How to Half-Ass a Bullet Journal

Iceland Journal that I haven’t touched since… (see Moleskine Chapter Journal for more… in plum). 

Guys, I’ve sought advice on the ever-loving Instagram AND on its cruel twin, Twitter, but I can’t seem to understand how to attack or accomplish the mysterious bullet journal.

If I showed you the amount of quarter-completed journals I own, and high school mathed a total of how much was spent on each one, I think I could make a grown man on a budget cry.  No adult should be able to spend this much on journaling and not actually have at least a square of completed Ikea shelf to show for it.

(Mathed is an awesome verb)

I would show you pictures, but honestly, it’s at hoarder level and I mean that totally as a reference to the TLC show. And the worst part is that people know this about me so they give me journals.  One of my students for Christmas gave me this adorable and charmed striped nautical journal.  My cousin just gave me the 52 Lists for Happiness journal. I buy Moleskines like the company’s stock is plummeting and they’re ready to shut down any second.  (The stock reference is overdramatic because I’m not even sure if Moleskine is privately owned).

This is what I call “The Main Chick” because she’s the biggest and got the Sylvia Plath sticker.

What I’m saying is: I’ve tried everything.

Here’s a few of those trials and errors:

  1. Keeping the journals next to bed to write in before I sleep — but I prefer to read before I sleep.
  2. Subsequently carrying them around with me everywhere like I’m going to take a quiet moment everyday outside some quaint Parisian-inspired coffee shop and doodle my way to productivity.
  3. Refused to buy a new one until I finish an old one — for this I just get squirrel tendencies and shiny-object my way to failure.
  4. Admitted I have a problem.  Don’t they say this is the first step? I’ll admit it all day.
  5. Bought smaller journals for carrying to transfer to said huge journal to manage my life every day.
  6. Colored in my journal at work which is totally UNproductive.
  7. Bought journaling how-to magazines and magazines with just a bunch of journal photographs for inspiration.
  8. Also, Pinterest.
  9. I follow like 97234 bulletjournalers on Instagram and hit the little flag on all of their pictures to save them and use their weekly spread (or whatever spread) in my own journal.
  10. Given up my coveted Poketo agenda for a week to see if I could agenda in my bullet journal.   (I may or may not also be creating a plan to hoard these).
Now I’ll have TWO incomplete 52 List journals. BAH

Tonight, I asked people how they #bujo on Twitter and Ayla Jae said she has one big goal and she uses her bullet journal to track that one goal into little steps.  I think she’s writing a book, just assuming from her Twitter bio, but how would I even start? Like … track my writing everyday? I’m sure that’s productive and I should be doing that (HEY, failed Nanowrimo attempt) but should I add that to my other bullet journal’s list of “To Do’s” for the day.  What I’m saying is, how does this not become a chore? 

I get that there are some really awesome people who do bullet-journaling for a living on Youtube.  But what about us folks that work a full day and come home to make dinner and walk the dog and have no … time. I know what you’re going to say.  This is YOUR time, this is the time for YOURself.  And I want that time, but where in my day do I put it.  And if I want it to be fancy (don’t we all) and I almost care about that more than actual productivity, how do I quiet the idiot in my head?


If you’re like me and you need to join the Bullet Journalers Anonymous and get your shit together, FA’REAL, sign up below for something that will be planned halfway in my journal.  How do we make a plan? Should I write this plan in my bullet journal.

Oh, Lawd.


6 thoughts on “How to Half-Ass a Bullet Journal

  1. Hello perfectionism again. Please do not should on me. For me it’s about the intent. Do i believe that I am not goodenough because i see people who scrapbook their to do lists? do i use that to show me how i am broken?
    Do i really just love paper and doodads?
    TIP: i can visit those without BUYING!
    Is your current scheduling/organizing system NOT working?
    Many would submit blogging IS journaling, for OH LOOK A chicken! people
    To be present in a moment do i simply experience it OR am i wasting it by trying to staple it down instead of letting it go, so I can be in the next moment, or book, or…


    1. LADY. All of these questions are so good and I need to be thoughtful about them. I especially like the last one. Personally, I have a terrible memory so I would love to just journal a quick bit about what happened that day (I inevitably sound like a middle school girl when I do this). But also, I would like to track a certain goal but every time I look at bullet journaling how to’s they track ALL THE THINGS THAT EVER HAPPENED. I’m not sure how to turn that down? Any ideas?


      1. i get confused with the bullet thing so i did my best.
        I just use it like a to do list or an i’m doing this list and i put a solid dot for daily stuff and a star for once a week
        and i make my own symbols
        it’s just a running list
        then i can move the categories onto calendar or what not if i want to do so
        i do that with reading too
        of late i just have a page i do in a book that feels good for the day and i write what i just finished, i can paperclip a shopping or to do list and i DID notice these fabo 3 by 4 scrapping cards that i can make better lists or notes and affix them to my pages
        My adhd and type of migraine really mess with my executive function, so i can feel less than or i can just get on with the action part 🙂
        As for toning it down, what about only bulleting the project stuff
        or the work stuff ? What about those very simple teacher planning books they use for early grades? In some of those for my kids who had differing sensory needs i used symbols or picture cues that sent me to journal with a red cube or index card box with the blue square


      2. That’s smart to have simple symbols that you can easily tell. It’s helped to color code in my actual writing journal with poems / memoir to what I was writing about (family, relationships, etc). I have a pretty intense agenda that I keep and I love it (lots of lists as well) and so I feel like bullet journal is just a pretty side project to that. I’m trying really to track and keep up with writing daily and I think I could use it for that, I will look up trackers for writing and see what I can find.

        I’m sorry about your migraines but I always find that my students with ADHD were more interesting and SMART. I do love listing, I have that part down!


  2. OH hey in the book i just finished today, Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott, she has this index card thing, she carries one with here everywhere folded so as not to be bulky. It’s hilarious how she describes it and rather works with how I think. Maybe that would work for you? I’ll skim it in the morning and try to get you page numbers for that part.


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