Starting a Bullet Journal can be quite overwhelming. I planned what to include in my BuJo for a while before realising that I just needed to do it.
So far, I have been bullet journaling for coming up to two years and I have learned a lot! Here are some of my do’s and don’ts for Bullet Journalling.
check out the original site
I think a lot of people forget the purpose and true intent behind a bullet journal, so I often check back into the official bullet journal website. It’s easy to get caught up in the beautifully artistic journals of Instagram and forget about what a bullet journal can offer you, so don’t be afraid to read about the basics of a bullet journal every now and again.
Bullet journaling is good fun. So is talking to like-minded people about bullet journalling. One of my favourite groups on Facebook is the Bullet Journal Junkies group. It’s a great place to share inspiration, tips, spreads and have a chat with people who love bullet journalling as much as you do.
If Facebook isn’t your thing, don’t be afraid to check out Instagram – there are so many profiles filled with inspiration. And, of course, you can always check out #bulletjournal for even more inspiration!
Jump right in
As I said in the intro, I planned my bullet journal for a while before trying it out. Luckily it wasn’t too long, but I knew I could have easily taken days/weeks to actually set it up. Once you know the rough spreads you want to contain in your journal, just start. Your first journal won’t be perfect. There will be things that you always want to change. But you’ll never learn if you don’t start. If you need some inspiration on the spreads to include, be sure to check out my set-up posts (I have ones for June, July and August)
Try new spreads
There are a lot of spreads that I don’t use. But I also have a lot of spreads that I adore. At the end of the day, I have spent so much time trialling different spreads that I generally know what works for me and what doesn’t. However, that doesn’t mean I’m not going to stop trying out new spreads or collections! The versatility of the bullet journal is why I love it so much!
Learn to adapt
There are so many spreads that I loved, but didn’t work out for me. So for me, adapting spreads is key to having a successful bullet journal. If you check out my set-up posts for June, July and August, you will see how my spreads have changed just over the past three months alone. I find it important to reflect on how well the spreads have worked for you each month to figure out how best to adapt. But again, the versatility of the bullet journal is why I love it!
Make it your own
This one kind of goes hand in hand with the two points above this. Do you have something you want to track but can’t see any spreads for tracking it? Make your own spread! Want to doodle across the entire page? Doodle away! Do you want to have a purely functional bullet journal without any colours? Do it! There is nothing stopping you from making your bullet journal work for you. If you don’t like something, don’t include it in your bullet journal. At the end of the day, your bullet journal has to work for you. There’s no point including a spread if you don’t get anything from it.
Fret about mistakes
I could take you through each spread of every one of my bullet journals – past and present – and show you at least one mistake per page! From writing the wrong day on a daily header, to spelling something wrong, to losing control of my pen and having a loose line across the page, I’ve probably done them all! My bullet journal is mine. Without my input, it would just be a Leuchtturm1917. With my input, it is my bullet journal. I’m not a perfect person, so why should my journal be perfect? I love it because it is my creation, from the first page to the last.
Compare yourself to others
This is a ‘don’t’ that I am still trying to listen to myself. It is so easy to see so many different and beautiful bullet journal accounts on Instagram and then feel bad about my own. As much as I wish I was, I am not much of a doodler. I don’t have the best handwriting. And I make a lot of mistakes in my journal. I would love to be able to have a minimalist bullet journal, but that style just doesn’t work for me. Recently, I have been learning how to appreciate my own BuJo for what it is: imperfect and mine. There will always be someone who you compare your bullet journal to, but I’m sure there are people out there who wish they had your journal, too!
There have been times when I felt obligated to do certain things for my journal: make it colourful, doodle in it, use certain spreads, buy certain pens. It is hard not to do something when it seems that everyone else in the bullet journal community is part of that little club. However, now I am getting to the point where I need my bullet journal to do it’s job. I don’t want my bullet journal to be a place where I feel obligated to do something. Instead, I want it to be where I enjoy filling out my spreads and filling up the pages.
Buy everything at once
I would definitely suggest trialling out a bullet journal before you start buying everything. It can be so tempting to follow the masses in the bullet journal community and buy all of the Tombow Dual Brush Pens, the Staedtler Triplus Fineliners, the Faber-Castell Pitt pens, the Sakura Micron pens and all of the washi tape. But you should also make sure you will stick with bullet journalling before you spend all of that money. And even if you do stick with bullet journalling, you might realise that you are much more of a minimalist journalist than an artistic one. Refrain from buying too much until you are sure you will Bullet Journal, and don’t buy the stationery until you are ready to experiment with what you will be buying!
Leave it at home!
Now this point is perhaps not a ‘don’t’ for everyone. I know my sister bullet journals, but she doesn’t take her BuJo everywhere with her, and that works for her. However for me, I have to take my journal. If I don’t, I don’t see the point in having one. I need it by my side to write down what I think of, to check my plans and to add tasks to do tomorrow. Think about what works for you and, if you’re like me, don’t leave your bullet journal at home!
…if you don’t want to. If a bullet journal isn’t for you then it isn’t for you. You can’t force it to work for you if it simply isn’t meant to be. And if you suddenly stop enjoying having one, stop journalling. Not forever, maybe just for a little while. Take a brief hiatus. Think about why you used to do it and what you enjoyed about it. Then, when you pick it back up, you’ll be motivated to start it again! I have been through phases where I have forced myself to fill it in when I didn’t want to have to, and it only made me dislike bullet journalling. If you don’t want to do it, you won’t gain anything from journalling!
Do you have any other tips for bullet journalling? What are some of your do’s and don’ts?