• Polaroid Android: Have You Got The Bujo Itch?

    Article by Ey@el

    Original en français

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    Bujo itch, what the hell is that? Bujo is the short for bullet journal, which is a sort of DIY crossover betwen a daily planner and personal diary or scratchbook which can be customised any way you like. The concept has been invented a couple of years ago by a New York designer who wanted to improve his productivity. Eversince the idea has gained momentum and became hugely popular. Now, there are many websites, videos and even books devoted to this phenomenon which much more than a simple hobby but a fun and creative way to manage your time.

    Since I'm paradoxically both a very organised and dispersed person, I got caught very quickly by this alternative much more convenient than sticky notes or daily planners that never provide enough space to note down everything you need besides being cluttered with many totally irrelevant and useless pages. Also, a bujo is more creative and inspiring, and you may keep it for reviewing a couple of years later as you don't just fill it with appointments and shopping lists.

    I started mine on the 1st of January 2018 (my New Year's resolution) after trying with a draft book for the whole of December and I must say that even though I sometimes forget to tick all the boxes, I find having an overview of all my goals and achievements — even the smallest ones — is quite gratifying and stimulating. No more sticky notes which you tend to ignore or lose and goodbye white boards which you can't take away with you and are too easily wiped out when you want to write on them.


    To start a bujo, you'll need a simple plain, ruled, squared or dotted A5-sized notebook with enough pages (mine has 160 pages and I just reached the middle by July, but than it just depends on how you plan to organise it and how many extra pages you'll need to add besides the traditional yearly, monthly and daily spreads).

    Personally, I had started with a plain low quality notebook and soon decided to invest in a genuine quality notebook with thick ink-proof paper to use felt-tip pens that won't show through and dotted lines which look nicer than squares and are very helpful to write straight and draw planners, calendars and sketches.

    Yes, it does cost much more than a simple notebook, but with the increasing popularity of bujos, the offer is growing and the competition tends to bring prices down. That said, you can always buy a cheap notebook and improve it by, let's say, sticking some thick cardboard and nice self-adhesive paper to make a hardcover, and add some DIY ribbon bookmarks and gusseted pockets to always keep your stickers and cuttings on hand.

    Basic structure

    It's up to you to organise your bullet journal to suit your needs. However there are some basic rules like numbering pages and creating an index on the first or last pages (I have used a single page because I don't need a very detailed index). Some notebooks designed for bullet journaling already have a table of contents and numbered pages.

    Then you may add a key page or pullout for all the symbols (bullets) and colour codes you use. Personally, I don't bother with such details and I'm happy with checkboxes which I tick when done or mark with an arrow when it needs to be reported or continued on the following day. I also use different colours for special events though I must confess I'm not very consistent with it.

    Next is your future log featuring 12 mini calendars with enough space besides or around to note down all planned events plus those you'll add later on to be included in your monthly spreads for, unlike personal planners, you create your bullet journal, day by day, on the go.

    Finally, you have a montly spread where you report the relevant elements from your future log plus the new ones. Mine always features a mini calendar to visualise the important upcoming events of the following months plus a todo list with no special date, my goals, my credit card expenses to avoid running through receipts, and a memo for story ideas and creative stuff. Note that I do use my bujo to organise my blog for I often reschedule articles and find it more convenient to do that on my computer (I used the electronic diary that comes with Thunderbird).

    Some people also have weekly spreads but it's really too much for me. I just can't stick to that much to routine and planning! I just need a double page to create a monthly spread and another to keep track of healthy habits I want to stick to and which I tick every day to stay motivated as well as a gratitude log (but there are days when I find nothing to be grateful for while at other times I have too many).

    Last but not the least comes the daily spread which you create before going to bed or at the beginning of the day to note down everything that has to be done or has to be reconducted or reported.


    Besides the planning aspect, you may add as many extra pages as you like. For instance, I have created a list of books I wish to read this year and another list of movies and concerts I have downloaded and still not watched. I also keep an inventory of my cosmetic ingredients with shelf life (but I've bought a special notebook for that as I don't want to write that list every year). Scrap pages for memoria, brainstorming pages, self-development pages, inspiring and motivational pages... the only limit is the number of pages your notebook contains. You may add a special page in the middle of a daily spread and if you need more space you can add another page elsewhere. Hence the importance of an index.

    You may decorate your bujo with drawings, sketches, quotes, pictures and all sorts of scraps. I, for one, am very fond of cheap paper-punchers usually used for scrapbooking (which you can also do with your bujo) to stick colourful shapes such as stars, snowflakes, hearts, flowers, leaf, etc. everywhere along wih masking tape.

    You may also buy stencils and stamps but I find them quite tricky to use and they're quite expensive and create a lot of clutter on your desk. It's really up to you to decide what's best for you and how much you're prepared to invest.

    Last piece of advice

    You will find literally tons of pages on the Internet relative to bullet journaling as well an infinite number of videos and pictures to seek inspiration (Pinterest and Instagram are the places to go). However, be aware of the risk of getting lost and spending more time that intended while ending up in procrastination especially if you're not a great art designers as many bullet journalers are born-artists which might intimidate and pressurise you into creating a masterpiece of a journal which is not the purpose of the whole thing. Keep in mind that it's your own creative outlet to express yourself and that it should reflect who you are. So don't compare yourself to anyone or try to imitate them. Find your own organisation, have fun and be inventive. Otherwise, what's the point? You'd be better off just purchasing or printing a standard personal organiser.

    Next month will mark the beginning of the new school year, a good opportunity for you to give it a try.


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