Dear diary

A Year Of Bullet Journalling – Pros And Cons.


On paper (see what I did there) bullet journalling looks right up my street: nice notebooks, ALL the pens, pretty stickers, fancy fonts and procrastination? Tick, tick and tick.

I’ve always had a paper diary, even when I was at work and we also used online ones, but when I first heard about bullet journalling it sounded like an even better way to keep myself organised.

What is a bullet journal?

Dubbed the “analog system for the digital age”, a bullet journal is a flexible DIY system for organising everything in your life. As well as a diary it can include things such as sketchbook, sleep tracker, a gratitude log and travel bucket list. As you are the one setting it up, you include whatever you like.

“Where productivity meets mindfulness.”

I started my first bullet journal a year ago – actually I started two, the first set up went wrong so I had to start again (good job I have a stash of notebooks!). There are any number of ways to set up a bullet journal (there’s a helpful video here) and you can be as creative and colourful as you like (or not, it’s up to you).

I had visions of beautiful, instagrammable pages until I remembered, that’s right, I’m not artistic and, oh, I’m also in charge of a (then) three-year-old (or was she in charge of me?) so reasonably time poor.

While it might not have looked very inspiring, I really enjoyed the freedom to create what I wanted and needed rather than having a regimented system.

My set up went like this:


Monthly log – all 12 months.

Daily log – set up each day.

I then went to the back and set up:

A monthly blog planner.

TBR book list.

Travel bucket list.

Christmas present list.

Random notes section.

What did I think?

As the time has come to decide whether to set up another journal up or go back to the old all-done-for-you diary, I thought I’d make a list of the pros and cons to help me work out what’s best.

Pros Cons

There’s a lot to love about bullet journalling, especially for someone who enjoys pens and stationery as much as me.

I really liked the day to day list and felt it helped me keep better track of what I was supposed to be doing. I felt less stressed about it, for some reason. I also liked that there was space so that I could keep everything in one place rather than on random scraps of paper that tend to get lost.

However, my overall feeling as the year progressed was guilt. I know that’s silly but I felt like I wasn’t doing it justice (and that’s self-imposed because no one other than me ever saw it). All the extra things I could have included that you simply don’t get in a conventional diary never saw the light of day because I didn’t have time (or I did have time but it would mean something else I felt was more important falling by the wayside).

So, what next?


It has been a tough choice but I have gone back to the old style diary (and not just because it has butterflies on the front).  I will be using bullet journal elements within it but for the time it takes to set up and what I was using it for, it made more sense to buy a ready made diary and just adapt it to my needs. I’m not saying I’ll never bullet journal again but not for the next year at least.

Are you a fan of the bullet journal? What do you love about it? Would you ever go back to an old style diary?



14 thoughts on “A Year Of Bullet Journalling – Pros And Cons.”

  1. I confess that I have never heard of bullet journaling. Before children I loved a paper diary and then came the rucksack years when I didn’t carry a handbag but a bag full of nappies, spare clothes, rice cakes, dinosaurs and colouring and so I went electronic. I did buy a paper diary for the blog this year but it sits unused on my desk.

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  2. I didn’t know that’s what it was called either but I have been trying this for a few months with my work notebooks. And mine aren’t pretty either! There’s scribbles and writing I can’t read and, given what I actually do, I feel like a total charlatan for not having creative-looking content in my notebooks! It IS cheaper than buying a diary though and I even invested in one of those planner thingies that claims to sort your life out (it doesn’t – there’s not enough space) which was a total waste of money. Bring on the notebooks!

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    1. I bet you could make them look gorgeous if you wanted to though. There are a lot of things I love about it and I’d definitely like to give it a proper go one day, especially as I have a huge pile of notebooks I could use. I’m hoping I won’t be put off by my new diary.

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  3. I love the idea of bullet journaling, but didn’t warm to the idea of drawing out the layouts and keeping track of the moon cycle and weather was lost on me. Having said that I have adopted elements of the system and now have a pocket filofax (very old school) with inserts I designed myself (I love being able to move things about as well – no tearing out pages to keep). I’m pretty organised (I do love my lists and notebooks) and found I needed something to plan ‘all the stuff’ in ~ I journal a very small amount (gratitude and monthly highlights) am planning on doing a blog post on it, as I organise and plan my whole life in it, including a writing section… I love my filofax!

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    1. It sounds like you have a great system that works for you. I had a filofax back in the day and I loved all, all those little sections to fill in. I’ll look forward to reading you post about it 🙂

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  4. Ps I wouldn’t be hard on yourself – ‘comparison kills creativity’ – it can also stomp on any attempts too, leaving you feeling inadequate and not worthy… social media (inc Youtube) is great, but you are seeing the best and polished versions of life; not usually the mistakes and squiggliness (have I just made up a word?). Your best is what matters, but that’s hard to appreciate when you’ve been comparing yourself to others… obviously talking Bujo spreads here, but same goes for so many aspects of life xx

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    1. Bujo spreads are so beautiful, I could look at them all day. I think the trouble was I simply haven’t got time to give it my best. It’s not a priority so while I perhaps could have done more with it I just didn’t have the time. We can’t do everything though.

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  5. I’ve never heard of a bullet journal but it sounds interesting. I do journal about my feelings sometimes, list the books I”ve read per season and write a short gratitude list from time to time. Are those things you would include in a bullet journal?


  6. I haven’t head of the bullet diary butI guess it is like scrapbook and evernote and keep combined. It is hard to find the perfect app for what I want and it sounds similar to what you want so I must look into this!


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