I recently asked my Instagram followers what questions they had about bullet journaling. I got over 300 questions, so I’m going to be working my way through them over the next few months, but today is the first installment. Enjoy!
Question: How do you handle times when it’s tough to plan?
I often have periods of time where I just don’t feel like planning. So what do I do? I take a break. If I find that I’m just going through the motions of writing things down but not actually using my plan throughout the day, I know it’s time to take a break. One of the most helpful things I’ve done is to migrate all my undone tasks at the end of each week [see photo below]. I like to prioritize them. If I don’t feel like planning for the week ahead, I’ll often just work from that list.
I find when I take breaks, I come back refreshed and eager to pick up where I left off. Often, I get good ideas when I’m not pushing so hard to use my journal every day.
Question: Do you feel pressure to make your pages perfect?
In the beginning, I hated when I made mistakes, but I just roll with them now. If I can cover them up I will. If not, I just turn the page and start over. One of my favorite hacks if I mess up a page is to tape it to the next one, leaving the top open to make a pocket.
Question: How has bullet journaling helped you become the best version of yourself?
The aspect that has helped me become the best version of me is using my bullet journal for personal reflection. I know it’s not part of the original bullet journal format, but I’ve found it very helpful. I reflect at the end of each day. I also have weekly, monthly, and yearly reflection practices. They are literally life changing for me. I reflect on what’s going well, what is challenging, what I’ve learned, and how I can improve going forward. There are a few examples below.
Question: How can I complete a habit tracker? I usually stop filling it in by the middle of the month, even if I did most of the habits I’m tracking.
First of all, for me, the purpose of a habit tracker is to develop NEW habits. So, if you’re adding a bunch of things that you already easily remember to do, maybe you don’t need to add them to your tracker. I’ve also found that tracking only a few habits works better for me because it feels less overwhelming.
I’m not good at completing trackers either, but a couple things that have worked for me:
- Track them on a weekly layout instead of monthly so that you see it more often.
- Set a specific bedtime planning routine where you go through your journal and mark off all your trackers and set up for the next day.
- Track only a few habits at a time.
In March, I decided to track just a few habits and used a new format. [photo below]
Question: For Gratitude listing, is it more beneficial to list within daily log, end of week recap, or separate page entirely?
I honestly think it’s personal preference. Whatever way you choose, make sure it’s something that reminds you to do it daily. I personally like to put it all on a separate page. It’s encouraging to watch it fill up throughout the month, and I like looking back over the month and seeing it all together on one page really makes me realize that my life is pretty darn amazing and I’m very blessed. Below is an example of one of my gratitude pages.
Question: When do you plan a new page in your journal?
I often stop and create a new page when inspiration strikes! But, I also have a running list of page ideas I want to add. I always keep track of changes I want to make for the upcoming month’s setup.
I recommend starting a swipe file. Take screenshots of layouts you see that you want to try, then adjust them and make them your own. And of course, always give credit to the original creator when you can.
Question: I have been struggling with having a consistent routine in the morning. Do you have a morning routine that you find works well for you?
I do have a morning routine. It’s my favorite part of the day and puts me in a great mood before I start my work day! I actually wrote a whole post about it, so I won’t repeat myself, but you can read more about my morning routine here.
Question: How long have you been using a bullet journal and what is your favorite part of the system?
I started using a bullet journal in October 2015. My favorite part of the system is actually not even part of the traditional bullet journal — Weekly Layouts. I love them for two reasons. First, they are my favorite place to experiment. I can create unique layouts and try something new every week. That keeps things fresh and exciting.
Second, it’s the perfect way for me to organize my brain at the beginning of the week. It helps me get all my appointments and tasks organized and gives me a big-picture overview of the week ahead. I wrote a post over a year ago with some weekly layout ideas. I really need to update it, but you can get some inspiration here. The photo below is my most recent weekly layout.
Question: How do you adequately plan out your bullet journal so you have sections for trackers, monthly and weekly spreads, and journaling? I always end up mixing the pages together and it doesn’t look as nice.
I’ve struggled with this a bit myself, but finally decided to just be okay with them being all mixed up. The only thing I really keep together are all the monthly pages I set up at the beginning of each month.
I know some people layout several weeks ahead of time, but I don’t like to do that because I like changing things each week. I’ve also heard of people who do their regular planning pages in the front and start their collections in the back of the book. Another option would be to have two notebooks, one for planning and one for collections. I think you really just have to come to terms with the fact that being able to turn the page and try something new is part of the magic of bullet journaling. 🙂
Question: How do you get inspiration from all of the bullet journal posts out there on the internet ? There are so many inspirational layouts, collections, etc. it makes me want to copy them all! But I initially started my journal in order to enhance my creativity . . . so how much are you getting inspiration without simply copying all the beautiful images you see?
I think it’s okay to be inspired. That’s the beauty of the bullet journal community! But I do always try to adapt the layouts I find to fit my needs. I often put ideas from 2 or 3 pages together.
I think if you bookmark things you like, but then think about how you can adapt it and make it your own you’ll still accomplish your goal of enhancing your creativity. I also come up with a lot of my own ideas from personal development books I read. If there’s anything I can possibly track, I’ll make a bujo page for it.
Question: What is the biggest mistake that bullet journal newbies make?
I think the biggest mistake is comparing your journal to others’. We all start at our own unique place. It can get discouraging when you feel like yours doesn’t look like some of the amazing journals you see. Even I feel this way sometimes. Whatever you do, don’t let it discourage you or make you quit. My journal pages have gotten a lot more aesthetically pleasing over time. I honestly didn’t used to think I was artistic at all and now I think I just might be! For reference, here’s one of my early bullet journal pages. Hopefully you can see that I’ve improved.
Well, I could keep going, but this post is getting long, so I’ll end for now and answer some more of your questions next week. If you have a question for me, make sure to leave it in the comments section below and I’ll add it to my list!