Bullet Journal | One Year Later

My school years have always been marked by beautiful diaries, I bought them at the supermarket at the end of August, when all the back-to-school stationery goodies were nicely displayed for us, planner nerds. Starting university, a friend of mine and I decided we were too old for that colorful shit and bought a Moleskine planner every year. It was nice starting with a new one every January and testing out new layouts every year. Then, for 2014, I bought a 4 Euros ugly planner, because I didn’t have any new class to attend and I was in a little depressing moment of my life. I just needed a tool to write my (very few) appointments. I hated that cheap planner and, in 2015, I gifted myself the slightly expensive planner by A Beautiful Mess, telling myself it was a way to celebrate being 25. It was colorful and funny and I loved it, but my life was still pretty slow, I was writing my bachelor thesis, I didn’t have any class to attend and then I went away for a couple of weeks for some archaeological digging, leaving my (big) planner at home.

I decided I didn’t want to repeat the experience in 2016, I had spent lots of money and felt super guilty for the weeks missed in my planner and the small amount of things written in it. But I didn’t want to come back to the Moleskine brand, I wanted something fancier. Then, I stumbled upon Kara’s blog Boho Berry during the Summer and I discovered the bullet journal method.

Please, visit www.bulletjournal.com for all the details about it.

I didn’t purchase a planner for 2016, I managed to stick with this method for a whole year and now I’d like to reflect a bit about it…in bullet points, of course! 🙂

What worked

  • the flexibility of this method allowed me to not feel myself guilty for wasting paper during those days and weeks I didn’t have anything to write.
  • I discovered a huge community of amazing women who share my same passions and don’t think I’m mad. 😀
  • I started paying more attention to my days and feeling more grateful for the little things
  • writing everything down, instead of relying on digital apps, made me way more productive, especially with my studies
  • it made me creating a written time capsule without even noticing it
  • the Daily Log is my favorite thing.

What didn’t work

  • I ended up spending more money than I did when I used real planners, because I needed 2 Leuchtturm notebooks to cover the whole year
  • I started being influenced by the bujo community wanting ALL the things I saw in my Instagram feed
  • I’ve hit a point where all my pages were Insta-worthing instead of being simply functional to my own needs
  • I never used a monthly layout in my whole life before starting a bullet journal and I can’t help myself but avoiding the Monthly Log
  • the official Future Log doesn’t work for me, I can’t have a nice view of what’s coming up and it’s too unstructured, I tried to tweak it looking for some inspiration in the community, but nothing actually works for me. I’ve always been used to write my homeworks and appointments directly in the corresponding day, no matter if my planner was a daily or a weekly one, skipping the monthly view.
  • creating all the different kind of collections and trying to make my journal looking pretty distracted me from being productive. I even arrived at the point of writing my lists on scrap pieces of paper to copy them on the bullet journal in a better way. I was writing drafts of my to do lists… I know, right?
  • my notebook was too big and heavy and I always left it at home, ending up using apps on my phone when I was away, losing the point of my analog way to plan things.

What I learned

  • Leuchtturm notebooks are beautiful, but the A5 size is too large for me, I still prefer Moleskine notebooks, even if the paper isn’t that good.
  • as a student, it isn’t very functional having only the bullet journal, I personally need more structure for assignments, seminars, classes, exams and appointments
  • I can’t spend so much money in notebooks every year
  • I have to stop making my pages pretty because I have to share them on Instagram

What next?

I recently purchased a (super cheap) B6 Muji planner for 2017, it’s very portable and thin, easy to carry with me everywhere. I’m not going to quit bullet journaling, though. My plan is to use only a couple of modules of the original method in random notebooks I already own. I’m currently using a booklet inside my Traveler’s Notebook, but I might switch to something else later on. My bullet journal will hold only my daily logs and random notes, like brain dumps, packing lists, blog posts ideas, and so on and it will remain at home, because it’s where I usually sit down and plan.

I still think it’s a great method, it just depends on your needs and habits.

Are you a paper or digital planner person? What’s your experience with bullet journaling? Feel free to leave a comment below, I’d love to chat with you! 🙂

My Reading Journal (Bullet Journal Style)

It’s no secret, at this point of my blogging life, that I love books and I love stationery (and also trying to be productive). I recently combined these two passions together to create something completely new to me, a reading journal. One of my biggest regrets is to have never tracked nor annotated my readings until 2015. I discovered Goodreads years ago and I even used it for a while, but it was just another blogger’s social media to me, so I didn’t actually care about it, I even deleted my first account, because I didn’t get the point…I was also frustrated by the fact that, at that time, it was very hard to find italian books there and I didn’t read in english yet.

Then, my love for books sparked again last year, I started reading again like when I was in highschool and I started wanting to record my progress. One of the things that I finally realized is that I don’t like writing reviews of all the books I read, I like writing my thoughts about certain books, and Goodreads wasn’t actually the right place to do that to me. So, I decided to start a reading journal using the method of the bullet journal: creating collections, numbering the pages and tracking them in an index.

I had this super cool Hobbit limited edition Moleskine that I didn’t know how to use it, since the cover is made of fabric instead of faux leather and I was always afraid of ruin it, but what a better way to use it than a bookish journal? Here are all the different elements I added so far.


1. Index
I decided to create the index at the end of the journal and continue it backwards, since I don’t like leaving blank pages in advance when I don’t actually know the exact amount I’ll need.


2. Books Read in 2015-6
Since I started using Goodreads again last year, I’ve been able to find my list of books read in 2015 and I added it as my first collection in the journal, then I added the 2016 one too (obviously, still in progress).


3. Book Log
I also decided to add a sort of log, because I like to see how many books I finish each month and have a quick view of my ratings. It’s basically the copy of the list above, but, somehow, I prefer having them separated.


4. Books to Read
I have this habit of purchasing ebooks when they are on sale on Amazon and then forgetting about them, ending up purchasing something new to start when I finish my current reading. So I created this page to add all the ebooks once I purchase them and to have something choose for my next readings.

5. Book Reviews/Thoughts
I like to journal about my feelings concerning the books I read and writing them on paper first really helps me to understand my opinions and decide what to talk about here on the blog.


6. Book Challenges
One of the reasons why I decided to start a bookish journal was the need I had to keep track of my readings for the Summer Book Bingo, since I didn’t want to clutter my actual bullet journal. I’m so happy I finally did that because it will be nice to look back at it in the future.

That’s it! My super simple but dear to me reading journal. I’m planning to add also my Tolkien studies there, I take tons of notes even during my rereadings of books like The Silmarillion and I usually put them in random notebooks that I regularly lose and forget, but now I’ll be able to keep all in one place and find stuff easily with the help of the index.


Do you keep track of the books you read?