Thursday 27 April 2017

One Year of Bullet Journalling

My most popular post of all time is, by far and away, Starting a Bullet Journal which I posted back in February of 2016. To date it has had a whopping 438,577 views, which is absolutely nuts for a relatively tiny blog like mine. Since it's been over a year since I started bullet journaling, I thought it was about time for an update.

I started my bullet journal at the end of January 2016 after seeing various people I follow on social media using them and, being a sucker for projects, I decided to start my own. I think it's so easy to become overwhelmed by the amount of bullet journal content out there, and the whole concept can seem so confusing to start with. I personally find bullet journal creator Ryder Carroll's video to be the most simple explanation of bullet journaling, so that's where I started. I also consumed a fair amount of Boho Berry's content on bullet journals before starting my own, she is just the bullet journal queen!

I want to do a whole series of posts on bullet journaling (how I use mine, favourite spreads, tools, ideas etc.) so I figured I'd just start off with a few reflections on my experience of bullet journaling and why I do it.

Why I Plan
I am kind of obsessed with organisation. I love to plan each and every day, I'm not huge on spontaneity and I love a good itinerary. I'm absolutely not a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kind of girl. It's just not me. If that's you, then that's cool, you do you, but I need to plan to feel at peace.

It's particularly important to me now that I effectively have three jobs to keep on top of, as well as a social life (limited as it is) and remembering to do things like, you know, taking care of myself. I get very easily overwhelmed and stressed out and the most effective way for me to tackle this is by breaking everything down into chunks. To-do lists are essential for me, I need to break everything down into individual tasks in order to get all my shit done AND maintain my chill.

Sitting down in the evening, reflecting on the day and planning for the next one is an almost cathartic experience for me. I find that if I write down every little nagging task or idea, no matter how small, then my brain is a much calmer and emptier place by the time I settle down to sleep.

Why a bullet journal?
Many people nowadays do everything digitally, and whilst that's great for them, I find that physically writing things down not only helps me to remember them but just feels right for me. When I'm making plans or I'm inspired by something my first thought is 'wait, let me grab a pen' rather than 'let me grab my phone', and I think that's just how my brain works and that's perfectly okay. I do use my phone and computer for other things such as spending and blogpost spreadsheets but pretty much everything goes into my bullet journal.

As I stated in my original bullet journal post, the main thing I love about the bullet journal is that it allows me to make monthly, weekly and daily plans but I don't have to. That's what I find so great about it, if I have a slow day or week (it doesn't happen very often, but occasionally) or a crazy busy period, I've got the flexibility to use as little or as many pages as I like. That's the thing that makes it for me, the flexibility. I love being able to just turn to the next page and start writing, whether it's a to-do list, a potential blogpost that might take multiple pages or some complex tracking spread, and then marking it in my index so I can easily find it again whenever.

I also find the process of using my bullet journal very relaxing, particularly the creative aspect of it. I personally love using my bullet journal as a creative outlet, I have a passion for hand-lettering and illustration and my bullet journal is a great place to practice those skills whilst also planning, therefore making my artistic hobbies more productive (not that I need to justify them, but it's a nice bonus). I think that the bullet journal system works especially well for creatives as it's not only a way of expressing creativity but it also opens up a space for brainstorming and recording ideas and inspiration. Instead of keeping a separate notebook for these things, you can keep a spread in your bullet journal so you always have it with you when inspiration strikes.

One thing I will say loud and clear is that YOUR BULLET JOURNAL DOESN'T HAVE TO BE BEAUTIFUL AND ARTISTIC AND WITHOUT A SINGLE MISTAKE! Sorry for shouting but that is just such a huge myth that puts so many people off bullet journaling. A bullet journal is a blank canvas, it can be a flawless work of art or it can be the simplest thing with the most haphazard handwriting, as long as it works for you. As part of this series I'm going to be giving examples of both simple bullet journaling along with more artistic styles.

My advice is, It doesn't need to be scary, you just have to pick up a notebook (any notebook) and start.

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