Posted in Bullet Journal, Tips and Tricks

9 Bullet Journal “mistakes” you might be making

Consistency is key when it comes to bullet journaling actually being a useful tool to you, but just like me you might be making some “mistakes” that keep you from sticking to it.

I have been bullet journaling for multiple years by now and there have certainly been phases, where I wasn’t as consistent with it as I would have liked to be. For example, last year I definitely had a low point where the last spread I did was in April, and I didn’t start up until Mid-January this year. During those phases I like to take a step back and reevaluate what’s stopping me from keeping up with it. While doing so, I have noticed some “mistakes” I was making, which were stopping me personally from using the system continuously.

Why do I write “mistakes” in quotation marks you ask? Well, none of these really are mistakes in the sense of you’re actually doing something wrong, if you do these. No, not at all! But for me they were mistakes because they hindered me in using my bullet journal effectively. So they are my personal mistakes, if you will. Some of these I have also already mentioned in my Five Things Beginner Bullet Journalists Should Know blog post, but I thought it wouldn’t hurt to mention them again, for good measure Β―\_(ツ)_/Β―

So, now that this disclaimer is out of the way, let’s get started:

1.Not setting apart a designated time of day for journaling

This is crucial, especially if your day tends to be different every single day. Set aside a designated time in the morning and evening in order to fill in any trackers, plan for the next day or plan any new spreads.

For me, I now like to start into the day with it. So after getting up, I sit down, still in my pyjamas, fill in my sleep tracker and add on any additional tasks that I might still have thought of. Then I go about my day, ticking off tasks whenever I achieved something and then in the evening, before I got to bed, I fill in my other trackers and plan my next day.

Since I am only using one type of weekly spread, called “the rolling weekly”, I add on tasks and events regularly during the week into one big list instead of copying them over day by day. (Btw, if you’re interested in how that works and what that looks like, make sure you leave a comment, and I can make a mini post about how the rolling weekly works and why it is the best method for me personally)

2.Not setting apart a designated time for creating new spreads

The same thing as above goes for creating new spreads in general. I often found myself being way too late for setting up a new weekly spread. I have made sure to set aside a designated day of the week, that day being the Saturday, in order to work on a new weekly spread. This is especially useful, if you wanna make intricate, special spreads for each week that are a bit more time consuming than the rolling weekly.

3.Starting with monthly set ups too late/ trying to do them all in one day

This “mistake” goes hand in hand with the two above but I still decided to mention it seperately. Same as with the weekly spreads, I often started with new monthly set ups way too late ( and by that I mean way too late, like we’re talking either last day or, even worse, the new month had already started by the time I got to it…) and on top of that, tried to do the whole set up in one day.

Now, if you’re like me and you like intricate monthly set ups that do take a bit of time to set up, you will easily see the mistake here. Setting up a nice title page often takes me about 4-5 hours alone, depending on how intricate and detailed I’m making it of course (I think the longest one was even 6-7 hours). That’s half or more of a regular work day… yeah.. not really possible to do an entire set-up, unless I spend like 10-12 hours a day on it, which is time that I certainly don’t have, nor want to have.

So the solution for that mistake is an easy one: start a few days before the month ends, so you have enough time in order to finish it, before the new month starts.

4.Too many or complicated trackers

Another “mistake” that I made was having too many trackers in my bullet journal. Sure, in the beginning you wanna try stuff out to see what works for you and what and how you want to implement them, but I certainly overdid it with the trackers. I was basically tracking every aspect of my life, which ended up with me feeling bad if I didn’t accomplish things or simply forgot to fill out the tracker.

I have since then downgraded to 3 main trackers (habits, mood and sleep) and a gratitude log, and let me tell you, it becomes so much easier to fill those out, especially if you manage to implement them well.

5.Focusing too much on making spreads look intricate/ perfect

In the beginning, I wanted my bullet journal to be perfect. Like all those other ones that I was seeing online; with beautiful covers, detailed spreads and gorgeous illustrations. I quickly realized, how time consuming it actually was to make those spreads, but I still spend time that I actually didn’t have on making them. By focusing so much on that I lost the fun I orginally had with creating those spreads because they took so long to make.

