Bullet Journalling has taken the world by storm and I haven’t been as productive as I want to be in terms of sharing what works for me. So here are some of my bullet journal ideas and tips. Generally what has worked and what hasn’t!
I started using the bullet journaling system at the beginning of last year. This was right after I came to terms with the fact that I cannot find a planner/diary that fits my needs. Planners in South Africa are really boring. Shipping a planner all the way from the States at a whopping 60 US Dollars really isn’t worth it, even if it will make my year the most productive and prettiest ever!
My Bullet Journal Begining
When I started bullet journaling, I thought I’d use what I have at home. I used a notebook that I had at home, it was a lined notebook and it worked. I wrote about it here. Towards the middle of the year, I had finished my notebook and wanted to “go pro” but I didn’t want to spend an enormous amount of money one notebook that I would only use for 6 months.
So I settled for a blank notebook at I bought at a local art shop here in Pretoria. Would you believe me if I told you, blank notebooks are so much better than lined notebooks? I felt like I finally had creative freedom! However, soon after, I realised the value in a dot-grid or square notebook. Because all the professional bullet journalers or #bulletjournaljunkies if you were to follow the Instagram hashtag, were using dot-grid notebooks, I had to have a dot-grid notebook for 2017.
Dot-Grid or Dotted Bullet Journals
Finding a reasonably priced dot-grid bullet journal in South Africa proved to be a whole different kind of nightmare. Firstly, there are no LEUCHTTURM1917 notebooks available here.
Would you believe me if I told you, I emailed the founder of Bullet Journal, Ryder Carroll, asking if I can become a sole distributor for Bullet Journals in South Africa? It sounded like a good idea, but he was looking for someone to resell the journals in a brick and mortar store. I wasn’t planning on opening a brick and mortar store at the time.
What this means to the South African market, is that Moleskine once again dominates the market. And I don’t have anything against Moleskine, I, like any other sane consumer, really just prefer competition. To control, supply and demand to be better if you will?
My Dotted Journal
I purchased a Xlarge Soft Cover Notebook in the end, which to this day is completely unused.
See, like many folks, I too felt a little scared to write in this fancy, (read, expensive) dot-grid notebook. Call it stage fright or whatever you want, but after I was given a pocket-size classic black dotted notebook, I braved it and took the plunge.
And can I tell you, I have never looked back…
Bullet Journal Ideas
Here are a few bullet journal ideas to get you started on a journey, that won’t stop, if you are anything like me. (List crazy, planner addict, particularly fussy when it comes to stationary??)
1.) Start with a cheap notebook or One that you have at home.
If you aren’t 100% whether you know if bullet journaling is for you, start with a relatively cheap notebook or one that you have at home.
2.) There is no Right or Wrong
Sure there is the Ryder Carroll way of bullet journaling and there are beautiful examples of bullet journaling on Pinterest. These are all examples, ideas and possible uses for the journal. But let’s be honest, who has time for all that. GO WITH WHAT WORKS FOR YOU!
Would you allow someone to criticise your to-do list? Bullet Journaling is exactly that!
3.) Learn from Others
Use the resources available on the market. Bullet Journaling, like Banting, has taken the world by storm. If you want a pretty and frilly journal, buy some stamps/washi-tape/stickers, there are endless sources. Read the feeds and apply what will work in your schedule.
I don’t do stickers/stamps/washi-tape, but I do spend money on high-quality pens. The very worst is when ink bleeds through to the other side of the page, so I would rather have one decent pen that doesn’t bleed, that millions of other that do.
I was very sad a short while ago when I bought a fancy (read, expensive) marker that bled right through the page. There wasn’t much I could do about it, so embraced it and decorated it.
3.) Invest in a quality notebook. DOT GRID if you can!
Once you’ve come to the realisation, that the bullet journal system works for you, invest in that notebook. Each to their own, but I am telling you a dotted journal is the best to invite structured-minimalistic-chaos! Here’s how I see it:
Blank Journal – invitation to write skew.
Lined or Ruled Journal – limits your creative juices. How are you suppose to empasize certain things in a journal with lines all over?
Square Journal – I haven’t personally tried one, but I bought one of those R5.99, A5 school books to play around with and I hated it. It was way too busy and limited any creativity I felt before the purchase.
Dotted Journal – Balance. Draw freehand sketches (if you are so inclined). Use the dots as a guide rather than a rule. I love it, structured freedom, it suits my personality to a T.
4.) Experiment and Play around with different Layouts.
The Pocket Moleskine Notebook is really quite small. Smaller than an A5 size notebook. Which is brilliant for your handbag, but not so great for notes. At the beginning of the year, I used it at it is designed to be used (vertically). Soon after, I turned the notebook on its side and used the notebook horizontally. This made a world of difference to me. Suddenly I had the space I lacked before.
I also started playing around with a more structured layout, before I reverted to winging it, the way I prefer to wing it!
5.) Enjoy the Freedom that Bullet Journaling brings
Honestly, some days I don’t have a lot to write, then I don’t. Some days I forget to write a single word in my journal. Other days, I take notes or do a brain dump of all my thoughts. It works beautifully for me.