I Ditched my Planner to Start a Bullet Journal

Posted December 3, 2018 by Thirty-Something Angie in Business & Productivity / 0 Comments

The idea of a bullet journal has always appealed to me. This year, I'm giving it a real shot! Check out some of my minimalist bullet journal spreads here. #bulletjournal #bujo #minimalistbulletjournal

As a huge planner and productivity nerd, the idea of a bullet journal has appealed to me for several years. I’ve even used one off and on for a few years now alongside my planner. I wasn’t quite ready to ditch my planner, though, so I always ended up with a glorified journal.

This year, I’m finally making the switch. I’m ditching my planner and giving the bullet journal a real shot. My biggest reason for not using one was the amount of time (and talent) it would take to draw each spread. After some research, I realized that’s just not necessary! There are a lot of beautiful, minimal spreads that have given me the confidence and inspiration to give this a real shot.

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Why I Decided to Start a Bullet Journal

For the last 6 months or so, I haven’t gotten much use out of my planner. The system that had worked for me for 2+ years was just no longer efficient. I found myself struggling to keep up with it because it no longer fit my needs.

I need something simpler, but still highly customizable. Something that gives me plenty of space to keep up with important information without a bunch of useless trackers. (I love the idea, but I just won’t use them).

Enter, the bullet journal.

There are a lot of reasons the bullet journal is the ideal system for me.

I can make my bullet journal do whatever I want it to do. Want all of the monthly spreads together in the front of the book? You got it. Need to write some to-do lists or notes? Just flip to the next page.

The layout is truly customizable. I have a lot of responsibilities to track. Between my blog, my YL business, homeschooling the kids, and keeping up with our meal plan and household budget, there’s a lot to write down.

In every planner I’ve ever owned, I’d end up frustrated at not having something I need.

With a bullet journal, I can make a page for everything! Not only that, but I can change it every week (or even every day!) if needed.

I’m a list-maker. I write lot of lists, and they don’t always fit into those little planner spaces. Using a bullet journal gives me plenty of space to keep up with these lists and keep track of where they are.

My 2019 Bullet Journal Setup

I did a lot of searching on Pinterest before deciding what I really wanted to do in my journal. I love the pretty spreads, but I just know I won’t keep up with it. What I ended up really drawn to are the minimalist spreads with just a little bit of flair. A simple hand-lettered title, small doodle, or pretty borders are all things I can handle without stressing. If you want to see some of the spreads that have inspired me, you can check out my Bullet Journal Pinterest board!

Related: How to Organize Your Thoughts When You Don’t Know Where to Start

Since I’ve been stalking bullet journalers on Instagram for a couple of years now, I already knew that I wanted the Leuchtturm 1917 dotted journal. It’s been highly recommended, and while there’s a little shadowing, it’s not nearly as bad as others I’ve seen. Plus, It was pretty affordable. At least, when you compare it to other planning systems it is! It recently came in, and I’ve been getting it ready to start off the new year!

Here’s what I have so far:

A key page: This includes a list of symbols I think I’ll need, along with some washi samples so I can add those to the edge of my page to track specific topics.

My 2019 Goals: This is a 2 page spread that includes sections for hobbies, finances, health, family, fun, and travel.

My 2019 Word of the Year: This is something I started last year, and I’m excited to keep it up! I’m still deciding what my “word” will be, though. Last year it was “grow.” I’m leaning towards “flourish” this year. What do you think?

Most bullet journal tutorials tell you to add in a “plan ahead” section in your journal. I don’t want to. It won’t get used, and my brain doesn’t work that way. So, I’m not adding it! That’s a big part of what appealed to me about this system. I really love that I have total control over what ends up in this book.

Instead of a plan ahead section, I decided to draw in all of my monthly spreads at the beginning of the journal. This way I have plenty of space to write in my plans ahead of time, without needing an extra page full of dates.

Related: How I’m More Successful with a Business Journal

Some other spreads I’m including right off the bat are:

  • Books I’ve read
  • A blog traffic and income tracker
  • Monthly budget pages
  • Weekly spreads, although I’ll fill those in as I go, because I know sometimes I’ll want more room and want daily pages in between.
  • A blog master list of posts

Other supplies I’ve found helpful:

Here are some of the supplies I’ve found helpful as I set up my bullet journal.

Of course, you can easily do this with nothing but a dot or grid journal and simple pens. These are just some supplies I had on hand already that have been helpful for making a prettier journal!

What kind of planner are you?

I love that there are so many ways to stay productive and on task, whether you’re  a planner nerd or a bullet journal junkie. Or are you an electronic planner all the way?

Hopefully, you’ve already found the system that works for you. If not, I hope this post inspired you to try something new this year!

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