Taking a step back and realizing that simpler spreads are just as effective and may be even more so, when times are stressful has helped me immensely in adapting my spreads and my effort to how much time I actually have.

6.Comparing yourself to others / not allowing yourself to be a beginner

This point is one that I would consider the most harmful out of all of my mistakes. Maybe you know the feel: You’re confronted with all of those wonderful and talented people making all of these beautiful and intricate spreads and then you look at your own and promptly get discouraged. Sound familar?

I know how you feel, cause I felt the same when I was just starting out. I spent ages on making a spread and in the end it still wasn’t “good enough”; and that realization hurt. It hurt so much that I was completely and utterly ashamed of some spreads, to the point where I didn’t want to show it to anyone, despite being proud of it beforehand.

Or maybe a spread didn’t turn out the way that you imagined it? Yeah, had that too, and it was so insanely frustrating. I was focusing more and more on the mistakes I was making and my shortcomings instead of on the things that I was getting better in.

To be honest the only real advice I have for you in case you’re experiencing those feelings as well is to stick with it. Stick with it, try to focus on the things that are improving and start simple. Start with the things you know you’ll be able to do easily and gradually move up from that. You will get better because practice does make perfect.

It also helped me to figure out, how long some people have already been bullet journaling before and/or have done art before. It can put things into perspective.

7.Not allowing yourself to be inspired by others

This next one sorta ties in with the one above but please as much as you’re not supposed to compare yourself to others, allow yourself to gather inspiration from others. That doesn’t mean you’re supposed to copy them, of course, but put your own spin on things.

I often wanted to be completely original, cause my thought process was that if I’m not original then I’m just a copy. That is not how things work though. You are definitely allowed to sit down and recreate a spread or hell, even a whole set up that you’ve seen and you like. It’s so easy to make it your own though. Use different colors, change certain elements, add on or leave out things; the options of customizing spreads and set ups are endless.

Slowly but surely you’ll notice that you develop your own style and are more and more able to work with even just small bouts of inspiration and make those into fully fledged set ups and then all you need to do is to share them with the world. Who knows, maybe you’ll be the one who’s inspiring others then. ^-^

8.Not trying out new things

This is one was a big one for me as well. I kinda forced myself to stick with the things that I started with, despite noticing that it wasn’t really working for me the way I did it, just because “everyone else does it that way”.

Not trying out new things, giving yourself the chance to figure out what works for you and what doesn’t, replacing the things that aren’t working with things that might be, almost killed my entire process of bullet journaling. Had I not taken a step back and taken the time to figure out what I can change/ try out in order to make the system work for me (again), I would probably have stopped bullet journaling and never taken it up again. So take a step back, maybe watch a few different creators on youtube, gather some inspiration and really give yourself the time to try out new things. This is your bullet journal. The goal is to figure out a system that works for you and no one else.

9.Focusing too much on not having/ getting the “right” tools

Last but not least, a short but really important one. (Although this doesn’t apply to anyone because some people prefer to keep it simple anyway).

I remember spending way too much time and money on finding and getting the “right” supplies. There are so many creators out there who are using all of these fancy stationary, such as calligraphy pens and markers and gel pens and different types of fineliners, but I’ll let you in on a little secret: You don’t need all of those. You can do faux calligraphy with any fineliner of your choice and you probably have some colors at home that you can use to make your spreads a bit more lively, should you decide to do so. Those pens you were/are using in school? Brilliant! Markers? Hell, yes! That pencil you use on a daily basis? Yep, perfect! To cite a lot of people who have said this before: “All you need is a notebook and a pen” Anything else is just a bonus.

So there you have it, 9 bullet journal “mistakes” that I was making and that you might be making too. I hope you enjoyed reading this post, see you in the next one and as always: Stay safe and healthy ❀

~Luna


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Posted in Tips and Tricks

How to stay Productive during Quarantine

Hello procrastination my old friend …..

