I’m a writer. I make a living putting words to the page. So it’s understandable that over the course of my life, I’ve received approximately 1,000 journals as gifts. But here’s my deep, dark secret: I hate journaling. Don’t get me wrong, I have lots of deep thoughts and self-proclaimed brilliant ideas. I’ve got enough feelings to fill a library. I just can’t seem to commit to writing any of them down.
I gave up on journaling years ago. But then I saw something interesting: the bullet journal. What was this magical method of taking stock, documenting, and scheduling? A lot of people are confused by bullet journals because they’re so customizable. What makes a bullet journal a bullet journal is the short-form format, which means recording quick summary bullets rather than writing paragraphs. One sentence a day? Now that’s something I can get behind.
I started my journal after a long and deeply painful period in my personal life. It was an act of self-care. I wanted to track all the areas of my life for better balance to make sure I was taking care of myself. I included a daily gratitude log to remind myself that even on the completely junk days there are silver linings and spectacular friends and puppies and ice cream.
What’s unique about bullet journals is that no two are alike. It wasn’t long before I found out some of my fellow bloggers keep bullet journals, too. Jessika Garcia uses a pre-made journal and planner. “I like planning and journaling so I can get all the thoughts from my head onto paper,” says Garcia. “Journaling has allowed me to get creative while staying organized. I try to do it every Sunday night; it’s relaxing and fun and helps me feel more prepared for the new week. “
Lynelle Fox says she finds the bullet journal very forgiving and adaptable. “It can be as creative and pretty as you wish, or as bare-bones as needed,” she says. “It’s very inexpensive. All you need is a blank book and a pen. Everything else is fluff.” Her bullet journal is actually a planner. She uses it to get organized and remember appointments and tasks in a creative way.
Fox loves the bullet format. “It’s so me,’” she says. “I love lists and checking things off. I feel accomplished when I see those little check marks next to my entries.” She says making the bullet journal work for you is all about what you put into it. “You need to discipline yourself to writing in it, checking it, committing to it. If you do, this is the best planner you’ll ever have.”
New years are all about new beginnings. If you’re looking to get organized, take stock, or stay on track in 2018, a bullet journal may be just what you need.