I have a new love in my life, and it is my bullet journal. Or more specifically, my take on a bullet journal, I have absolutely no idea if I’m doing it correctly. That’s the point though, it is in essence a planner that is entirely adaptable and a project in improvement. Whatever you want to improve, be it your general organisation or goal-setting, spending habits or the art of calligraphy, it’s yours to mould. Sound good?
Well, what I am describing could in essence be a blank notebook, and that is what you begin with. I have never been a consistent diary-keeper or have ever possessed the ability to keep all my note-taking in one place, so on top of a memory the width of an acorn, I decided to take the plunge. Mine is a Leuchtturm1917, white and dotted, which is pretty much the quintessential bullet journal basis, but any notebook can be used really. To satisfy my need for STATIONERY PORN, I’m using a set of Stabilo pens and a gorgeous set of pencils from Smiths. You just have to take a little time to sketch out your pages at the start of each month, which I find akin to the calming effect of the adult colouring books that have come into huge popularity recently. It’s calming to say, this is what I have planned for this period of time, and if it doesn’t come to pass for whatever reason then that is OKAY.
This links in to my general attitude to projects – often if I can’t see myself completing them to a standard I have set for myself, or a standard that I imprint onto others to think of me, then I just won’t do it. Which is a terrible attitude to have, but it’s a habit of a lifetime. So with this form of journaling, I am actively telling myself that it’s okay to change tack mid-way through a project, it’s okay to be inspired by others and integrate that into my plans, and most importantly it’s okay if I can’t achieve every single goal I have set for myself in a set period of time. It’s the effort that I want.
For creative spreads and unfairly pretty calligraphy, I would highly recommend Boho Berry on YouTube. In fact, there’s a wealth of inspiration dedicated to it on Tumblr too, so research away or simply get cracking with your own imagination. If you would like a guide to the bare bones of Bullet Journaling I would refer you to:
My Journal So Far
I only have two months’ worth of content but this is just to give you an idea of what works for me thus far. The index isn’t really necessary but I have started it anyway. I love plotting out the monthly spreads – the doodles of which I totally copied from other bloggers’ journals, sorry! But it gives me an idea of how my days plan out at-a-glance, things which may clash and such. In the crossover to October from September, I changed my anxiety tracker to a general wishlist, as it just wasn’t working for me. I could say, on this day I felt upset, but I couldn’t go into the reasons why, it was just an emotionless abacus. The weekly spreads are probably what I refer to and adapt the most, as they are full of goals I set myself, things I’ve had to cancel or migrate, ideas of what I can change to make me happy, and things I would like to keep as they are. I don’t punish myself over any gapping in the monthly trackers; I try to establish why I’m getting behind on things, and how I can go about doing them more/less frequently. The little Marauders’ Map steppy-tracker was inspired by a BuzzFeed list, and honestly, I just think it’s cute. Cute should be celebrated sometimes. I’ve omitted quite a few personal details such as my finance tracker which goes at the bottom of each weekly spread, as well as the ‘Brain Dump’ (just any nonsensical thoughts I need to have written down in physical form, and don’t really belong in any other section).
Then we have the “other” pages – those I don’t consider essential to each month, but I intend to include them as and when I feel fit. Recipes, paydates, a review for how the month went – but there are endless amounts of what you can include. I’ve seen a lot of people keeping track of their water intake with canny little beaker doodles, or how their sleep patterns pan out, reading lists, savings trackers, meal plans, a doodle a day, etc. Mine is VERY basic, but I’m happy with this at the moment. It doesn’t take up too much of my time, and it’s so satisfying to take a few moments to fill in the necessaries every night before bed, even if I have had a duvet day, it’s something I’m recording, and I am calm with. Some people opt for a more Japanese-inspired approach and use washi tape and watercolours, or photographs and ribbons, ticket stubs, pressed flowers, receipts. In essence, I love the idea that I have a little crafty project on the go at all times, and I am free to make it my own. Spontaneity is not a strong skill of mine, therefore I am more than willing to give planning a jolly good go.
Finally, can we all appreciate my little shitty pumpkin, as the official mascot and spirit squash of the planning movement? I may be a shitty little pumpkin, poorly drawn and tastelessly executed, but I am still part of a positive, forward-thinking movement.