Bullet Journalling For People Who Can’t Draw For Shit

Oh, what’s that – I finally jumped on the bullet journal bandwagon? Only about 3 years late to the party but I’m here now hi, hello, how’s it going?

Yep, after abandoning The Happiness Planner, then recently realising I’d totally given up on my This Is My Era planner, a lightbulb switched on in my head that finally made me realise ~why~ I couldn’t keep up with daily journalling using these tools.

They were too restrictive. Neither of them were really what I wanted from a daily journal/planner. I didn’t want to write daily affirmations every day (I used to Google daily affirmations every morning and just write one I liked the sound of, swiftly forgetting it the second I walked away) and I didn’t want to plan every single second of my day either because that’s what my Google Calendar is for.

…and then came bullet journalling

It took me a while to come round to bullet journalling because I always assumed you had to be super artistic and basically a professional artist to have one.

But I decided to ask the Internet and see what my followers had to say about bullet journalling when your drawing skills are as shockingly bad as mine are. After all, my brother inherited my Mum’s artistic skills – I, on the other hand, inherited my Dad’s sensible nature with money.

So I took to Twitter and asked:

Expecting radio silence, or a flood of “lol I can’t draw but here are my bujo spreads that could be framed and hung in an art gallery”, I was pleasantly surprised that several bloggers stepped forward and said, “yep, I’m shite at drawing but I just keep my bujo simple”.

REVOLUTIONARY. Honestly. There was me thinking my bujo had to be a piece of art when really it could literally be whatever I want it to be. Ta to those of you who did tweet or Instagram me and make me feel 200% better about the idea of getting into this new hobby. Y’all are superstars.

So as my confidence began to creep up, I decided to take the plunge and ordered this bujo, and these pretty pens (aff links).

Getting started with a bullet journal

When the Amazon package arrived, I eagerly peeled the plastic off the journal and opened the pens to take a better look at all the colours. But then I froze. I was actually ~scared~ to start using my new bujo. It was crisp and new, and I didn’t really know how to start.

So once again, I took to the Internet.

I started searching for bujo spread ideas. Naturally, I stumbled across Pinterest and once again felt that twinge of jealousy that my brother got all the artistic skills because lol Pinterest was FILLED with these intricate spreads that were stunning.

I dug deeper, looking beyond Pinterest and found some more minimal spreads that were much more my cup of tea.

My bullet journal spreads

In lieu of incredibly stylised spreads, I keep my bujo incredibly simple. Not just because of my lack of skill, but also lack of time. I want a journal that takes enough time to plan and reflect on my day/week but also won’t take up so much time that I give up on it after about a week.

So here are the spreads I use:

Self-care inspiration

This is the very first page of my bujo – because I am actively trying to incorporate more self-care into my everyday. I split the page into four sections:

  • Rest/relax – for those activities I need when I’m feeling tired or drained
  • Creative – when I want to express myself creatively
  • Healthy – for those times I feel sluggish and like my body needs looking after better
  • Social – when I realise I’ve been a hermit for too long and crave social interaction

Underneath each header, I have listed different ideas and left space to add more if I come up with them. I can now use that page to cherry pick self-care plans as and when I need them.

Monthly goals

I am the ~worst~ at goal setting. I write them down and swiftly forget about them, But this time is different because I’ve used colourful pens.

Oh, and because I can quickly switch to this page each week when plotting my weekly goals and create smaller, more tangible weekly goals to work up to the monthly one.

I split the page into 10 (my monthly goals will be starting from March onwards as I got the bujo midway through Feb), and use a colour key to separate personal and business goals.

Weekly plan and reflection

At the beginning of the new week, I have a weekly plan and reflection spread which I plan to fill out every Sunday for the new week. This spread includes:

  • The seven days listed down the side of the page, with space to write any appointments, top priorities or things to remember.
  • A goals box – this is where I list up to four more “general” goals for the week. For example, one of my goals for this week is to meal prep every day. Again, these are colour-coded for business and personal with the same key as my monthly goals page.
  • Goal trackers – these are boxes I can tick for each day of the week that I’ve worked towards or completed the goal. So if I meal prep for every day of the week, I can tick off each day and know I smashed it mate.
  • Finally, a highlights box at the bottom of the page. At the end of each week, I will use this space to reflect on the best parts of the week.

There are LOADS more things that I could have included for a weekly spread, but I wanted to make it quick and easy to fill in while giving me the opportunity to pick out the things that have made my week.

Daily log

Some of the daily logs I saw online for bujos were either WAY too convoluted or just ~not enough~. So, I think I’ve struck a mighty fine balance with:

  • To do’s (these are just my top level tasks such as laundry, blog posts etc).
  • To remember – little reminders for things that might turn into a task another day of the week, or even just remembering to put the bins out on Sundays for Monday pickup.
  • A food/exercise log to hold myself more accountable for what I put in my gob and how often I actually give my body the exercise it needs.
  • My highlights of the day – the best of which will make the weekly highlights. These can be little or big moments that made my day ace.
  • A box for daily lessons, which could really be anything. I may have learned something new, or noticed something worth noting about myself or something else. My first entry was about how meal prep doesn’t have to be complicated or wasteful!
  • Finally, a self-care box so I can list the self-care tasks I did that day.

Next to each task or activity, I have drawn a checkbox, so I have something to physically tick. I know hardcore bujo fans will wonder why I don’t just use the standard system for managing my tasks but I love the satisfaction of checking a box more than I probably should.

Blog post brain dump

Does what it says on the tin – literally a list of blog post ideas, with columns for ticking off when it’s written, pictures are taken or sourced, and finally for when the post is published.

Business content calendar

As well as running this blog, I also run my own business and a big part of how I market that business is through content. My business content calendar has the page split into months (again, Mar > Dec), and categorised by the content I want to create for each channel:

  • Blog
  • Newsletter
  • Social media
  • Downloadables

In each box, I can write down my ideas so that when it comes to creating and scheduling the content, I don’t approach the task with empty-brained panic.

2019 Wins Log

Fuck, this post is getting long. Soz about that. I promise this is the last spread to talk about before I share some tips for fellow shit-drawers.

This spread is literally a place for me to note my “wins” both personally and professionally throughout the year. The idea being that at the end of the year I have one double page spread I can turn to and see all the awesomeness I experienced. It could be scoring a big client, or it could be noticing a positive change in myself. This is the spread I’m most looking forward to coming back to over time.

Tips for people who want to bullet journal but can’t draw, like, at all

  • Invest in pretty pens so you can still make your journal look pretty without having to actually draw anything. I alternate colours all the time to add dimension to the pages.
  • Plan what you want to include on spreads before you start them. Figure out how many columns you need or space for boxes and draw them with a pencil.
  • In fact, do everything in pencil first – just in case.
  • Don’t try and make the whole thing stylised. Less is more if you ask me. Go minimal. Look up minimal spreads on Pinterest and don’t get suckered into the complex stuff.
  • Invest in this book (aff link) – shout out to Emma from A Cornish Geek for recommending it to me, it has awesome template ideas and doesn’t get too bogged down in the theory side of the bujo life.
  • Remember that your journal is for you – if you want to attempt to draw, even if everything you do draw looks like a potato, it’s for your eyes only anyway.

Do you bujo? Don’t you bujo? Hate how wanky bujo sounds? Let me know in the comments!

Photo credit: Unsplash


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