I started bullet journaling in January of 2016, during my second semester of university. It was great for me, it helped me manage my study and work time while also including time for personal development and self-care.
The way it positively affected my grades was also a massive bonus, taking me from a 2.8 GPA in my first semester, to a 3.5 in my second semester. But then final exams and summer jobs rolled around, and I fell off the wagon.
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It wasn’t until I began planning my wedding in October of 2016 that I found myself searching for a way to manage my time again, and it was finally in January of 2017 that I started my second bullet journal. It wasn’t easy getting back into it, but I couldn’t ignore the many benefits it presented for me.
One common concern I see from many of my fellow bullet journal-ers is how to get back into it, or how to break out of a cycle of the same weekly and monthly spreads. In this article, I will outline just how I did it, and how I keep at it!
Refreshing your weekly and monthly spreads
I don’t do daily spreads, so everything important to me is within my weekly spread. One of the ways I keep my weekly spreads interesting is by using my tried and true template, but adjusting it slightly to allow my creativity rise to the surface.
Between my June 12-18 and my June 19-25 spreads, the things I’m tracking don’t change much, but the design and theme do! This way, I am excited to start every week and I look forward to developing every new spread.
Other ways to refresh your weekly spreads could include trying out new headers, fonts, or colors! Step out of your comfort zone, you might surprise yourself!
Also, trying new stationery was a huge motivation booster for me when it came to bullet journaling. In January of this year, when I started up again, I ordered mildliners and a new dotted Leuchtturm1917. Using the new pens and journal gave me a much-needed fresh start.
Tracking New Things
Tracking something new and building new habits was a huge help when I started getting back into bullet journaling because it was exciting to check off a new habit every day and watch my progress in it!
Some things I track on a weekly and monthly basis include:
- Practiced ASL (at least 1 hour)
- Washed hair
- Washed face
- Quality time with my husband
- Posted to Instagram or Tumblr
- Left house (really important since I started working from home)
- Chatted with someone I haven’t in a while
- Period tracker
- No spend on non-essentials
- No eating out
- Work (Number of hours, helps when submitting time sheets!)
- Emptied dishwasher
It might seem like a lot to be constantly tracking, but this helps me to make sure I am regularly updating my bullet journal. If I open it to note I practiced ASL for 2 hours, which is super exciting, I get excited to fill out the rest!
Get back to basics
Bullet journaling has taken off as a creative outlet for so many people, but ultimately this is not how it began. The creator of the method started bullet journaling as a quick to-do list with a simple key.
Whenever I’m too busy to do a creative spread, I make sure to at the very least go back to the basic bullet journal layout. This way, I’m never missing a week or falling off the wagon, but it gives me more time to prepare for the next week.
Joining a community
By reading blogs like productive & pretty and joining Facebook groups like the “bullet journal junkies” I found motivation all around. Just like in school and weight loss, people tend to succeed more when they are surrounded by like-minded individuals. Try introducing it to a friend or your significant other. When I started journaling again my roommates took interest and this helped me to stick with it!
Bullet journaling has been a huge help to my busy life. Between January and now, I got into the highly competitive nursing program, pulled a 4.0 GPA, planned a wedding, planned a honeymoon, worked 20 hours a week, and moved… twice. I attribute my sane mental state entirely to my bullet journal. Stick with it! It is worth it!