I did it!
For the month of May, I started a bullet journal after purchasing the LEUCHTTURM 1917 Notebook Medium (A5), Softcover, Dotted from Amazon. I have been inspired to start for a while now, after seeing so many pretty but productive examples on social media; that as an avid stationary collector, I knew I had sought out a way to use my tools.
Having used an ordinary diary for a few years, I decided to trade up into something that was much more flexible…which really is the whole point of bullet journals.
In short, a bullet journal is a chronological system in which you pen in events, appointments and dates like a diary but with the addition of inventing pages exactly the way you want them like a notebook.
These pages can range from to-do lists, to-buy lists, notes, habit trackers, fitness planning and so forth. Basically, anything that helps make sense of your lifestyle, productively or casually. There are no specific rules as the system is designed to always be evolving which is the nice and motivating touch of bullet journals, compared to ordinary diaries which are very linear.
In this post, I’m showing you some of the pages I made during the month of May and June along with some tips that I learnt from my own trial and errors.
Tip #1 Don’t try too hard to make it all perfect
Starting is always the most difficult part for me mentally. Whenever I start a new sketchbook or project on paper, there’s this idealist thinking inside my head that it has to be perfect or be a certain way. And then more times than not, that idealist thinking transforms into something much less ideal – a page I end up not liking.
Point Being: Give yourself some flexibility and let loose. Let the process be the focus and not the outcome.
#1.1 Let mistakes be mistakes…then learn from them
I have never met a person who’s never made a mistake, much less one in a bullet journal…have you?
You’re 100% going to make mistakes. That’s just life in general. But the bullet journal is so motivating because it’s on-going and mirrors your life in that respect. You’re not going to be stuck on that ugly page forever!
Point Being: Assess what you don’t like about the page you just created. Too much? Too little? The eye is very smart in picking up small details that it doesn’t like, and naturally the next few pages you make will get better!
Tip #2 Keep it simple!
I would definitely say that my problem at the beginning was over-filling my pages which is very easy to do so if you’re stuck, keep it minimal until you figure out your own theme/style. (Your theme/style will naturally develop.)
One important lesson I learnt is that you can still be creative even if you are creating a minimal spread. However, if you try to be too creative yet stuck at the same time, it really translates onto the page as ‘I didn’t know what to do so here you have it’.
Point Being: It’s always easier to add to a page than subtract. If the spread is aesthetically pleasing and easy to the eye, you will use it more.
Tip #3 Only make a page/spread, if you’re actually going to use it
After successfully using a bullet journal for two months, I know which are my favourite and most productive spreads. Each week, I typically flick through my habit – and most recently, fitness – trackers (both monthly) and my co-ordinating weekly spread. I fill all these as time goes by until I need to draw up a new spread to use.
I will occasionally have a moodboard to break things up, a monthly calendar/overview and useful pages that help me track this blog for instance!
Point Being: Create what YOU will use. It’s nice to have a pretty page but it’s useless if it’s just there to be pretty. Use your bullet journal according to your lifestyle. Who are you?
Tip #4 Have an idea of what tools you’ll use, what theme/layout you’re aiming for, otherwise it could look messy
I guess my final point is a blend of everything I just told you. You don’t need a lot of tools to make a bullet journal work for you. It can really be as simple as a highlighter and pen!
When I first started, I set out to buy a couple of washi tapes from eBay. I do use them but not as much as I thought I would as they can get repetitive if you use them too much. Instead, I’d recommend investing in some good quality markers because you can do so much more with them. Even using a different colour each page will make an impact!
Decide on two or three colours per spread/page that will work together as a theme. It might even be a good idea to colour-code to make things more cohesive. For example, on one spread, you can have a small quote in red, thick lettering and the sub-headings in purple.
Point Being: Use a pencil to plan your spread if you’re not feeling confident or spontaneously intuitive. Let loose and utilise the space you have on the page effectively according to its use.
So there you have it! Do you have a bullet journal? Or a planner? What are your ideas on this hobby?
I’ll be back with another post regarding what stationary and tools I actually use so keep watch!
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