Your Bullet Journal Doesn't Have To Be Perfect, It Has To Be Perfect For You

Your Bullet Journal Doesn't Have To Be Perfect, It Has To Be Perfect For You

The story of an organized girl and the ultimate "DIY" planner.


It's a tale as old as time: Girl needs something. Girl goes on Girl gets distracted and buys several things she doesn't need.

That was me, about a week and a half ago. I was looking for a sunshade for my car. Since I was already buying something, I decided to browse for some pens because the ones I had kept "ghosting" in my planner. (Ghosting is when the pen mark shows through to the other side.) As it turns out, scented gel pens are fun to use, but not so practical for a planner.

So, I looked for pens. Then I was looking at pen sets that came with washi tape.

And then, I was looking at a black leather journal with dots instead of lines.

I remembered scrolling through my Facebook feed and seeing Nifty videos about bullet journaling. (For those of you who don't know, a bullet journal is a "do-it-yourself" type planner that works on an analog system of different bullets [hence the name] and signifiers.)

In those videos, people took those weird dotted notebooks and turned them into planners/trackers/contemporary art museums. I figured since I loved watching those videos, I would probably be pretty good at it.

I was feeling inspired by the possibilities and the $8.99 price tag, so I went ahead and bought it.

Of course, I bought the markers and the washi tape to go along with the journal. I even bought a pack of stencils, because let's be real, I'm no artist. Fake it 'til ya make it, am I right?

I love to-do lists, planners, and organizational things in general, so I waited eagerly for my planner to arrive. In anticipation, I even looked on all of those Bullet Journal Pinterest boards and got inspiration for my own BuJo (a shortened form of Bullet Journal for those of you not hip to the lingo). I was so ready!

Two days later, it arrived at my house.

Almost immediately, I opened it and the tape and the markers and the stencils, and I just stared at it.

And stared at it.

And stared at it.

It was at this point in time that I remembered that I am not only painfully non-artsy, but I am neurotic about placing things. This includes drawing lines, coloring things in, and placing stickers. (It took me a solid 30 minutes to decide where my laptop stickers would go.)

Finally, I bit the bullet (no pun intended) and wrote "index" at the top of the first two pages. I felt so proud that I put pen to paper, but I got too confident and tried to make it look ~fancy~ and I ended up with something that was the total opposite of fancy. So, I stuck a sticker over that and wrote on that instead.

So, there I was, staring at those lonely stickers in the notebook.

My first thought was, "Wow, this is ugly and there's no way I'm going to be able to do this."

How could I have ever thought that me, a person who gets antsy about craft stores and coloring sheets, could do something as creative as a bullet journal?

I was ready to put it away. But then I remembered what the concept of bullet journal is all about: doing it your way. The original bullet journal isn't really all that creative. In fact, it's just practical and simple.

I'd gotten so caught up in all of the calligraphy and habit trackers and drawings that I'd forgotten that I could do whatever I wanted with this journal. No one would see it unless I showed it to them, so why was I so worried about it?

Now, about a week-and-a-half later, I've continued with my "BuJo." I've even attempted some doodles! The moral of the story is, don't let inspiration turn into obsession. Let yourself be creative — you may just surprise yourself!

Cover Image Credit:

Molly Holmes

Popular Right Now

11 Reasons Why You Should Have Hobbies

Your interests aren't pointless—they're important.

We live in a busy, fast-paced world where it's easy to lose time for hobbies. The looming shadow of "What Needs to Get Done" closes in and suddenly our lives are all work and no play which, according to Stephen King, never ends well. Prioritizing makes sense, but there's a limit to how much we should let sweet levity fall to the wayside. I don't think we should ever axe our hobbies, and here's why.

1. Hobbies Motivate You To Get Out Of Bed

Life starts to look pretty dismal when all you've got to wake up for is a rough shift at work and a midterm essay you should have started sooner. Having something fun to look forward to will get that first foot out of bed. Class might be stretching on for a million hours, but you know when you get out, you can read the next chapter of that book you started. No matter how robotic you feel doing what you have to do, you'll always find fresh motivation for what you want to do.

2. Relaxation Is A must

You can't make it through life winding yourself tighter and tighter, always working, never relaxing. Recuperate with some doodling. Re-center yourself through a video game. If you never slow down or take time to yourself, you'll drive yourself insane. Instead of piling on more and more, preserve your free time for something you enjoy. Whether you can spare half of every day or only half an hour a week, you've got to take time to relax before you go crazy.

3. You Get To Express Yourself

Don't lose yourself in the gray seas of the world; strengthen your individuality at every turn. No matter what interests youno matter what you create, perform, enjoy, or tryhobbies are a way to discover and express yourself. Your uniqueness will show through your hobbies, and who knows? You might get other people interested, too.

4. You Learn The Value Of Patience

The world could use a little more patience, and maybe the way to learn it is through hobbies. If you knit or crochet, you know how long a big project takes. You don't bust out a whole afghan in one night. Say nothing of the pain you feel when you have to take out twenty rows and redo them because of one big mistake you missed. But when something makes you happy, no setback is enough to make you quit. Eventually, that can-do attitude will spread throughout your life. Learning to take life one step at a time might just start with learning to knit one stitch at a time.

