• Simplified Bullet Journaling

    Article by Ey@el

    Original en français

    Every first of January marks the beginning of a new calendar year and we change calendars and diaries. Well, not always. Some, like students for instance, use diaries starting in September which is the beginning of the academic year. Then you have bullet journalers who may start their diary/journal anytime since they create it from scratch.

    Worry not, I haven't forgotten and I'm not rehashing what I've already wrote about bullet journaling (see Related articles) which is now more popular than ever to the delight of stationery and arts and crafts suppliers who are making a killing off, offering loads of terribly appealing stuff which is ultimately contrary to the principle and tends to be quite counterproductive. So I wanted to share my own experience as I've just started my third bujo.

    I will not go into details, but after wasting hours peering at the most beautiful bujo pages posted on Pinterest or Instagram, I finally started my own, that was two years ago, and created many pages I never finished. Which was helpful to adjust to my true needs with the next bujo. Then I found the layout I had chosen was really time-consuming and that my quest for perfection could easily become a source of stress when I was too busy. Actually, the main purpose of bullet journaling is not for it to become another chore to your list but to improve your daily productivity and optimise your time management. So this year, I opted for a sober and minimalist style that won't take me forever to lay out every month or week, but still eye-catching enough to motivate me to fill it and use it. For a glimpse at my new chosen style and maybe find you own inspiration, you may browse the gallery below (click on each thumbnail to enlarge).

    So my bujo for 2020 opens up on a double cover page covered with coloured light-weight printed paper (you want to avoid using thick paper otherwise your journal will soon become too thick to close or write in it). Not to mention the essential index pages, not featured here, which are preprinted before the front page. My journal has all its pages already numbered (less work for me) and I have just added keys for the bullets and colours which are the building blocks of this system. Roughly, I have different bullets for tasks, appointments, events, notes, questions or ideas i don't want to forget. I'm using crossed bullets for cancelled tasks or arrows for migrated tasks while tasks in progress are half-shaded and completed tasks fully shaded. I'm using different colours to differentiate personal stuff from the rest and I also have one colour for everything related to this blog.

    Next we have the year log where I write everything I know in advance for each month since you create bujo pages on the go, every week or every day. I also note these on a calendex (calendar/index) as bullet entries with the relevant page number where I can view my year at a glance

    I no longer use a separate page for birthdays as I find more convenient to keep everything in the same log which also turns out to be a time-saver when preparing my monthly log.

    I've also stopped doodling on my double monthly cover pages. I just decorate them with printed paper in relation to the season and which will be repeated on the monthly calendar and weekly pages. I might draw freehand, with a stencil, or with clear stamps (which I now tend to avoid using because however careful you are, there will always be unwanted ink traces everywhere). I also have an assortment of mini-punches (one third cheaper on the web compared with the expensive prices you'll get in traditional arts and crafts shops) to cut various shapes in coloured sheets which I'm using as stickers. I usually create a bulk that I can dispose of when needed. And of course, there is the essential washi tape to quickly and effectively decorate pages. Same here, you can find them much cheaper on the Internet even if it means you'll probably need to add some glue to keep them in place.

    As for the structure in itself, I have shifted to a single vertical column calendar, easier to use than table calendar and where you can write more stuff. I have also let down monthly trackers and now tick my healthy habits directly on the week pages which is also a time-saver because I no longer need to turn pages. Also I write down all non-scheduled tasks in a separate column so I don't have to reschedule every day what I haven't done. Plus it's more motivating.

    As for extra pages, I'm still using my list pages of books to read and movies to watch but now using a fun design which looks less “massive”. I also have created a year log on two double pages for this blog as well a double page with sticky notes for my story ideas.

    Well, that's it. I hope my system will have inspired those of you who might have felt put off by some very sophisticated layouts on the web and can see that it's possible to create a tailor-made journal both appealing and easy-peasy even if you're neither a graphic designer nor an artist.


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