Like everything, BuJo has its myths and truths. Many people stop using this method because they are overwhelmed by those overworked spreads and layouts with incredible designs.
This is a possibility for those who have talent, patience and a lot of free time. But don’t be scared: BuJo can also be minimalist and uncomplicated. In fact, it was born with this assumption. Here are some of BuJo myths!
Do you have to know how to draw?
No, it’s a possibility and you can try if you like to draw, if you have time, if you’re a creative person – in short, if it will do you good.
Many people maintain a Bullet Journal to relieve stress. For them, it’s therapeutic to take a few minutes of the day to work out that fancy layout, but that’s not a requirement. And even if you want to have a decorated BuJo, you can use other features like:
- post-it color notes
- washi tape
- different and colorful clips
- scrapbook material
Even with a simple pen it is possible to make beautiful titles and headers.
Does it have to have beautiful handwriting?
No, your handwriting should only be readable to you. But if you want a wonderful handwriting trick, do this: just write normally and then thicken every line whose movement is downward.
Have you tried it at home? It’s very simple and beautiful! This trick imitates the effect of brush point pens, which are more difficult to use.
Do you have to leave your kidney in the stationery store?
No way. If you have extra money to spend, you may invest in various BuJo supplies to decorate your Bullet Journal and help create colorful artistic layouts. But this is not an obligation. BuJo even started with the proposal to use a notebook and a pen. It’s as simple as it gets, right?
Does BuJo have to be your exclusive method?
No. It is possible to use more than one method, such as spreadsheets and applications. Just create a system that makes sense. Be careful to understand where you write each type of task, so you don’t get confused afterwards and have trouble finding information.
I love and use BuJo every day, but I also like to rely on applications to make my routine more practical in some ways. For example:
- I do my weight control with Libra;
- I record my habits with 7 Weeks;
- for larger notes, I use Evernote;
- for reminders and shopping lists, Keep is very useful;
- Google Calendar is indispensable for business meetings;
- Asana is excellent for managing projects with more participants.
I also have a monthly calendar printed in my kitchen, in which I write the shared tasks of the house (watering the plants, washing the bedding, taking out the trash and the bills to pay).
At BuJo, everything else goes. Always remember that the idea is for it to help you get organized, not to get in your way. So, if centralizing everything on it is better, go ahead. But if you find it easier to use another method, there’s no problem with that.
You can even do the “manual” work on the apps and record the summary in the notebook at the end of each month – like I do with the habit tracker.
Other BuJo Tips
Understand your objective
Everyone has their reasons for using a BuJo. My principal problem is that my memory is terrible. If I don’t write it down, I’ll forget it. But I also work very well with visual stimuli and I love stationery, so the Bullet Journal is perfect for me.
One reason I wouldn’t adapt the ready-made planners is that I have very specific goals and tasks in my work routine. Understanding your motivation and your needs is also important not only to create the layout that will suit you perfectly, but to help you build the habit.
Test before finalizing
A significant way to find the ideal layout is to test it first. Look for that old notebook, which was abandoned with several empty pages at the end. Use it to do a test for a month, designing a different layout every week. At the end of this period, you’ll understand what works and what you can improve to adapt to your everyday life.
If you can, make the layout ready for an entire year.
It may sound exhausting, and sometimes it is. But having the whole year drawn is a hand on the wheel so you don’t have to have a “future log”, avoiding writing the same thing twice – which, besides giving you more work, can cause some information to be lost.
Do it in advance, so you can draw a little at a time. Put on a song, make some tea and take it easy, enjoying the moment.
Have a pen test sheet
Depending on the notebook sheet you have chosen, some pens can cause ink transfer, “ghosts” or stains. So, before you buy that huge, expensive set of colored pens, test their ink on a notebook page dedicated to it. Trust me; this will save you from getting angry.
Look for inspiration
Pinterest is a sea of inspiration and references. It has everything for everyone, from the frighteningly elaborate layouts to the most minimalist and monochromatic.
If you search in English, the chances of success are greater. For example:
- “weekly spread” will show you weekly layout models;
- “habit tracker” brings ideas of creative formats for habit controls;
- “collections ideas” give suggestions of lists to keep;
- “bujo monthly layouts” presents inspirations for the monthly format;
- “bujo headers” or “easy bujo banners” are keywords that teach how to make beautiful titles for the sections;
- With “DIY stamps” you learn how to make various models of fun stamps to decorate the BuJo.
Just use your creativity when it comes to researching!
YouTube is also an excellent source of inspiration, with tips for those who love to draw, for those who like to decorate, and for those who are minimalist.
If you have difficulty keeping the habit, try to make your BuJo as simple as possible. But simplicity doesn’t mean boredom! There are several ways to make your journal beautiful without losing hours of the day to decorate it. Stickers, stencils and washi tapes are a great way to do this.
Make the habit
The secret to making the habit is finding pleasure in minor achievements. I love it when I do a task and can color the ball on the list: it’s a sense of duty accomplished, a little satisfaction that encourages me to keep doing my activities.
Also, there is no point in remembering an appointment or task if your BuJo stayed at home, forgotten in the desk drawer. Walking with the notebook always in the backpack or in the bag helps a lot to write everything always. That’s why it’s important to choose the ideal size.
Another excellent practice is to have a moment at night to plan the next day, or on Sunday to plan the following week. If necessary, put an alarm on your cell phone to remind you to do this.
Don’t feel sorry for the notebook
Do you know that beautiful handmade notebook that you once bought, or that Moleskine that was expensive and you’re sorry to use? You can pick it up there in the closet right now and start using it! It makes little sense to keep it for a special occasion. Incidentally, do you want more special occasion than revolutionize your way of organizing?
Also, it’s good to align expectations: if you will create something by hand, you’ll miss something. You’ll skip a day, write “Tuesday” twice, or make a spelling mistake somewhere. Don’t press so hard and don’t expect everything to come out perfect. Just take it in the good mood, stick a sticker over it and life goes on!
Don’t wait for the “ideal moment”.
The end of the year is an agreeable time to go testing the layouts and identifying your needs to start a brand new BuJo next year. But if you’re reading this content in the middle of March, or at the end of July, don’t be shy: you can start your Bullet Journal right now, which will be successful. This is one of the many advantages of not being subjected to the rigidity of a regular, cast agenda.
The most important thing is to understand your routine in order to really be able to optimize your time and never forget a task or commitment! And, of course, enjoying the process – because organization need not be boring.