5 Things to Remember When You Set Up Your 2020 Bullet Journal
Perhaps one of your motto(s) among others this year was to start 2020 with a bang! A productive bang! So you googled ‘ways to be more productive’ and you stumbled on ‘bullet journaling’ as one of the many methods to increase your productivity! Wonderful, you’re one step closer to achieving your productivity levels for the year.
But you have no idea how to bullet journal and this is your first one, so like many others, you google it and you’re just about whammied with the flood of Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, Youtube…posts on bullet journaling. It’s easy to get lost in all that so hey let’s take a step back for a second! We’ve covered this before in previous posts, but here’s a quickfire recap if you needed one!
What’s bullet journaling? Bullet Journal(ing) is a system created by Ryder Carrol with the intention of helping individuals to boost intentionality, mindfulness and productivity. If you wanted to get to know more about starting out, read this blogpost here.
A bullet journal is a blank notebook that combines indexes, dailies, monthlies, memory collections, lists, logs, etc etc etc… It is a planning style that helps you to list down all the things you need to do without losing out any, as well as plan for the future or just put it down somewhere first with the intention of coming back to it later.
In this post we address 5 of the problems or possible problems you might face and we call it,
The 5 ‘Don’ts’
Don’t overdo something
Generally when we all start, it is easy to want to draw all the spreads, fill in all the logs, stick in all the stickers, add in all the washi tape, use every single page of your bullet journal to set it up. While it is good to be prepared for the year ahead, sometimes it is nice to also slow down and be a little bit more intentional with planning.
Planning is meant to increase mindfulness and productivity. If there are spreads you make that you may not use later on because it doesn’t fit your lifestyle or schedule it might be a waste.
Don’t create your spreads and then think ‘oh it’s so pretty!!’ and then never use it because it is so pretty. You want to make it to use it!
Also, many people think that starting a bullet journal means needing copious amounts of supplies.
You just need a notebook and a pen.
You can grab both of them here:
Don’t panic when you make mistakes
Maybe you literally opened the bullet journal and the first mistake you made was to spell Febraury, I mean February, wrongly. It happens.
Seriously, it is okay, you have white out/correction tape, washi tape, black marker, stickers, and other supplies to do some correction. So don’t be afraid. The biggest mistake you can ever make is actually to not try. The fact that you’re trying and making mistakes shows that you are learning and attempting to be better, so keep going!
Here’s a list of some common bujo blunders that can happen, among others!
- wrong spacing on the grid box count
- smudges (yikes!)
- accidentally tearing pages when you stick tape and try to pull it out
- erasing a hole/tear in the page
- using the wrong colour pen or highlighter when you were trying to colour code something
- writing the wrong date
- (as of 2020), writing the wrong year
- writing the wrong day
- spelling the day wrong
- spilling coffee/tea/milk/lemonade/anything else on your journal (this isn’t a mistake, we’re just clumsy hehe)
To end off this section,
Wabi-sabi: “In traditional Japanese aesthetics, wabi-sabi is a world view centered on the acceptance of transience and imperfection. The aesthetic is sometimes described as one of beauty that is “imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete”.”
Don’t rush, give yourself time
If you want to actually sit down and draw pretty spreads – it’s about both practice and skill. And SKILL, while you think that might be innate is actually something that people will tell can be developed and grown. Ask any bullet journal enthusiast who doodles and draws, (even if they don’t doodle even if they draw just lines and boxes), to achieve that level of ‘neatness’, it takes practice.
Years and months of it.
When we say give yourself time, we also mean give yourself time to try new things, give yourself time to try new colours, styles, vertical to horizontal layouts, etc.
Give yourself time to make mistakes, to learn that planning in a certain way doesn’t work. People talk about weekly spreads or daily spreads but if that does not work for you then it is okay, don’t get afraid.
Literally, this cannot be stressed enough. Just because you see all those pretty spreads on Instagram or Pinterest does not mean that you have to copy exactly to achieve what you want to. If you want aesthetic feels, by all means go ahead, but don’t compare such that it makes you feel so low and unable to match that ‘standard’.
Secondly comparing doesn’t just make you feel lousy and not as good, but it also kind of takes away what bullet journaling was meant to do – it was meant to give you intentionality and productivity, and if therefore comparing makes you less productive because instead of spending time planning you keep worrying about how something looks, then you may lose the purpose of why you started. However for some of us, the art and drawing itself is what helps us to relax then that’s totally fine.
Also remember that ultimately you are the one who the bullet journal is supposed to work for and not others. So if you are doing it and you don’t like it and you keep beating yourself up about it there is no point doing that.
Don’t stop trying
This is the last one and we put it as the last because, well, it’s January and everyone has resolutions at the start of the year and by the time May rolls around, you fill in about one page a week, maybe by September you get too tired or bored and you stop trying and in December you regret it all over again.
Here’s us telling you to not stop trying. Journaling is to create intentionality and so that you don’t have random sticky notes all over the house which you’d probably forget about or leave it stuck on the refrigerator door for just about forever.
Don’t stop trying to improve yourself. If you plan one day and you realize that after a while this system does not work, don’t give up and say this is not for you. Of course, if you’d prefer a different system that’s okay but especially if you’re just starting out don’t give up just yet. The system was designed to be easy and manageable and adaptable so make it yours, today.