What is a bullet journal? It’s whatever you want to it to be, as simple or as artistic. Let it reflect your personality.
What is a bullet journal?
If you simply google the words ‘bullet journal’ you’ll see tons of journals that people have posted online. And this is intimidating. Calligraphy, drawings and the most intriguing use of colours, different pens and markers, washi tape and whatever else more artistic people can put into these journals. When I first googled these two words in 2016 I was so glad to stumble upon the main website. Because my excitement to start my own bullet journal kinda faded after 10 pictures of all those amazing, artistic bullet journals you can find online.
‘Meet the analog method for the digital age that will help you track the past, order the present, and design your future.‘ is what the inventor of the system, Ryder Carroll, opens up the website with. If you scroll on you’ll find the most simple of bullet journals. It contains the basics of the system and why everything is designed the way it is. And this is where I got my confidence to start my own journal.
Simply put my bullet journal functions as a diary, a planner and a tracker of good memories. I plan my work in this journal, I write down my books read every year, organize my blog posts and add random doodles and quotes to complete the picture.
A word you’ll find often when looking for bullet journals is ‘spreads’. Spreads are for example your calendar (yearly log), your index page (to mark where every spread is) or your weekly/daily page.
If you look at the original bullet journal system, the lay-out is designed to be as simple as possible. No fancy doodles or calligraphy to break your mind over. It’s supposed to be functional.
So whenever people ask my if a bujo isn’t too much work, I answer that no, not really, unless you want it to be. As you can see from my pictures above, I am not into a lot of use of colours or different types of pens. If a page is too cluttered it loses it’s functionality for me. Over the years I’ve tried out multiple spreads and ideas; some work, some don’t. It’s a learning curve to try to figure out but every year and even every month I change it up to become better. And that’s why the system works, it has room to be bend to your needs and personality.
I love to see other people use all their creativity to make these journal into pieces of art. A bullet journal is such a reflection of your personality. Go on a browse through YouTube or Pinterest and look at all these amazing designs. I love the community of these little journals. Despite all using the same basic system, no bujo is the same.
My 2019 Bullet Journal
Since it’s december 2018, I have now set up my bullet journal for 2019. Setting up a new year will be the most effort you put into the bujo. After setting up the first couple of spreads, your upkeep changes to monthly / weekly / daily, whatever you want it to be. It’s your bujo, dedicate as much time to it as you want.
In the pictures I have some of my spreads I’ll be using in the new year. Since a bullet journal is so personal, it’s encouraged to add whatever spread you want to be in it. Since I’m a reader and a book-blogger, a lot of my spreads are dedicated to this.
I’ll give a little insight into some of the spreads I have in my bullet journal;
Year at a glance: a place where I can put all my upcoming events. Birthday parties, concerts. Thing that I have planned in advance.
2019 books: I am a fanatic reader and I love collecting bookish data. So I have reserved a place for that hobby in my bujo. To show a good example I’ve taken a picture of my 2018 bujo. You can see that I wrote down every book I read in 2018; the title, author, female/male author, date read, rating and if it’s a reread. Such a satisfying list to look back on.
Bookstagram / blog page: I like to have a separate spot to write down notes for my bookstagram and blog. In 2018 I ended up writing a lot of planning down to start up my blog, in the coming year it’ll contain goals and upcoming ideas.
I’d like to come back to the time effort put into the bullet journal, since that’s the aspect most people are hesitant about. Again, the time to put into the journal is however much you want to put into it. Are you going to go the artistic route? Yes, that will require some effort. But some doodles and a simple system? Not a lot of time.
- I write down my monthly lay-out.
- Transition any events from my year at a glance to this calendar.
- Write down important notes for the month
- See if there’s anything I have to transition from last month (to-do lists, events, etc.)
- I put down my little ‘week at a glance’ to fill out my work times.
- Write a general to-do list for the week.
- And if I have a doodle/quote laying around I like to just add it in there as a bit of motivation for the week.
The bujo system is something I use on the daily basis, I usually check it after waking up to see what is on my schedule for the day. If I work that day and have to get up early, I’ll have my day planned out already. If I don’t I write my to-do list down in the morning. Then I go on with my day and check my bujo whenever I need to; to check off to-do points or plan an event / blogpost in my monthly lay-out.
I wouldn’t be able to tell you how many minutes exactly I spend on this. Some months it takes more effort but mostly since I have a system for myself that now works, it’s mostly a no-brainer to do.
Let yourself grow with your bullet journal.
There’s so many more functions and spreads you can add to your bullet journal. I’d recommend for you to go into it knowing you’ll make mistakes. Sometimes you’ll not use a spread at all and sometimes a bit of calligraphy doesn’t go your way. But it’s a process, a bullet journal will grow with you. Give yourself the time to discover what works for you, what spreads you like to use and how much time you can give it.
There’s days where I completely ignore my bujo, but there’s others where I’m so damn glad it exists.
If you’d like to see me write more blog posts about my bullet journal, let me know! I’d love to keep providing updates going into 2019, to show how I use spreads or how my weekly lay-outs work. I might even do a flipthrough video if you guys would like that. Tap the little heart down below, to let me know!
Sources and inspirations.
www.leuchtturm1917.us (the notebook I use)