My school years have always been marked by beautiful diaries, I bought them at the supermarket at the end of August, when all the back-to-school stationery goodies were nicely displayed for us, planner nerds. Starting university, a friend of mine and I decided we were too old for that colorful shit and bought a Moleskine planner every year. It was nice starting with a new one every January and testing out new layouts every year. Then, for 2014, I bought a 4 Euros ugly planner, because I didn’t have any new class to attend and I was in a little depressing moment of my life. I just needed a tool to write my (very few) appointments. I hated that cheap planner and, in 2015, I gifted myself the slightly expensive planner by A Beautiful Mess, telling myself it was a way to celebrate being 25. It was colorful and funny and I loved it, but my life was still pretty slow, I was writing my bachelor thesis, I didn’t have any class to attend and then I went away for a couple of weeks for some archaeological digging, leaving my (big) planner at home.
I decided I didn’t want to repeat the experience in 2016, I had spent lots of money and felt super guilty for the weeks missed in my planner and the small amount of things written in it. But I didn’t want to come back to the Moleskine brand, I wanted something fancier. Then, I stumbled upon Kara’s blog Boho Berry during the Summer and I discovered the bullet journal method.
Please, visit www.bulletjournal.com for all the details about it.
I didn’t purchase a planner for 2016, I managed to stick with this method for a whole year and now I’d like to reflect a bit about it…in bullet points, of course! :)
- the flexibility of this method allowed me to not feel myself guilty for wasting paper during those days and weeks I didn’t have anything to write.
- I discovered a huge community of amazing women who share my same passions and don’t think I’m mad. :D
- I started paying more attention to my days and feeling more grateful for the little things
- writing everything down, instead of relying on digital apps, made me way more productive, especially with my studies
- it made me creating a written time capsule without even noticing it
- the Daily Log is my favorite thing.
What didn’t work
- I ended up spending more money than I did when I used real planners, because I needed 2 Leuchtturm notebooks to cover the whole year
- I started being influenced by the bujo community wanting ALL the things I saw in my Instagram feed
- I’ve hit a point where all my pages were Insta-worthing instead of being simply functional to my own needs
- I never used a monthly layout in my whole life before starting a bullet journal and I can’t help myself but avoiding the Monthly Log
- the official Future Log doesn’t work for me, I can't have a nice view of what’s coming up and it’s too unstructured, I tried to tweak it looking for some inspiration in the community, but nothing actually works for me. I’ve always been used to write my homeworks and appointments directly in the corresponding day, no matter if my planner was a daily or a weekly one, skipping the monthly view.
- creating all the different kind of collections and trying to make my journal looking pretty distracted me from being productive. I even arrived at the point of writing my lists on scrap pieces of paper to copy them on the bullet journal in a better way. I was writing drafts of my to do lists… I know, right?
- my notebook was too big and heavy and I always left it at home, ending up using apps on my phone when I was away, losing the point of my analog way to plan things.
What I learned
- Leuchtturm notebooks are beautiful, but the A5 size is too large for me, I still prefer Moleskine notebooks, even if the paper isn’t that good.
- as a student, it isn’t very functional having only the bullet journal, I personally need more structure for assignments, seminars, classes, exams and appointments
- I can’t spend so much money in notebooks every year
- I have to stop making my pages pretty because I have to share them on Instagram
What next?I recently purchased a (super cheap) B6 Muji planner for 2017, it’s very portable and thin, easy to carry with me everywhere. I’m not going to quit bullet journaling, though. My plan is to use only a couple of modules of the original method in random notebooks I already own. I’m currently using a booklet inside my Traveler’s Notebook, but I might switch to something else later on. My bullet journal will hold only my daily logs and random notes, like brain dumps, packing lists, blog posts ideas, and so on and it will remain at home, because it’s where I usually sit down and plan.
I still think it's a great method, it just depends on your needs and habits.
Are you a paper or digital planner person? What's your experience with bullet journaling? Feel free to leave a comment below, I'd love to chat with you! :)