….. Please leave me alone again!

Everybody who already has issues with procrastination or has had them in the past probably knows, how bad procrastination can get even on normal work days, if you let it, but that’s nothing compared to what procrastination can be like when you’re working from home. Few to no deadlines, nobody tells you what to do and when to do it, and Netflix and co. are just waiting for you to give in and watch just one more episode. Productivity levels in these times of Homeoffice and -studying can be low, especially when there is nobody to monitor you, which is why today I want to share tips that help me stay productive at home. 😊

1.Create a schedule!

If you’re like me and you need a schedule to order your otherwise all over the place and chaotic day, not having one during quarantine is the worst you can do to yourself. If you already have a schedule on regular work or university or school days, follow that schedule in quarantine as well.
For example, if you’d have class on let’s say Tuesday from 11:45 am to 1 pm you do something for that topic in that time and on that day. If there is nothing to do for that class, do another subject but do something for university/school. That way you can stick with your normal routine and don’t start piling things up.
Same goes for work, do your regular work hours as if you were at work. I can’t really say a lot for the people who have kids, since I can only imagine how tricky that is but maybe if they are older you could also try and get them to stick to their schedule as if they were at school and award them with free time or something they really like when they managed to do so? Just an idea πŸ™‚

If you don’t have a schedule yet, make one up. Plan out certain time frames that you dedicate your work/studying to, write it down and see it as this fixed thing that you have to adhere to.

2.Eliminate distractions!

Ever heard of the app “Forest”? (No, I’m not sponsored I just really like the app :D)
Basically, it’s a neat little app that blocks you from using your social media apps and games for the time frame you set and while that time counts down, you’re growing a neat little tree! If you do open any of the apps that are blocked, you’ll get sent back to the app and get a notification that if you want to proceed, you’ll have to kill your tree; and nobody wants a dead tree in their garden.
There are two versions of the app and I would highly recommend you get the paid one. It costs very little, I think I paid like 1 or 2 euros for the paid version but I did it because the paid version comes with the option to whitelist certain apps. System apps like your messaging, music or call apps are whitelisted by default but if you want to for example whitelist another messaging app like WhatsApp or another music app such as Spotify then you can only do that with the paid version.

If you work mostly on your pc or laptop and get distracted by Netflix or other websites, never fear, there is also a browser extension for Chrome. The browser extension comes with a white- and a blacklist mode, so all you have to do is to copy the url of the website you want to black- or whitelist and you’re good to go! πŸ˜€

3.Clean your workspace!

If you have a lot of clutter lying around where you’re supposed to work, it can cause you to be distracted, so make sure your workspace is clean and only filled with the stuff you need for working/studying/doing homework etc.

4.Take time off!

I know, I know you hear that one all the time, even when you’re not in quarantine but it is even more important to pay attention to during quarantine. I often find myself completely loosing any sense for what time or day it is which caused me to do work at either really weird times or even at the weekend when I was supposed to take time off. All of that can throw off your natural rhythm and make you feel even less motivated. So please make sure to not only take regular breaks while working ( the so-called Pomodoro-Method works really well for me for example) but also take certain days off and stop working at a reasonable time. This should also be an incentive for you to get all your to-do’s done and taken care off until that day/time, so you still get enough guilt-free time for yourself and your loved ones. 😊

5.Write everything down!

If you have a good/great memory, this tip does not apply to you but if you already struggle with remembering things and to-do’s but somehow manage when you are in a regular routine, (or your brain sometimes is sift, like mine and you need to write down anything nonetheless) you might really want to start writing things down. Ideally, have a notebook for it (*hint hint* Bullet Journal *hint hint* xD) to avoid sheets flying around everywhere but really a bigger sheet of paper that you can write daily to-do’s on works just as well. It can help you organize your thoughts and you don’t constantly have to keep thinking “Oh, I can’t forget that, I need to still do that” and so on.

