The under-stairs closet in my parents’ home has become my storage space for my future home. There awaits one wedding gift I haven’t even opened because we don’t have the space in our one-bedroom apartment but those Pyrex containers will be so wonderful to use one day! Also in that closet? All the journals from my childhood.
I’ve been an avid journaler for as long as I can remember, although journaling has taken many forms for me. I remember keeping track of daily happenings in long form and recording all the adventures of my Costa Rica mission trip. I’ve used a journal specifically for my quiet times for the decade+ I’ve been studying the Bible. Last year, I even adopted the practice of having a journal devoted to prayer.
Then a blogger friend introduced me to bullet journaling and I found a new favorite obsession!
What is a bullet journal?
If you’re not familiar with bullet journaling, allow me to enlighten you: it’s awesome.
Bullet journaling combines three things:
- a journal
- a planner
- any type of lists you love!
In a typical bullet journal, you’ll find spreads which detail a month, a week, or a day. You’ll also find collections which are lists or diagrams or doodles or any other type of thing you’d love to list or keep track of or have handy.
Most importantly, within a bullet journal, you’ll find an index. An index allows you to find all the different spreads and collections within your bullet journal with ease, because you’ve catalogued your page numbers.
A bullet journal sounds like an organizer’s dream, doesn’t it? This is why I was immediately intrigued and couldn’t wait for my first dot-journal to arrive in the mail so I could get to work.
At first, I loved it. I loved the simplicity and organization of the system. I loved drawing and doodling and prettying up my journal. But then something happened…
Why I Broke Up with My First Bullet Journal
I realized bullet journaling wasn’t for me for several reasons:
- I could never make it artistic enough to suit me.
- I wasn’t keeping up with it.
- I was getting lost–even though I rewrote my index three times!
Although I combed Pinterest for ideas on how to decorate my monthly, weekly, and daily spreads, I couldn’t quite get it. I’m a writer, but I’m not an artist in that way, which is perfectly okay on a normal day! But when it came time to pretty up my bullet journal pages, I found myself longing for the pretty printables I had been using to organize my days and weeks.
Bullet Journaling is great even if you’re not an artist, though!
As long as you love your bullet journal and devote to it either the time it takes to make it beautiful or you don’t fall trap to the comparison game like I did, this system will work for you. It just didn’t for me.
Exhibit A: my failed Future Log
I use the word fail lightly of course. This is probably a perfectly fine Future Log, but I didn’t like to look at it much because it’s not as beautiful as others. And because I didn’t want to look at it, I didn’t keep up with it. Which leads me to my next point:
Bullet Journaling is great if you can keep up with it!
I just didn’t. I found it too tedious to flip through the whole book each day to check off all I tried to track. I probably tried to keep track of too many things too quickly, by the way.
Exhibit B: my “daily” habit tracker
As you can see, I didn’t begin this daily habit tracker at the beginning of the month, and I certainly didn’t check off everything every day. I never even decided what I wanted the fourth column to track! I owe this to the fact that it was hard to remember to come to this page each day, probably because I didn’t make a note of it, get into the habit, or keep the details of this page / what I was tracking on my index.
Speaking of my index!
Bullet Journaling is great because of the Index.
I love love love the idea of the Index page. Keeping a list on one page of what your bullet journal contains? Brilliant. I ended up rewriting my index three times to include and exclude pages whose relevancy was limited. Which is why this is written on the very first page inside the journal, that flimsy first page on the left. ;)
Tip: If you’re digging into bullet journaling for the first time, I recommend starting a few pages in, just in case you do what I did!
Why I still love my bullet journal
I’ll be keeping my bullet journal for occasional use and then storing it in that sacred space in the understairs closet because I love it. I tried something new, and it didn’t exactly work for me but I still enjoyed the fun I had.
Exhibit C: What Makes Me Happy page
Exhibit D: 2017 Reading Log Page <– I posted a picture of this page on Instagram because that’s how much I love it.
Exhibit E: June Menu Plan <– this is an especially endearing page because June was the month my husband decided to become vegetarian for various reasons, and this chronicles my cooking endeavors. #eggplantparm ;)
I hope you’ve enjoyed this peek inside my bullet journal! If you decide to take up bullet journaling for yourself, I hope my above tips and lessons learned prove helpful to you. Don’t forget to leave a comment below: I’d love to know if you journal, use a planner, or bullet journal!