Does this bullet journal intimidate you?
What about this one? Don’t think you’re capable of drawing those adorable tiny plants? Color coding that successfully?
I mean, my God, those things have artistic depth to them. Whoever has time to do things such as this probably has their shit a lot more together than I do; props to them for that! (If you’re one of these people—and oh man, do I respect you if you are—perhaps this Her Campus Kenyon guide to BuJo is more for you.)
If you’re like me and commitment to organization is daunting to you (who am I if I’m not stressed the f*ck out all the time?), but you still find yourself scrolling through beautiful bullet journals on Pinterest for hours upon hours, boy have I got the solution for you. I call it LaBuJo, or lazy bullet journaling. It’s for people who are not creative, are busy college students, don’t want to spend money on washi tape and colored pencils, or, like me, are just plain lazy. Here we go.
First things first: aesthetics
An important part of LaBuJo is tricking yourself into thinking you’re more organized than you really are. For me, this means buying some cute-ass, somewhat overpriced notebooks with dot paper.
The dots make it a whole lot easier to draw mostly straight lines without busting out the ruler, which, as you know, is imperative for the lazy individual. When I’m laying out my month, do you think I want to open my desk drawer, dig for my ruler, and use the concentration that it takes to put that thing on the page and draw a line with it? Short answer: no. Especially not when I can have dot-gridded paper that does the work for me.
Setting it up: the index
I call this spread an index because that’s what the instructional website I used when I first started BuJo called it, but I guess, technically, it’s a table of contents. Call it what you will. Basically, the index exists because as lazy/busy people, we don’t have the willpower/time (respectively) to flip through a bunch of pages to find what we need (that grocery list, that homework assignment, the entire month of August, etc.). We want something quick and dirty. At least, I do. Below is my current index, one from back when I thought I could handle real BuJo (note the cutesy header). Have no fear—when it comes time for a new notebook, that header will be nothing more than a black-and-white slop fest, possibly with an underline.
You can see I kind of already didn’t care at this point, since I scratched through something instead of using Wite-Out.
Future logs—don’t do them
Here is a thing I don’t do. For those who are unfamiliar with BuJo jargon, a future log is defined on the official bullet journaling website as a spread “used to store items that either need to be scheduled months in advance… or things that you want to get around to someday.” It generally looks like this:
In my first BuJo attempt, you best believe I tried to have a future log, but the idea of a broad list of upcoming events is really unappealing to me; especially since I ended up writing the exact same information again in my monthly spread. As a lazy person, I’m generally not into writing things twice, hence my giving up on this spread. The monthly spread, though, is where I shine.
The monthly spread
This is, perhaps, the single most organized part of my life. Here, I keep track of four simple things: big events on specific days, money in my savings account (because that’s important to me, I don’t know, you can substitute whatever you want for this), birthdays, and tasks I want/need to get done by the end of the month. I like to lay out the days of the month sort of like a list—I’m not about that ruler crap, as you’ve likely gathered—and divide the adjacent page into three sections to accommodate the other stuff, like so:
Yeah, I know, I’ve implied I’m against those cutesy doodles to indicate what a section is for, but balloons are easy and festive, okay?
If you’re not against rulers, your monthly spread can look a little something like this:
This format gives you a bit more room for writing in a day’s events because apparently sometimes multiple events occur in a single day or something. I don’t know.
The Art of the Monthly Habit Tracker
The monthly habit tracker is a concept that I didn’t think I would pick up on, but it’s actually been quite interesting to get to know myself in this way. The trick is to not make your habits that specific: in the beginning, I wrote that I wanted to drink 140 ounces of water, take 15,000 steps, and read for pleasure every single day. Healthy, yes, but not entirely practical in terms of ability to attain. To make the habit tracker work for you, I’d suggest not setting goals that you know for a damn fact you’re not going to hit most days. Instead of 140 ounces of water, I settle for drinking enough so that my pee is clear. 15,000 steps became 10,000, and reading for pleasure became reading in general. It’s important to make these goals attainable because of the little rush of confidence you get when you check off a box. It’s like, “Yes, this is the fourth day in a row I’ve worn leggings as pants, but at least I washed that mug that’s been collecting mold on my desk since last week.”
Honestly, the most impressive thing about me is that I flossed every day in September.
The Dweekly spread
Here’s the freaking truth: I don’t know the difference between a weekly spread and a daily spread. I’ve researched it extensively on Pinterest, Tumblr, what have you, and I still can’t figure it out. Thus, the dweekly spread was born.
This is actually so simple. Divide the page in half (each half is a day), make four pages this way and BAM, you have a dweekly spread. Here you can do things including, but not limited to: listing assignments, writing down that funny thing you said at lunch that no one laughed at, expressing deep-rooted anxiety over the turmoils of life, etc. I like to do all of the above, plus whatever my brain feels like writing down. I also note the exact amount of money I spent and number of steps I took. Other people like to note the weather with dainty little icons, but I figure if the weather is important enough, I can just write it with words. To each her own!
The official BuJo website says symbols are essential to staying organized within the journal, but I’d like to call bullshit. As with many aspects of BuJo, I began by trying to stick to the rules. Here’s one example—not my example—of what I mean:
Excuse me but do I seem like the type of person who has time to draw a tiny LIGHTNING BOLT every time I have an idea? Don’t even get me started on the clock. It has actual tick marks. TICK MARKS.
Nope. Can’t do it. I’ll throw down a dollar sign every once in awhile, sure, maybe write something in red if it’s really important, but most of the time I’m strictly a bullet-points-and-check-marks type of gal. Trust me, you don’t have to feel like you need to draw a freaking egg-in-a-frying-pan emoji to denote what you had for breakfast if you’re tracking your food. It is perfectly fine to just write, “Today for breakfast, I had an egg in a frying pan, and it was quite delicious.” Or, better yet, “Fried egg 4 brkfst – so yum – 10/10 eat again.” Shorthand is allowed because it’s a bullet journal. If it were meant to be longer, it would be called a life story journal. Or maybe just a journal. Yeah, probably that.
Sometimes, I get into a creative mood of sorts and might wanna do a little doodle while I hang with friends or listen to music. It’s therapeutic. You might experience something similar. If so, MAKE A PAGE FOR IT. Behold:
Other stuff you might want to reserve pages for: lists of books you want to read, neat-o quotes you heard and want to remember, and shopping lists. With the exception of shopping lists, I allow myself to be slightly more focused on these pages, since usually they’re not made in a hurry, as when I realize a new month has started and I have to set up a new spread on top of doing homework, having a job, etc. These “other pages,” as I like to call them, cannot be forced. Forcing leads to no fun which leads to LaBuJo feeling like a chore which means you, as a lazy person, WON’T WANT TO DO IT.
Below is an unfinished quote page, which has remained unfinished for three months now because I only work on it when I feel like it, as the LaBuJo gods intended. (Yes, I know I’m late on the Hamilton train. Jeez.)
Most of the time, though, these other pages kind of just look like lists. And that’s okay. As lazy people, we need to spend our precious energy on things that really matter. Like finishing all the Disney movies on Netflix before they get taken off. And making sure we have enough pants with elastic waistbands to last us through the week.
To conclude, one does not need to be a type-A, future professional artist/necromancer person who is fully on top of their shit in order to bullet journal. One simply needs a cute notebook and a hankering to improve. Lazy or not, do your best for the BuJo, and the BuJo will do its best for you.