The Evolution of a Bujo

For those of you that don't know what a "bujo" is, let me start off with a pseudo-definition for you.


The simplest explanation is that "bujo" is short for "bullet journal." Strangely enough, people who tend to want a journal they can format for themselves have lots of overlap with people that use hashtags and post pretty pictures on the internet. This is why if you search for #bujo on most social media platforms, you will be shamed for your disorganized life when you were hoping for inspiration.


Now, thanks to this fantastic video by How To ADHD, I ran out and bought myself a journal and some colorful pens back in February, and have been happily bujo-ing since then, but by looking at my more recent pages, you might end up in that "shamed for my disorganized life" category that we were just trying to escape from. Since I tend to share pictures of my bujo a lot with my friends on Discord, I decided it was high time to talk about where my bujo started and its development into what it is today, which I thought might be more helpful to those who want to get into bujo-ing for themselves.

When I first started, I had no idea what I was doing. I'd watched how-to videos and I had bought an entire notebook specifically for this purpose, but I was still just a bujo baby. There's a lot of white space on these pages - and that's perfectly okay. These pages did what they were supposed to do - they rewarded me for doing what I wanted to get done.

Within a week or so, I had already started to show my biggest bujo struggle - I really wanted to fill the page. I started taking notes, pseudo-journaling in the blank spaces, and doodling when I wanted to make it look more "artistic."


For those of you interested in bujo-ing, this is the best piece of advice I can offer: If setting up or filling your pages feels like work, then don't do it. If you feel like you have to do every page in a certain way, then you've missed the bujo train and you're holding a regular old planner.


The point of a bujo is that it can (and should!) change with you. If what you did on page 5 feels like work, then do something different on page 6! If what you really want out of a planner is a place to dump your thoughts, then do that. If what you need today is a list to cross off and space to doodle, do it. It doesn't matter if every page isn't the same - let it change and grow with you, even when "growing" feels like a step backwards. The bujo is here just to help you function, not to box you into a certain schedule.

Almost a month into my bujo journey, I had bought more fun pens as a reward to myself for dealing with a rough social situation, and this day on the right is the first day I realized I could use my color pencils in my bujo. Let me tell you, that was a real game changer.


I suddenly had the freedom to highlight and color things in without worrying about the color bleeding through the page, and having a way to track tasks that were in progress but not completely done - very yes. Much good.


This is where my bujo started being a part of me, instead of being something suggested by a favorite Youtuber. You'll also notice I have Bible Study notes in here. That's because for me, consistently using a single notebook for everything simplified things for me, and I loved it. Tada. A solution to a problem I didn't even know I had. How good am I?

Just in a past couple weeks, I've started adding new things to my bujo layout, since my previous attempts at a monthly spread just weren't working for me. Too many things to keep track of on a single page, lots of white space (which I don't like) and I kept forgetting to go back and look at it later in the month, when I'd forgotten what I had on my monthly to-do list. Very not helpful.


So since the time elapsed since making the list was part of the problem, I decided a weekly to-do would be a good choice, though these are more like suggestions than to-dos. They're there basically to remind me as I set up my daily page what kind of tasks I was planning to do on that day, so everything would get done over the course of a week.

This is the newest addition to my bujo - my weekly tracker, to remind me of things I want to do every day. In part, this is a replacement for my sticker chart, which worked well for a little bit, then fell off when I hit on a hard week and started associating the stickers with bad feelings. I probably won't do something quite this elaborate every week - I might not do a tracker every week at all! But this was fun to set up, which was at least half the point of making it.


My bujo has very gradually become more complex as I became comfortable with the different roles it could fill for me. I think that's the way a bujo should work - not as something you do because you have to, but something you do because you want to, because it's fun, and because it helps.


If this has helped you at all, or if you want to share your bujo, tag me on Facebook or send me an email! I'd love to see what you have.

#journal #life #simplicity

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©2020 by Eleanor Taylor.

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