When I first heard of Bullet Journal planners, it appealed to all of my creative senses. Naturally, I stalked every possible social media outlet to learn about bullet journaling and find inspiration. It wasn’t more than a few days later when I ordered my first bullet journal on Amazon.
In case you haven’t heard about bullet journals, let me give you a brief rundown. Bullet Journal planners, or BuJo planners, are one of the newest crazes in personal organization. The basic idea of a BuJo planner is to create and customize your own planner to fit exactly your needs throughout the year using a small notebook.
I jumped on the BuJo bandwagon as fast as possible. (Trust me, you will want to jump on the bandwagon with me after seeing some of the inspiration on Instagram.) I dove right in and learned a lot during the first several months and I want to share those tips with you. I’ve narrowed it down to a list of the 6 best bullet journal tips for beginners.
1. Start with the Basics
To fully understand the main purpose behind bullet journal planning, I went to the official website to find out the basics – bulletjournal.com. After plenty of instagram and pinterest inspiration, I also found Kara at BohoBerry.com who has a very creative bullet journaling process.
Kara also has a more detailed introduction course that was helpful to understanding BuJo planners called “Bullet Journaling 101 Series”. She has an awesome following and is a great source of inspiration. Both of these resources helped get started with bullet journaling and also provided me with suggestions for materials to use.
2. It’s OK to Make Mistakes
When I created one of my first layouts, I wrote up the title banner and I was so proud of the way it looked. Then I realized, yep, I definitely wrote the wrong year… in pen. It felt like my new beautiful crisp notebook had turned into a scratch notebook. I was only a few pages in and I didn’t want to give up now. Instead I used that page as my practice, sketch page and moved forward.
A few layouts later, I made another mistake, but it was halfway down the page this time. I didn’t want to abandon the page, so I told myself that I needed to accept the imperfections and move forward. Sometimes even trying to spin the mistakes into another flourish or sketch helps, but also, just calling them out and laughing at myself helps too. Embrace the mistakes and move on!
3. Create a Daily Routine
Within the first couple of weeks of using my BuJo, I created a habit to look at my planner everyday. I kept my BuJo out in the same location as our normal family calendar so it would be visible to me throughout the day. I looked at it first thing in the morning to review my day and at least one more time in the evening to review what I completed for the day and what was coming up for tomorrow.
Doing this helped me to create a new daily routine and use my BuJo with the purpose that I had intended – to replace the 10 different methods I was previously using to manage my personal schedule and tasks. It also helped me keep track of and stay on top of my tasks and prepare for each day’s schedule.
4. Don’t Be Afraid to Change
Bullet Journalling is all about creating a planner that works for your lifestyle, your wants, and your needs. Everyone’s bullet journal is different, so the inspiration I found on social media was a great starting point, but I began to tailor each layout for my specific needs.
The most changes that I have made continuously are my calendar layouts. I switched from monthly and daily combination layouts to monthly and weekly combinations to now just weekly layouts. Each time I changed, I was refining my layout to better suit my needs and it helped me stick with using this method for my personal organization.
5. Sometimes Simple is Better
As I followed more people on social media and found ideas for layouts, the more pressure I put on myself to be extremely creative with every single one of my own layouts. Colors, sketch art, fancy handwritten titles, little cutesy drawings, etc. I was focusing more on how to make my layout more creative before thinking how the layout would serve me in the best possible way.
After deciding to let go of always being overly creative and instead choosing to create simple layouts that work for me, I noticed that I found more inspiration in each page. The creativity should be the extra, fun part and not take away from the purpose of using my bullet journal.
6. You Don’t Have to Put Everything in Your BuJo
When I first found Bullet Journaling it felt like others were creating a collection layout for everything under the sun. This made me feel like I should be doing the same thing, but what I realized is that some things aren’t meant for me to put into my bullet journal, now or ever.
I realized that I want and need to be intentional about what is included in my BuJo, for the pure fact that my days are extremely full already. I would best be suited to stick with this method of organization by creating layouts and organizing the most important things in my life. But I also know that this may change over time and remember that bullet journaling is about creating your own planner that serves you right now in your life.
So here’s the thick and thin of it…
Whenever starting something new, there will always be a learning curve and I came to many realizations as I started my first bullet journal. By far, I still feel that it is the most flexible outlet for me to manage my schedule and organize my life and I think this method will stick for a long time.
Learning the basics, accepting that mistakes are going to happen, creating a daily routine, not being afraid to change, realizing sometimes simple is better, and deciding not to track everything. Those are my biggest takeaways using my first bullet journal planner.
Let me know what you’ve learned from bullet journaling or what planner system you use instead.
Go out and lead your best creative life today 🙂