I recently searched google for some new bullet journal collection ideas, and noticed that the question ‘Are bullet journals a waste of time?’ popped up as an auto-fill suggestion.
Since that suggests that a fair number of you are asking the question, I thought I’d do my best to answer it for you!
First off, let me give you the quick answer, then we’ll dive a little deeper into some advice that’ll help you out! So…
Are bullet journals a waste of time? No! That’s because the bullet journal system is so flexible that you can adapt it to take up as much or as little time as you like…
Bullet journaling can be a quick minimalistic system for productivity and planning OR it can be a creative and therapeutic hobby, OR it can be your own bespoke combination of both!
The beauty of the bullet journal – in fact possibly the whole point of the bullet journal – is that it’s totally up to you!
So, if you’re asking yourself the question ‘are bullet journals a waste of time?’… just read on and I’ll show you exactly how to make sure that they’re not!
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Are Bullet Journals Worth It?
So basically, bullet journaling is indeed worth it, whether you just have a small amount of time to spend planning, or hours to spend enjoying being creative.
I’m going to show you exactly how you can adapt the system to fit your own personal needs, so that bullet journaling need never be a waste of time!
And I’m also going to introduce you to a new gadget (the poooliprinter) to take your bullet journal to the next level WITHOUT a huge time investment, whether you’re a newbie or a seasoned pro!
First of all, if you’re new to the world of the bullet journal, you can check out the official bullet journaling method at bulletjournal.com.
I suggest watching this video out for a quick five minute tutorial.
As you’ll see, at its most basic, the bullet journal is quite a quick and simple way of planning your time and keeping on top of life.
However, at this stage bear in mind that bullet journaling can be a lot more simple than even this basic method!
I’m going to break all this down for you so don’t panic, but basically…
The bare bones of the bullet journal (according to the original method) are:
- Your index
- Your ‘future log’…. (don’t be put off by the odd name, it’s basically a year planner that you put at the front of your bullet journal)
- Your monthly calendar (a list with all the dates of the month and your corresponding appointments).
- Your monthly task list (to do list for the month)
- Your ‘daily logs’ – simply a page for each day with the date written at the top, where you plan your day. If you want to you can use a variety of different symbols to indicate which things are the most important (if you use those you might also want to include a key)
- Collections – these are pages of notes grouped together by subject, like shopping lists or birthday dates.
If you want to dive straight into bullet journaling using the original official method, you can make it easy for yourself by purchasing the official bullet journal notebook.
This will give you designated pages set out for your index page etc… but hold off until you’ve read the rest of this post, then come back to the link if you decide that’s the way you want to go (because you may well change your mind!)
When you watch the video, you’ll notice that there’s no fancy art work or doodling involved in the original bullet journal method!
And that’s because you don’t have to get all fancy if you don’t want to – despite what you may have seen on Instagram!
But of course, you can if you want to (I’ll show you some great examples in a bit)!
What I would point out though, is that BULLET JOURNALING CAN BE MUCH MORE SIMPLE THAN EVEN THE ORIGINAL BULLET JOURNAL METHOD… and Im going to show you how!
Are bullet journals a waste of time? How to make an EASY bullet journal
I’m going to set up a very simple step by step guide to how to make a VERY easy bullet journal VERY soon!
But if you want to know NOW what I suggest you include in your first bullet journal, whether you want to be arty or minimalistic, read on.
Rest assured that if you follow this advice, you should find that bullet journaling is most definitely NOT a waste of time!
Here are the simple steps to take if you want to make sure you don’t waste your time, and end up with a bullet journal that’s worth it:
- Buy your basic supplies – either check out my post on a basic bullet journal starter kit, OR to begin with just get yourself a lined notebook, pen, pencil and ruler.
I recommend investing in a Leuchtturm 1975 dotted A5 notebook as it’ll make things easier for you, but you don’t have to.
(I love this limited edition powder pink one!)
- Leave at least a couple of pages free at the front of your notebook just in case you decide that you’d like to put in an index, but DON’T do that now – it’s not essential.
- Use a two page spread or four pages to create your yearly overview like this or this. OR skip this step and just refer to a wall calendar/electronic calendar whenever you need to see a yearly overview.
- Use one or two pages to create your first monthly overview like this or this. You can jump right in on wherever you happen to be on any given month.
