This title might sound really strange to you, but I started thinking today about when I started this “journey” (and that’s not long ago ) I kept reading the advice for newbies “keep it simple”. I have already gone through lots of planning systems and journals before, I just didn’t find anything I could stick with over a period of time or that was exactly what I wanted, but for me the idea of keeping it simple just killed the whole purpose of the system. The original idea is really simple, and that’s awesome. Some of you only need and want that so, by all means do that, but it’s not for me.
I know that in the beginning a lot of us get really ahead of ourselves and start thinking about ALL those WONDERFUL things one can do with a Bullet Journal. If you look past the planning part (calendar, future log, monthlies, weeklies, daylies…) you’ve got habit trackers, mood trackers, goals for the day, week, month, year… collections like books to read, movies to watch, places to visit, savings trackers, social media trackers… you name it and it can probably have its space in a bullet journal.
So yeah, it can definitively become overwhelming… and then some. But there is, as in everything, a middle ground here. To me, taking a notebook or random paper to “practice” didn’t seem like an option as one of the reasons I do this is because I like to have things “documented” to complement my otherwise messy head. And I keep it like a treasure. If I started out with a black and white list in a cheap notebook I would probably just end up tossing it all together.
The first thing I noticed when I started was that I really had a lot of thoughts, ideas and images floating around in my head that I needed to get down to paper and sort out first. So I did a brainstorming session, actually several over a few days , to land on what I wanted for my planner and then I started out with a simple layout to see how it worked. It evolved constantly from there over the first weeks. It still is actually… but it’s also the part of it that I enjoy the most, experimenting with what I like and need.
I went from a filofax (I thought that my OCD would kill me if I went with the “all in one notebook” concept) and then I moved into a dotted Moleskine in May and surprisingly I am loving it. I can’t bring myself to put every collection in there as I really struggle with the thought of changing notebooks later, but I’ve made a compromise. Every collection that is part of a timeline (something that starts and ends, making it logical to put in the month the idea occurs) I will put in this journal. But everything I think I might want to have for the future and that will not change, will be part of another notebook. Probably a Leuchtturm1917 or the Filofax, but I haven’t started it yet. Things like “books I’ve read”, “movies I’ve wathced”, “Places I’ve visited”, “my kids milestones”… those I want to keep without the daily pages in between.
I could probably write about this a little too much, but the bottom line is simple. Yes, it might seem overwhelming at first, but start from the beginning. Leave collections for last and try to envision what you want out of your bullet journal. You will find that a lot of things you thought you needed or wanted, you might just not. Don’t overdo it, but make it you and let it evolve over time. It’s not about being artsy or even creative if it’s not in you… a lot of it is already invented and remember, there is also the greatness of stickers. Copying is also fine.
Here you can see some pics of how the daily header has changed a little bit over time, but they are all pretty easy to do.
And here you have the first weekly I was really happy with and it’s nothing too fancy, but I think it looks nice.
So… whatever you do… stay true to YOU! Have fun and don’t over-complicate it. Borrow inspiration from others and make it your own.