What I learnt from a month of bullet journalling

Bullet journalling has been taking the world by storm, but is it really all that great?

Camillia Dass

Published: 11 July 2016, 10:53 AM

I first heard about bullet journalling when a friend of mine created an Instagram page dedicated to showcasing pictures of her journal.

At first, I was a cynic (as I usually am about most things). It looked like a glorified way for people to waste time while pretending to be productive. Considering that I already am used to using a daily planner, I decided to try this new method of making to-do lists to see if bullet journalling is worth the hype.

Here’s what I learnt from a month of bullet journalling.

Bullet journalling involves logging your ideas and notes rapidly.

Starting the journal

I started on this challenge by getting a new journal. I bought a simple A6 notebook from MUJI, which cost me about $2. It was so much cheaper than the official bullet journalling notebook, which costs approximately S$27 (US$20).

In bullet journalling, there is a system that you have to follow. You need a key, which is basically a rundown of what each icon means. You also need an index, a future log, a monthly log, and a daily log. You also need to number the pages, so that you know where everything is.

This is the key that is recommended by the official site but you can always personalise it.

This can seem extremely confusing when you are just getting started, but it is actually quite simple. I found this video by the official bullet journalling website particularly helpful when I was trying to get acquainted with the system of keys and logs. Check it out below:


Follow this video when you are starting your journal and you will find it easy.

Using the journal

The best part about keeping a bullet journal is that it can be anything you want it to be.

I started with a very safe logging of my daily tasks, such as the things I had to do and the events I had to attend. I took about 20 minutes every morning to fill it in, which is about the same time I took to check on my social media feeds.

I loved the fact that I could look back on the things I did in a day.

However, I got bored with filling up my journal with snippets of my daily tasks within three days. So, I browsed Pinterest to get inspired by other journalling enthusiasts. That’s when I stumbled on idea about creating a page to record my dreams.

Once I created that page, my journal started to take on a more personal feel.

I have always loved recording my dreams writing them down can be quite therapeutic.

I quickly became attached to my journal and soon, I was writing full diary entries filled with snippets of my day, random drawings, and even pieces of lint roller paper – I kept it from the day my friend pranked me by sticking it all over my stuff.

My bullet journal soon evolved into a mini scrapbook and a piece of myself that I truly enjoyed. In fact, it almost became a second brain.

My bullet journal soon became a place of solitude and reflection.

As I reached the end of the month-long challenge, I found it increasingly hard to use my journal as a place to throw all my to-dos and events. Perhaps, I was too obsessed with keeping my entries looking aesthetically pleasing. It got to the point where I was spending way more time planning and too little time completing my list of tasks.

In fact, I found myself using another planner to scribble down the things I had to do before transferring everything to my bullet journal the next day. Admittedly, it was not the best use of my time, but I guess that is what happens when you have to maintain a very pretty notebook.

Will I do this again?

If you like writing things down by hand but find that proper diary entries are not sustainable, bullet journalling is made for you. I personally found that it was great way to quickly keep track of my days without the hassle and pressure of writing full paragraphs.

However, if you cannot stand maintaining artsy planners that end up wasting your time, you might want to give this a miss. The pressure to keep my journal looking Tumblr-worthy was quite stressful, and it was definitely not something I enjoyed!

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