I have been using a Bullet Journal for over three years now and I quite often see people asking if there is a “right way” to Bullet Journal. It mostly comes from those who are looking to start a Bullet Journal, worried about starting in case they do it wrong. The aim of this post is to debunk this idea because guess what?
There is no right way to Bullet Journal.
I’ve touched upon this subject in a previous blog post but there is this idea or debate within the Bullet Journal community that so-called maximalist spreads do not count as a Bullet Journal because it takes away from the function. This has created a slight divide within the community. Now don’t get me wrong, the Bullet Journal Community is a very positive community to be a part of. However, there is this certain level of entitlement. The idea that there is one way and one way only.
So let’s look at a minimalist Bullet Journal compared to a maximalist Bullet Journal and how this leads into the idea of the “right way” to Bullet Journal. A minimalist Bullet Journal can stereotypically be defined as a Bullet Journal with little to no decoration. Colour codes tend to be muted or down to one and there may be fewer doodles.
A maximalist Bullet Journal can be stereotypically defined as a Bullet Journal that typically has quite a bit of decoration. The Bullet Journaler may use more doodles and more stationery to create their spreads, such as stickers and washi tape. It could be argued these Bullet Journals are more focused on the aesthetic rather than the function but I disagree with this.
Leading on from that comparison, let’s talk about how this links to the “right way” to Bullet Journal. There are a minority of people out there who think a maximalist Bullet Journal is not the “right way” to Bullet Journal. There are some Bullet Journalers out there who have been criticised and left hate comments for making their Bullet Journal too artsy. Why?
Well, one could argue that having art in your Bullet Journal takes away from the function of a Bullet Journal and therefore you’re not doing it right. However, I would say that all maximalist Bullet Journals are doing is simply focusing on more than one thing. In other words, they’re focusing on the art of the Bullet Journal and the functionality of it.
I’m going to talk about my experience of being a Bullet Journaler and why I fall into the category of a maximalist Bullet Journaler. I have art within my journal. I have a theme for each month which I stick to and I use a lot of washi tape and stickers to create my spreads. However, I also focus on the function of my Bullet Journal. I mentioned in my March 2020 setup that I was struggling with consistently filling out my habit and mood tracker and therefore I changed the layout. To me, this feels like I’m focusing on the functionality. I’m thinking that something isn’t working well for me and I’m looking at ways to change that.
In terms of the artistic side of my Bullet Journal, I’ve also mentioned that I find this side extremely therapeutic and beneficial to my mental health. Does this mean I’m not doing a Bullet Journal right even if it works well for me?
My overall point is that everyone who has a Bullet Journal uses it differently. We don’t all have the same spreads, we don’t all use spreads the same way. Our Bullet Journals are ours, not anyone else’s. If anything, one could say there is a “right way” to Bullet Journal, as long as that right way is beneficial to the person. In other words, there are never-ending “right ways” to Bullet Journal.
Thank you for reading.