You drank the kool aid – and jumped on board the bullet journal journey. BUT bullet journaling is not working for you and you can’t understand why? Let’s spend some time unpicking that today!
At the very minimum, we should discuss the actual Bullet Journal Method. The bullet Journal Method, was created by Ryder Carroll a number of years ago, and essentially is a simple way of managing your to-do list through a series of symbols representing the things moving on that list. If you are wanting to find the right method check out this post on starting out
BUT there are hundreds of other productivity books that have the same ideas around productivity, intention and organization. For example the “7 Habits of highly effective people” has been a seller for decades. It still goes strong because the basic premise is that you need to prioritise the things on your to-do list and manage your time according to those priorities.
Your life does not get better by chance. It gets better by change.Jim Rohn
So where does this leave you on your journey to finding planner, journal balance / nirvana?
Reasons you might not feel bullet journaling is not working for you
1. You are feeling overwhelmed by all the things you see on social media
Once you found out about Bullet Journaling, and it seemed as though everybody you knew was doing it and you started looking into it, you were hit by a brick wall of creativity. You looked on Pinterest and thousands of amazing looking notebooks came up of people looking creative and organised. Did it feel like you? Did it feel like actually you were just following someone else’s style to fit in?
Well this is where we break down some of the stigma, you can be creative with your bullet journaling style, but you can also be practical and productive, BUT it needs to suit you and your needs. If you are spending more time than you have making something look the way you’ve seen it on Instagram, then you aren’t really servicing yourself? But if you are doing it because you enjoy the mindfulness of the process, and you have the time to spare to recreate some gorgeous spreads, then you are probably heading in the right direction.
Unless you have a penchant for art journaling, or its something you want to learn, jumping straight into a “artsy” bullet journal will be really hard and will make you feel “less than” because of the time it takes to practice that skill.
Dont be discouraged by it though, take elements you might like from those and perhaps trim them down a little!
2. You aren’t sure why everyone is in love with dot grid notebooks – why the hype?
Because they are in “vogue ” – to use the bullet journal method or any productivity method, really all you need is any old notebook, a pen and maybe a ruler. You don’t need a million different highlighters, markers, brush pens and other goodies to get started. But if you want them, I am sure as heck not stepping in front of the freight train! HAHA!
Talking about dot grid books for a second, the reason they are so popular is because they give you the freedom of writing where-ever you want as well some some basic guidance as to what a straight line might look like.
But realistically the reason bullet journaling might not be working for you, is that actually you might need a dated planner, or a notebook or diary with a little more structure. There are tons of options to help you if this is in fact what you might need – and we will delve a little more types and options of journals and planners for you here – but in the mean time, know there is an option for almost every person and style on the planet.
3. You’ve taken on too much too soon
When you first jumped in, you went straight for the advanced stuff, you went straight into tracking your year in pixels, or reading challenges or even spreads that were complicated. Why? Because it didn’t look that hard to manage at the time. BUT now you are 2 weeks in (4 weeks, 2 months who knows!) but you are struggling to keep up with your self imposed targets to meet.
Starting out simply with just a calendar of things coming up in the future, and your first couple of weeks is probably the best place to start. You don’t need to use up hundreds of pages to get to that point.
Another clever tip when starting out, is starting with some sticky note to assign pages you might want to do in the future. This means you aren’t flooded up front with heaps of ideas, but might pace them out as you go.
Keep your habit tracking to a minimum while you start getting the hang and flow of the system you like personally, and as you go, you might find you want to add more. But starting out you really want to embed using a notebook/journal or planner for productivity before going straight for all the really hard stuff!
So what can you do to feel more in control?
- Take a step back and really assess your needs. What do you really want from a journal? What do you want to achieve with your productivity?
- Don’t get sucked into the hype. Try starting at your own pace, find what you enjoy doing and what makes you happy. At the end of the day is a customized system for you, not anyone else.
- Start off small, don’t leap into 500 pages for habit tracking or glorious art (unless you’re an artist of course). Begin your journey simple and minimal. There are thousands of journalists who keep it simple but gorgeous!
- Don’t rush yourself. You are in control of your speed of learning. Not others.
- No question is a stupid question. Always feel free to pop us a line if you are confused by something. We all had to start somewhere!