Bullet Journaling For the Soul

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I’ve always been the type of learner that needs to write things out and read things on paper. I can only really retain information and avoid anxiety when I write out lists, charts or study guides. Recently, my life got exponentially busier than it used to be, so I knew it was time to start really organizing my time and actually following through with it. I’ve tried so many times to keep a planner, and I’ve regrettably spent a lot of money on fancy planners from Target that I never really finished. And I always felt guilty when I skipped a day or two, or skipped a week.

Last summer, my friend and I visited Washington D.C. for a conference, and us both being obsessed with journals and stationary, we stopped into the Moleskin store, where the salesman there told us about bullet journaling. “It’s the new type of journaling everyone’s doing.” Naturally, my friend and I went to our hotel room and spent hours on Pinterest looking at layouts, journals and how to start a bullet journal.

I hated it. At first, at least. It was extremely stressful to keep up with making layouts and I felt like I wasn’t good enough or disciplined to keep a bullet journal that is as beautiful or perfect as people’s on Pinterest or Instagram. I gave up on it for almost a year, until the beginning of my senior year, I realized what I was doing wrong. The problem was that I was worried too much about comparing my journal to other people’s or making it a certain way, instead of making it my own thing that helps me.

So I started again. I got a moleskin, the type that I wanted. I began journaling. i did it my way. At my own pace, and most importantly–with my own style. And I can’t rave enough about how much it has helped me in so many ways. It has first and foremost, made me organized. But secondly, what I didn’t realize was that it would make me more relaxed. Since I’m the kind of person who loves writing things, doodling things and seeing lines and typography on a page, it literally decreased my anxiety and tension so much. The best part about bullet journaling is that it let’s you make your own layout, own style and own organization routines—while letting you be creative with it. But the most important thing is to not get hung up about comparing yourself to others!

However, theres nothing wrong with looking for inspiration and advice, and if you’re looking to start a bullet journal, here are some tips on how to make some cute layouts–but don’t forget to make them your own!

1. Trial and Error your Weekly Layouts

 

My advice with these is, definitely look for some to go off of from Pinterest or something. But don’t get anxious if you can’t make the layout look completely identical! Make it your own! Add your own flare. Weekly layouts can be as simple or detailed as you want. Sometimes, depending on the week, I like to add “Routines” for different times of the day like for the morning and evening. Or I sometimes just keep it simple with a Mon-Sun layout. I’m always looking for new ways to improve weekly layouts, and I realized there’s really no reason to try and make them the same each time, because it all depends on what you have planned for that certain week!

2. Personalized lists

 

One thing that bullet journaling gives you the freedom for is dedicating pages to more abstract things like to-do lists, movies-to-see, etc. When I was thinking about what kind of lists I should do I was drawing a blank and went to Pinterest, but none of them really sparked my interest that I could find or really reflected what i wanted to do. I recently thought of doing a thing called a “Master-to-Do List” which is just basically a big to do list on a whole page of things i need to remind myself to do for the week or even the month. Right next to it I added something too– a page for a Self-Care list. I plan to make my own self care tracker to add onto my weekly layouts as well, so I can keep track of it each day, but for now a list will do.

3. Mood pages!!!

ne of the things that really caught my eye about bullet journaling was the flexibility to add your flare to it. I’ve always loved scrapbooking, so I thought this would be a perfect way to incorporate that. That’s where the creativity for mood pages go in. How to make a mood page? Literally just go through your favorite magazines that you’ve already read and find images that inspire you or just look fun to add to your layouts. For one of my pages I just added a photo that I particularly liked and calmed me down. For another page I just was sifting through fashion magazines and felt like making a mood page for some outfit inspirations. This is one of the funner parts of bullet journaling, especially if you’re an artistic type!