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One Year of Bullet Journalling: What I've Learnt

08/02/2018


As you probably already know by now, I love a bit of organisation. Whether it's a spring clean, wardrobe shuffle or a good old to-do list, I pride myself on having my sh*t together. My main tool for making sure I'm on top of everything from appointments to birthdays is my beloved Bullet Journal. Since switching up my paper diary for this completely customisable system I've never looked back and now frequently fan-girl over the freedom and creativity of the bullet journalling method to anyone who will listen.

With over a year's worth of experience and three bullet journals under my belt and counting (see my second 2017 version here - the first is best left in the recycling bin, believe me) I think I've just about earned enough #bujo stripes to share what I've learnt, the stationery I use and the spreads I love most. So, whether you're looking to add something a bit different to a well-loved bullet journal or you're a bit of a novice who needs a good organisational kick up the ass, let's get planning...




WHAT I'VE LEARNT: AUTHENTICITY IS KEY

Previously I've been seduced by all the beautiful bullet journals out there in the Instagram world, turning each and every page in my book into a work of art complete with botanical drawings, bubble writing and various other bells and whistles. Ironically, I soon realised it's very easy to over-complicate things in the world of bullet journalling so my biggest tip is to be absolutely authentic with your method.

For me, that means having a bullet journal that looks minimal and clean, as I struggle to organise my thoughts onto paper when the page in question is covered with busy drawings, quotes and colours. Whether you want efficiency, creative expression or both from your bullet journal, I think it's so important that you stay true to your aesthetic and don't fall victim to setting yourself up with a style that you saw once on Pinterest but can't possibly maintain past March.




WHAT I LOVE: FAVOURITE SPREAD IDEAS

BOOKS, FILMS AND/OR BOXSET TRACKERS. There's something incredibly satisfying about ticking off the books, boxsets and bad romcoms I've been meaning to watch and/or read for like, ever. Give it a go yourself and rate each one when you're done so at the end of the year, you can look back and see your absolute favourites.

GOALS. In January, I wrote out a list of goals for 2018. At the start of each month, I revisit this list and break down the biggies into smaller, mini-tasks that can help guide me to getting where I want to be. By doing this, it makes things seem all the more manageable and much less scary - something I definitely recommend.

EXPENSES. Spending all your money on Dominoes pizza and new denim? Yeah, me too it seems. By setting up an expenses spread each month that you commit to filling out each time you're tempted by a quick, contactless purchase, it really makes you think twice about the sh*t you just don't need though. For me, that sadly includes chicken strippers and garlic dip...

STYLE DIARY. Another way I've curbed my spending is with this new style spread, courtesy of The Anna Edit. Seperated by seasons, this entry shows me where I'm getting the most wear out of my wardrobe and should continue to invest in, as well a wish list area where I jot down those pieces I'd like to fill the gaps. I'm looking at you, Topshop scarf...





WHAT I RECOMMEND: MY TOP FOUR TIPS AND TOOLS

START SLOW AND STRONG. If you're just beginning a bullet journal, my first tip is to plan your initial pages in pencil first. By being noncommittal and organising my journal's running order back in January, through a bit of trial and error I found a working method that suited me best without penning anything in that I immediately wanted to rip right out again.

IT'S ALL IN THE PREP. There is an overwhelming amount of #inspo out there in the bottomless hole that is bullet journalling. To save myself getting swallowed up (again) in three-hour Pinterest sessions and more ideas for spreads than I can shake a stick at, I like to use the IG Save function as a little digital home for all of the great ideas I come across online. From there, I see what ideas reappear or stand out as something that I would benefit from trying myself and then I'll give it a go. Side note: my favourite IG bujo accounts include: @petite_gloom, @daintilynoted and @journalbeanie

SLIMLINE THE STATIONERY. Again, just like the theme of my bullet journal I keep my stationery kit pretty simple too. For various note taking and list making I use my most trusted Uni Pin 0.1 Fine Line Marker as it's precise and completely smudge-proof, even for us awkward lefties out there. For adding a splash of colour, I love the Tombow ABT Dual Brush Pens - my favourite shades at the moment are 990 Light Sand and 992 Sand for all those pretty beigey vibes. Pens sorted, I then pair these with a trusty ruler, Tippex Mouse (AKA your new best friend) and my Leuchtturm1917 Black A5 Dotted Notebook and I'm away on the organisation train.

TAKE IT EASY. It's really tempting to use your bullet journal as a place to pour in the hundreds of things you have to do, like yesterday, but that'll only make you feel bad about life and mad at your journal for so rudely pointing it out that you're failing miserably. I strongly believe in the rule of three when it comes to planning what you need to achieve in a day. Taking your 100 'To Do's' and prioritising them into a handful of 'Must-Do's' is not only way more realistic - it's also just nicer to feel calm and in control, rather than having a 15 minute flapping session because 'I DON'T HAVE TIME TO DO IT ALL!'