The kids are back at school, which means now is the time to really get organised. If you didn’t make a head start on your goals over the summer holidays, don’t panic; we’ve got a fun, creative way to get (and stay) organised for the year ahead.
We’ll be the first to admit that bullet journals have been having their moment for a long while now. In fact, bullet journals as we know them today were first conceived way back in 1990, by a man named Ryder Carroll.
Ryder, who was diagnosed with ADD as a child, wanted a system that would help him thrive beyond his learning disabilities. With a bit of experimentation and a lot of brainstorming, he had his ‘bullet journal’ method down pat by the time he graduated from college.
After showing off his idea online in 2013, it took off – Ryder even earned $80,000 to launch a centralised online community of bullet journal lovers through Kickstarter.
By 2018, Ryder had presented a TEDxYale talk (watch it here), published a book, and the #bujo hashtag had over three million posts on Instagram. What started as Ryder’s personal journaling method has since become a global phenomenon, inspiring countless Pinterest boards, Instagram accounts and YouTube tutorials.
But why did so many people go mad for this approach to journaling? Perhaps it was its simplicity, or the opportunity to flex their creative muscles?
As it turns out, there are some actual health benefits to journaling…
- It relieves stress: a study found that expressive writing for just 15 to 20 minutes each day, three to five times over a four-month period was enough to lower blood pressure and improve liver functionality. Beyond the physical benefits, journaling about our stressful experiences can help us manage them in a healthier way – it’s a good, meditative pre-bedtime habit.
- It can strengthen your immunity: yep, a bit of #bujo is said to keep your sickness at bay. Expressive writing has been found to improve your immune system functioning and improve liver and lung function, and one 2013 study even found that it helped wounds heal faster. WTF?!
- It keeps your memory sharp: writing things down has long been touted as the best way to remember things, so it makes sense that journaling boosts your working memory capacity and comprehension.
- It boosts your mood: there’s something meditative about sitting down with your thoughts and a blank page, even if you’re not the creative type. Keeping a journal is said to give you a greater sense of overall emotional wellbeing and happiness, which we totally believe.
- It helps you regulate your emotions: the longer you stick with your journaling habit, the more in tune you will become with your mental, emotional and physical health. Practicing mindfulness in this way helps you gain perspective, and presents a cathartic opportunity to regulate your emotions. You’ll be able to spot important patterns in your life, and develop a more comprehensive view of yourself and the world around you. Sounds good to us!
So, how do you make your own? The beauty of #bujo is that it’s completely subject to your own creativity. You can write as much or as little as you like, incorporate colour and doodles and customise each page to suit your lifestyle.
Always forgetting your friends’ birthdays? Turn two pages of your #bujo into a yearly ‘birthday’ calendar. Known to ‘set and forget’ your New Years’ Resolutions? Write all of your goals down in your #bujo – you’ll be way more likely to remember them.
The beauty of bullet journaling – and the reason for its name – is that encourages concise information logging through bullet points. No lengthy ‘Dear Diary…’ entries here, which is what #bujo practitioners love so much about it.
Here are our top tips for starting your own #bujo:
- Find an empty notebook: A4, A5, the choice is yours! Pick a cover that you won’t get sick of, or go blank and decorate it yourself. On the inside, decide whether you’ll prefer lined, dotted or blank. We do recommend a hardcover notebook, though, so that it lasts through the year.
- Assemble your tools: remember, how you #bujo is totally up to you – if you don’t want colour or fancy illustrations, that’s totally fine! With that being said, you’ll almost definitely need a ruler, some fine-liner pens and white-out tape.
- Decide how you’ll fill it: will you work day-by-day, or week-by-week? How much space does your journal allow, and what are your ‘must include’ pages? Pinterest will be your best friend here – options abound, and the clever Pinners have listed just about all of them. Use a pencil to mark out what will go where, to avoid running out of space.