Today we are talking about finding time to bullet journal. I find a lot of complaints and/or roadblocks to bullet journaling, and specifically, creative bullet journaling, has to do with time. A lot of people say they don’t have time to do it. While I, unfortunately, do not have a magic wand to create more time (if you do, please reach out ASAP), I do have some ideas for how you can start to find the time to bullet journal.
I have shared a video over on YouTube as well that you can check out, where I do flip throughs of all my journals through the years. But otherwise, let’s get started.
Finding Versus Making the Time to Bullet Journal
Right away, I will drop this: it’s less about finding time and more about making time. If something is important to you or adds value to your life, you will do what you can to make time for it. Now, I imagine you sitting there thinking that you’re not prepared to just whip out a journal and start spending hours decorating it! Rather, I am going to share 4 ways you can start to build your creative bullet journaling or just bullet journaling habit.
4 Ways to Incorporate Journaling into your Routine
1. Keep it Simple
Most important thing about bullet journaling: it has to WORK for you! I am going to refer to my personal experience here. For me, I like to have flexibility. If a particular layout isn’t working, I want to be able to change it. I don’t want to be forced to use an entire book with the same layout every month. Confession time: I hate vertical layouts! Hate them! I also don’t like having themes dictated to me, or having a year worth of the same aesthetic. Is it great to have it all done for you? Sure! But, that doesn’t work for me. I get bored and lose interest. Being able to adapt and change as I need is key to my bullet journaling “success”. (“Success” in terms of how long and how consistently I use it.)
If you are starting out, or feeling overwhelmed, always start/go back to what’s simple. Do a brain dump for why and what you want to use your journal for. This will naturally lead to the how is it going to work for you.
Start with the basics and see where the value in journaling lies for you.
2. Start Small
When you feel you have a handle on basic journaling and want to start adding colour, start small. Use highlighters or coloured pens here and there. Incorporate sticky notes as part of your system. Really, just add bits of colour here and there.
If you’re feeling particularly ready for more, you can even set a colour palette for the week/month. When I have chosen my colour palette, I keep those supplies separate for the rest of the month so that I always have it ready to go.
3. Keep it Affordable
I really want to emphasize this the most! Bullet journaling is as cheap or expensive as you decide. Yes, the nicer journals are more expensive (but so are the planners), but you really don’t need all of the stationery right off the bat.
Start with inexpensive markers, free printable layouts, free printable stickers, etc. Don’t spend too much until you know what you like using. Basically, what you enjoy using to keep journaling from becoming a chore. If you don’t like something that is trending in the community, then don’t do it! I’m not good at, nor do I enjoy, realism/realistic drawings. So I don’t do them! I know this idea simple enough, but it can be hard when you get caught up in the hype. I have been there MANY times!
4. Start Experimenting
Part of the process to find what you enjoy is to experiment. Experiment with products and stationery that you already have. Research and experiment with products that are new to you.
You can encourage experimenting, on a small scale, by dedicating a square in your journal. Every week, draw this square and use this as a space to practice or experiment. This can be practicing a technique you enjoy, like drawing, or experimenting with patterns, or lettering.
Using this block helps limit the overwhelming feeling of having a blank page starting back at you.
This is probably THE most important one. BE KIND TO YOURSELF! You are learning, and practicing, and experimenting. Not everything is going to be a work of art* and that’s okay! If you don’t use it for a week, or a month, turn the page and carry on. Sometimes we get caught up in “back planning” for the aesthetic. Honestly, that’s a waste of time and doesn’t add value in the moment (in my opinion obviously), so move on.
*Ironically, the more you hate something, the more social media loves it so embrace it!
In my video, you will see many blank pages where I intended to include doodle challenges, or layouts that were left unused that week (or month even). I just keep going!
Finding Time to Bullet Journal: Challenge
If you are particularly determined to do creative bullet journaling, then I have a challenge for you. Pick out one of your favourite layouts from IG or Pinterest. Study it to see what you love most about it. Find those one or two elements that you love and incorporate it into you journal. It can be a colours, a lettering style, maybe they drew something, etc. Just pick one, maximum 2, things and use it in your journal. For the next week, maybe incorporate another element from that same spread, or pick a new layout.
Try and break it down as simple as possible to prevent feeling overwhelmed or even burnt out! At the end of the day, your journal is for you. I journal for me. I find the creative aspect to be so calming and a fantastic outlet for my anxiety. So although I do share my journal (and thoughts) on the internet, it’s more so letting social media in as opposed to making it for social media.
I hope that all makes sense and that you enjoyed this post. If creative journaling is something you want to pursue and sharpen your skills for, then I encourage you to check out my Patreon. Every month I share one lettering technique, one basic doodle shape, a creative journaling technique, colour palettes, and prompts, ultimately resulting in a reference book for your journaling! You can find the link here.
If you have any comments or questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out down below or on social media! I would love to hear your thoughts!