At first glance, the idea of a bullet journal sounded right up my alley. As it is, I have a pretty serious notebook addiction (I cannot walk out of that aisle at Target without a new one.) and I’ve carried a trusty paper planner since I got my first one in homeroom in middle school.
Like clockwork every fall, I start my search for the next best one. I’ve tried everything from your basic At-a-Glance to a prettier ban.do to a MomAgenda to my current one – the Erin Condren LifePlanner.
I’ve even tried creating my own printable dailies to be sure that my organizer included a place for all the things I wanted.
So, you can imagine my delight when I first started hearing about the Bullet Journal. It’s really the idea of creating your own planner including (and excluding) whatever you want.
The Bullet Journal is a customizable and forgiving organization system. It can be your to-do list, sketchbook, notebook, and diary, but most likely, it will be all of the above. It will teach you to do more with less.
Well, that’s the idea anyway…
You better believe I already had a stack of empty notebooks, some colorful pens, and a stockpile of washi tape at the ready. But I couldn’t just start. I had to brainstorm everything I wanted to include and sketch out how I wanted my pages to look and (natch) start a Pinterest board full of ideas – which has actually become one of my most-followed.
I knew I wanted to finish out the year with my current EC LifePlanner, but I also knew it would take me a while to get a bullet journal set up. I settled on a hard cover Moleskine that I’d been saving for something special (seriously, I do that) and got cracking.
To give you an idea of how it’s going, I just received my 2017 LifePlanner.
(1) Comparison is the enemy of contentment.
I take full responsibility for this one, but here’s the truth. I should have known this wasn’t for me the moment I started that Pinterest board.
Let me tell you something, ladies and gents, while I have what most consider to be really nice handwriting, an artist I am not. But how could I resist all of those adorable layouts and icons and colors and stickers?
Sure, there are people with what they call minimalist bullet journals out there, but all I kept thinking is why have this:
…when you can have this:
Mainly because (a) I can’t draw and (b) who has the time?!
Obviously there’s nothing wrong with the simple one; all the minimalists are all still getting their stuff done. I just let ambition get the best of me. And that totally misses the point! Which leads me to…
(2) BuJo is not for perfectionists.
Yes, you can customize your bullet journal to include whatever features you want, and for that it’s really great. But starting from scratch has it’s down sides, too.
I literally got two pages past the index before making my first mistake, and were I to continue using this bullet journal, it would bother me every time I had to refer to that page for something. Since you are starting with a blank slate, there are WAY more chances for you to mess it up – things as simple as a crooked line would drive me bananas!
I found it much less stressful to let the pros with printers do the bulk of the work for me!
(3) Most standard planners are pretty customizable, too!
My EC LifePlanner may not have a full page that looks like a bookshelf dedicated to my reading list, but there are plenty of blank pages in the back where I can make my own simple one. Same goes for thinks like movies to watch, gift ideas and wish lists, and that all-important bucket list.
Plus, with customizable, personalized covers and all the adorable stickers available on Etsy, for pretty inexpensively, I can make my planner look like it was made just for me.
I personally have stickers to make the weekend look more fun, to track my daily water intake, and to check off daily reading time. And there are countless other options!
I realize that this has turned into a sort of love letter to Erin Condren, but the truth is you can really make ANY planner your own. And I’m sticking to my LifePlanner because it meets a few important criteria:
- The same amount of planning space for weekends as weekdays – As someone who has a preschooler and is active in church, there are plenty of weekend days that are just as if not more busy than the weekdays that precede them. It’s always been a pet peeve of mine when Saturday and Sunday get gypped out of space in standard planners.
- Each day is split in sections so I can keep track of work, home, and blog events – Even if things are happening on the same day, I like to keep some separation between projects. It helps me prioritize better to see everything laid out that way.
- Lots of blank pages both throughout and in the back – All those dreamy pages are still possible with all the blank pages throughout my LifePlanner. But the basics (like the yearly, monthly, and weekly layouts) are taken care of. And that’s one less thing for me to do.
All that to say, do what you need to do, but for me? The bullet journal is great in theory, but not quite what I’m looking for.
What do you think? Have you moved into the digital age, or do you still like the posterity of a paper planner like me? Any favorite?