Life as a student can get crazy which is why I’m such an advocate for using a planner. There’s no easier way to manage time (and your life!) than with a planner but it can be a struggle to find one that works perfectly for you. That’s why when I saw the Bullet Journal all over my social media, I decided to bite the bullet and give it a try.
If you don’t know what the Bullet Journal system is, it’s basically a do it yourself planner and if you follow the creator Ryder Carroll’s system, it’s designed to promote productivity and mindfulness. The appeal behind the Bullet Journal is that it’s cheap, easy and customisable to your own needs. Unfortunately for me, as much as I like the idea behind the Bullet Journal, I just couldn’t make it work for me and my lifestyle.
1. Planning ahead is difficult.
Here’s the thing with the Bullet Journal, you only set up a little bit at a time because you never know how much space you’re going to require. This makes planning ahead really hard and as a person who juggles school, a part time job, this blog and a whole lot of other commitments, you can see why this would be a necessity for me. I really, really disliked not being able to scribble in appointments for the next week and I’d resorted to using sticky notes on the next page which not only looked like a hot mess but meant that I wasn’t being as organised as I thought when I’d accidentally double book myself because I couldn’t see everything clearly. I’m sure there was a better way around this (and if you’re a Bullet Journal fan, you’re probably screaming at me for whining about this) but this was the main factor as to why I didn’t use my Bullet Journal.
[day 48 // #100daysofproductivity] I am low key obsessed with my habit tracker for April. Today I fixed my bullet journal so that everything is up to day, finished my exam notes for tomorrow and worked on a group project. Now I'm off to go and pack my desk for the move on Saturday! What are you all up to today? 😊
The habit tracker for April in my Bullet Journal.
2. Set up requires time
Lots of time. Another factor in my trouble using the Bullet Journal system is the fact that setting it up takes time. This really doesn’t work for me when I am so time poor. You’re probably saying “Alysha, your Bullet Journal doesn’t have to be pretty, you don’t need to spend a lot of time setting it up.” In which case, I’ll direct you to point number three.
3. I’m a perfectionist
And let me tell you, as a perfectionist who doesn’t have an artistic bone in her body it’s really hard to make things pretty and usable without wanting to tear a million pages out. I want things to be pretty, I want things to be neat and nothing frustrated me more than when I’d spend more time than necessary on my weekly spread only to hate using it because it didn’t turn out the way I wanted.
One of many attempts to try and pre-plan.
I’m a lover or organisation and order. Everything has its rightful place and the fact that you can’t really organise and order the Bullet Journal does not sit well with me. I tried out a lot of things and a lot of ‘collections’ in order to try and get myself to enjoy Bullet Journalling and having a book’s to read page in the middle of February when it was now May annoyed me more than it should. I even tried to conquer this by using an A5 Staple Arc Notebook where you can move the pages around but that doesn’t work so well when you need to write on both sides of the page to save space.
5. Ease of use
In the end, I really just found the Bullet Journal to be more trouble than it was worth. I didn’t find it easy to use, I didn’t find it easy to set up and I didn’t feel like I was any more productive than I was with a normal planner.
[day 12 // #100daysofproductivity] sometimes you've gotta know when it's best to take a step back and have a break. For me, that was today. I feel like I've hit a brick wall with my essay – I know what I want to say and how, it's just not coming together like I want and I've got a bit of a head cold, so instead of forcing myself to study, I took the afternoon off and worked on my bullet journal and blog! ❤️
I’m 99.9% sure I did this spread and then never looked at it again.
Personally, I’m finding the more traditional type planner easier to use at this point in my life. Maybe I didn’t give the Bullet Journal enough of a chance (and maybe, just maybe I’ll work up the courage to try it again one day) but for now, I’m happiest with my planner.
Do you use the Bullet Journal System? Can you share any tips and tricks? Or did you, like me, find it too hard and difficult to use? Let me know in the comments below!