Bullet Journaling: Should You Skip this Trend?

4:47 PM

This month, I dived into the world of bullet journaling (AKA “BuJo”). What’s up with this trendy journal thing? I wanted to see if a bullet journal could work as a personalized planner for me. Is it an effective and motivating planner method? Could I make my own crafty planner? Would this be my new creative outlet? We shall find out together. Into the rabbit hole we go…

First, What the Heck is a Bullet Journal?

I know, it’s a weird term. BuJo is even more strange. A bullet journal is basically a handmade personalized planner, diary, or organizer. They can be used to keep track of weekly plans, to- do lists, calorie intake, daily intentions, sketches… anything you want, really. 

These pages are designed and created using flair pens, washi tape, stickers, and other craft supplies to pretty things up. It’s actually pretty similar to scrapbooking, for those of us who remember that trend (Raise your hand if you're feeling old now).

Why Do People Do it?

Bullet journalists all have their personal reasons for getting into it. Some find motivation with creating the pages. Some even use the page creation time as a reward for completing their prior tasks.
BuJo enthusiasts feel that creating beautiful pages can make the tasks on the list seem more pleasant and less daunting. Some just enjoy it and find joy in creative design, in the same way that scrapbookers do.

Are Bullet Journals an Effective Way to Plan?

It can be. Some use it like a positive reinforcement system and create new pages as a reward for achieving goals in their journal. This type of system can be very effective for those struggling with motivation and looking for a creative outlet.

For others, it can be a waste of time. This is what I found to be true during my very brief trial of bullet journaling. Hand me some flair pens and washi tape and you just sent me down a rabbit hole of crafty obsession.

Don't get me wrong though. I loved designing my planner pages! I got so into it. I was digging up my old scrapbooking supplies, looking up fonts, thinking of different layouts and designs to try. I had so much fun creating my planner pages… until I realized the I spent the afternoon not getting anything done. All this time planning and no actual doing.

Should You Do It… Or Wait for the Next Trend?

That depends. Are you someone who will get distracted by all the washi tape and templates (like me)? Or will you use bullet journaling as a creative activity to help you get things done?

Let’s be real: Time spent prettying up a planner is time away from achieving your goals on the planner. If you plan to use bullet journaling as a reward system or want to try it out as a creative hobby, then you might love it! It can be relaxing and fun to make new pages for your planner. If you’re crafty and creative, it might be perfect for you.

But. If you’re short on time and just need a way to get organized, maybe sit this one out. It’s a time sucker, a fun one, but a hobby that will take up a lot of your time.

And bullet journaling is not for easily distracted people. Some people get so wrapped up in designing and crafting, that they forget about their actual tasks and plans! It’s easy to get consumed by the creative process. When this happens, the focus shifts away from the goals… and turns into a counter- productive cycle.

A Word from my favorite BuJologist…

It’s my blog post, and I can make up words if I want to, right? Anyway, I chatted with the very talented Jill Bensimhon of Planning in Pajamas about bullet journaling. If you’re looking for inspiration, she has a whole Instagram account dedicated to her beautiful bujo pages! Most of the images on this post are from her page (with her permission, of course).

Take one glance at her Instagram account and you’ll see that Jill is a bullet journaling queen. But sadly, her BuJo days have fizzled out over time. Why?  “Honestly,” Jill says, “It’s a waste of time. Briefly, I found it relaxing to make the pages but then it just became stressful trying to keep up with it.”

Welp, folks, there you have it. Bullet journaling can be fun and relaxing, but not if you have a ton of things to get done.

Ultimately, it comes down to time commitment. Do you have the time to create the pages for a bullet journal? Make a few pages and see how long it takes you. Then ask yourself if you could do that every week. If the answer is yes, then you just found yourself a great new hobby! But if not, it could become a potential source of stress and frustration.

I quickly realized that I don’t have the patience or time to create pretty pages every week. I also learned that my handwriting isn’t cute enough. I now have tons of respect for those who are able to keep a bullet journal. Hats off, seriously. I was about to throw my journal across the room. So it didn’t turn out to be a relaxing outlet for me, but I admire those who are talented and patient enough to make it work.

Here’s What I Do Instead.

So you want a pretty planner, but don’t want to devote hours each week designing it. I get that. Might I suggest an alternative to bullet journaling? I like pretty things and I’m picky, so I made my own planner. Granted, it’s not a bullet journal, but it’s super cute and helps me organize my life. I use it every single day and am lost without it.

It took me a while to create it, but now it’s done. All I have to do is print out the pages and -viola- instant cute planner pages. If that’s more your thing, I offer two types of planners in my shop: a Teacher Planner and a TPT Business Planner for sellers. Print and go.

And if there’s interest in a regular daily planner, I can create that too, so lemme know if I should. Seriously though, reach out to me and let me know if that’s something you would like me to offer, because as of now, I’m not planning to work on one unless it’s something that others want.

      This one's free!

The Bottom Line (Which May or May Not Be Made of Washi Tape)

Whether you use a bullet journal or not, do what works for you. Life doesn’t have to resemble Pinterest or Instagram. Maybe your planner is a plain old notebook with notes scribbled all over it. Does it get the job done? Then it’s perfect.

If you use bullet journals or have another way to stay organized, I’d love to see it! Tag me on Facebook or Instagram so I can see your ideas!

Visit my blog at https://teachingexceptionalthinkers.com/ for more fun teaching ideas!

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