Photo: Estée Janssens/Unsplash

I Committed to Bullet Journaling for a Year and I’ll Never Be the Same


Have you heard of bullet journaling, the magical way of tracking pretty much every effing thing in your life? If you haven’t, then boy do I have news for you. The Bullet Journal (or #BuJo for us superfans) is “a customizable and forgiving organization system. It can be your to-do list, sketchbook, notebook, and diary, but most likely, it will be all of the above.” It may sound like it is too good to be true, but as someone who devoted the entirety of 2017 to bullet journaling my @$$ off, I can tell you that it is WELL worth all of the social media hype you may have seen on Instagram.

What I love most about the bullet journal is that it’s is highly customizable and you can pretty much do whatever you want with it. I kept it really simple at first, using a black pen on my dotted notebook in order to create To Do Lists, track my savings, write down my mental health issues, journal a bit throughout the day, and generally figure life out. What the bullet journal allowed me to do, is see what I truly wanted to prioritize. For instance, if there is something that I kept moving from week to week, then I knew that this was a task that I didn’t truly want to get done.

It also allowed me to see how my days might be affecting my mental health and visa versa, as well as how to keep better track of the habits that I wanted to form. Because of the bullet journal, I started to eat a lot less sugar, exercise more, and even meditate sometimes. Sure, life still wasn’t perfect but I knew that I was doing everything I could to live my happiest, most productive life. Although, you can find the basics of how to create a BuJo in this getting started guide, my biggest inspiration came from #BuJo on Instagram. Here are 7 ways that I used the bullet journal to change my life. And who knows? It might even change yours.

1. Start your month with an inspirational quote. 

One of my absolute favorite things to do in my bullet journal every month is to set an intention. For instance, you can create a type of cover page for when the month starts and doddle in a beautiful quote or phrase that signifies something that you’d like to accomplish this month or something that inspires you. One of my all-time favorite quotes was, “choose to be happy today.” It was nice to see that every single day, when I checked what day of the month it was in the mornings.

2. Use washi tape and colorful pencils to decorate it however you want. 

Another reason why people absolutely ADORE the bullet journal system is that it is highly customizable, especially with colorful markers, pencils, pens, and things like washi tape. It’s absolutely one of the best ways to create something unique that’s just for you. I have a friend who used washi tape to go over bits she didn’t like. Another one who used it to highlight sections where she journaled for fun, versus where she kept track of her day. Personally, I liked to color-code my tasks with different markers. 

3. Try tracking your schedule… but in whatever way makes the most sense to you. 

If you go through the #BuJo hashtag on Instagram, you will see that there are dozens and dozens of way to track your daily, weekly, and monthly schedules. You could complete a To Do List or create a breakdown based on the time. My favorite way was to break it up by projects, such as morning projects that I worked on for one client in my business and afternoon projects for another client. I also used another column for personal tasks, such as scheduling doctors appointments or going out for date night. 

4. Use it to write down your goals for the year, too.

The beginning of your bullet journal, if you do it well, should be ALL about tracking your goals for the year. It doesn’t necessarily just mean goals with work, but also personal things… like what books you want to read, where you want to travel, movies you’d like to see, restaurants you keep meaning to try, and so on. I also loved to use this section to track my social media influence and remind myself about the birthdays of important people in my life. I even drew little bubbles so that I could write down present ideas for them months ahead of time. 

5. Track habits that relate to your mental and physical health. 

A really important way that I used my bullet journal is to track the habits I wanted to create for myself. For example, I eat mostly vegetarian, so I tracked that on the “habits tracker” every week. I also did the same for not eating sugar, giving up soda, journaling, exercising, playing with my dog, and so much more. You can add habits for business or school, and even for mental health. For instance, you can track your mood daily by color coding how you feel or creating a space for you to draw a happy/sad face every day. 

6. Use it for doodling, journaling, or other creative breaks throughout the day. 

A top reason to use a bullet journal is so you can use it for useful things, like tracking important goals and habits in your life, and also for super fun and silly things. All of it is welcome! If you’re a big doodler or like to have creative space so that you can do your thinking, journaling, planning, doodling, drawing, or whatever else strikes your fancy, then the bullet journal might just be perfect for you. You can designate a space at the beginning of every month, week, or even day for letting out your creative energy.

7. Plan your vacations, packing lists, trips, and more. 

Other than just writing down what you want to do in any single year, you can also use your bullet journal to track practical things like what to pack. I know that might seem silly or a waste of space for some people, but I found it really easy to do because it allowed me some time to think, time to add things in weeks or even months ahead of time, and gave me a good basis for my packing essentials when I had another trip. You can do similar things with keeping track of grocery store lists too, if you’re a big meal planner (like I am!).







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