I promised you a blog on Bullet Journaling and here it is. Some of you have probably already heard about this planning system. A lot of people, especially those with busy schedules, use some kind of planning method. And there are tons of electronic applications that are extremely popular like of course Microsoft’s Outlook, and Google and Apple’s Calendar apps. But there’s a growing popularity of the use of paper planners.
Of course, some of us from previous generations used paper planners because there were no electronic versions. But when the ability to plan things on your computer and then your phone and then even sync those together came into being, the word on the streets was that paper and pen planning was on its way out. But it’s made a comeback in a big way and a lot of the reason is because of a man named Ryder Carroll and his invention of the Bullet Journal planning system.
I’m not going to try and repeat here all of the great information about that system that is already available all over the web, but if you want to learn more about this system, I suggest you check out the creator’s website. But I will say that the basics of the system are, you write down a to-do or scheduled activity on the day you plan to do it, cross it off if you finish it or if you don’t, pull it forward to the next day. Of course there’s a little more to it than that, but I’ll let you discover that on your own.
One of the major complaints people originally had about the Bullet Journal system was its inability to plan future events well. But the creator, Ryder Carroll has come up with his own solution called the Future Log, and some very clever Bujo users have created their own “hacks” to solve this problem. Some of the best ones are the Alastair Method by Alastair Johnston and the Calendex by Eddy Hope. But all of these methods can be tweaked to get a version you like best.
What I want to talk about it is how this simple system has morphed into a full-fledged movement and how fountain pens have become a big part of it. First of all, well, duh, it’s a paper planner. And any time you have paper to write on, shouldn’t you be doing it with your fountain pen? So even if you stick to the most basic system designed by Ryder, you get a chance to use your fountain pen.
In addition to a simple planning system, elaborate Bullet Journals (lovingly nicknamed Bujo’s) include what are called Bullet Journal extras like Habit Trackers, Collections, Lists, Menu and Expense Planner pages, and Gratitude and Goal pages just to mention a few. And all of these pages and more can be written with your fountain pen. On a daily Bujo page you may find other extra info such as how many glasses of water you had that day, what the weather was or the phase of the moon for that day. And depending on your personal needs or your work, you may want to include information more specific to your needs, such as a daily Tracker of the medication you’ve taken, or creating an ongoing List of books you’d like to read, or maybe a Collection page of all of your fountain pens and inks! I could go on and on. Let’s just say that the possibilities are endless. The beauty of this system is that you can fine-tune it to meet your specific needs and that is sometimes difficult with an electronic planner.
Some of the extra things I to add in my Bujo include when the next meteor shower or eclipse will occur, a Tracker that includes how many times I played the piano or rode my bicycle that month, my List of Travel Journal ideas (more about what a Travel Journal is in the next blog!), etc. One of my favorite Collections is “Where the Hell is My…?” which is a list of where I stored something in my home. I don’t have a lot of closet space in my house so I have things tucked away in all kinds of strange places!
The extreme Bujo ‘artists,' as I call them, adorn their pages with color and design - stickers, washi tape, colored pencil drawings and even watercoloring. This is when you are probably thinking that paper really matters. And you’d be right. In my previous article, “My Favorite Journals,” I chose the journals I love based on their ability to handle all of these mediums. I generally write in my Bujo daily with multiple fountain pens and ink colors. I am one of those crazy Bujo artists that adorn my pages with all of the craftiness listed above. I even collage in them with Ultra Chalk Modge Podge (my favorite!) My Bujo is not as traditional as some, since in addition to the normal to-do lists, I also include a bit of personal journaling in it every day.
For me, the best advantage to having the Bujo system is that I can make it exactly what I need. I start with a blank book, usually dot gridded, and create all of my calendars, lists, trackers, collections, etc. from scratch. You don’t need to do it this way. If time is of the essence, there are lots of places on the web offering pre-formatted pages that you can buy or even download for free, print and glue them in your book. In my opinion, that kind of negates the point of being able to create exactly what I need and write on that luxurious Tomoe River paper I usually have in my blank journal. But if all this drawing and artsy stuff just seems like way too much work, the basic Bullet Journaling system is very simple and not time consuming at all. It’s just us crazy people that turn our journals into artistic monsters!
So if you’re on the search for the perfect planning system that will let you use your fountain pens, check out the Bullet Journal. Maybe it’s exactly what you’ve been looking for to help you get your life in order. And it’s a great excuse, like you needed one, to use your fountain pens every day!