Bullet journaling is a trend that has totally passed me by. I was aware of it, given how popular bullet journaling is with bloggers, but I never dedicated the time to find out more about it. That is, until very recently. Today, I’m going to chat about the reason why I’m starting a bullet journal and will share some pages from mine to offer a little inspiration for anyone else interested in starting one.
Although the great thing about bullet journaling is that you can get started with a notebook you already have, I personally wanted some stationary to start afresh with. I have kindly been gifted some beautiful stationery to use from Rooi. The timing of which couldn’t have been any more perfect. At the end of the post, I have a great offer for you if you would like to invest in some lovely new stationery for yourself.
What is a bullet journal?
Put simply, a bullet journal is a customisable planner, to-do list and diary all in one. You can essentially make it what you want and can even include sketches, goal-setting, lifestyle trackers… it’s completely up to you.
Why I’m starting a bullet journal
Life with chronic illness is hard and I’ve faced a few health challenges recently. As a result, over the past couple of months, I’ve been feeling really unmotivated and, if I’m totally honest, at times completely overwhelmed. Dealing with a lack of motivation is challenging. And it has been having a negative impact on my mental health.
It sounds silly to write down but there have been days where I’ve felt so overwhelmed by my illness that I couldn’t bring myself to do anything, even if I knew it would help me to feel better. I stopped doing the things I enjoyed and I wasn’t making the time for self-care. This led to me feeling fed up, bored and lacking any sense of purpose of fulfilment. To top it off, when I did have something that I needed to do– but couldn’t due to my health– it completely stressed me out. To the point where I’d often force myself to do something straight away for fear of forgetting about it. Not at all sensible!
Enter the bullet journal
My hope is that a bullet journal will help me to feel more organised, more in control and essentially encourage me to get things done. My plan is to write down weekly tasks I’d like to do (such as self-care and little projects I enjoy), any to-do’s, appointments and things I need to remember that I can’t do right away. I hope doing the latter will remove any stress I unnecessarily put onto myself and stop me from pushing myself to do things when I don’t feel able.
How I am setting up my bullet journal
Although many people like to use A5 journals, I have opted to use this large floral notebook by Ban.do. It sounds vain, but I wanted something pretty to use as my bullet journal because it will make me take pride in it. And that in itself will help to motivate me to keep using it. I am also a very visual person, so having a large notebook is helpful for me.
As I’m prone to mistakes thanks to brain fog, I’ve mostly been using pencils to write in my bullet journal (only using a pen when I feel confident to do so). Plus, planning with a chronic illness is a challenge so there will no doubt be a lot of rescheduling I will have to do. I’ve been using compliment pencils by Ban.do, which have fun little messages on them.
Finally, for decorating my bullet journal I’ve been using some stickers and washi tape. You can go all out with the decoration or keep it super simple, it’s completely up to you!
The first few pages
I’ve left the first couple of pages as space for creating an index. This means that it will be much easier to find things as I won’t have to be flicking through the pages to locate something. I’ve also set up a key. This is essentially where I have listed any symbols I’ll use in my journal and denote why that they mean. I feel this is something that will probably evolve over time as I work out what best suits me. You can get an idea of what to use for a key here.
The next thing in my journal is my future log (pictured above). As you work month-to-month with a bullet journal, the future log lets you write down any to-do’s, appointments, events and reminders for months that aren’t yet in your journal. As I’m a visual person, I’ve drawn a little calendar for each month so that I can see the days of the week and I’ve included a space to the right specifically for any birthdays I need to remember.
I then dedicated a page to my blog stats, where I will keep track of how my blog is doing. I’m not one to obsess over numbers but I find this helpful to track as it shows what is working and what isn’t when it comes to my blog content and social media.
My monthly set up
I then started my monthly planner. I got carried away and started filling out things for July, so I went ahead and made a page for August to so that I could show you without giving my life plans away on the internet (not that there is much!!). I simply wrote down the days of the month in a list format so that I can quickly see an overview of the month. Underneath this, I have space to write down any birthdays for that month and to-dos. I’ve also left space for me to write down any blog post ideas that may come to mind.
Then I have my weekly spreads. This is a day-to-day planner for each week. It lets me visualise my week and plan what I want to do. The hope is that seeing the whole week will help me to “micro-manage” tasks and pace myself better. I also hope that writing things down will help to motivate me to get things done. I’ve left space within the spread where I can jot down any notes, to-dos or things I didn’t manage to get done (due to my health) so that I can remember to plan them again in a future week.
My initial thoughts
I do think a bullet journal will work for me in that it will help to motivate me. And I do feel it is a positive step forward in taking some control and being more organised. However, for me to keep it up, I will need to keep it as simple as possible going forward. I did find it draining to set up so I quickly abandoned a lot of ideas I had for doodles, decorations and lifestyle trackers. A bit of washi tape and stickers here and there will be as far as I go. There’s a lot of inspiration out there for bullet journaling but if I am going to succeed with it, it needs to be easy and achievable for me. So simple it is!
Get 20% off stationary at Rooi.com
If you would like to invest in some beautiful stationary to get started with bullet journaling, Rooi.com are kindly offering readers of February Stars a 20% discount on any full-priced items. This extends beyond stationary and include homeware too. Simply use the code 20FEBSTARS at the checkout. P.S if setting up a bullet journal isn’t your thing but you’d like to get more organised, be sure to check out the agendas!
Do you have a bullet journal? What tips would you share for anyone just getting started? Or would you like to get started with one? Let me know in the comments below.
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