A couple of months ago I went in search of a specific notepad. A bright pink dotted notepad. One that had a contents page, page numbers and a pocket at the back. One that cost me £15 and took three stationery shops to find. As a self-confessed stationery addict, I have about 10 spare notepads I could have used, but this one was different. This one would start my bullet journal obsession.
When you hear about bullet journalling it's often associated with staying organised and keeping your to-do list in check, but for me the benefits go way beyond that. I read about bullet journalling for weeks before I deciding to commit. I ogled the picture-perfect stationery snaps on Instagram and read article after article about how it had changed people's lives. I was desperate to have one but, at the same time, felt like it would be a lot of effort to keep up.
But during that shopping trip to find said notepad a couple of months ago, I was feeling pretty shitty. I was desperate to find something new and creative that would take my mind off my anxious thoughts. I wanted, or probably needed, something to focus on. A place where I could reflect and be mindful and grateful about what I had in my life, instead of constantly thinking about what I didn't have. So I paid the pricey amount for what is, quite simply, a dotted notepad and there began my BuJo obsession.
Now? I'm addicted.
When you read any article about bullet journalling, the main message that comes across is that you customise it to how it best works for YOU. There is no right or wrong answer - guidelines, ideas, and suggestions, yes - but at the end of the day, a bullet journal is a place where you can plan, organise, write, draw, and create just how you want to. Before putting pen to paper, I read articles and blogs online about how other people used their journals - how they drew their weekly spreads, what lists they created and how they used it as a planner and a journal. Then I came up with my own ideas. And, in a bid to ensure I was fully committed, I got rid of my own diary (I always have a paper diary, never use my iPhone calendar) so I had to rely solely on my bullet journal.
In these past couple of months, my journal has become my prized possession full of thoughts, plans, ideas, lists, hopes, goals, favourite quotes and everything else. I try to dive into it daily - usually before I go to bed - to log a bit about my day and fill in my habit trackers. When I have a little longer, I sit down with coloured pens (like an eight-year-old child) to draw and create new pages.
The main chunk of my journal is a monthly and weekly spread (I fill in with events/dates/other stuff to remember) and a reflective daily log about my day, where I try to write three things that I am grateful for. Having this journal has helped me to stop sweating the small stuff. It has made realise that getting thoughts down on paper is possibly one of the most therapeutic ways to get over a stressful day.
But what has surprised me the most is how much I've enjoyed time to create and decorate my pages to make them look nice. So many people have commented on how much effort it must take to manually create a diary and if that's what you're thinking then it's 100% not for you. I enjoy the process - no I love the process - as much as the end result. I get lost in finding designs to copy and have started to learn calligraphy to make my headings look Insta-worthy. And I get that brilliant sense of satisfaction when I have finished designing a page, together with colours, stickers and borders. I even got a bullet journal inspiration guide with borders, banners, lettering and drawings to copy (sneak a peek here).
Aside from art classes at school, I can't remember the last time I sat down and drew with just a pen and paper and no technology in sight.
It's not realistic for me every day to set aside hours to draw, but I've found a new habit I genuinely look forward to doing when I have a night in. Something that makes me feel content and brings my focus back to the things that really matter. That journal holds so much.
So yes, bullet journalling is great for organising, it's great to plan ahead and get your head sorted on daily tasks you have to get done. But for me, it's so much more than that. It's a place to self-reflect, to create, to be mindful and to completely switch off.
BRB just going to find a calligraphy workshop so I can make my #BuJo even prettier.