Friday, March 9, 2018

5 Tips for Bullet Journal Beginners

5 Tips for Bullet Journal Beginners

I've been using a bullet journal for almost two years, and in that time, I've really learned a lot about the system. I've gone through about three and a half notebooks, and my bujo itself has changed, along with my mindset about it. Here, I'm going to be giving five tips specifically for bullet journal beginners, but they also apply to anyone in general who has a bullet journal.

Make sure to also check out this post I published last year with 10 more tips about bullet journaling!

Don't Be Afraid of "Ruining" Your Bullet Journal

bullet journal mistake--wrong date on daily spread
I forgot it was still January when it was the 29th

Something that makes me so sad is when people get discouraged from bullet journaling because they feel pressured to make something that looks "perfect." You shouldn't be scared of trying something different in your bujo--e.g. long form journaling or a new lettering style--because you're worried it'll "ruin" it. In addition, letting go of "mistakes" (like pen smears, misspelled words, empty spreads, missed dailies, etc.) is incredibly important. It's honestly so exhausting to be ever conscious of trying to make everything perfect and then beat yourself up when you inevitably do make some mistakes or something you're not fully satisfied with.

I mess things up in my bullet journal ALL the time, but the beauty of the bullet journal system in all of its DIY glory is that if you end up not liking something, you don't have to be stuck with it. You can just turn the page and move on--both literally and metaphorically. In the future, they can be things that are entertaining to look back on, and in a way, they can add character to your bujo and truly make it yours.

Set Aside Pages for Doodles and Such

If you want to keep random scribbles out of the rest of your spreads, one solution to this problem is to set aside pages to test pens, brain dump, etc. I think I have about two pages every month where I just do random calligraphy/doodling during school or scribble out whatever stuff I need/want to get on paper, and doing this keeps the rest of my spreads clean while still being able to have an organized place to write all of it down.

Plan At Night

When you plan--more specifically when you make daily spreads--is very much a matter of personal opinion, but in my experience, it's better to do it in the evening. This is for two main reasons:
  1. You can immediately get your day started. I've found that if I wait till the morning to make my daily spread, I put off actually beginning to be productive. If I have it made in advance, then I already have a set plan for the day, and thus, start to be productive soon after I wake up.
  2. It can help clear your mind at night so that when you're trying to fall asleep, you won't have all of those thoughts on what you need to do the next day swirling around your mind. Consequently, this can help you fall asleep quicker. This isn't just me; there have been scientific studies that found making a to do list/i.e. a daily spread for the following day does indeed help you sleep at night.

Reflect on the Necessity of Your Collections

abandoned bullet journal tracker

All of these things are general pieces of advice for all levels of experiences of bullet journalers, but this tip is more especially aimed towards beginners. When you're still figuring out the best system for your life, it's good to be routinely reviewing through your setup to make sure that what you're doing in your bullet journal is working the best it could and that nothing you're doing is unnecessary. The "necessity" of a collection or general aspect of your bullet journal can be determined with two main factors:
  1. It helps you be productive, organized, improve at something, etc.
  2. It makes you happy--whether it's because you like looking at it, or it's fun or therapeutic to do (or something similar like that).
Though reflecting on your bujo system is something that you should especially be doing in the beginning of your bullet journal journey and while still getting into the swing of things, I think this is something you should still continue to do for as long as you use the bullet journal because your life and your needs are always changing. For me, I kind of am always unconsciously making little alterations to my system, but I specifically change things up whenever I set up a new notebook.

Number Your Tasks

numbered tasks in daily spread

I don't do this every day, but whenever I have a LOT of things to do or just really need a schedule, I number my tasks. I have a full blog post on this bujo hack, but basically, if you're feeling overwhelmed with the amount of stuff you have to do, numbering your tasks in the order you want to do them is especially helpful to give yourself a clear plan; this makes it easier to just ensure that you get everything done as efficiently and simply as possible. I also find it helpful to do this if I'm feeling unproductive, because again, having a clear plan of attack makes it easier to get everything done.

I hope these tips were helpful for you! They are aimed towards bullet journal newbies, but regardless, I think they'd be helpful for most anyone; I personally benefit from all of these things, and I consider myself to be fairly experienced with bullet journaling.

What other bujo-related tips do you have? Comment them down below!

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