Bullet Journals: When you realise just how not organised you really are

Bullet Journals by Pan Macmillan review

About a month ago, I posted about Bullet It!, a how-to of sorts for a bullet journal. I thought I’d update you about that as well as two other gems that got me thinking about bullet journalling entirely differently.

Bullet it!

Bullet It! is I discovered in and around the perfect size to be carrying around, roughly 18 by 14cm. It’s enough to slip in my bag, and have on my desk and in my face basically, because that’s the other thing — I realised I had to train myself to write something down when I realised I had to do it, because, I admit it, I’m bloody lazy.

I can happily think of something and make a mental note to look it up, or on my phone, but yes, I will forget and I will cancel the alarm because I’m used to seeing a ton of notifications on my phone. I know I know, I’m weird. 

Having to write something down, having to put down what I have planned for the next week, is actually something that does make things stick in my head. 

The other thing I discovered is that my handwriting sucks mightily. I’m embarrassed at how bad it is in fact, and I am side-eyed Bullet It! for making me realise that with their different fonts, and practice pages so you can make pretty headers. Because next to that stuff? My normal, every day writing is so not good. It is a consequence of typing everything, I guess.

The journal also reminded me I miss writing — my notes for the day tend to be longer than what bullet journals generally have. Bullet it! also ended up being a practice journal of sorts. I used different weekly spreads, some weeks none at all. I’m still mulling whether I want an index because at the moment my journals aren’t large tomes, and I’ve found sticky tabs a lifeline to mark pages with notes I want to recall. It’s nothing like any of the journals I’ve read about, and I rather imagine my next one will be something different entirely.

How to Bullet Plan

This little gem has been fuelling my experimentation with different spreads because it is exactly what it says: a how to guide for bullet planning. The author, Rachel Wilkerson Miller, is a senior lifestyle editor at Buzzfeed, so I think when I say this is fun to read, you can trust that I’m right, heh.

The book discusses the basics of bullet journaling to monthly habit trackers to health and fitness spreads and even travel spreads. She also includes a ton of stuff that will make things easier for any bullet journaler, but really it’s just a guide.

In addition to a the guide to contemporary journaling, she includes tons of historical titbits through the book for instance, what must be the pettiest index in the history of journaling, by one Mrs Betsey Fremantle through the 18-19th centuries. Later they were published by her great-granddaughter, which is when the world was introuduced to entries like:

dislikes Bombelles family 119, 157, 164, 165, 170 … 271

Yup, right through to page 271. She really didn’t like this family!

The Little Bullet Book: be gorgeously organised

The Little Bullet Book is undeniably gorgeous. It’s the kind of bullet journal you would think it a crime to mess up with marks, as much as you want to put pen to paper. 

Where it differs from Bullet It! is that every page comes pre-filled with things — from a task tracker to a monthly me page, to a personal beliefs page and places to visit page, to name a few. They’re all different, and all designed to make you pause and consider the things you want out of life. For that reason, I think this is less a bullet journal and more a life journal. There’s not a lot of space to make your own trackers or add your own flair to this book, but there’s a ton that will make you think.

Overall, what do I get from bullet journaling? Time for me — time to plan because way too many things just slip by the wayside and I realise just how much I keep missing. Especially when it comes to blogging: you know ideas strike you in the most unexpected spots? Yeah, I write them down in a ton of different spots and never go back to them. Bit of an issue.

You know what else I enjoyed? Getting messy and scribbly with my journal. I know some advocate practicing with pencil and the like, but unless you’re sketching, I think half the fun is going the whole hog with whatever your writing, scheduling or whatever, and if it doesn’t work just turn the page. It’s at least one thing I won’t be OCD about in my life heh!

I know this isn’t for everyone, but don’t be put off by the pretty spreads, drawings and the like. I’ve discovered plenty of journals that go the minimalist road, and you know, that’s just as satisfying as going the artsy way.

For more bullet journal ideas, check out the Pan Macmillan blog here, here and over here

12 Comments

  • Ooh I think I’d like How to Bullet Plan the best. I keep thinking of trying a bullet journal just because they are so fun and creative, not that I’m a drawer or have great handwriting either. LOL I have been using a planner this year though and it’s great!

    -Lauren

  • Kelly says:

    I love that a lot of the little journal is already pre drawn out, that’s a massive positive for first timers like myself. I like that it’s pocket sized too, perfect for popping in the handbag as well. Looking forward to picking one up. Great reviews Verushka, really enjoying your journallling series <3

  • This sounds like a good way to stay organized. I am massively OCD, so I write things done, put it in a calendar, put it my phone, on my computer. Compulsive right?!?!

  • Oh gosh, yeah, I had to take notes for the books I was reading and write my to-do lists and whatnot by hand when I didn’t have power, and it was like I forgot how to even write lol. But I’m glad you’re finding some benefits to bullet journaling!

  • My writing sucks too, which is one of the main reasons I could never get into the bullet journals. Everyone posts pictures of their gorgeous layouts, etc. and I’m just sitting here with my pages of chicken shit like 🙁 LOL. I would spend so much time trying to make the journal presentable that it ended up defeating its own purpose. I do like the idea of a minimalist one though. That seems more in line with my needs and skill set (or lack thereof, lol).

  • I love that you an I are into this now! My next BuJo post is coming up next week I think I’m totally obsessed LOL I’ll have to check out this Little Bullet Book but I;m not sure I like pre-filled with things!

  • Sam@WLABB says:

    My co-blogger did the bullet thing for a while, and she was doing all these really involved designs. She found it hard to maintain, but she is still bullet journaling, just in a more simplified way. I don’t feel like I have too much to keep track of these days, so I just use google calendar, but some of the bullet journals I have seen are amazing.

  • Evelina says:

    I know what you mean, I started writing an actual snail-mail letter to my friend last month… While my handwriting is okay, my wrist was sore in under a page! We’re just not used to it anymore, what with all that typing.

    I’d love to journal, but I keep having to run around two houses (this current phase of my life..) and I can’t drag that many things around (clothes are a priority), so I keep my notes on the phone. Unromantic, I know! But one day, maybe 🙂 because stationery = <3

  • I don’t think I have enough happening in my dull life to use a journal like that! The good thing is that lots of people are enjoying using them, and having fun with it.

  • Sounds like some good references here. I’m still formatting my journal for 2018. I did some this year and figured out some of what did and did not work for me. I hope 2018 is the year it sticks! I like the idea of being organized better than I liked being organized.

  • How to Bullet Plan appeals to me. I agree writing something down helps me remember, although I do it digitally.

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