2018 Bujo Flip-through: 12 Lessons From My First Year of Bullet Journaling

December marked my twelfth month of using a bullet journal. In the last year, my method and style for creative organisation have changed dramatically; I’ve learnt a lot through this process and thought it could be helpful to list a couple of these lessons for those of you looking to start a bujo in the new year.

January setup post

Start with the bare minimum

To avoid becoming completely overwhelmed in my first month of bullet journaling, I stuck to a one purple pen and a bunch of straight lines to create all my spreads. Yes, it looked a little boring. And nope, I didn’t satisfy the creativity lurking within me. But I did get over the hurdle that is starting something new.

February setup post

It’s all in the details

Once I was used to the whole process, I went the opposite way regarding detail and colour. I made spreads for plenty of different things and allowed pastel colours to spill across the pages. This gave me the space to figure out what I actually wanted to use my bujo for.

March setup post

Find the power in adaptation

Getting a better idea of what I liked and didn’t like meant I could adjust the next month to fit such preferences. This was an important step for me, as it made me realise a bullet journal is not a static thing, it is highly versatile. Each month gives you an opportunity to change your planning approach; it was this revelation that made me fall in love with the bujo method.

April setup post

May setup post

It’s okay to take time away

You don’t stop being a bullet journaler if you skip a month or two. I spent June away from my notebook as I was travelling, and I actually came back from my trip feeling even more motivated to start filling pages up again.

July setup post – Getting Back Into Bullet Journaling

Method over madness

It is easy to get carried away with the creative side of bullet journaling, but if it isn’t aiding in the daily organisation of your life it might not be doing its job. So if you feel like you’re going a little mad with the drawings and keep forgetting what you’re meant to be doing each day, you may need to reassess.

August setup post

Pinterest is a double-edged sword

It’s a wealth of inspiration, with endless pages of journal spreads appearing in front of you, yet it can also be the thing to stop you from using your bullet journal (in my experience anyway). Spending too long looking at other people’s work makes my hands freeze – somehow I find myself unable to sketch anything out. Now, I will occasionally browse the site but will allocate just a short amount of time to it.

September setup post

Perfection isn’t perfect

It’s fine to make mistakes or to leave pages blank that you thought were going to be stuffed full of thoughts. Having a bullet journal is a work in progress and shouldn’t really feel like a finished masterpiece.

October setup post

You’ll get ‘better’

As you learn what works well for you and how to control your artistic implements, your spreads will look more and more like how you first envisaged them to be. It’s all in the practice.

Mixing it up is motivating

Pens, pencils, paint, even tippex… Changing what you use to create spreads can give you that push you sometimes need to get started.

Bullet journal weekly spread ideas

It should be both helpful and fun

If these things aren’t simultaneously occurring (perhaps you find drawing out spreads laborious or the continuous organisation tedious) then maybe you’d suit either an art journal or more straightforward planner better.

But don’t get stuck in convention

It doesn’t matter what other people think a bullet journal should be. If you want to do more art or no art at all then that’s up to you. You can define what you want it to act as – so take the hint before with a pinch of salt. That balance is just something I find it important to remind myself of, you may not want your bujo experience to be like that.


The Bullet Journal Stationery I Used Most in 2018

New stationery can be an inspiration

If you do get taken by the desire to get a little more arty, there’s nothing wrong with investing in some new stationery. After a year with my bullet journal, I decided it was time to ask for some new pens for Christmas to keep my passion going – as you can see, I’m excited to start using them in my spreads next year!

What have you learnt from your bullet journal in 2018?

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20 thoughts on “2018 Bujo Flip-through: 12 Lessons From My First Year of Bullet Journaling

  1. theapplesinmyorchard says:

    Nice post on your journey with bujo! I am a list maker and have contemplated bullet journals, but haven’t dove in yet. At a recent committee meeting I did , however, use two different colored pens to take notes and saw people looking at me strangely. I know the bujo wouldn’t be like that because it would be mine. Anyway, I agree with your pinterest comments I almost never look at this site due to it inhibiting my own creativity. Sounds like you found the same. Again, I enjoyed your post!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. theameribritmom says:

    Such a perfect post! I’ve been doing bullet journaling since 2016 and I completely agree with all of your wisdom. I find myself going back and forth between different methods and YES Pintrest can DESTROY a bujo. I wish you luck on your 2019 adventure and look forward to seeing more posts from you in the new year!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Claudette says:

    I’m glad I stumbled on this blog! I received an empty journal and want to fill it like a bullet journal. This blog has shown me some inspiration. So I hopped over to Instragram and will check you out there too. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. ATypicalLife says:

    This may sound silly but what actually is a bullet journal? I love this type of stuff but I have never really tried it. Will use your tips if I get into it though! Great post. I’m back to blogging after a hiatus so it would mean a lot if you checked me out xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Alys says:

      It is basically a way of organising your life in a more personal style, instead of in a pre-made planner. So you can make your own calendar pages and areas for lists which correspond better with your life. The original method includes symbols and things to help keep things concise but I think mst people adapt this to fit their own style! Sure I’ll have a read xx

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Leigh-Ann says:

    I love seeing your journey. I’ve been bullet journaling for about 4 months now and I definitely need the reminder that you get better and that you shouldn’t compare to others 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Karen Wodstrup says:

    Oh wow, Alys! Your bullet journal journey is truly amazing. It’s crazy how much you’ve progressed when it comes to bullet journaling. Your January spread looks awesome, however the December one is truly on another level of creative. Such an inspiring post, Alys. Keep up the amazing work <33 xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Hannah says:

    Your bullet journal looks gorgeous but also so practical. I am not artistic in any way so my bullet journal would be very much a practical book than an artistic book but I guess bullet journals are personal any way. Happy New Year! xx

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Bexa says:

    I loved seeing your bujo spreads from this year Alys, you are so creative! I know the feeling that new stationery can be inspirational, I got some new pens and colouring pencils for Christmas and now I can’t wait to use them in my planner (I just need to make some plans first, ha ha). These are really great lessons and I can’t wait to see your 2019 designs. Hope you have an awesome new year lovely ❤ xx

    Bexa | http://www.hellobexa.com

    Liked by 1 person

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