Have you heard about bullet journals? They’re popping up everywhere and, after having people tell me I must have one for months on end, I decided to look into the idea.
The first thing I did was Google it, and I found the most perfect explanation of a bullet journal ever. Seriously. If you want to know what a bullet journal is and how to use it, go read this article from Buzzfeed. I’ll wait.
So assuming you read the article, or just know what a bullet journal is, I’ll move on.
I was kind of on the fence about trying one of these. I mean, the advantages are obvious. It’s a fully customized journal/ diary/ planner/ goal tracker and more. You can start it at any time, no waiting for the next calendar year. And it’s been around long enough for people to have worked out the kinks.
The problem was Pinterest. And Instagram. If you look up bullet journal on either of these sites you will be instantly overwhelmed. There are flowers and stickers, and colorful drawings, color coded charts, and beauty abounds.
Yeah, I just want a planner than meets my needs. I don’t want to color. I don’t have time for coloring or making elaborate patterns around my weekday plans. It is not soothing to decorate a page reminding me to buy milk.
Can the bullet journal work for us non-artistic people?
Yes. Yes it can.
Practice Makes Perfect
First, I started with a cheapie notebook I found at Target. My real book was on the way, but I wanted to play around with page designs and placement before I made it “permanent”. It was $3 well spent.
In my practice book I made pages for the year, months, post ideas, and weekly schedule. Then I started to think about my goals, short- and long-term. I made a page for a Daily Gratitude List because things have been pretty crappy lately and I wanted to focus on some positivity. I also made an exercise page which was absorbed into a larger tracking chart in the real book. I have 2 social media goals this year, so I made a page for each of them – they were about as artistic as I’m going to get.
Once added, I made notes on each page if I wanted to have it occur earlier or later in the book.
The practice book served 2 purposes. It let me try out some idea and practice using a bullet journal. And, perhaps more importantly, when I told 5-year-old Miss O that she was not allowed to touch my new book, I followed up with, “Buuuuuut, you can have this pretty book for your own!” as I handed her my practice book.
The Real Deal
I don’t like to do things half-assed, so I jumped right in and ordered the official bullet journal, the Leuchtturm 1917. I got mine in a sunny yellow color – not typical for me – so I could find it easily in any bag or in my house.
There are lots of ideas out there for writing utensils to use, though many use the Staedtler pens, which are more like markers. I went with a TŪL gel pen set because I like the way they write and I could add colors if I want.
The thing is, I would like to add colors and pretty things… but I won’t. So my journal is going to be completely basic, black and white, and totally 100% functional.
And that’s it! Only a hint of purple pen in the whole journal, and it’s still awesome.