Article by Bethan Henderson

Illustration by Jay Jao

While scrolling through Instagram, Buzzfeed, or Tumblr, you may have noticed that the term ‘Bullet Journal’ has been popping up more and more. It may seem like an odd concept, but the Bullet Journal system (or “BuJo” for short) is simply a nifty productivity tool that combines daily to-do lists, calendars, goal setting, habit trackers and any form of planning into one notebook. You can use it for anything, from planning out homework to tracking the TV shows you’re currently watching.

The key to the Bullet Journal’s success, however, is its aesthetic. There are countless images on various blogs showing off perfectly neat and colorful spreads, with stunning calligraphy and the most enviable handwriting. These images have not only become extremely popular online, but have also inspired many here at ISM to attempt Bullet Journaling.

Junior Joungbihn P. first came across Bullet Journals on Instagram, and is planning to start her own Bullet Journal and ‘studygram’ account. While finding it a great organizational tool, she has run into a caveat with Bullet Journaling that many perfectionists face: spending too much time on the aesthetic. She explains, “You may spend too much time decorating it or planning your schedule instead of actually putting plans into action.

The time-consuming nature of the Bullet Journal system has certainly been a dealbreaker for some. Junior Ayaka T. kept a Bullet Journal for the first school semester but stopped due to this issue. An issue with having a Bullet Journal was trying to keep it ‘perfect.’ If I made a mistake with one of the pages, I would have to redo it,” she said.

However, she did recognize the benefits, saying, “I like looking back at my old pages since they looked so organized. It was very useful for organization because it forces me to think of what my responsibilities are for the week and I would most likely complete said responsibilities since I already put in the effort to put them in my planner.”

Many ISM students have begun their Bullet Journals at the beginning of the new year, taking inspiration from the “new year, new me” resolution.

Junior Tusshara N. says, “It’s a great, tangible way to keep track of my habits. For example, how often I do yoga.” Tusshara has found the experience much easier and effective when she doesn’t worry about its aesthetic, explaining, “I try to keep my handwriting consistently neat and legible. But by no means is my Bullet Journal stunningly beautiful.” She adds to anyone considering starting a Bullet Journal, “I think everyone should try Bullet Journalling for at least a month and see how it goes. It’s always worth a shot to find out what fits you as an individual and what helps you lead a successful and balanced life.”

Bullet Journals can certainly be a great organizational tool if you worry less about the aesthetic and have that extra motivation to keep up with it. Why don’t you give it a try?

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