So there we have it, five tips that hopefully will help you to stay or become more productive in quarantine!

Thank you for reading everybody, stay safe! ❀

Luna


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Five Things Beginner Bullet Journalists Should Know

There are some things that I absolutely want you to know, when you first start out with Bullet Journaling, which is why I made this list, because I wanted to share my own experiences with you. 😊

1)Bullet Journaling is going to take some time to get used to.

You have to find out what works for you and what doesn’t and that could take some time. In fact, after a year of Bullet Journaling find I still find new ideas or spreads that I wanna try or I notice that certain spreads are no longer working for me, so I change them. So take your time, try and play around with the system and adapt it so it fits your needs. After all, the Bullet Journal is supposed to help you and not hinder you. 😊

2)You don’t have to be perfect!

When I first started out, I kept thinking to myself, “Oh, my spreads are never going to look as good as all of those that I see on Pinterest, YouTube or Instagram etc.” And yeah, they didn’t, at least not in the beginning. I didn’t know how to do calligraphy or draw/doodle certain things; I was a beginner and beginners aren’t perfect. I have talked about this in one of my previous posts (Putting myself out there) but I will mention it here again: Allow yourself to be a beginner, you will learn and you will improve, trust me, I have seen it with myself.

3)Start simple!

You don’t need fancy equipment or expensive colors to start Bullet Journaling. A pen and a simple notebook is enough. Granted, there are some supplies that you might want to look into once you start getting the hang of all of it, and if you’re interested I can make a post about what stationary and type of notebook I like to use but that’s for another time.
For now, all you need to know is that your spreads can look simple and that is okay. The most important thing for you is to make the system work for you. You can add in all the fancy stuff later, or not depending on what you prefer. πŸ˜„
A good bonus tip that I have for how you can make your spreads to still look amazing with little effort, are minimalist spreads. They often only require one accent color, one pen and maybe a ruler and they look fantastic!

4)Getting inspiration from other people is not only okay but can be insanely helpful!

There is no shame in not being creative. When you first look at your empty notebook it can be overwhelming to know what to do and how you want it too look. Going on websites like YouTube, Instagram and Pinterest can be super helpful to get inspired and find out what you want your journal to look like. Maybe you are a minimalist type or maybe you like colors and make your Bullet Journal as bright and colorful as possible. Maybe you’d like to try out a sleep tracker but you have no idea how to draw one. The possibilities are endless.
Bonus: If you want, you can check out my Pinterest board here. I have compiled over 400 pins on Bullet Journal spreads, calligraphy, handwriting, borders etc. and I’m constantly adding more so you’ll hopefully find something of interest to you there. 😊
As a second bonus I want to recommend AmandaRachLee’s YouTube Channel. If I had to name one person that really inspired me to start Bullet Journaling, it’s her! She does those great “Plan With Me” videos, that are super relaxing to watch even if you’re not Bullet Journaling yourself, so go and check her out! πŸ˜ƒ

5)Sticking to it might be hard but try nonetheless!

I know that it might be hard for you to stay consistent with it in the beginning, trust me it has been tricky for me as well but there are some tips and tricks I can give you that helped me stick to it in the past so, if you’re interested in that let me know and I’ll make a post about it in the future! 😊 However, I don’t remember where I have read that but I once read that it takes 3 weeks to get used to a habit and 3 months to integrate it into your daily life so much that you can’t not do it anymore and I’ve found that to be very true. After consistently doing it for 3 months I noticed that whenever I haven’t had the time to Bullet Journal – and yes those days do exist, so don’t beat yourself up over it 😊 – I actually got really unhappy, restless and unproductive. So, try to be consistent with it for three weeks first and then three months and you’ll see that it’s gonna get easier and easier to keep up with it.

So, these are my five things that I would want every beginner Bullet Journalist to know. If you have any questions or suggestions for future posts, feel free to leave me a comment down below! πŸ˜ƒ

Stay safe, everyone! ❀

Luna


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