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Minimalist or Creative: Bullet Journaling is for all

- By Shriya Bengeri

Let me start by introducing you to the original Bullet Journaling system and help you understand what it is all about.

To put in simple words, Bullet Journaling is a method of personal organization developed by Ryder Carroll. It is a technique that helps in scheduling day to day activities like reminders, to-do lists, brainstorming ideas and other daily/ weekly/ monthly/ yearly tasks and events into one single notebook.

There is a misconception that you need to be very artistic in order to start Bullet Journaling, but let me tell you the secret, no matter how young or old you are, and no matter what your artistic abilities are, you can always start a bullet journal, at any given time of the year. So, if you are thinking of exploring this method of planning, then don’t wait for 2021 to come, and start with your bullet journal today.

It is common to feel overwhelmed after seeing all these crisp and perfect looking journals on Instagram and Pinterest. If you have started a bullet journal/want to start one, then ask yourself these following questions –

  1. Why did you/ why do you want to start a Bullet Journal?

  2. What is the purpose of your Bullet Journal? Do you want it to increase your productivity or is it just another art project for you?

  3. How familiar are you with the basics of the system?

The answers to these questions and the following tips are something I wish someone had given me when I first started Bullet Journaling. From my experience, having an organized journal has always made it easier to navigate through all the tasks that need to be done in a day.

Here are a few ways to keep your journal organized that need zero artistic skills:

Visual Segregation

We always end up making long to-do lists and often miss out something in the clutter we create. Visual segregation helps in keeping the journal clutter free.

Here are a few examples that can help you understand how you could create visual segregation easily:

  1. Color coding: In school and college we always highlighted the important stuff for that last minute revision. Similarly, you can highlight the most important tasks of the day/week or just highlight the headings.

  2. Emphasize: The headings like the days of the week or the name of the month can be written in either a bold font or just use a thicker pen to write the heading and let that be a size bigger than the rest of the text.

Stick to the basics

The internet is an amazing place to discover new and multiple different styles people adopt to bullet journal. A lot of different variations of using a bullet journal have been developed. This is because, bullet journal is a type of your personalized planner. The beauty of this method is that with time you adapt your own style of bullet journaling. So, what different styles of bullet journals you see over Instagram or Pinterest is someone’s adaptation of the basic system, which he/she has developed after discovering his/her own style through experimentation. Therefore, when you are starting out I suggest you to stick to the basics. What do I mean by the basics you ask? Only follow the method that Ryder Carroll has explained in his video.

Follow what I call the UAE method

UAE refers to Understand, Accommodate, Experiment/ Explore. Let me explain it to you in brief.

  1. Understand: Since the system is extremely customizable it is important to understand the basics of the system and have a clear picture of your needs.

  2. Accommodate: Accommodate your daily and probably ever changing needs into your journal and create your own style.

  3. Explore/Experiment: Just like you, others also customize the basics to accommodate their needs and come up with unique ways of going about the basics. Explore the internet and check for new styles you could adopt, of course the art is as always optional. Experimenting with new styles helps you adapt to the changing needs because sometimes you may outgrow a particular thing which was your must have spread a few months ago.

Know that, your bullet journal needs to be functional rather than it being artistic, if you have the time and the liking for it, there is no harm in doing what you like, but at the same time not making it aesthetic is also okay.

It is important to let your journal be a tool to help you stay productive and not let the aesthetics of it bother you. So, let get started today. If you need some inspiration, you can start with these printables, download them and give the whole system a try. If you like to add some additional elements to your planning, we have also included some additional printables. If you have any doubts or need any further help feel free to reach out to me in the comments below or drop me a message on Instagram (@thecaffeinatedjournal_)


About the author:

Hi, I am Shriya. I have always been the person who made time tables and to do lists since my school days (the nerdy kid, yes) but I was introduced to using planners only in 2016 when my friend bought this cute planner. A year later when the Architecture school work got way more hectic I decided to buy myself a planner too and well it never worked for me. In July 2018 I decided to start bullet journaling and then there was no looking back after that.

From making spreads exactly like others do to making my own, it's been a long journey with my bullet journal. I consider my style to be Aesthetic enough to make me want to use it often and has enough space for me to scribble in. For me keeping it practical has always been a priority.


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