Regardless of how much I rely on the computer for many aspects of my life, at heart, I’m still a pen and paper person. I love notebooks and dividers. Pens and rulers. I didn’t learn until recently when I took up part-time university studies in psychology, why exactly this is.
Over the past few years, psychologists have made it widely that handwritten notes help you remember better than typed notes. I suppose I already knew that because I’ve always had to take notes by hand to retain information, but the concept was really drilled home in my first-year university course.
When it comes to planning, I like pen and paper too. I’m a lifelong list-maker, not only because I love the feeling of crossing out a completed task, but because I need to get everything out of my head and put it in sections to better focus on a single task.
What Is Bullet Journal?
Knowing these things about myself, when I first heard of a Bullet Journal® through friends, I was intrigued. You may have heard this buzz term by now too, and find yourself curious. What is exactly is a Bullet Journal®?
According to the founder, it 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 will teach you to do more with less.” Basically, it’s a blank agenda or day planner that you customize yourself. A Moleskine-style book, with blank (or lined/dotted) pages.
My research began with Instagram, and from what I saw, it didn’t seem like people were “doing less” with their Bullet Journals®. People were actually doing a lot! Fancy layouts, washi tape, bright colors, calligraphy. And I must admit; it was a complete turn-off from the idea. The concept seemed to be more of a procrastination tool than anything for someone like me, who like a good procrastination excuse. But the more research I did – the more people I talked to, from writers to lawyers – I learned that it can be life-changing for productivity.
So recently, I jumped aboard the train. I bought a journal and began the process of laying out my entire life on its blank pages. It’s too soon to say whether it will “change my life,” but I see the appeal. Today I’m am sharing my beginner’s resources and tips on bullet journaling, so that you can see if it might be for you. If you would like to follow along with my progress, follow me on Instagram @HeidiOranWriter.
Bullet Journal Resources
- Bullet Journal
- How to Start a Bullet Journal (BuzzFeed)
- The Bullet Journal, Minus the Hype, Is Actually a Really Good Planner (Lifehacker)
- Bullet Journal Guide (Tiny Ray of Sunshine)
My Bullet Journal Tips
Here are my personal tips!
1 – Keep the initial investment low
All you need is a journal, pen, pencil, and a ruler. You could buy a journal from the dollar store if you want. I chose this brand right here because I liked the idea of having a grid to help me keep things neat and tidy. Moving forward, I might not.
2 – Use minimalist or simple always
You will need to research layouts for your pages. This is very individualized, which is the beauty of the bullet journal, but I highly recommend searching “simple layouts” or “minimalist bullet journal.” Otherwise, you might be overwhelmed with bells and whistles.
Be sure to check out the hashtags #bulletjournal and #minimalistbulletjournal on Instagram for inspiration. Pinterest has a lot of crossover, but can be a great option when you’re on a computer!
3 – Let go of perfection
If you try to make the journal perfect, you will be sadly disappointed. I had smudges on my first pages within 5 minutes of starting. I cringed, yes, but I kept going because it’s about productivity, not perfection!
4 – Prioritize
One of the first things I did before diving in, was make a list of all the aspects of my life I want to keep track of here. For example: volunteer work, job, home, cleaning, goals for reading, etc. Writing down all of these will give you a good overview of what you need to include in your journal, and help you moving forward with the layout.
Have you tried the Bullet Journal? What is your experience and tips?