Bullet Journal - Do what works for you

Written by Vincent Bruijn

I see so many tips on social media, even implicit, about what you should or should not do in your Bullet Journal, and I must say, I disagree with a lot of them. Even though a lot of Bullet Journalists advocate that anything goes, there’s still a lot of advice that sound like The Law of Bullet Journaling.

I’m against most of these rules. Though this article might sound like a rant, it is not! It is about that you should do what works for you and a hommage to minimalism.

Some say “making mistakes is not a problem”. I totally agree, but they follow it up with “use correction tape to mask errors”. Uhmm …what? No way for three reasons: 1. You need additional stuff during managing your Bullet Journal – I don’t like clutter. I want one book, one pen and do everything Bullet Journaling with it.

And reason 2: tomorrow, or next week, you’ll be on another page, so your mistake is hidden again. You’ll only see it when going through your history. This will happen, but how often really? Of all six completed Bullet Journals I filled in the past years, I look back in them only a few times each month.

Additionally, the advice for using correction tape implicitly states that making errors is wrong, and that your Bullet Journal has to meet a certain esthetical standard, which I disagree with.

And then this doodling… not for me – even though I went to art school. Doodling could work enlightening or relaxing, but I just don’t feel the urge to do so. In that sense, I’m more of a text based person. Doodling soon looks like a mess, clutter, unnecessary frills… not something for a minimalist like me.

But more concerning to me are the implicit laws that many Bullet Journalists seem to live by. At least, when I’m scrolling social media I get the impression that I am no proper Bullet Journalist at all…!

All these beautifully written month names, collages, graphic details… it almost seems that excessive decorations are a core part of Bullet Journaling. But, in my opinion, they’re not!

It almost seems that excessive decorations are a core part of Bullet Journaling

Let me refer back to Ryder Carroll’s book: the core values of the Bullet Journal Method are about structure, organisation and mindfulness, not about decoration and doodling.

Bullet Journaling is a method; a way, to me at least, to replace preprinted agendas and calendars with a self maintained notebook system that combines the aforementioned: enriching regular blank paged notebooks and reducing preprinted agendas into useful dotted pages combined with a method for information organisation.

Of course, that method should fit your needs. For example: I introduced weekly dashboards, but the method doesn’t say anything about seasonal themed page decoration or the use of washi tape or colored pencils.

So to any new Bullet Journalist I would say: don’t be fooled by what you see about Bullet Journaling on social media. Strictly stick to the Bullet Journal Method for a few weeks, see what works or doesn’t work for you. Then review how it is going and adapt the method to your needs.

Maybe you do enjoy doodling during meetings or calls, or maybe you do feel the need to draw autumn themed month pages for October and November, then please do so, but you don’t have to!

Don’t be fooled by what you see about Bullet Journaling on social media

And to get back to the intro: I discovered over the years that I’m a minimalist. I recently even dropped the use of a ruler as I feel comfortable enough to draw straight lines by hand when needed. This saves me of carrying a ruler and makes it even easier to update my journal: grab my pen, open my Bullet Journal and let’s get going!