If you love the idea of bullet journaling but just haven’t been able to stay consistent, try these tips to help you establish a bullet journal routine.
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When I started my first bullet journal, I found it super easy to do every single day. Granted, at that time I only had 1 child and my work routine was only half as hectic as it is now.
And, being completely honest, back then there was more allure to it. I was striving for big numbers on Instagram and my priorities were on gaining followers and creating content for other people to enjoy.
Let’s fast forward to the last six months.
My bullet journal is a mix of nicely filled in spreads, completely blank weeklies, and habit trackers left undone.
The allure is gone. I’m not trying to impress anyone. Now, I’m just doing it to keep myself organized and to release creative tension.
I’ve had a rough go at keeping a good bullet journal routine, especially when life gets busy with family, friends, events, and work.
I have spoken to a number of readers and friends and most of them encounter the same problem. They know their bullet journal is a critical part of their organization and planning system, but they struggle to keep up on it.
I’m not an A+ student in the daily journaling class, but I think that because I can relate and because I have struggled to stay consistent with my journal I have a good insight on tips that work to get back on track and things that are a waste of time.
I want to give you some tips on things that have helped me to become more consistent and establish a bullet journal routine.
Tips for Creating a Bullet Journal Routine
I don’t think there is any one right way or method of creating a journaling routine. Some of these tips might work for you and some might not.
I have tried to include a variety of tips that you can try until you find something that works.
Design and Layout
Daily Logs Instead of Weeklies: Recently, I started doing daily pages again. These took the place of my standard weekly pages. And I have noticed that I’m more inclined to sit down and journal when I create a new page every day.
Because it wasn’t already filled out and ready, I knew I had to take the time to add a header and create my to-do list each day. In turn, my productivity increased and I was staying on track with my daily goals and tasks.
You don’t have to design a fancy page for each day unless taking that creative time helps motivate you or it makes you feel good. You can add a simple header for the day and then write your to-do list. Consider adding some washi tape or stickers if you need quick decoration.
If you are concerned about space, you don’t need to use an entire page for a daily. Use only how much space it takes to write your to-do list and then you can add the following day below.
Journal Tracker and Reward: For some people, having a reward system in place is just the incentive they need. If you feel drawn to rewards, consider adding a tracking page for the days you journal.
You could create a very simple tracker with boxes or add it to your monthly habit tracker. Or, you could doodle a tracker with little journals and journaling supplies.
Then, decide how many days in a row you want to journal before you get a reward. This could be a tiered system or just one reward after a designated amount of time.
They say it takes about three weeks to develop a habit, so keep that in mind when creating your tracker and reward system. However, if you need more frequent rewards to keep yourself motivated, consider adding them after each week.
Your rewards don’t have to be large. They can be small, like a cup of coffee, a new single pen from Michael’s, a roll of washi tape, or even a bubble bath.
Set an Alarm: This had worked for me in the past. I have an alarm for waking up in the morning and then about 15 minutes later (after I’ve had time to drink a little coffee), I have an alarm set to remind me to journal and plan for the day.
My best advice is to choose a time that works with your daily schedule. Do you have time in the morning? If not, try your lunch break or in the evening.
Start with an alarm at the time you think will work best and allow it to run for one week. After that week, you can adjust your timeframe if necessary.
Sticky Note on the Mirror: This technique works well for a variety of other goals, so it’s likely that it will work for journaling too.
Write yourself a message on a sticky note reminding you to journal and then stick it on your bathroom mirror. You are likely to see it multiple times throughout the day.
This constant reminder can sink in on a subliminal level and help you create a sustainable bullet journal routine.
Set Up for Success
Keep Your Journaling Supplies Out: Since we moved into a house where I have an office, I have found that I journal less when I do it in my office. I’m a couch journaler.
I’m much more likely to pick up my bullet journal and fill it out when it’s in a convenient location. For me, that’s on the couch.
But, you don’t want all of your pens just splayed out across your coffee table or end table. So, you will need a way to organize your supplies.
Get a small-medium organizer or an organizer cart if you want to keep all of your supplies nearby. Then, place it somewhere that you typically spend a lot of time.
Cut Down the Work: I know this may baffle some people. But, sometimes when you have too many pages and trackers to fill out, you avoid your journal. Then, you miss a couple of days and it seems all hope is lost.
I feel this and have been there. I realize that most of us have monthly pages that we consider vital. But, if you aren’t using them because you aren’t journaling, is it really that important?
Consider getting back to the basics and trimming down the pages and trackers you have to fill out each day. Set a goal to only spend 5ish minutes filling in your journal each day.
Once you get in a consistent routine, feel free to slowly start adding more trackers.
Start Fresh: It may sound wasteful, but sometimes what we need most of all is a fresh start. This occurs in many areas of our lives. Why not give it a try with a new journal?
This is especially true if you have missed a lot of pages or days in your journal and it bothers you.
Even if it’s the middle of March or the end of August, there’s no right or wrong time to start a new journal. Start with something fun that brings you joy and work from there.
Learn to Doodle: It’s a tad bit self-promotional… but I’m going to take this paragraph (or the next couple) to tell you about my new online course, Delighted in Doodling.
Learning a new creative skill can be exciting and refreshing. On top of the excitement, it can also be motivational. It will give you something new to try in your journal and something to look forward to doing.
And, I just happened to release a doodling course that can provide excitement, motivation, and relaxation… if I’m tooting my own horn.
This course isn’t your standard college class. Oh no! I’m a very real person who embraces a little bit of mess and mistakes and I want you to come into this relaxed and not under any pressure.
You will get the opportunity to learn the basic fundamentals of doodling, the building blocks/shapes that make up each and every doodle. This way, you can doodle anything you want EVER!
Then we move into styling and fun embellishments so you can create your own style of doodle and embrace that style completely!
There’s over 4 hours of pre-recorded video, plus worksheets to accompany the lessons. And you’ll also get the same Lightroom Mobile Preset I use to edit and brighten my Instagram and blog photos.
So, if you want to take up a new skill, have fun, and maybe motivate yourself to get back into bullet journaling again, be sure to check out my course.
That closes out my list of tips to help you create a sustainable bullet journal routine.
I’m curious how often you fill in your bullet journal currently. Let me know in the comments below. And if you have any other tips for other readers (and myself), please feel free to share them as well.
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