Why I Stopped Minimalist Bullet Journaling

Bullet Journaling is one of my favorite ways to stay organized. As an artist and a bit of a rebel, those store-bought calendars are just too confining and regimented. How dare they try to box me in and act like my months and weeks are always the same. Creative types understand that we need space to jot down ideas when they come up, draw out our thoughts, and plan out what’s coming up with room for magic and the unexpected. If you want to know more about Bullet Journaling, you can hear how and why it was created here.

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I’ve been Bullet Journaling since 2016

I’ve been at this so long I remembered when they tried nicknaming them BJ’s. Obviously, that was problematic and someone came up with the term bujo which is just as irritating but won’t get you shadow-banned. This is such a great way of keeping organized because it’s totally adaptable for whatever you need. Some people want NO decoration and just use it for flexibility and organization, others go all out and use it almost as a sketchbook that happens to remind them of a dentist appointment. For the past 4 years, mine was more on the minimal side with the odd bit of washi tape and some quick line drawings here and there for fun.

Bullet Journal Ideas on YouTube

This year, I kind of woke up to how much this had caught on and how creative some people had gotten with their Bujos (I still can’t say that with a straight face.) I went down a bit of a rabbit hole and watched videos by Amanda Rach Lee, and others. It really got me inspired to up my Bullet Journaling game. As impressed as I was by the artwork, I knew I could only go so far with the decoration. I make money as an artist and I need to spend more of my artistic juices (eww) fulfilling commissions than fancying up my daily calendar, but I knew I was ready to meet somewhere in the middle.

Bullet Journal Supplies

I love variety and I’ve had many different colors of the Leuchtturm 1917 dotted hardcover journal. This year instead of pink or turquoise or emerald green, I went with the metallic gold. Oh my God, it’s so beautiful. The only reason I never got that one before is that I thought it had a big black stripe with 1917 on it. I happened to see one opened in Barnes and Noble and discovered that was just the paper wrap. Doh!!! Anyway, it was worth the wait. I feel VERY rich writing in my solid gold planner. I noticed that almost every pro bullet journaler was using the Archer and Olive planner which wasn’t around when I started, Once I started going full throttle with markers in my Leuchtturm, I could see why. There is quite a bit of bleed-through with the pages and I am tempted to try the Archer and Olive one next or maybe next year.

For markers, I’m loving the Tombow dual brush packs, especially the portrait pack for the light pinks. And my metallic Sharpies in Gold, Silver and Copper are bomb, Baby. For black ink, I use either Staedtler Fine Points (I tend to use Size .3 the most) or Micron. Mostly I use a black Pilot gel pen because I love that they have refillable ink.

I was lining the edges of my monthly calendar pages with washi tape in my first journals but I’ve gotten away from that, although it is a good way to get back to a previous month easily.

Bullet Journal Spreads-Monthly and Weekly Vision Boards

I decided that I could justify spending a little extra time decorating my spreads by making it work for me. So instead of just coming up with a random theme, I use the month and the subsequent weeks to visualize what I want to accomplish that month and where I want to be. In other words, it’s not just a To-Do list, it’s a To-Be list. I have words of encouragement either written or from washi tape so that every time I check my bullet journal, which is multiple times a day, a get a little positive reinforcement. I don’t have them planned too far in advance because I want it to really fit what’s going on at that time.

I have another bullet journal that is for my spiritual stuff and my lady groups. I have a couple of High Vibe Tribes that have meetings and workbooks and such so I keep that separate from my daily schedule. That’s a subject for a future blog post, I think. In that journal, I actually have a vision board with pictures and words cut out. I love it.

Organizing and Tracking More Than Just Tasks

As a creative type, I really need help wrangling all my ideas and thoughts which the Bullet Journal is great for. Another way I’m using it this year is to track my money. I’d never done that in my previous journals and I’m already finding it super helpful for keeping track of my spending and income. I have a couple of pages where I write down everything I spend by copying from my checking account or receipts. This will be so much better for me at the end of the year for tax time. Plus, I can see right away if there are some expenses I wasn’t counting on, subscriptions I meant to cancel, etc. I’m also using it to reinforce new habits and celebrate by having a Good Things section. And my Brainstorm section is one of my favorite parts. (I don’t like the term Brain Dump. I think we’ve already established my squeamishness with certain words.)

The main thing is, this is a work in progress. I’ve done so many by now that I’m not afraid of the blank page or of messing up. It really is just about organizing my life and helping me feel good, which moving to a slightly more maximal style is doing. What about you? Are you familiar with Bullet Journaling? Leave a comment and let me know your organizing style.

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This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Stefanie

    Great tips Joanie! Especially love the 🖊 suggestions – the bleed through struggle is real 😉! I can’t wait to read your blog about High Vybe Tribes!

    ✌🏼💗 – Stef

  2. Ashlina

    This is such a great write up Joanie. Love your pages, so glam 🖤

  3. Gemma

    Joanie I just love your writing style, you can always make me laugh….plus this is some great inspiration to get a bit more creative with my journals! Can’t wait to read more of your posts
    Gemma x

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