Just an aimless ramble about Bullet Journals

Sunday, December 29, 2019
Lately I've been hearing the complaint that a Bullet Journal is just too complicated and time consuming to continue using in 2020, both in person and from people I follow online. Some of those people have switched to a preprinted planner, some have ditched the whole structured planning thing entirely.

Don't get me wrong -- any of these choices are perfectly fine, no one needs to use a Bullet Journal and I in no way want to be prescriptive with how a person should plan their life. It does, however, make me think a lot about how much Bullet Journaling as taken on this alter-ego as a super creative endeavor and how that effects people's experiences and perceptions of Bullet Journaling, including my own.

I actually started blogging because of Bullet Journaling. My most viewed posts are all Bullet Journaling related and they're all about spreads with all kinds of washi tape, colored markers, planning and drawing involved. I started a Bullet Journal to organize my life, but I too started making it very creative almost right away. I loved doing that for quite awhile, but eventually it became more stressful than fun. I ditched the creativity aspect for an entirely black-and-white, repetitive layout that only takes me about 5 minutes to make each week. I've been doing that same weekly spread for a year now which is only a small variation on a spread I came up with over 2 years ago. I still love it.

Regardless of how much my Bullet Journal style has changed, I am so glad I stuck with it. Having a Bullet Journal - in whatever form - is quite literally the only thing that got me through wedding planning, moving house and planning a honeymoon this year, and job hunting and learning a ton of new skills for work last year. I am not naturally a forward or detailed planner, but the routine and practice of keeping a Bullet Journal is what helps me think more in that way, saving me from all kinds of last minute stresses.

I guess all I'm saying is that I hope people don't forget along the way that despite what you might see on Pinterest and Instagram, Bullet Journaling isn't only about creativity and aesthetics. At its core it's a super simple framework -- merely a set of actions -- for planning. It can be elaborate and creative if you want, or it can be chicken scratch on a collection on scratch paper. You're free to change your mind, make some weeks pretty, some weeks not, never try for aesthetics at all, make up new routines for your journal, ditch things you don't like about the original method, only use your Bullet Journal on super busy weeks, and anything and everything in between. And don't give up on it simply because you don't have time to make it pretty -- give up on it because you've tried different things out and it's still not working for you (and remember that that's also perfectly allowed).

Do what you like, try different things, and abandon what doesn't serve you.
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