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Getting More Out of Bullet Journaling
Suppose you identify as a bullet journalist. If you don’t, try this resource (youtu.be/fm15cmYU0IM) to understand better, then continue reading. But let’s just say you do. Like me, you probably admire the bullet journal (or BuJo) system because of its expeditious and analog features. The BuJo denotes versatility, simplicity, speed, reliability and… creativity? *Record scratch.* Some BuJo-ers don’t recognize the last bit.
On the web, one can find any number of articles: how to repair a sink, when the next Spider-Man movie comes out, or even the moon’s phase on January 26th in 2040. However, the most invaluable resource I have found on the internet remains an impeccable community of imaginative planners, just like me (and maybe you).
Outside of the year-and-a-half I’ve spent bullet journaling, six months of it passed in solitude. The only person I knew who followed the planning method (apart from Ryder Carroll, who created the BuJo --> bulletjournal.com/pages/about)? Myself. The possibility of a population of others with similar ideas existing never occurred to me… until I stumbled upon it one day.
My social media accounts amassed negative messages of toxic, hyper-materialism before discovering the genuine magic of the bullet journal community. Now as I scroll through my feed, my mind eases. I smile because of pretty planner spreads among political gobbledygook, selfies, and memes.* I save useful ideas with screenshots or the save tool on Instagram. Additionally, I have a playlist on Youtube (youtube.com/playlist?list=PLET2eCvdPeudBAhpFftijNw6WuNO-upMN) related to journaling which I can quickly reference if needed.
By scrolling through Instagram feeds and watching Youtube planning videos, I discovered this community, which began contributing to viewable examples long before I even started using a notebook. Sharing personal ideas (on Youtube or Instagram) provides positive, valuable new skills to partakers. At least, it helped me learn a few pointers.
I discovered, primarily, that anyone from any background at any age from ANY country can give to the community. Also, the aesthetics don’t matter; skill levels certainly do not discount you as an artist or planner. The BuJo community, in general, presents itself as a group of vibrantly creative individuals who seek a practical approach to organizing such artsy energy we all carry with fervor.
Now after describing the community, you might want to know, “How does this apply to me?” Often, people lose their excitement about BuJo because it gets boring; they don’t think the format works for them (even though you can make it whatever you want), or they “don’t have enough time” to make aesthetically pleasing spreads.
Seeing other’s posts online shows BuJo users that 1. Anyone can do it and 2. Its customizability goes beyond simple functionality. For this reason, I encourage anyone and everyone to share their creations online. Including anyone reading this who just discovered the flexible planning system five minutes ago when they opened up this article. Yes, you, my friend.
“Perhaps you stumbled here and you have no idea what on earth this thing is and you’re starting from square one. Good news! You’re in the right place. I’m going to walk you through exactly what a bullet journal is, where it came from, and what it can do for you.”
-Shelby from littlecoffeefox.com
Reading something like the above quote can comfort many new BuJo users. People like Shelby, who created Little Coffee Fox, inhabit in every part of the internet, and their brand thrives on the need for creative inspiration. If you want the kind of audience who constantly seeks out unique innovations, I highly recommend applying yourself to this community.
Prefer Instagram? Using the stories feature helps add little blips of information, polls, or even mini showcases of your work. Adding photos to your feed (particularly if said photos relate to planning or art) not only looks neat but helps and inspires others. People viewing your work and enjoying it might encourage you to post more for the mollification of your audience. In turn, you can continue growing your talents, of course making some online friends along the way.
Should you gravitate toward Youtube, recording explanatory videos (youtube.com/watch?v=TewqmhFC-oE) can benefit new bullet-journalists who have a desire to learn. Showing viewers your ideas will help with planner’s block.** Videos such as plan-with-mes, flip-throughs, or topic-specific spread ideas (such as spreads for students or a holiday prep collection) help me the most.***
The above video helpfully answers questions new bullet-journalists might have… a quick tool you can keep in your pocket for later reference or find online easily. The creator, who speaks in the video, provides his personal insight to viewers curious about the BuJo method. We can take his ideas, utilize them, and discard what doesn’t serve us.
Both of these platforms, regardless of personal preference, benefit artists/planners in a multitude of ways, but they can also build your personal audience. Furthermore, if you aspire to have a group of followers who enjoy the same activities you do, social media gives you a place to shine. Of course, more platforms exist than just Instagram and Youtube; I just happen to use these sites. Feel free to explore this community anywhere, either online or in person.
Not quite sold? Planting our own inventive works out there can challenge us, a step of intrepidity many people fear. When you achieve that, when you put out your ideas and art, you automatically show you have more certainty regarding your output than previous occasions. Creativity has the power to make others braver, but you must initiate it yourself. I wish you luck.
*A spread means a page set-up in your bullet journal! An umbrella term that wears many hats.
**Planner’s block: that moment when you don’t know how you want to set up your next day, week, month or year. Or when you just get bored with how your bullet journal looks.
***A collection means a sort of module you can use in your bullet journal to house multiple pages of related ideas. Thus, a holiday prep collection could house a shopping list, recipes, decoration designs, a wintry playlist, or a budget tracker.
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Progress, not perfection