How did I know a bullet journal was right for me?

Agenda, diary and more: how I found out having a ‘bujo’ met my needs.

Prior to starting a bullet journal, I’d been maintaining an agenda, but I found it too cluttered. So, I began to ask myself:

  • How can I keep track of everything in one spot?
  • I’d like a place for musings that isn’t just a conventional diary. How do I go about doing that?
  • I don’t want to wreck my finances, and I hate logging into my banking app. Is there a way to keep track of all my spending that isn’t technology-based?
  • I want to keep track of my day-to-day life but I hate Google Calendar. I also hate conventional planners. Where can I get something that’ll allow me to build something to suit my needs?
  • I like to doodle things sometimes. Maybe I can incorporate my designs into a planner — but how?

So, I did some research. I actually spent about a week looking at different methods but didn’t like many of the suggestions. When I usually get sick of whatever it is I’m doing, I end up watching videos on YouTube. I came across a YouTuber named Miss Louie. She’d done a video on bullet journaling, and I was instantly hooked. Feel free to read more about my first trip down the bujo rabbit hole.

I’ve always loved planning, but I’ve found a bullet journal has been my greatest ally in getting things done. It’s also helped me keep track of finances, my wonderful memories, and my daily, weekly and monthly to-dos.

As for realizing it was something I needed? Well, I chose to make it my own! My style is not akin to the conventional method: I borrowed some of the usual elements, but also committed to injecting a little colour into the pages.

When I first began, I followed the system step by step. I would use the general legend to represent what tasks needed to be done, which ones were cancelled and which ones were being moved. It didn’t take long to figure out I didn’t like the standard system for a variety of reasons: my life kept changing too much, I didn’t care for some of the collections (for instance, having a yearly log was silly when things change WAY too much), and there were things I’d wanted to add down the road that were better off in the front part of the journal than in the back. After all the changes I’d wanted to make, I asked myself: is this still really going to be a bullet journal?

I’d argue yes, because of some of the basic elements I took to make it work for me. I have collections — some I do find useful, others not so much — I have monthly logs and weekly logs that I still enjoy looking at, and most of my daily entries are done in point form. What makes the bullet journal community so cool is that people can get as simple or as complicated as they want to with it. It doesn’t have to be the basic way we all know via Ryder Carroll. He’s made note of the fact that the practice has always been evolving and changing to meet needs, and if looking at silly doodles and designs in my hand-drawn planner helps me get through the day, then why not?

It’s so amazing to see how the practice has evolved from being solely about just a pen and a notebook to stickers, markers, brush pens and more.

 

If you’re looking for a way to get organized, then give the bullet journal system a try. You can always change things up as needed, and all you need is a notebook or a pen. (I dove in head first and purchased a Leuchtturm1917 bullet journal, but you can easily do this with notebooks from a dollar store.) Add or take away collections, simplify your daily lists, draw lots (or as little) as you want. One thing is for certain: a little less than a year later and I’m feeling more on track and more organized than I ever have.

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