5. The Ability To Improvise Is A Lifesaver

Life has a way of taking us off-guard, and while we can't predict the future, we can be ready to meet it. One thing I learned in video editing is that there's always a way. Maybe your solution is a bit convoluted. Probably there was a better way to do it. But it got done, and it looks good. That's all we can do with life sometimes: fly by the seat of our pants and, somehow, miraculously, make people think we had it under control the whole time. Maybe video isn't your thing, but plenty of hobbies teach you how to improvise. Did Bob Ross just mention a color paint you forgot to buy? Blend up your ownit will look great. Feel like baking but don't have all the ingredients you need? Maybe you'll end up making an even better recipe of your own. Some of the best things come from improvising, anyway

6. Your Brain Needs A Workout Regimen, Too

My grandmother may have an old body, but her mind hasn't aged a day, and she accredits that to all the reading, baking, and crocheting she still does. She knows that learning never gets old. Every time you pick up a hobby, you learn new skills, new terms, new techniques.... Just like your body needs exercise to stay fit, your brain needs learning to stay sharp!

7. Hobbies Open Opportunities

Maybe your love of dancing will suddenly find you on a square-dancing team in the farm show. Maybe your interest in cooking will land you on an episode of Chopped. The more you open your world, the more the world will have to offer you. Contests, classes, events, volunteer workeven other hobbieswill have a way of finding you when you pursue your interests. For all you know, they may even help you find your dream job. Maybe you never thought of being a presenter on Turner Classic Movies, but when you make time for your cinematic passion, you might find yourself there! Nothing is impossible.

8. Making Friends Is Easier With Something To Talk About

Picture (as I'm sure you can) the kind of conversation that keeps dying at the end of every sentence and literally hinges on how the weather's been. Now picture a conversation centered around a common passion. That's a pretty big difference, right? Having a mutual interest with someone might just mean getting an instant best friend. One weekend you're bowling alonethe next, you're part of a bowling league and have a new group of friends!

9. Fulfillment Should Be A Regular Part Of Your Life

With classes falling apart around you and bills eating up all your paychecks, life can feel pretty unrewarding. But it doesn't have to. By giving yourself small goals or undertaking new projects, you can feel fulfilled as often as you wantafter all, it doesn't take long to crochet a cool beanie hat, and once you sculpt a coffee mug, you get to enjoy it every morning. It feels great to finish something you started, and at the end of a rough week, it can make all the difference.

10. You Deserve To Do Things For Yourself

Here's a novel idea: we don't need permission to live our lives. If you like sewing Renaissance Faire costumes, then do it. If you get enjoyment out of basement photoshoots with your cat, then do it. Hobbies are things you do for yourself, not other people, and the word "weird" means nothing. You don't need anyone's approval to paint sweaters onto pet rocks, and it doesn't need to accomplish anything other than making you happy. So after a day of working for other people, go home and remember how important you are.

11. Hobbies Keep You Happy

All of this amounts to one main point: when a hobby makes you happy, it doesn't need to do anything else! There's great joy to be found in creation and discovery, no matter what form it takes for you. A bad day changes fast when you have a fun way to end it. No matter what the "business" side of life might throw at you, your hobbies will help you catch it and throw it right back. So what if you embarrassed yourself in public today? You have ____ to do tonight.

So don't feel bad about the time you spend on your hobbies. No matter what your hobby is, if it makes you happy, it is important. No excuses or apologies. Your interests matter, whether you have a single new one or a dozen old ones. Because after all...

Cover Image Credit: Pintrest

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

4 Tips For Writers, Beginner And Beyond

For all those who write in class instead of paying attention to what is going on

This is a short guide from a beginner with a few of my personal tips and tools. This is for the people who write in class instead of paying attention but still (somehow) understands what is going on in class. And then saves what they write as drafts even after they finish it out of fear of publishing it. I am like that so I can understand it.

1. Write everything that you want without thinking about anything else, even word limits.

I work better when I just sit down and start writing without being interrupted. Write whatever comes to mind when you have time. If you like to write a bit and come back to it later, then it is no problem. By writing everything you want, you make sure that you can include everything important without skipping over something while your thinking about other things.

2. Pick and choose the most important points and work around it.

Bruce Almighty

When you are done writing and are satisfied with everything you write, it's time to cut it down. Similar to when a bush over grows, you want to cut it down until it meets the requirements. Cut out anything you realize you are rambling about (Trust me, there is going to be a lot).

3. Run it through google translate, especially if it's a story.

Google Translate is your friend. It has a limit of 5000 letters per entry but it works if you spot an error. You can work in small sections and still keep up. This is the part that helps me catch any grammar errors or repeating words I make while I am writing continuously.

4. Trust yourself (And everyone who helped you)

Shut Up Flower Boy Band

The end product of your words is your metaphorical baby. Don't be ashamed of it. There is times when you will hate it but you will be happy in the long run. I know that your nervous but you really can't do anything about it. Be happy and confident that others may benefit from what you wrote and at least take away what you put out there. And the people who help you make it happen are taking their own time to help you catch anything you missed.

Related Content

Facebook Comments