Hi, I’m Taylor and I’m addicted to organisation.
Being organised is not a bad thing but I’m one of these people who organises their spare time. If I’m travelling somewhere, I’ll have exact train times and even extra options if the train is cancelled or delayed. If I’m going on a night out at the weekend, I can tell you the exact days I’m prepping my skin and painting my nails. Making to do lists is my idea of fun. So when I discovered the bullet journal, my organisation monster shrieked with happiness.
If you haven’t heard of the bullet journal trend, it is essentially a diary, your to do lists & journal all in one. The best thing about it is how it’s all up to you how you use it, whether you make it simple or complex, plain or colourful, you’re in control. It takes an hour (at most) to set up initially and then it’s 10 minutes a night to plan for the next day. To start out all you need is a notebook and pen, I used this guide (http://bulletjournal.com/get-started/) along with searching #bulletjournal on Instagram for inspiration.
I’ve now been using my bullet journal for a year and I couldn’t recommend it enough! Here are some reasons why I love it and some tips and tricks I’ve learned;
Organisation all in one place – Rather than carrying around a notebook, diary & journal around, a bullet journal provides a place for everything. I have a future log which shows me what events and appointments I have in the next 6 months, a monthly log to show me what I need to do in that month specifically as well a calendar for the month and then I have dailies which are my day to day to do lists. As well as these essentials, you can add trackers for things like exercise or medication, plus sections to help you with holiday details for example. If I am going on a trip I’ll usually add a packing list, a list of places I want to visit and also all the times for my flights or trains – having all the details in one place is so handy when you’re at the airport or station. There’s no having to rely on your phone, going through emails frantically.
Tip – Don’t pressure yourself to make it look perfect – The first couple of months of your journal are likely to look a bit messy but don’t worry. Don’t look on Instagram and freak out because yours isn’t looking perfect like most of the photos on there. You should use your first months to experiment. I tried lots of different styles before I settled into the setup I have now. Struggling to keep up with a task? Try out a tracker. More of a visual person? Try out a calendar so you can see how the rest of the month will pan out. It’s all about what you want to use it for so somethings will work for others but maybe not you.
A chance to be creative – As well as getting you organised, a bullet journal also gives you an outlet to express yourself. This could be as simple as using a different colour scheme monthly or as elaborate as a monthly theme. Maybe you don’t consider yourself an artist but like to doodle, have a whole page just for that. Adding inspirational quotes throughout can help you practice fonts and if you put them on random pages throughout it will be a nice surprise when you get to it. While I wouldn’t say I’m the best when it comes to drawing, I’ve really enjoyed doing the odd sketch in my journal. I’m actually quite proud how some of them have come out! Having the chance to be creative might actually entice you more to get organised too, instead of looking at a boring to do list, you’ll come to a colourful page that you want to get through.
Tip – Work out your tools – Picking the right journal is important, you’re going to be using it for a long time. For example, I’ve been using my notebook of choice for a year and still have a fair bit to go. I’d recommend using a dotted grid notebook if you can find one, next best would be square grid but lined works as well. That’s what I’m currently using and it works for me but I have this one to use next. It’s what I’ve seen recommended the most to use as a bullet journal.
– If you’re keeping things simple, you want to find a good pen that you find comfortable using a lot and a ruler too to keep things neat.
– If you’re wanting to go more colourful, I’d also recommend a set of fineliners. I currently have a set of Staedtler 0.3mm fineliners but I understand they’re a more expensive option. Supermarkets usually have their own cheap brand that work just as well. Washi tape will become your new best friend. It’s useful for borders, covering up mistake and just adding a little something special to your journal.
-Finally if you want to go for something more elaborate such as title pages, I’d buy a set of colourful pencils and pens. If you have one close by I’d recommend going to Flying Tiger. They’re really cheap and have a great selection of stationery and craft supplies. A perfect place to grab bullet journal supplies when you’re just starting out and you don’t want to break the bank.
It’s made me more productive – Having everything in one place means I know where to find anything I need done. Doing a daily list means I’m making sure all the little jobs are done such as filling out the dishwasher or putting away laundry. The satisfaction of seeing a list completely ticked off for the day is really encouraging. I’m noticing how much I actually get done because I’m not having to remember day to day what needs done. On a side note, I deal with chronic pain and on days where I don’t have the energy to do everything, having a daily list there already helps me prioritise so I can at least get a few of the easier things done.
Tip – Mistakes are chances to be creative – This is something really useful to learn early on, especially when you’re still experimenting and haven’t quite found your setup yet. A mistake can be covered up in tip-ex but it’s also an opportunity to add something a bit more creative. This can be a pattern made from washi tape, a drawing that illustrates your day or something else that fits in with the month’s theme. For example I messed up a list in the corner of my page last month. So I placed paper over it with a bigger version of my border on it, using washi tape. It looked intentional and broke up the page a bit.
If you’re lacking a bit of organisation in your life or need a new project, this is it. After using a bullet journal for a year now, I can safely say it will definitely get you organised. It’s completely customisable so what’s stopping you? Happy organising!