Shhhhh! Let me tell you a secret. I only discovered Facebook groups for bullet journaling this year! I’ve been bullet journaling for over two years and never thought to look for these groups on Facebook until a bujo buddy mentioned it to me.
So earlier this year I ended up joining a few Facebook groups. I love being a part of them. Some are more active than others and some are more helpful than others. But they all provide a great source of inspiration, with lots of people sharing from all sorts of skill levels when it comes to artistry and craftiness. Which is great if you’re a doodling/artistic noob, because not everyone is as sparkling and as talented as 90% of the bullet journal accounts on Instagram. So it’s good to see some “real life” bullet journals.
5 Myths of Bullet Journaling
In these Facebook groups though, there are 5 topics that come up regularly. These sorts of questions or topics are brought up over and over by people new to bullet journaling. They highlight some of the false ideas that people have about the bullet journal system. You may have these beliefs about bullet journaling as well, but they are not true! Have a read of the them here:
1. You need to have artistic talent
Quite often you see the comment – I really want to start a bullet journal but I can’t draw. Sometimes it’s – I don’t have the skills to create elaborate and beautiful spreads, sad face.
Dear Anyone-who-doesn’t-think-they-have-the-skills-to-start-a-bullet-journal, please visit www.bulletjournal.com. There is no-where on there that requires you to have artistic skill to start a bullet journal, nor is doodling or painting or drawing taught on that website.
Why? Because you don’t need these skills to keep a bullet journal. It’s an added extra. Creating beautiful, artistic bullet journal spreads and layouts is something that has evolved over time and now seems to have become the norm when you mention bullet journaling. But take-away all the window-dressing and you should be left with the basics of bullet journaling.
The Bullet Journal is a customizable and forgiving organization system. It can be your to-do list, sketchbook, notebook, and diary, but most likely, it will be all of the above. It will teach you to do more with less.
From this quote (taken from the Bullet Journal website), you can see that the main point of the bullet journal is “organisation”. We don’t need to have art and elaborate spreads to be organised. It’s definitely nice to look at and can bring joy in the creation. If you can’t or don’t feel like you’re able to be fancy-pants then don’t sweat it. If it causes you stress, stick to the basics of bullet journaling, which you can find out more about here.
And another thing, not everyone is born with artistic skills. Some people have practised for years to get where they are, so don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle. Just start, and practise and enjoy yourself while you’re creating in your bullet journal.
2. A Dot Grid Journal = Bullet Journal
One question that comes up a lot in Facebook groups is “Where can I buy a bullet journal?”.
You don’t buy a bullet journal, you create a bullet journal. Stationery-wise, a bullet journal can be ANY sort of notebook. It can be ruled, it can be squared, it can be blank, and it can be dot grid. The term “bullet” does not refer to the dots in a dot grid notebook.
BIGGEST MISCONCEPTION EVER: A dot grid notebook does not make it a bullet journal. How you use the notebook makes it a bullet journal.
Now if you want to buy a notebook to start a bullet journal, then I can help you there! Here are a few of my favourites:
3. You Need to Spend Lots of Money on Expensive Stationery
“I really want to start a bullet journal but I can’t afford to buy all the pens and stationery!”
Hey, have you read my blog post on the essential bullet journal supplies to start a bullet journal? You should!! Basically in this post I tell you how you don’t have to have fancy expensive supplies to start a bullet journal. All you need is a notebook and a pen. Any notebook. Any pen. Even the hideous ones your husband brings home for you from the office (ugh!).
The core bullet journal system involves writing lists, notes and ideas. This can all be done with a simple ball point pen. It’s nice to have beautiful hand-lettered headings using expensive Tombow pens, but it’s not necessary. There are still lots of beautiful bullet journal layouts out there that don’t use expensive pens and notebooks, you can see some of them here.
4. You Need to Create Your Bullet Journal Spreads Months in Advance
Another myth of bullet journaling is that you need to create your spreads weeks in advance, or even months in advance. By definition, “a bullet journal is a cusomisable organisation system“. You can change it to suit your needs. You can change if from day to day, from week to week, from month to month. You get me right?
