2018… ahh.. the start of a new year and a new bullet journal. Or, in my case, skipping ahead a few pages of my 2017 bullet journal and trying to ignore the travesty of the beginning. I got my bullet journal last year after my partner stumbled across them on Pinterest and I knew I had to get one. They were so pretty! It provided an excuse to unleash the perfectionist and the stationery lover in me. It seemed like a perfect match until it wasn’t.
As I had quite a few people commenting on my 2018 bullet journal prep photos, I thought I would compile them into a big post as well as share some of the hard lessons that I learned last year. Bullet journalling can be great or it can be quite terrible, I think the experience is really up to you and how you choose to use your journal. If you’re interested in learning more about bullet journals in general, such as what the hell even is a bullet journal, take a look at some of these great blogs or explore the bullet journal and bujo tags on Pinterest for more advice, inspiration and how to’s.
The Lessons of 2017
I was so ecstatic when my brand new bullet journal arrived all fresh and new. I had spent weeks beforehand obsessively planning exactly how I was going to lay it out, what kind of inspiration I was going to use, and hoarding stationary in preparation. As soon as it arrived, I set to work preparing the journal including creating a unique key, index page, overview calendar and any other little lists I thought I would enjoy making. I spent hours painstakingly sketching outlines, outlining and coloring.
Then I moved onto the next important bit of bullet journalling; the monthly spreads! Oh, I had such ideas of how each monthly spread was going to look and how beautiful it would all be. I already had tonnes of ideas pinned up on Pinterest and spent days just on my April cover and the first week spread alone!
I was so proud of how they looked, but I quickly stumbled upon a massive problem. It was exhausting to put in that much effort. It would take anywhere between 3-6 hours to create a weekly spread. At the end of the week, I would think about having to do it all over again for the next week, and the next week after that. And to be honest, I just couldn’t be bothered. I was spending more time designing my bullet journal than I was using it. In the end, my weekly spreads became more and more simple until, in the end, I stopped using it altogether.
For ages, my bullet journal lay sad and discarded on my shelf. I began using sticky notes to write my daily tasks before upgrading to a simple weekly diary. Although it didn’t look as pretty, it sure was a lot less work! Once I started blogging properly at the end of August 2017, I picked up a simple black and rainbow lined notebook and began keeping my reading/blogging notes in there. It felt like a lot less pressure to make it look all pretty because it was just a generic notebook and I found myself using it religiously to record reading notes, track the books I was reading, and plan my blogs. It was so much easier and a lot more fun!
The biggest lesson I learned last year was that it was more important what I wanted to use my notebooks for and how I wanted them to look. I think because I went into bullet journalling when it was so hyped and the examples I was seeing everywhere were mostly done by professionals, I felt like mine had to be a certain way. Whereas, what I’ve found by just using my generic notebook for the past few months, is:
- I’m not organized enough to use daily or even monthly trackers
- I prefer recording daily tasks in a diary where I can just scribble everything in
- I prefer using my notebook to record reading related things
There is no right way to do a bullet journal. It doesn’t have to have a key and index and be used as a diary. You can just use it however you want! Now that I’ve learned that lesson and have it forever imprinted in the beginning of my journal, I feel much more comfortable returning to bullet journalling and doing things my way.
Here’s a look at my prep and January spread for 2018
As you can see, although I have put in a lot of effort to create spreads that I’m happy with and that did take a lot of time to actually create, I’ve adapted my journal to reflect my own interests. I no longer need to spend hours every week creating diary pages, but can devote the time once a month to creating my monthly spread and updating the other pages as and when they need to be filled in. I still use my little black notebook to record my reading notes so that they can be as scruffy as they need to be, but it’s nice to be able to make all of my reading records look nice! I love being able to sit down to do some illustrations for my lists and colour them in in a way that is actually enjoyable, and I don’t have to feel guilty about letting my nice journal go to waste on my shelf.
I hope this post was useful to some of you!
Let me know if you also use a bullet journal.
What do you use yours for?
Have you also learned any lessons since using yours?
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