Well, it has been a busy time for my bullet journal! From a blog post that went semi-viral to my second best-performing Instagram post, it seems that the humble bujo is seeing a real regeneration. Created by Ryder Carroll who found traditional diaries to be limiting, the bullet journal is an analogue system for a digital age. I’ve been bullet journaling since 2018 and now I couldn’t imagine organising my life in any other way.

How I bullet journal

One of the questions I’ve been asked the most is ‘how I find the time to do it’. Actually, if we’re getting specific, I’m asked this question about almost every corner of my life. I suppose my answer is that I make time for it and I want to do it. I spent years and years in a state of utter disarray and chaos; regularly missing appointments, triple booking myself… It was horrific. I moved to a Filofax system a few years into working professionally, but hated the fact that I was confined to week-to-views and even more so that pages went to waste when I was away or not particularly busy.

What my bullet journal does do is solve all of those problems by becoming the diary I need it to be. I can log important dates and birthdays, log weekly and daily to-do lists, keep myself on track with reading, fitness and saving goals, and provide a very welcome offline space to be creative for myself. Like I showed in my 2020 bullet journal setup post, my bujo is simple, decorative and functional. It grows as the year progresses, and if I look back on my 2018 journal or my 2019 journal, it’s nice to see the different trackers I needed and the collections I set up (packing lists, gratitude lists, notes for client calls, interviews, gift ideas, etc.).

I’m not very creative in terms of lettering and illustrating, so I rely on my STABILO Pastel Highlighters and a selection of stickers to elevate the look of mine. My favourite sticker designers are: Stellaire, CoffeeScribblesArt, Lace & Whimsy and Journalspiration, all of whom feature heavily in my journals over the years.

Using a bullet journal to stay on track

Particularly at the start of the year, my bullet journal helps me stay on track with my New Year plans. I often have somewhat vague plans, but nevertheless my bujo helps. One of the main things that people lament about bullet journals is supposedly how they don’t have the time to do it. In actuality, my bullet journal takes me a handful of hours a month, and then I use it daily to plan my task lists and track.

As I wanted to improve my fitness, gain Instagram followers, buy a house and start writing a novel in 2020, I’ve created trackers to match each. My fitness tracker sits on each monthly title page: a calendar view that I’ll fill in green every time I’ve worked out. I colour in a brick to denote how much I’ve saved for my house. You’ll find, too, how satisfying it is to tick something off on a diary/page that you created entirely by hand, in turn helping you to stay on track and do X more so you can tick more off.

I’ve got a completely different set-up for each goal. This keeps it fun and varied, somewhat aesthetically pleasing even though I’m no artist, and motivates me to be actively working towards one or all of my goals, if only to use a page I took time to craft by hand.

Finding the time to journal

Personally, I spend about an afternoon in December setting up my annual trackers and main pages (the opening ones), and then an another afternoon per month setting up my pages for the month ahead. On the 26th January, I’ll be sorting out my February pages. Of course once in a while I’ll add in pages, but it can be super easy to bullet journal. This year I’m using the running dailies method, where I don’t plan in the entire week, I just set up a day at a time and write my to-do list. I’ll then use my Future Log to mark important dates.

If you’re still thinking ‘I don’t have the time to’, then perhaps that in itself is why you find yourself to be feeling unorganised. Even five minutes in the morning spent plotting in important events and tasks helps me to stay on track with my myriad commitments (work, business, blog, gym, personal things). After a while, it’ll become second nature and your everyday routine will fall into a structured rhythm that helps you out across all areas.

I hope you’ve found this post useful. For further reading, please do read the posts I’ve linked throughout.

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