Updated: Sep 17, 2021
Bullet journaling is not just for stay at home moms you know...
I am not a stay at home mom, a working mom, or a mom at all and my bullet journal is always my first step to efficiency and self care. Contrary to the beliefs of my bullet journal posts on Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook, the quality of your bullet journal is not based on the variety of washi taped used or the price of the pens you write in it with. You in fact do not need to have an artistic theme for each monthly thread and definitely do not need 20 different trackers every month.
KEEP IT SIMPLE (and realistic for your time and needs)
Yes, sometimes I add some decoration to make the page seem personalized, and if I was an artist, which I by no means am, then I would use it as a creative practice to watercolor my pages each day. But for the grand majority of people, that practice makes bullet journaling seem like a time consuming hobby rather than an effective practice. Here are my tips to make bullet journaling work for you.
1. Lechturum 1917 notebooks are not the only notebook - Find one that speaks to you, serves YOUR needs, and fits in your budget
2. Washi tape and other decorations are not necessary especially when on a budget - get creative with highlighters or even watercolors to decorate instead of spending a ton of money on tape
3. The pen you use does not matter as long as it does not bleed and it feels comfortable in your hand while using it
4. Keep the number of monthly trackers to a minimum - Focus on 1 to 4 trackers a month that are of highest priority for the next 30 days. Especially if you are trying to build new habits or stop old ones. If you try and change every bad habit you have all at once, it is likely that you will fail to succeed at all of them (Take it slow).
5. Monthly spreads are essential. - It is your central hub for the month and gives you a place to refocus and see all month in one place so important dates and events are not forgotten or double booked. I have forgotten way too many dates by getting lazy on this front or forgetting my journal while I am away for a few days.
6. Color Coding can be super useful (Or super NOT) - Create a simple key system that makes sense to you and will be something that you understand. No one else needs to know what a sideways pink triangle means as long as you do.
And the best part of Bullet Journaling that makes it truly unique from everything else, if something isn’t working, keep trying new systems until you find one that suits your needs. It also can change with you as your needs change. It truly grows with you.
7. Leave room for lists to expand as to prevent future frustration -eventually you will get a feel for how much room you need for different things, but always make sure to dedicate a little bit of breathing room to areas of your journal that will expand and be used for a period of several months or even throughout the months. BUT, if you do run out of room, remember that it is okay and there are ways to get around this with minimal confusion and frustration such as color coded tabs, an insert, or note taken down in your index ( if you choose to have one.)
8. Only do daily spreads when you feel they will serve you - I check in with my monthly spread and trackers everyday, but if I feel I have a good grasp on my day, I usually do not take the time for daily to do lists or journalling specific to that day. Other days, daily lists and entries are VITAL to my sanity, and I love knowing I have a central notebook to reference when I need something telling me what to do rather than scattered scraps of paper and calendars.
9. It does not need to look perfect - the system you have created may get disrupted from time to time and that is okay.
10. Add in pages for things you want to focus on or improve. - I have an extended log for my asthma symptoms and pain levels so I can keep track when things start to get shitty. I have pages for New Year Resolutions, word webs of doubt/inspiration, food prep ideas, business growth goals and ideas, etc
This article is not a dis to any of my Bullet Journal Junkies out there. It is simply my tips for those of us that feel overwhelmed by the image of what they think bullet journaling has become all about. I love my bullet journal, because it allows me to put the clutter in my head out on paper, stay organized, and as a tool for tracking personal growth which are three things we could all have a little bit more of in our lives. Make it work for you. That is the whole point. It is yours to create and lay out exactly in the way that will best serve you. And if the idea of creating something from scratch is too much to begin with, then buy a planner that works for you and find ways to incorporate a personalized system. I still use a template planner for school and theatre schedules/to do list. My bullet journal is my personal life declutterer; I do not force it to be everything. Keep it simple and it will become more of a practice than a chore you dread and never fit in.