You know what I absolutely LOVE about starting something new? Looking back after a few months or years and seeing your progress!
Just the other day I was flipping through the early pages of my first bullet journal (not gonna lie, it was a little cringe-worthy) and I realized that last week was my bullet journal anniversary!
To celebrate, I thought I’d reminisce a little about all of the lessons I learned from my first bullet journal, and what you should know if you’ve started or are about to start a bullet journal!
Haven’t started a bullet journal yet? Check out this helpful guide!
1. It’s Okay to Miss a Day
Ugh! When I first started my bullet journal, I HATED missing a day in my trackers and logs. It was really discouraging, and oftentimes I’d throw up my hands and be like, ‘Whelp, might as well stop journaling’ because I felt like all my progress was ruined. So, I’d quit journaling altogether for a few months (until I got bored one day and decided to take it up again.)
After going through this cycle for a while, I realized that I needed a bullet journal in my life- I had to stop quitting just because I didn’t keep up with it for a few days.
If you’re journaling to organize your life, that means life can get so crazy that you may forget to fill in your journal. And that’s okay! Bullet journals aren’t about being a ball and chain that you’re forced to commit to, they’re about being flexible, to fit around your schedule. And if you can’t fit your journal into your schedule one day, that’s fine.
2. You Don’t Have to Do What Everyone Else is Doing/Using
For a long time, I waited to start a bullet journal because I felt like I needed a specific journal and specific supplies to make my journal beautiful. But then I realized that my journal is for me, not anyone else.
While I LOVE the creative aspect of bullet journaling, that doesn’t mean it’s the only reason you should start one. Ultimately, it’s a planner. So don’t feel like you have to get the best, most expensive supplies when you’re just starting out.
There are plenty of cheap tools out there to get you started, and then you can work up to some of the more popular (and sometimes more expensive) supplies. But don’t feel like you have to get the expensive stuff first! In fact, all you really need is a notebook and pencil!
3. Use a Pen Test Page
This is something I didn’t even know was a thing until I stumbled upon an example on Pinterest. I really wish I’d thought of using a pen test page in my first bullet journal, though!
4. Outline in Pencil First
As much as I try not to be, I’m a major perfectionist when it comes to bullet journaling. But I’m also super lazy (the struggle is real.) When laying out spreads though I definitely suggest outlining your idea in pencil first.
If you watch a lot of youtube videos of journalists laying out their spreads for the month, you’ll notice many of them outline in pencil first. Although this is a little time-consuming, it can prevent a lot of mistakes in your journal but it’s also just a great way to make sure everything you need will fit in your spread!
I can’t tell you how much trouble this would’ve saved me and mistakes in my bullet journal. Which brings me to my next point…
5. It’s Okay to Make Mistakes (Just Make Sure You Learn from them!)
If I could somehow have a bunch of arrows pointing to this one, I totally would (So, just use your imagination that there’s a big fat arrow pointing to this one!) because it’s so important.
You know when your mom used to tell you that everyone makes mistakes, just make sure you learn from them? Well, she was totally right (thanks, Mom!)
This advice is even applicable to bullet journaling. Everyone likes to create a perfect journal, but let’s be honest- we’re human. We’re going to have a few typos, stray marks, and random layouts that we absolutely hate to look back on. But guess what? it’s going to be okay.
You bullet journal should constantly be evolving and changing into a better journal that’s what makes it so great. If you don’t need a certain collection, stop using it. You’ll know not to use it in your next journal spread because you’ve learned that it wasn’t effective for you.
6. Don’t Try to Do Everything
Oh my goodness, THIS was the hardest concept for me to grasp.
I’d look and see all of these amazing page ideas and layout ideas, and then I’d try to include EVERYTHING. There were pages that I didn’t even need that I was including in my bullet journal, just because I thought it was cute.
Don’t do that! I mean, do what you want, but I highly suggest you don’t try to do everything, and here’s why: Let’s say you decide to include 25 trackers, 10 logs, various a bunch of collections, and keep up with planning your schedule.
7. Not Feeling Inspired? Find Some Inspiration!
A lot of people go through those phases where there’s just no inspiration. I’ve definitely had my fair share of them, but I’ve found a lot of places where you can find inspiration when you’re feeling stuck.
My top favorite place for inspiration is Pinterest. In fact, I’ve got a Pinterest board dedicated to bullet journaling so I’ve always got inspiration for my journal (feel free to follow me on Pinterest here!)
Instagram is another great source. Here are some of my favorite accounts, although there are plenty amazing ones more out there!
8. Have Fun!
I know, I know. This should be obvious. But I think sometimes we get so caught up in making our bullet journal perfect that we forget one of the reasons we started- to have fun!
Don’t lose your drive to be creative and let your personality shine through while getting organized in your bullet journal- after all, isn’t that what it’s all about?
I truly hope you got something out of these lessons I’ve learned! Don’t forget to check out these washi tape hacks to make your bullet journal better!
And be sure to pin this!
What has your bullet journal taught you so far?
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