If you’ve created all your spreads months in advance or even bought a hand-drawn bullet journal, then how is this customisable anymore? It’s not. I’ve seen it, in the Facebook groups… when someone has created months in advance and then decided… oh no! weekly logs don’t actually work for me, but I’ve created the next 6 months worth already? what do I do?
You could start again, but that seems like such a waste of time and effort. You could continue using it, but why would you if it doesn’t work for you anymore?
So give it up then? This to me is reminiscent of buying a diary at the start of the year, and then finding that after a couple of months it doesn’t work for you, so you stop using it. Should have just bought a diary in the first place instead of wasting all that time and money.
You should be able to adapt your bullet journal to suit your needs as your needs change. I usually use weekly logs but every so often I switch to daily logs because I have too much on and can’t fit everything into a two page spread. I plan out my following week during the weekend, if I have time (I usually make time because I enjoy doing it). Sometimes I plan out more than the following week, but there’s not need too. That’s what I love best about the bullet journal system. It doesn’t lock me in to boxes that I can’t move or change.
One very good reason that some people create lots of weeks or months in advance is because they don’t have the time to be creating weekly. If you don’t have time for this either, you can always strip everything back and go back to creating simple daily logs and rapid logging. Like I mentioned in point 3, you don’t need to have beautiful spreads if it doesn’t suit.
5. You Need to Start a Bullet Journal in the New Year
So many times I’ve seen people comment “I just bought all my supplies and can’t wait until January to start it!
Customisable. How many times have I said it now? The system is customisable. So you can start it at any time of the year. Start it tomorrow, or better yet, start it today! You won’t regret it. You need to get out of the mindset that a bullet journal is just another planner or diary. It’s not! And why are planners and diaries printed so they only start 1 Januray or 1 July anyway? Most people are still on holiday 1 January. It would make more sense to start a diary at the start of the school year, or at the start of the tax year? Hmmm who figures? But anyway…
And the other thing about this one… If you plan on starting your bullet journal in the new year, do you planning on completing a full year in the one notebook? Most people run out of room after about 6 months, there are very few people who actually fit a whole year into one notebook. So when September rolls around and your notebook is full, are you going to wait until the NEXT year to start a new bullet journal, or are you just going to start a new bullet journal straight away? If you answered the latter, then it doesn’t make sense to start bullet journaling next year does it?
6. You Have to Follow the Prescribed Format
Another thing I always see in these Facebook groups: I’m not a particularly busy person, I don’t have enough tasks/events to fill up a daily log, do I need to have a daily log?
Hey newbie, you don’t need to do anything! If a daily log doesn’t work out for you, then don’t do it. Like I said customisable. I’m one of those people that doesn’t have much to stick in my daily log, mainly because most of my days are all the same. So I stick with weekly logs, which are not part of the original bullet journal system but have evolved from the system. I find these more useful to me, as I can see what I have planned for the week ahead. I’ve customised my bullet journal to suit my needs!
Another thing, I don’t have a key, I barely use an index. Why not? Because I don’t need them, so I’ve cut out the key and shortened my index. The bullet journal systems gives you the freedom to decide.
7. Bullet Journaling Takes a Lot of Time
The final myth of bullet journaling is that it takes a lot of time. Well, yes and no.
If you just stick to the basics of bullet journaling, then it should take you no more than an hour to set up a new bullet journal and it shouldn’t take you more than 5 minutes every morning to rapid log your daily tasks.
However, if you decide you want beautiful, colourful spreads with lots of doodles and fancy brush lettering, then yes that will take you time. But if this is something you enjoy, then I believe you should make time for it. Just like any other hobby that brings you joy.
Ignore the Myths and Start Your Bullet Journal!
So now you that know the 7 myths of bullet journaling, I hope you can see past them and start your bullet journal now. My take-away message from all this is that everyone is unique, therefore every bullet journal is unique. You don’t need to do something in your bullet journal just because everyone else does. As long as your bullet journal works for you, and suits your needs, then pretty much anything goes.
Do you know of any other bullet journal myths? What do you think of them? Let me know in the comments below.
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