Why “Bullet Journal Hacks” Aren’t Actually a Thing

Today is my one year Bullet Journal-iversary and I spent some time looking back through the last few Bullet Journals I’ve completed.  Well, two.  I’ve filled two in a year.  I’m on my third now, and still madly in love with this system that, when I first learned about it on the Official Bullet Journal site, I dismissed out of hand immediately.  In fact, I had been looking for some new form of planner because nothing that came pre-packaged was working for me.  All of the Etsy printables and semi-custom planner inserts in the world did not satisfy what I needed, and since I had no intention of becoming a graphic designer and actually *gasp* making my own printables, I found myself straying from my planner more and more.

But at first blush, the Bullet Journal system invented by Ryder Carroll seemed too confusing, if I were to be honest.  Let’s face it – the world of Bullet Journaling and it’s adherents speaks a language unto its own and if you aren’t already in the know, it can be confusing at first.  A spread?  A collection?  A future log?  Migrating…what?!  I just couldn’t be arsed.

It wasn’t until I saw this post over at Buzzfeed that I decided that maybe I should look into this and see what, exactly the hype is about.  I credit Kara Benz over at Boho Berry for finally tipping me over the edge.  I ended up binge-watching her awesome YouTube tutorials (seriously, if you’re just starting out or want loads of inspiration, check out her YouTube channel!), breaking down, and ordering what I’ve come to think of as the standard Bullet Journal starter pack – a Leuchterm 1917 dot grid notebook, Staedtler fine liners, Faber Castell PITT Artist pens (size S), and Tombow Dual Brush Pens.

But here’s the thing – none of those things are necessary to start a Bullet Journal.  And here’s another secret I’ll let you in on – all of those Pinterest Bullet Journal “Hack” boards you see?  There’s no such thing.  The Bullet Journal itself is the life hack.  By it’s very nature, a Bullet Journal is as simple as they come – or as complex as you want it to be.  There’s no “hacking” this to make it easier or quicker.  It’s all what you want it to be.  If you want simple, Bam! Easy day.  Write the date, your tasks, appointments, and any other little notes you want to remember and you’re done.  The only way to make that any easier is to hire someone to follow you around and do it for you.  After all, all you need, literally, is any old notebook and pen.  You don’t have to get the Bullet Journal Starter Pack.

Because I am a magpie, I didn’t settle for keeping my Bullet Journal simple.  It is not, however, really artistic either.  It’s somewhere in -between because the truth of the matter is that if it doesn’t interest me visually, I won’t keep up with it.  And if I don’t challenge myself to try new spreads or collections or improve my handwriting or doodling, I may lose interest.  The beautiful thing about the system is that I can change it up monthly, weekly, or even daily – and very often I do just that.  I’m always trying new layouts for my monthly, weekly, and daily spreads.  The photo up top is my most current weekly, and I think I may have hit on something that works for a while.

If it doesn’t, I’ll try something new.  That’s why I love this.  It’s not pre-canned.  This month, I have a lot of collections going.  I’m tracking habits, medical symptoms, sleep, creative writing prompts, my ever present gratitude log…but in August, I tracked almost nothing because I wasn’t home much and my routine, I knew, was going to be shot so why bother?

Nevertheless, the Bullet Journal is my one stop shop for tracking swaps, letters, and anything else I need or want to – on top of keeping my schedule organized.  I’ll have more pictures later on in the Bullet Journal Spread page here on my site, but hopefully you get the gist for now.  There’s no way to hack a Bullet Journal, folks.  I said it above, and I’ll say it again – it is the hack.

How about you?  Are you into this or do you prefer the pre-done structure of a more traditional planner?  After all, at the end of the day, it’s all about what works for you.



8 thoughts on “Why “Bullet Journal Hacks” Aren’t Actually a Thing”

  1. I love the way bullet journals look but I don’t plan anything on paper, it’s all in my head. Would love to see more pics of yours though, if possible! ^^


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