I’d like to begin with a thank you to Ryder for creating this bullet journal system, without which I would have not found this incredible community of people, and I’m so honored to have this opportunity to write about and to share my bullet journal with all of you.
Hello! My name is Sarah, and I’m a bullet journalist and hand letterer. I’m a current Computer Science student, and although my studies are very technologically based, I find that the art of lettering, journaling, and planning by hand shouldn’t be something that is ever lost.
My Bullet Journal Story
I first found out about bullet journals this past September through the recommended section on YouTube. The title read “August Flip-Through,” the thumbnail was of an ordinary-looking notebook, and for the life of me, I could not understand why that warranted a 15 minute long video. Five minutes in, I was hooked. I began researching the best pens, notebooks, and materials, reading blogs that reviewed and compared various supplies, and within a couple of hours, I had ordered a Leuchtturm journal, a set of Staedtler Triplus Fineliners, and they were on their way.
Why I Love Bullet Journaling
Bullet Journaling has made me more organized, more productive, and more positive -- all the while allowing me to be infinitely more creative. The flexibility of the system allows you to add whatever spreads you want, drawing inspiration from any type of style, adapting to fit whatever needs and goals you may have. Whether you want to be more minimal, more colorful, or more decorative, there are so many great sources of knowledge in the bullet journaling community. Prior to bullet journaling, I was focused on lettering and calligraphy, but when I wanted to just letter a quote, I had nowhere to do it and no way to keeping it in-line with that time in my life. I would just have sheets of lettered quotes with no significance other than the fact that at one point, that quote somehow resonated with me. Bullet journaling is an organizational system that welcomes personal creativity to be built straight into it, and your planner can become a piece of art in it of itself.
Anything and everything in the future goes into this spread -- from finals schedules to movie premieres that I’m excited for! The dates that I note down don’t necessarily need to be in order because I just use this spread as a reference for when I set up my monthly overview, which is more in-depth and organized.
I keep my monthly overview pretty simple because most of my tasks, goals, projects tend to find their own spread if they’re extensive enough. I also always come up with a monthly goal -- usually something that I want to work on or a piece of encouragement.
This is my one and only tracker, which is not something you generally hear from a “bullet journalist,” but it’s the only one I think I really need! The notes section allows you to see what workouts you did on each day, so you know to diversify your workouts if you see that you’re getting into a rut. I’ve noticed that most people are intimidated by the sheer volume of trackers that a lot of bullet journalists keep up with, but if you do not think a workout tracker -- or any other tracker -- will help you be more productive or achieve your goals, don’t feel pressured to add it!
Because I’m a student, my weekly spreads are very minimalistic to maximize space with an added “Due” flag for every weekday where I can list everything that is due by that day. The “Future” section allows me to jot down any future dates that can then be transferred when I set up for the next week.
Finally, a lot of the appeal of 1. a dot-paged journal and 2. an extremely flexible journal system is due to my love of lettering and quotes. I cannot express how much I now love dotted pages -- they’re cleaner than the harsh lines of a grid page and provide more guidance than a plain page. Interspersed between the pages of planning in my journal, I like to add lettered quotes or sayings that usually reflect how I’m feeling.
About the Author:
Sarah Zhou Sarah is a bullet journalist and hand-letterer, documenting her work on Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/luckyletters/). She hopes to inspire others to adapt the Bullet Journal system by demonstrating its flexibility and limitless creative potential.