Even though I’ve been planning and journaling in various forms for years, college was the time where I really embraced using a planner to keep track of my life. Having one place to keep everything kept me on track, and those journals now make a nice diary of sorts to look back on.
I started out with Moleskine weekly planners, but didn’t really find them all too useful once I was out of school. With the rise of smartphones, I tried keeping track of everything digitally for a while, but it was never as nice to deal with as having a book to write in. For me, just the act of writing something down helps me remember it. It isn’t always the same with typing.
Fastforwarding to more recent days, I realized that I wanted to get back to old school journaling to help me keep track of what I was doing. I went through a few different journals and planners, but none of them worked out just how I liked. I thought, surely someone out there will have made something more along the lines of what I want, right?
Some things got close, but nothing was perfect, and I didn’t want to spend any more money on something I wasn’t going to love. I was sure I was going to have to somehow design my own journal, until I stumbled across the fabulous Bullet Journaling system.
I had actually heard of bullet journaling before, but it seemed too complicated at first glance, and I’d brushed the idea aside. But when you are searching for ideas, any ideas, sometimes you have to revisit things you thought wouldn’t work.
Basic bullet journaling is actually a very straightforward concept once you understand the principles. I wasn’t convinced, though, until I dove into the online community surrounding bullet journaling, and saw all the amazing things people had done.
Here was my solution! With bullet journaling I would be able to create a basic system for my journal, and develop it as I went. I would have the opportunity to change the things I didn’t like and improve upon the things I did.
My first month of journaling was eye opening. I was sure I’d know exactly what I wanted to do from the start and that everything would fall in line and look neat and organized and the system would work. But that was not at all what happened.
The video above is a little flipthrough of my journal from the start through March. (This is both my first attempt at bullet journaling and my first attempt at making a video, but I’ve had a lot of fun with both!)
I went with the basic black A5 Leuchtturm1917 Dot hardcover notebook. I hadn’t tried Leuchtturm1917 paper before, but from what I’d read it seemed it would be a good start for me. I have to say, I love this thing so far! The pen I use is a uni-ball Signo UM-151-05, and it doesn’t bleed through the paper and writes perfectly every time.
My favorite things to use in this journal are the monthly tracker and my daily task lists. The tracker is the thing that got me to actually pick up my journal everyday to start. It’s almost like a little challenge: how many things can you check off today!? And since I had my tracker on the back side of the page with a tab, it was so easy to get to. I don’t think I would have used it as frequently without that tab.
The daily spreads were something that I thought I had figured out from the start, but it didn’t take me long to want to make changes. I really learned the beauty of bullet journaling through this: if you don’t like something, you can change it as you go! You really aren’t stuck to one system.
In my first month of this new journal system I’ve learned so much, and I continue to be inspired everyday by the awesome online community around it. (seriously, just check out #bulletjournal and #bujo on instagram!)
If you have been journaling for any amount of time, I’d love to know what advice you’d give yourself if you were to start from scratch.