you can make up your own trackers and reminders. What I mean by this is that, if you manage to find a regular journal, which allows you to add your trackers into the weekly or daily spreads, you’d be hard pressed to decide which habits, or projects you want to track, because there’s only a set amount of boxes that you can fill. However, in a bullet journal, you can fit as many projects or habits as you’d like, because there is no set number.
Finally, you can change the theme of your bullet journal, to suit your preferences. For me, I tend to see months as different themes, so May is lavender, June is a jungle, July has an 80s theme, etc, and because of that I doodle in the margins, set the theme with different fonts and calligraphic styles, and use stickers I’d bought to enhance those themes.
Layout Is Important
Now, while I can go on and on about the themes I choose, and when I change it up next year, I can talk about those, but the one thing that I think is the most important, in a bullet journal, is the layout of the journal. It’s one thing to follow the example of regular journals, or layout styles you find on Pinterest and Instagram, but it’s another, when it comes to your preferences.
For some people, the standard layout, where the days of the week cover an entire double spread can be enough. For others, having your daily trackers on the same page can help a lot. I’m the second kind of person. I don’t like flipping back and forth too much, since it adds a lot more effort. So, my layouts tend to show a half and half double spread, as you can see below.
I used to use the full-page spread, but I realised after a while, I didn’t need them. I don’t usually write out full sentences to describe my tasks, and it tends to get too long-winded if I did. Not to mention, if my tasks weren’t full sentences, I would be wasting a lot of space, which could have been used for much more useful things, like trackers, and reminders. It took a while for me to figure out, and last year, when I tried out the layout, I thought I’d try different styles of it too, but in the end, the standard split was what I found easiest to deal with.
Of course, I’m not saying that you’d find it easy to deal with too, we’re all different, and we have different preferences. So, experiment, and if you find yourself losing interest in your layouts, change it up, try out other spreads. It’s all about experimenting and seeing what works for you. A bullet journal is an expression of your own creativity, while at the same time organising your life. You don’t need to be perfect the first-time round, it takes time to find your expression, and once you do find it, you’ll be using your journal nonstop.
A Word Of Caution!
It’s all well and good, if you want to track your daily habits, you can keep an eye on the things you do, and if you find yourself falling off the bandwagon, you’ll easily get back on again, but don’t overdo it. What I mean is, don’t track too many things, because that’s another way you can lose interest in you journal. When you do, it means you’ve started micromanaging your life.
It’s easy to start, but hard to maintain, so track a few things first, like your daily water, fruit and veg intake. You can track how your exercise, or how long you’ve exercised for. You could also track your sleep schedule, and how many hours you sleep for, but don’t do all of them at once. It’s better to build up the habit of tracking your habits, before adding more and more on top.
For example, last year, I tried to track everything I did, from my independent studies, to my daily vitamin intake. I tried tracking them all at once, in trackers that I’d created at the beginning of the month, but I ended up lagging behind, because I couldn’t keep up with any of them. This year, I’ve taken it down a notch, and I only track them weekly. The only trackers that I do in bulk, are the collections I do at the back of my journal, like my daily exercises, my Duolingo practice, my progress on my blog, my progress on my novel, and the types of crafts I do. These I track daily, but on a yearly calendar. The reason why is because these count towards long term goals, as opposed to my daily vitamin, water and nutrient intakes, which I only keep an eye on, because of my lifestyle and diet.
So, figure out the purpose of your bullet journal, don’t try to do everything at once. In my case, I figured that my journal’s purpose was to help me keep up with my blog activities, and my daily intakes. That’s it. Nothing else. I’ll only add extra trackers, if I feel like I can keep up with them. The same should apply to you too. Start with what you’re most concerned about, and if you feel like you could add a little more to your bullet journal, then add them, at least for the time being. You don’t have to keep track of these extras all year, unless you feel like it’s something you want to do.
Alright, It’s Your Turn!
Ok, so that’s a lot of information to take in, right? I’ll leave you here for now, then. In any case, like I said before, start simple, start small, and once you’re ready you can build up those doodles and styles. When you’ve got the hang of it, you’ll start doing those crazy things you see on Pinterest and Instagram!
Anyway, I’ll see you guys next time! In the meantime, don’t forget to like, subscribe, follow and share for the latest updates, and new posts here on Feather’s Charm!