- If you want to, you can use one page for the monthly overview and the opposite page for a monthly to do list.
- Use a double page spread for your first weekly overview like this. You can choose whether or not to add in extras like habit trackers.
- That’s it! If you want extra ideas for any of the above just search on google images, Pinterest (my own lovely board is here), or Instagram…. so much inspo!
So all you’re really doing to make a super quick and easy bullet journal is creating an optional yearly overview, then a monthly overview and a weekly overview.
Make these pages as simple or as arty as you like.
Experiment with finding the balance between therapeutic creativity, and keeping things simple with basic planning, so that it’s never a waste of your time.
Start off like this, then as you progress you might decide to include a page for each day of the week after your weekly planner (‘daily logs’), or maybe to create some collections.
If you’re still not sure what a ‘collection’ is or just want some ideas, I have a ton of lovely examples here.
In fact, you can pull up the ‘bullet journal’ section of this site and browse lots of ideas in general, especially if you want to get creative!
An easy way to make your bullet journal amazing – quickly!
Remember how I mentioned a cool new gadget to take your bullet journal to the next level?!…
If you’re someone who’d like to make your bullet journal somewhat arty and individual, but really struggle with finding the time, this should be right up your street.
It’s basically one more cool easy way to make sure your bullet journaling ISN’T a waste of time!
I recently got approached by PoooliPrint to see if I’d like to try out one of their thermal pocket printers and see how they can be used in bullet journaling.
At first I thought it sounded a little gimmicky, but I gave it a go and… drumroll… IT’S AMAZING!!
The PoooliPrinter is basically a tiny pocket printer that links up with a free app on your phone and uses thermal technology to print out photos, notes, drawings… anything you can think of really.
These can make great additions to your bullet journal by prettying it up, and adding a really personal touch with photos.
It’s also extrememly time efficient since you can print straight from your phone.
One of the downsides of the bullet journal method – and a reason some people end up thinking it’s a waste of time – is that it’s not always convenient to pull out your bullet journal ‘on the go’.
The PoooliPrinter offers a great way round this.
So, for example, you can make your to do list while standing in line at the store, then just print it out later and stick it in your bullet journal.
Another cool thing about the PoooliPrinter is that it never ever runs out of ink!
So that’s one less thing to worry about if you already have a bijillion things on your to do list.
You basically don’t have to worry about any maintenance other than sticking in a new paper roll every now and then.
You can check out my full post on the PoooliPrinter here.
If you fancy trying one out for yourself, you can use my affiliate link right here with the code TARA15 to get 15% off and free shipping!
I really recommend them as I’ve found they’re great for a ton of things as well as bullet journaling.
You can print on basic white paper, a selection of different colors, patterns, sticky labels, and even semi-transparent paper which is a stylish addition.
I’m also using mine to print out pics of my daughter’s show and tell school projects and the like, and they’re also very handy for printing out address labels and returns codes (just use the sticky labels paper roll).
You can check out the vid below by Life Is Messy and Brilliant which shows some great ways to incorporate your Poooliprinter into your bullet journaling, or have a look at some of these ideas…
How to make sure your bullet journaling isn’t a waste of time!
So in summary then… are bullet journals a waste of time?
Or rather, how do you make sure your bullet journaling isn’t a waste of time?
Well, by making your bullet journal your own – completely customised to your needs and how much time you have available!
I’ve shown you how to start off with the basics to get going with a really simple bullet journal.
That’s all you need, and you can keep it all really minimal if you’re short on time.
But also recognise that spending a couple of hours making your bullet journal look beautiful isn’t a waste of time if you love doing it!
If coloring in and finding new designs helps you to relax and express your creative side, then never dream of feeling guilty about doing that!
You need to find ways to ‘fill up your cup’, and some creative bullet journaling can be a good way to do that.
But if not, then crack on with some minimalistic spreads and stick to the sections I’ve suggested to begin with.
It needn’t take you long, and before long you’ll work out what’s best for you.
Consider a PoooliPrinter if you want to add a bit of flair but would rather do it in a short amount of time and without washi tape and coloring pencils!
In short, take what works for your from the bullet journaling system, adapt it, and leave the rest behind!
Stick with this advice, and you’ll find that bullet journaling is anything but a waste of time!