This is the first article of a diptych "do's and don'ts for your bullet journal".
I have been using my bullet journal for over 3 years now at the time of writing this article. This has revealed some do's and don'ts for my bullet journal. If you read my blog, there is at least a little interest somewhere for planning with pen and paper. If you are new to the planner or bullet journal world, click here for the basic principles or if you want to know more about the terminologies within the planner world, you can visit this article and find a free download with more than 55 bullet journal terms in Dutch and when you read the English version of this article, you will automatically find the article in English.
Are you already using a paper diary, planner, to-do list, bullet journal?
Then I am very curious if these do's appeal to you. Of course these three are not all do's, but for me they are important enough to dedicate a blog to them. Would you like to share your additions in the comments? That would be great, because that way we can inspire each other. And that's the core of this blog, inspiration!
This article is the first of a diptych
The second post is about the 3 don'ts. Let me start positively with the do's within the bullet journal system. By the way, just as quickly, via this link you go to the original bullet journal website. If you are interested. And if you are interested in the book by Ryder Carroll (the developer of the bullet journal system), you can find here. I've read the book over and over ... and I still go back to it every now and then. Sometimes I feel the need to go back to basics. And just like planning with pen and paper, I also like to hold and read a physical book much more than an e-book. Do you like an e-book? You can find it here.
The bullet journal do's:
Simply put, huh?! Start now, start small. How often I encounter a message on a social media platform from people who want to start, but do not know where to start and are afraid to make mistakes ... I can not count them on two hands ... often! Just start. What can happen if you make a mistake or in your eyes 'ruin' your journal? NOTHING! No blood is spilled, you just keep breathing ... nothing to worry about, except that you've tried something and that's a good thing! Your journal won't go anywhere in public - unless you want it to - it's yours.
A bullet journal needs to grow
Gradually you're going to try things that work for you and some things that don't.. You don't know if you won't try. Through trial and error, you find out how the planner can support you best, because that's what it's all about after all.
Start simple, don't add doodles or anything yet. First find out what you want to keep track of, where the notebook should support you. If you know that, you've already accomplished quite a bit. There is no right or wrong! In my journals I have included things like a moodtracker or a year in pixels. These don't seem to work for me. Well fine, those trackers won't come back in the next month or another journal.
Habit trackers do not work for everyone
Sometimes you need a certain tracker for a while, such like I have my productivity board inserted. I needed this because I had the idea of getting nothing done in a day. By making it visual what I do on a daily basis, it became very clear to me that I do a lot of things in a day. So now that I have that insight and was actually just too hard on myself, this tracker is no longer needed and only comes back in my journal when I need it.
One month always the same weekly layout, the other month even varies from day to day. Sometimes I only use rapid logging in pen, sometimes completely over the top with watercolor drawings. It's fine how you do it, because there are no rules, there is no fixed agenda. This is how my bullet journal grows and moves with me. That is the beauty of this system, otherwise I might as well buy an ordinary pre-printed calendar. All you have to do is... begin..
2: Create collections in a separate little booklet
In the bullet journal system a collection is used. These are pages that are reserved for a particular subject. I use about 3 to 4 journals a year. If I would like to write down my collections, which last longer than a journal, in a new journal, I have to take over everything from my previous journal 3 to 4 times a year.
Let me give you an example. We are saving up for a new kitchen. I've drawn a layout of a kitchen with the money needed for it. For example, every time I save €500, I color in a door or a drawer. This way I keep track of our savings in a fun way for me. If I have to draw this over and over again in every notebook, it doesn't make me happy. For these type of subjects (collections) I have a separate booklet that I also store in my travelers notebook. It can be just a loose notebook, use what you find useful.
You can think of an annual overview for birthdays or a household schedule. For running my housekeeping I use the Flylady system. The home zones with the corresponding cleaning tasks don't change, so I spend a collection page on that. If you want to save for something and you want to keep track of it, create a page for it. I like to collect quotes that appeal to me and which I use as a title page for a month. I write all these down on a page reserved for that purpose. This way you can keep things that you don't need every day, but do want to save, clear and you will avoid having to transfer information over and over again.
3: Don't use your bullet journal
That's a weird one, isn't it? Don't use your journal if you don't need it and more importantly, don't feel guilty about it. Look at it this way; you have to get groceries, so you either make a shopping list or at least think about what to buy. Suppose you don't need groceries on a random day, because you have everything you need, then you won't make a shopping list, because you have to make a shopping list, will you? That is how it works with your journal. Your bullet journal is there for you and if you don't need it for a day, a week or whatever, just don't use it. That's absolutely fine!
A bullet journal can do so much for you
It can help you to create structure, to process emotions, to remember important things. It can be a creative outlet, a to-do or Getting Things Done list. It can be what you need. I've been using the system for years with a lot of fun, with trial and error, with wow factors and mèh things. I hope you get as much out of it as you need. And if you have any questions, feel free to leave them below in the comments section or send me a email. I'm happy to help you.
A dear planner salute,