I’ve been bullet journaling for about 2 years now and through this time I’ve been constantly contacted by people, that even though they want to start their own bullet journal, they seem to have certain problems or struggles with it. And one of the biggest ones is being consistent with it.
I've had some similar reactions lately from people I know, as well as from people I met online, about bullet journaling and how time consuming it looks. They regarded that it takes too much effort and that it might not be convenient for people with limited time. Others also mentioned the fact that they are not as artistic or creative, and that they can't draw or doodle the way I do. Therefore, they thought that bullet journaling is not for them.
Taking a step back and looking at bullet journaling from their point of view, I realised that it does seem like a lot of work and that this could deter a lot of people from having a bullet journal. So, I decided to create this post to show you that you can still bullet journal even if you don't have the time or the artistic skills.
I'll start by saying that bullet journaling in it's core is the way it's shown in the official website. It really is very basic and you don't have to draw or create anything like that at all. All you need is a notebook and a pen. That's it.
However, if you still want to make your bullet journal look pretty and add more colour to it, there are a few simple ways to do it without spending hours over it or joining a drawing class :)
Create shapes and doodles in minutes with stencils. You can find anything you want, from to-do lists, banners, cute icons or the days and months. The sky is the limit!
Left: Stencil x bullet journal
Right: Journal Stencil
One of the quickest and easiest way to add colour and personality to your bullet journal is with stickers. You can find anything from coloured dots, bullet journal symbols and dates, to cute animals. Any shape or colour you want. You can have themed weeks or months, or you can use them to colour coordinate specific categories.
Left: EBD350 Days of the Week
One of the easiest ways to add colour and patterns to your bullet journal is with washi tapes. You can find an amazing variety online and on Etsy.
Find more ideas and inspiration on how to use all the above on Etsy and Amazon. Also you can follow me on Pinterest for more weekly and monthly spread ideas and collections.
Some more ways that can save you time while bullet journaling
-- Stick to one design
If you find a design or spread that works for you then stick to it and don't change it. For example, you don't have to change the design of your date header every day. You can have the same one for a week or a month!
--Pre-plan your spreads
During the month (or week) notice what works and what doesn't so that you know what things to adjust or add the next time. See how I adjusted my weekly spread in this post.
--Keep it Simple
If you don't have the time then don't choose complicated spreads. Just keep it simple. Like in the example below, you don't have to create an intricate drawing showing which books you want to read. You can just make a list and tick them off as you go.
You can choose a minimalistic approach like Celine and create a set up for your bullet journal with black as your basic tint and one accent color for putting some extra focus on certain words or details.
--Use your time wisely
Plan ahead and create your weekly/monthly views during the weekend, for example, that you might have more spare time.
Create reference pages in your bullet journal with banner ideas, headings etc. That way you don't have to search every time to get inspired. You just choose one of the designs from your page. You can also create a Pinterest board with bullet journal ideas to get inspiration from time to time.
Bullet Journaling is a fun way to create you own calendar/journal. But it doesn't have to be complicated or time consuming. Give it a try and I guarantee that you're going to love it!
Having lots of spreads and pages in your bullet journal that help you with your day to day planning can sometimes be a bit confusing or you might find that you forget to check a page at one point. I try to keep on top of everything I create in order to help me with my future planning, but making a list to make sure you don't forget anything is always a good idea ;)
I break my planning into monthly, weekly and daily speads. That way I can keep track of any tasks, projects, appointments and so on. I also have a yearly spread with all my plans and goals for the current year, but I don't have to change that during the year.
I'm the sort of person that gets distracted very easily - like a dog that is chasing a ball you've thrown at but suddenly sees a squirrel and decides to run after him instead! That's what's happening to me too. I chase one thought trying to focus and finish a specific task and then suddenly something else will come up and BOOM, I direct all my focus there, living the first task unfinished. In the end, I feel like a headless chicken running around aimlessly and not accomplishing anything during the day.
(Well, there seems to be a lot of animals in the above paragraph - dogs, squirrels and chickens - but I hope you get the picture!)
After a while I realised that I had a time management and focus issue that I had to deal with pronto! So, through the years, I started using little techniques here and there that have made a BIG difference to me and my life, as far as focusing and managing my time is concerned.