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So You Are about to Start a Bullet Journal

I am a person who inexplicably loves anything and everything to do with planning and making lists. I would describe myself as someone who respects a good schedule and sticking to it. I have had my bullet journal since the beginning of this year as part of the whole “New Year, new me” scheme, but I am confident that you can start bullet journaling whenever you want to. For this reason I am here to provide some tips and my insights that my bujo has given me.

First things first, you are going to need a notebook (duh) and a pen that won’t wear off or stain your pages. There are certain things to consider when you are buying your journal – starting from the covers of the book all the way to the pages inside it. You have to ask yourself whether you will prefer an actual journal with hard covers or perhaps a lighter notebook, or something in-between. The binding of the book can have an enormous effect on how well it is going to stay together and neat. You can choose between glue bound, thread bound or ring bound notebooks but there still exists other forms so I am sure that everyone will find a journal suitable for their tastes. The size only matters insofar that it is useful to know how much space you will need. If you have a tiny handwriting then a smaller journal will do just fine, and in case you don’t or you want some extra space for doodling then go with a bigger one.

Bullet Journal is actually a trademark created by digital product designer Ryder Carroll, and they have a website with the official bullet journal 101. It’s easier to start when you have clear instructions and all, but you should think about what you need and what it is that you want from your bujo. Some people will make it into a combination of journal and a schedule. I have been writing a diary for a solid 6 years now and the idea of combining it with my schedule terrifies me because I don’t want to carry it with me everywhere. Then again, I will need my schedule with me preferably all the time so that sort of settled the question for me. A bullet journal is great for to-do lists and keeping track of your studying, meetings and plans. One of the reasons that I like bullet journaling is the fact that I simply just prefer writing by hand. I feel that it also gives more freedom of choice when it comes to expressing myself.

My bullet journal is mostly a schedule. I tried to look at the ‘official’ instructions but I realised that they wouldn’t really work for me. I completely ditched them and started to improvise. My journal has a spread for every week, which I have furthermore divided into eight squares for each day and one for a weekly to-do list. Between every four weeks or so I have a spread for the next month with monthly goals and things to do. I also list some books that I plan to read and also some records that I want to listen. I have separate pages for my traveling plans, exams and set books, New Year’s resolutions, meeting notes, budget and wish lists.

One thing that made me insecure and a bit hesitant towards bujos was the fact that I could not, and still can’t, draw. It’s ridiculous, I know, but I had seen these amazing bujos on Instagram and Tumblr and I was certain that there’s no way I can do that. I know that my bujo isn’t the prettiest one, but I am completely fine with it now, since it does what it’s supposed to do. Anyhow, if you are like me and lack the skill of drawing, then you can always add some pictures or stickers to make your journal more decorative and to give it a personal touch. You can also spice it up with different coloured pens and highlighters. I have even seen some people to press flowers in their bujo. There really are no limits when it comes to bullet journaling. And don’t feel pressured to make the most aesthetically pleasing bujo ever – a few incomprehensible scribbles here and coffee stains there won’t ruin your journal, trust me.

A strong advocate of pineapple on pizza and a comparative literature major
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