Remember at the beginning of 2018 when bullet journals were THE thing? Everyone was running around with their felt pens and dot journals saying that this was the year to get organized.
Well, I do. I definitely got more than a few of these blank books as white elephant gifts, and more than one of my friends were doing these complicated doodles or at least liking Instagram posts of them.
I'll admit, I was swept up in the whole ordeal too. Beginning January 1st, 2018, I did my own version of this journal, and after 364 days, I can tell you my honest review: 2/5 stars.
According to this handy-dandy instruction site, doing a bullet journal involves writing down daily tasks, events, ideas, and really anything else that seems relevant to life, both present and future. One can do either daily or monthly lists, or both.
The doodling, as shown below, is optional, but I've never seen a bullet journal without it. Whether it be pictures depicting daily tasks, wishes for the future, or just cute little pics, like these adorable succulents, doodles seem to make the journal an actual journal.
With such a wonderfully praised way to stay organized, what's not to love? Well, quite a bit, actually.
I'm an incredibly messy and forgetful individual. However, I wouldn't say I'm not organized, just unconventionally so. I wanted a clean, easy way to remember day-to-day nonsense without having to carry around four different planners and calendars.
So, when I heard about this whole bullet journal idea, I'll admit I was intrigued, but not for the daily reminders. I've tried planners too many times to count, and it hasn't stuck. However, I always find that I can remember my daily assignments. It's the long-term I have trouble remembering.
Daily journaling is something that I feel obligated to do as an English major. Everyone says that it improves prose and it's a good way to catalog daily thoughts on life and what if I get famous and someone cares about my early work and etc., etc. Just like planners, though, I couldn't make it stick.
I decided to make a compromise, then. I'd do a daily "color" journal. By having 365 boxes and a color key (yellow was an average day, orange was an extraordinary day, green was a stressful day, red was an angry day, and blue was, ya know, a blue day), I was able to keep track of what happened every day with little to no fuss.
"Ah," thought me in December of 2017, "Now I'll have a way to look back on the year without having to actually write a bunch of nonsense first."
Well, past me, that was good in theory. In actuality, though, it turned into a lot of biased coloring and me still forgetting to color several days at a time.
To explain, I had a wide definition of an "extraordinary day." I'd color an orange box for anything from being promoted to eating my favorite ice cream. While this isn't necessarily a bad thing, it meant that there was a ton of orange in my year. Additionally, when I'd forget to do the journal a week or more at a time, I was prone to just color it all yellow.
I'm a year older, and I'm still prone to forget something that should be routine. Looking back on the year, I've grown up quite a bit. I've had more good days than bad, and only one angry day, oddly enough.
However, I missed the last, oh, three months of the year due to general forgetfulness and, at one point, a misplaced journal.
Moral of the story: Bullet journals are cool and all, but only if you have the time and, frankly, the previously-instated memory to keep up with them, which I definitely do not. Good luck to those who do!