I’m a few years late to this trend but I am now officially a bullet journal-er(?). At the start of April, I fell down a YouTube rabbit hole after researching which graphics tablet to buy (I got the XP-Pen 12, in case you’re wondering). Before I knew it, I’d consumed 100s of hours of bullet journal content from the likes of Amanda Rach Lee (Queen of BuJo), Abbey Sy and Kalliopi Lyviaki, among others.
I’ve always avoided the bullet journal method because it seemed a little complicated and restrictive, but it’s actually the opposite. Even since going freelance, I have struggled with project management. I’m lucky enough to be consistently busy, but this means that I rarely have time to manage a Trello Board or Asana task list. I also love the satisfaction that comes with writing down tasks by hand and ticking them off. When I worked in-house, I was great at policing the use of digital project management tools, because it helped keep everyone on the same page, but now it’s just me, I find it much harder to stay on track.
The bullet journal technique attracted me because of the freedom to include or exclude anything I want. In the past, I’ve bought planners with dedicated sections to various areas of my life and I’ve found that there’s often not enough space for some things and too much for others. With a bullet journal, I can craft the perfect planner and change this every month.
The other reason why I love my bullet journal is creative freedom. I’ve been drawing a lot more recently. From creating the little doodles you’ll see in my weekly newsletters to scribbling in my bullet journal, it’s been a great release. I think it’s the combination of creativity and productivity that makes the bullet journal so appealing to me.
I’m not an expert, so I won’t go into too much detail about how the bullet journal works but basically, it’s a simple task management system that relies on separating events, tasks and notes, and includes a number of symbols that allow you to push tasks to future days, or cross them off altogether. The bullet journal recognises that life is fluid and, while to-do lists are a great way of managing tasks, not everything can go to plan all the time.
A look at my freelancer bullet journal
April is my first month using my bullet journal, so I am trying to stick to simple and easy-to-use spreads while enjoying doodles and fun colour schemes. Here’s a little peek into my April BuJo, which was inspired by Amanda Rach Lee’s ‘lo-fi study girl’ aesthetic. I adore all of the Chilled Cow playlists and thought it worked perfectly for a whole month of ‘staying home’.
I wonder whether I have been drawn to starting a bullet journal right now as a way of overcoming the chaos and anxiety in the outside world. The therapy of doodling and colouring-in, paired with the comfort of putting tasks and events on paper, helps me compartmentalise the whirlwind of thoughts inside my head. Not just because of the pandemic, which is a huge burden on all of our mental health right now, but also because April marked one year since my Mam and Grandad passed away (which I wrote about in my newsletter this week!). Whether I stick to it our not, I’m definitely finding it useful right now as a way of keeping on track in a world of distractions.
Do you use a bullet journal? Or do you have any other planning/project management techniques that you recommend? My mind is like a sieve at times so I am working really hard to write *everything* down and my BuJo seems to be helping!