Your planner is unimaginative and Bullet journaling scares you. After seeing all those creative spreads, you quitted without trying. Because, what's the point? You are just not cut for it.
I hear you. I got you. Keep calm and continue reading ;)
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Bullet journaling... Too many possibilities may lead you to freeze and don't know where to start, what spreads to make, or go decorative or minimalistic? Would you like it or would you give up? Would you buy an expensive notebook, just to realize you would be much better off with your old, dated planner? And by dated, I don't mean old, just with dates.
Or, you are just entering the planner community and feel all excited, start researching and, suddenly, the first excitement passes and you're feeling like a deflated balloon when you see all those pretty illustrations you can't even think of, let alone draw.
So, what's the point of Bullet journaling if you can't make it pretty and show it off on Instagram or Pinterest for your friends and family to see?
What if I tell you, there is a whole bunch of people who like to make minimalistic spreads only, or there are those who don't even care if their handwriting looks like a walk through the jungle and is mostly hard to read but they don't care because it is their super tool for their super-organized life!
Bullet Journaling Is... In Short
Bullet Journaling is "mindfulness disguised as a productivity system", as Ryder Carol, its creator likes to explain. While planning, if done correctly, you evolve because you constantly evaluate your time and your decisions.
That is why we love it! And that's why it works.
At its core, Bullet Journaling is quite simple and its creator uses a black pen on a dot grid paper only, because it was not made to complicate, rather simplify your life.
So What's With All The Decorative Spreads?
Do them if you want to practice your creativity. Drawing in a Bullet journal is awesome because it becomes a part of your daily life, your hobby, a creative outlet, something you can do or skip if you don't have time, but whenever you draw, you are activating your right side of the brain and improving your visual communication skills.
Besides, artistic engagement makes us feel good.
Why Dot Grid Paper?
Dot grid paper doesn't stand in the way (visually), while still giving guidance so that you can draw boxes and write words without losing the direction. Everything can look neat and clean and that is the beauty of it. Some dot grid papers are standing in a way because the dots are big and dark. Always look inside the notebook you are buying.
However, the point is in the system. So, if you really love lines or graph paper, you should stick to it. If you love blank pages, you should stick to them. Hence, any notebook would do and the system is the real beauty in it.
Bullet Journal Spreads
Everybody's making certain spreads, should I make them too?
Bullet journaling is a journey. You can't know in advance what works for you. However, my suggestion would be to try and keep things simple to avoid overwhelm. For example, if you would like to make a habit tracker, think of some simplified spread; if you make yourself write a separate calendar for each habit, you might get bored and quit, thinking it's not for you.
Making A "Training" Journal
The first phase of Bullet journaling, I call A Training Bullet Journal. This journal should not be expensive, but it should work for you. You need to like it and to carry it in your bag wherever you go. When you are at home, leave it on your desk.
In this journal, you should put EVERYTHING you can think of that you figure might be helpful and also, put everything you like. Put EVERYTHING there. Do all styles, colors, doodles, minimalistic spreads, try nice handwriting, use stickers...
You will quickly dismiss all the things that don't work for you so that you can experiment with those that do.
Keep in mind that you will change in time, evolve and your journaling style will change accordingly. Don't be mad at yourself if you, suddenly, want to go back to the style you've dismissed. That is why you need a less expensive notebook. So that you won't be sorry if you mess it up.
DOWNSIDE of the less expensive notebook:
You can't do watercolor illustrations in a cheap notebook because it will wrinkle. Want to add a watercolor illustration either way? No problem. Paint it on a separate, watercolor sheet and glue it in your notebook.
Another thing that might bother you is if any sort of lines that is too dark, so when you draw, it's too visible, or you just don't like the inside aesthetics.