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Bullet Journalling—The Basics

The Totally Non-Fancy Guide to Bullet Journalling

It can be all kinds of intimidating to look at Pinterest and see the gorgeous decorative bullet journals people have come up with.  Most of us are just not that artistic; I'm certainly not.  But, fear not!  It's still possible to have an awesome bullet journal, and it really is the content that matters, not the presentation.

Benefits of Journalling

The point of bullet journalling is not to come up with something beautiful and Pinterest-worthy that will get re-pinned a gazillion times.  What it should actually do is keep you focused, guide you in self-reflection, and just generally help you get your sh*t together. 

If you haven't seen the great bullet journal works of art on social media, the idea of journalling might bring to mind free-form, perhaps rambling emotion dumps.  That's one way to journal, and it works very well for some people, but that's not what a bullet journal is.

What makes a bullet journal different is its structure and function.  It focuses on keeping track of what you're doing as well as the progress you're making with the goals/directions you want to be heading toward. This helps you to be accountable towards yourself.  It can also serve as a reminder to pay attention to some of the positive, constructive things in life that's easy to overlook.

Most of us have a pretty lousy memory for what we're actually doing day to day, unless there's a particular reason for something to stand out.  With a bullet journal, you decide what things would be useful to keep track of, and then you can get a much clearer picture than if you were going just based on recall.  Some patterns may begin to emerge that might be quite surprising.  You may find you're engaging in certain behaviours more or less often than you thought you were, and you might find relationships between factors that you wouldn't otherwise have identified.

So what's the point of all this tracking?  It can give you the information you need to make good decisions about what you want and don't want in your life.  

Things to Include

Tracking is a major part of bullet journalling, but you can also create structure by dedicating pages to things that are important to you.  What you include is totally up to you, and will depend on what's going on in your life and what kind of things you're working on.

We could all use a little more gratitude in our lives, and that's easy to incorporate into a bullet journal.  You can have a section devoted to daily gratitude entries, or you can do a gratitude list for each week.

Positivity in general is good to try to cram into your bullet journal.  You can devote pages to accomplishments, things that make you laugh, favourite simple pleasures, motivational quotes, and anything else you can think of.  If you build in that structure at the beginning of the process, you're more likely to follow it moving forward.

Goals are a great thing to include in your journal, and you can fit these in however it works best for you.  It might be easiest to set short-term weekly goals, or you may prefer to focus on longer-term goals with the shorter-term steps you need to take in order to achieve them.  You can hone in on particular areas that matter, such as finances or career, or consider broader aspects of your life.

Journalling Supply Ideas

I am completely unartistic.  That's truly not an exaggeration.  Even drawing basic shapes can be a bit of a stretch, so instead I rely on some good tools to kick it up a notch.

There's nothing particularly fancy required to do a bullet journal.  The basic journal itself can be a basic notebook or a pretty journal.  You can get some fabulous journals that don't cost a lot of money.  Paperblanks is one of my favourite brands.  They're not only one of the cheapest brands, but they're still quite reasonable, and they have some very cool cover designs.  I also really like Peter Pauper Press, which is at a lower price point.  I've linked to a couple of examples on Amazon below.

Great pens in a variety of colours can be a way to compensate for lack of artistic ability.  My personal favourite is Papermate Inkjoy ballpoint pens.  Gel pens can be a fun choice, and highlighters can be another good way to add a pop of colour.

For non-artistic types like me, stickers are journalling superstars.  Non-kid-oriented stickers can sometimes be hard to find, but Amazon has a good selection.  Stickers with motivational messages can be especially nice to have.  Stickers can also add more variety to your colour schemes.

If you want to get more crafty with it, you can get stencils and stamps and all kinds of other fun gear at scrapbooking stores.

So there you have it, the basics of how to create an awesome bullet journal.  Ignore any thoughts of what you "should" do, and instead go with what works best for you.  I hope you'll give it a try!

For More Ideas:

You can check out the bulletjournal.com website.

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Bullet Journalling—The Basics
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