Written by Anna Whisler, Contributing Writer
Photographed by Ashleigh Perry
If you are anything like me, someone who cannot live without a planner at hand, then listen up! I am about to expose you to a concept that will literally take over your life. Picture your ultimate journal, tailored exactly to your lifestyle and preferences. Boom! You have a bullet journal. Bullet journaling has a cult following, and for good reason! It triples as a calendar, diary and creative masterpiece.
The concept may seem vague, because, frankly, it is. The beauty of a bullet journal is in its extreme flexibility that allows users to customize it to exactly what their life necessitates. Some people use their journal purely for scheduling and prefer being as neat, minimalistic and organized. Others turn each page into a canvas, using tape, colors and stickers or dedicating entire pages to inspirational quotes and doodles. Still, other journalers focus on documenting each day, turning their journal into a scrapbook of sorts that they can look back on fondly years from now. I, myself, found a mixture of these concepts works best for me, but I encourage you to do some pondering of your own to determine your needs before diving into your bullet journal.
After hearing a friend confess their love for the bullet journal, I decided to make 2017 the year of the BuJo for myself. I had fragmented ideas floating in my head but was honestly a little lost as to where to start, so, I looked for help. The first place I went (and where I suggest all newbies begin) is the official bullet journal website, bulletjournal.com. There, you learn about the standard, bare-bone basics of bullet journaling– primarily the all-important key. Obviously, add or subtract whatever symbols you feel are needed in your journal, but a key is vital to staying organized.
I chose to begin each month with a full calendar view, and then continue by splitting my pages into individual days of the week, where I had more room to write. I found that by keeping a cleaner design for these pages, I was able to concentrate more on my to-do lists and planned events. Feel free to be as detailed and intricate as you want!
After I nailed down the basics, I watched copious amounts of YouTube videos and marveled at the sheer artistic talents of other bullet journalers. I highly suggest Boho Berry’s video if you’re looking for ways to add some artistry and color into your journal or Miss Louie’s for serious organization goals. By looking at other’s journals, I took away aspects found useful in my own. Plus, I came up with a few new ideas I was excited to try. Inspiration is everywhere, and you will never know what great idea you will stumble upon while doing a little research.
Despite my list obsession, I still wanted to let some of my creative juices flow. I also wanted to ensure that I would have fun looking back on my journal some years later. Thus, for each individual day of the week, I added a box where I wrote down a highlight of the day: a year-long sentence diary of sorts. Other bullet journalers like to mention their mood or record the weather.If you have a specific goal in mind, whether that be to drink eight cups of water a day or save a set amount of money, you can use diagrams and drawings to visually display your progress.
In the end, a bullet journal is entirely customizable and, thus, immensely personal. As cheesy as it may sound, this journaling method is an adventure, and as the weeks pass by, you will find what works for you, what does not and what you wish you added sooner. It is an evolutionary process, and I know that as time goes on, my bullet journal will only get better.
So, what are you waiting for? The wide world of bullet journaling awaits, calling your name and telling you to jump in and discover what works. All you need is a pen and notebook, and you are on your way to simultaneously planning for the future, documenting the past and creatively escaping the present.