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Why I Began Bullet Journaling and Why You Should To

I first heard about bullet journaling back in high school when I saw a classmate flipping through her notebook. Through the corner of my eye, I saw vibrant colors and doodles decorating the pages. I began to ask her questions, as I love anything crafty and stationary, and she told me about the wide world of bullet journaling.

The stationary aisle has always been a safe and fun place for me, yet I never put effort into making this interest an effective hobby. I knew of bullet journaling, the power of list-making and the benefits of letting your creative juices flow, but I never set aside time to further this interest for some reason. At the time I was in high school—and then went into my early college years— but now I need organization and peace of mind in my life more than ever.

It wasn’t until 2021, when I was a junior in college, that I started to fully enter the stationery world. I began binge-watching hauls, “doodle with me” videos and anything involving bullet journaling. Watching these videos made me realize the many avenues you can take with your journal whether that be navigating through budgets or reflecting on your moods throughout the month. Over time, I fell in love with watching YouTube channels such as Caitlin Da Silva and Amanda Rach Lee who effortlessly created spreads I yearned to make with my own two hands.

I wanted to bullet journal because it blends everything I needed and felt inspired by. I could create miniature pieces of art on each page while tracking aspects of my life and using them as tools to enhance my lifestyle. I loved the flexibility and care-free nature of bullet journaling. You can make mistakes, make masterpieces, switch up spreads, whatever you choose. Your journal can be whatever you want it to be, and that’s part of the magic.

There were times where I debated jumping into bullet journaling because of the supplies and cost. Did I need to buy countless fancy pens and the highest-reviewed $40 notebook? I thought I did if I wanted to create stunning spreads and be a real bullet-journaler. Whatever that meant. I’m so grateful I ended up not listening to that part of my brain.

I became so inspired by various creators’ works to the point where I found myself purchasing a beginner-level book at a local Michael’s. I remember impatiently tapping my foot at the checkout line as I was eager to get home and get creating.

I collected whatever markers and pens I could find throughout my house and sprawled them out across the table to begin working. Before I knew it, I was flipping through pages of spreads I had created — spreads that I loved. Not only was I proud of the way the pages looked but glancing down to see my busy schedule and goals artfully plastered on the page in front of me made my body fill with hope. I sat back and felt the endorphins hit me with an accompanying wave of serenity.

Time ceases to exist when I create spreads in my bullet journal. It’s refreshing to find something that makes me lose track of time. I’m so content with what I’m doing I don’t even take my eyes off it to check the time for that matter.

Spreads such as purchase logs, mood/habit trackers and playlists of the month are my go-tos and personal favorites. The purchase logs give me an overall look at what I’m spending throughout the month, and I like to go in and highlight categories such as food, shopping, bills, etc. That way I can see even better where my money is being spent. Spreads like this as well as the habit and mood trackers are go-to’s for me because they allow for great insight and reflection. I enjoy writing down the songs I am listening to most in a specific month on one page and creating a playlist of the month page. I can’t wait to look back on these and see what type of music I was listening to throughout different points in my life.

There are many reasons to take up bullet journaling. Whether you’re looking for a creative outlet, a nostalgic tangible or an organizational tool, I bet you’d find what you’re looking for somewhere throughout the bullet journaling experience. For me, it’s a perfect blend of all three.

I’ve spent three months bullet journaling and haven’t regretted one second of it. While I still forget to use it some days, and long to create the seemingly flawless spreads I see online, I haven’t beaten myself up over these things like past-me would have. Bullet journaling has taught me about grace and embracing whatever is thrown your way. Whether it’s a crooked line on a fresh page or a stubborn mood I can’t seem to shake off, I have learned to accept things as they are and as they come all thanks to bullet journaling.

Journalism major at the University of Florida.
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