Let’s face it: life gets busy, and it’s hard to keep track of everything. From assignment due dates to scheduling time with friends, it sometimes seems impossible to keep everything straight. Due to busy schedules, many people turn to electronic or paper planners – although this can feel like an impersonal chore. How can you make organization an individualized, creative endeavour? The answer is quite simple: bullet journaling. 

Ryder Carrol first introduced bullet journaling in 2012. The original process included a specific notation style, with different symbols, or “bullets,” each representing various tasks that needed to be completed. Not long after Carroll introduced this planning method, the artistic community started to create their own versions, which they shared online. Some members of the “bujo” community have millions of followers who await their weekly “spreads,” or journal layouts. The community stresses that anyone can bullet journal, whether you simply list tasks without adornment or create elaborately designed pages. The beauty of the bullet journal is that it can be anything you need (or want) it to be. 

I first began bullet journaling in 2017, when I discovered Instagram accounts and YouTube channels dedicated to this method of organization. I was in awe of the breathtaking yet practical art before my eyes. Although I am not artistically talented and cannot draw a straight line, even with a ruler, I bought an empty notebook and tried to emulate what I saw online. I was drawn to the idea of building a planner from scratch, especially as someone who plans excessively as a coping mechanism for an anxiety disorder. I quickly became frustrated when I could not produce what I saw online, and I retreated to my “normal” planner.

During the pandemic, I returned to bullet journaling with a vengeance. With so much extra time on my hands and so many unknowns about the future floating in the air, I found solace in painstakingly drawing calendars and watching tutorials. I have revelled in buying special pens, and I find nothing more exciting than ordering stickers from small businesses and having them arrive in the mail. I even have two separate bullet journals this year: an “everyday” journal and a reading journal. These two notebooks are filled with love and doodles, customized to fit my needs. Once they are finished, they will be tucked away only to be pulled out in later years, as a snapshot of times gone by. 

My journals may not be perfect, but I find nothing more satisfying than sitting down to spend time working on them. Through bullet journaling, I have learned that artistic practices do not have to be large, elaborate events. You do not need to be extraordinarily talented to find escape in the act of creating something. Bullet journaling has allowed me to experiment with making every day a little less mundane and a little more beautiful.  

If you are looking for a little inspiration for your bullet journal, check out some cool instagram accounts below!







Header Image: Bianca Naim

By Victoria Bowen

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