Bullet Journal Life Lessons

Posted February 21, 2018 by Kalyn in Bullet Journaling / 17 Comments

As weird as this may sound, I celebrated my first bullet journal-versary this month! And celebrate I did! Why? Because bullet journaling has literally turned my life around. I fully believe I would still be stuck in the depths of postpartum depression if it weren’t for bullet journaling. A year ago, I barely knew which way was up. Now, I wake up everyday with a grateful heart, incredibly excited for where my life is going. All thanks to bullet journaling. It’s been quite the ride! It hasn’t been easy – lemme tell you – but I’ve definitely learned some very important bullet journal life lessons. I never thought my $11 bullet journal would teach me anything, let alone major life lessons. But life is funny that way. So let’s get into it.

Oh, yeah – if you have no idea what the heck a bullet journal is, then go here. But don’t forget to come back and finish up here!

1. Done is better than perfect.

On my list of bullet journal life lessons, this is perhaps the most valuable. Bullet journaling is often so intimidating to people because people are terrified of messing up. A quick Google or Pinterest search returns thousands of gorgeous bullet journals. There are real, professional artists out there whose bullet journals are legit pieces of art. It can be intimidating to those of us that are artistically challenged!

What if my doodle doesn’t turn out? What if I miscount and my title isn’t right in the center? What if I misspell a word?What if one of my lines turns out crooked?

I think you get the idea. The notion of having a less than perfect bullet journal literally scares them so much that they never even start. Or they start, mess up, and chuck the whole thing out. The problem with that is that people generally want to begin bullet journaling in order to become more organized. That’s certainly why I started. I can’t begin to image where my life would be if I never started bullet journaling due to the fear of it not being perfect. And trust me – my bullet journal is far from perfect!

What this point boils down to is sacrificing improvement to avoid the risk of imperfection. And I think we all know how unattainable perfection is. Ask any veteran bullet journal’er – even the artistic ones – and they will tell you their bullet journal is not perfect.

Some of my more recent mistakes. If you look closely you’ll see both.

2. My mind likes to play tricks on me.

On my list of bullet journal life lessons, this one has been the most eye-opening for sure. I don’t know about you, but my mind seems to be naturally pessimistic and negative, especially when it comes to myself. Thinking poorly of myself just comes so easily. Luckily, my bullet journal is a great weapon against that negativity!

How? I pretty much track anything and everything in my bullet journal. It serves as concrete proof of my improvement. I track my weight loss, my work outs, my blog traffic, and the growth on my social media accounts. Being able to see this growth in my bullet journal helps keep me motivated to continue in what I’m doing.

Doing things on a daily basis can seem so monotonous and repetitive. It’s very easy for me to feel defeated and like I should just give up, but with my bullet journal I’m able to take a look at my weekly and monthly growth/accomplishments. For example, I felt like last month was a total wash in terms of weight loss. We had some type of head cold hit our family and I wasn’t able to exercise for 10 straight days, so I was sure that I wouldn’t lose much weight at all. Buuuuutttt when I looked back on what my weight was at the end of December compared to January, I realized I had lost 15 pounds! I was shocked, and I never would have realized that if I hadn’t been tracking my weight loss.

Last month’s weight loss tracker

3. The mind is a very forgetful place.

On my list of bullet journal life lessons, this one has been the most helpful. Since becoming a parent, I feel like my brain is getting worse and worse about remembering things. My brain is no longer retaining important details in order to make room for the same six board books and mindless children’s music. That’s right – can’t remember when I scheduled a doctor’s appointment for myself, but I can ramble off several different board books from memory. #thejoysofmotherhood

Having a bullet journal gives me a place to write all that down. Not only do I write down appointments for safe keeping, I write down blog post ideas, book/restaurant/music recommendations, and other things I’d like to remember. And they’re all kept safe in my bullet journal from the black hole that is my memory.

4. Arts and crafts are very therapeutic.

On my list of bullet journal life lessons, this one has been the most fun. Now, I already came clean about being artistically challenged, but I still like to add some flare to my journal. I mainly do this through colored markers, fancy-ish headings, and washi tape. Even at such a basic level, these arts and crafts activities help me to zone out and stress less. Simple things such as planning a monthly color scheme or practicing some lettering really quiets my mind.

5. Monotasking is hard, and I suck at it.

On my list of bullet journal life lessons, this one has been the hardest to accept. Our society today is obsessed with busyness. It’s all about long to-do lists and completing as much of it as possible in as little time as possible. But what this does is force us to multitask in order to complete more. Multitasking is definitely useful and has its place, but I firmly believe that too much multitasking can be a bad thing.

I’ve learned that when you’re really good at multitasking, monotasking (doing one thing at a time) becomes harder. I find myself multitasking even when I don’t have to – I’m just doing it because that’s what my brain is used to. My brain is used to being constantly stimulated from multiple different sources and just focusing on one thing is now extremely challenging. For example, I can’t just do my makeup anymore – nope, I have to watch YouTube videos while I do my makeup. While this example isn’t that big of a deal, this problem can trickle into your relationships. I can’t just watch TV with my husband – I have to watch TV while surfing social media. I can’t just play blocks or trains with my daughter – I have to be trying to read a book every second she becomes distracted.

Bullet journaling has helped me practice monotasking because I’m that artistically challenged. I have to focus so intensely when practicing lettering or planning a spread that anything else going on simply distracts me.

The 5 major life lessons that bullet journaling can teach you. Click To Tweet

When I started bullet journaling a year ago, I never imagined the impact it would have on my life. I’m so thankful to Ryder for developing this system and to the amazing bullet journal community out there. If you’re looking to learn more about bullet journaling, I recommending joining this Facebook group.

If you’re interested in the materials to begin bullet journaling, please see my recommendations below. There is a great divide in the bullet journal community between a dot matrix and a grid journal – I have linked both for you so that you can choose for yourself.

These are affiliate links. Please see my disclosure for full details.


If you found this post informational, please don’t hesitate to share to your social media platforms!

See my other posts on bullet journaling.

How to plan your monthly spreads

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17 responses to “Bullet Journal Life Lessons

  1. I just ordered the bullet journal! I can’t wait to get started. I have a cheap bullet journal laying around but never did anything with it. I’m hoping I can use it to practice! 😍

  2. So happy I found this post! I have had issues with keeping up with my bullet journal because I get so discouraged that it is not turning out “right.” It is most important that I am completing my entries and doing my best!

    • Kalyn

      If all else fails, just remember that your bullet journal is for your eyes only – no one else has to know you messed up 😉

  3. That’s awesome you’ve learned so much from bullet journaling. I love planners in general – I started my first bullet journal this year but it’s more focused on entertainment, so things like “books read”, etc.

    I’m actually co-hosting a new link up called Keep It Together (the first was last week) where you can link up these type of posts, if you want to join in!


  4. I love this! I’ve wanted to create a bullet journal for so long but as you said, it’s a little intimidating looking in. I think it would be a great hobby though. I had no idea what to put in it or how, but I guess it goes monthly?

    • Kalyn

      If you’re feeling a bit confused, you can always look up bullet journaling videos on YouTube 🙂 that should help clear things up for you!

  5. I love my bullet journal! And I can completely relate to your life lessons here. It was so helpful to hear your talk through them; I had never stopped to think about these important messages. Done is better than perfect, and the therapeutic quality of arts and crafts are especially true for me. And monotasking? Don’t even get me started…it’s SO.HARD. Ha! Thanks so much for this great post 🙂

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