Unique benefits of starting a bullet journal and how they change your life.
Obviously, when it comes to bullet journals, the benefit to a creative person’s time management is ten-fold.
But beyond time management, there are a ton of other great things that bullet journals have to offer! I think from the outside in, people don’t think about all of the other great ways that bullet journals can benefit your life.
Some benefits are definitely less life-changing than others, but it’s a large part of the reason why I promote them so much at Planning Mindfully.
Whether you’re an artist or not, whether you need time management help or not, whether you want to go all out with your bullet journal (or not), bullet journals really offer significant benefits with:
- Personal Development
- Self Care
- Self Awareness
And much, much more.
Don’t believe me? Let me show you.
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How bullet journaling changed my life
Since I started my very first bullet journal over two years ago, I’ve found that I’m all around a better person in many different ways.
I used to struggle significantly with disorganization. Now? Well, I’m still disorganized, but it’s a lot better.
I used to forget appointments and reminders to myself quite frequently. Now I easily remember since I have a simple place to write everything down.
I neglected my creativity for a long time, generally only doodling and practicing art on pieces of scrap paper next to my work station. Now I regularly create super fun and unique art. It’s as if I’ve gained a part of myself back again.
I also neglected writing for a long time. When I started bullet journaling, inevitably this led to writing more. Indirectly, the benefits of bullet journaling are what prompted me to start Planning Mindfully; I wanted to share the benefits to anybody interested. Through starting the blog, I received the opportunity to publish a book on tracking your habits! All because I started a bullet journal!
Ready to receive these benefits for yourself? Here are 11 incredible bullet journal benefits you’ll receive from starting your own bujo.
Your handwriting will improve immensely
Yes, this is an obvious benefit of bullet journaling. Sorry, but it’s true!
When you’re writing every day or practicing fancy hand-lettering on a regular basis, you’re just going to get better with time. Because let’s face it, I think most bullet journal artists either get a set of brush pens or learn the fabulous art of faux-calligraphy.
Bekah from Instagram says “My handwriting has improved drastically. I mean, it was alright before, but the practice has really made a difference in my lettering ability. My English teacher loves my writing so much I even got asked to do a special project in the classroom- I wouldn’t have that without my bullet journal.”
No matter what you do, if you do the same thing every single day, you get better.
Practice makes better, right?
You’ll improve your art and drawing skills
Much like the point above, the more you draw and doodle, the better you’ll get. Maybe it’s one of the more ‘obvious’ surprising benefits of bullet journals, but I think there is a lot of truth to this.
When I first started bullet journaling, I was terrified to even consider drawing a line without my trusty Westcott ruler. Now, I feel a little more confident in my ability to draw a straight line on my own.
Even though 2.5 years later I still have the worst shaky hand EVER, ugh…
Past straight lines without a ruler, drawing and doodling regularly help you to become more aware of your style, your preferences, and your capabilities. Regular practice and you will find that your art will flow more quickly and more smoothly.
Even cooler is that you start getting more comfortable taking bigger risks with your art so that you try new things you may have never even imagined creating in the first place.
Bullet journals are a great conversation starter
Yes, your bullet journal is a great place to initiate conversation.
While I now work full time from home, when I did work at my last job, my bullet journal was never far from my side. That meant my coworkers, colleagues, and customers would always see this brightly decorated notebook whenever they were around me.
Since bullet journals are completely handmade and very unique from person to person, this, of course, would frequently spawn fascinating conversation over the subject of my notebook.
Because of my bullet journal, I’ve had a lot of fun conversations sharing:
- My story and my journey
- The benefits I’ve received from bullet journaling
- Stationery recommendations
And what is even cooler is that I’ve gotten to connect with other bullet journalists- hello instant friendships! You literally never know who you interact with who may keep a bullet journal. You also never know who may want to start one.
And last- you could be their inspiration to finally start their first bullet journal! That would be really cool!
Encourages you to use what you create
Maybe this concept isn’t true for you. But for me, when I work hard to create something for myself, I have a tendency to use it.
Bullet journals are actually pretty hard work, depending on how complicated you make them and how many layouts you create.
If you’re willing to push through the discomfort of starting your bullet journal spreads and create something you’re proud of, you’ll find that you actually end up using what you make.
Melodicrenegade on Instagram told me that “I was wasting so much space in regular planners, it lets me create exactly what I need.” She’s absolutely right. Your bullet journal gives you the capability to create exactly what you need, so you will likely find yourself using what you create since it suits your style and time management needs.
It’s your work. It’s your responsibility. Since you made it, you’ll use it.
You learn how to accept what you don’t finish
Yes, this is literally the flip side to the previous point. But hear me out.
When I started my fifth bullet journal in October of 2018, I was going through a lot in life. I had just transitioned to working full time from home, I had written my first book, and was trying to figure out my next steps to take.
But I felt so overwhelmed with life that I wasn’t using my bullet journal at all.
Sure, I was setting it up every month and preparing it like I would any other month. But for the most part, the spreads I created sat unused, untouched. I realized this was happening pretty early on and put a lot of thought into actually quitting my bullet journal.
I decided that despite not using my bullet journal, it was still providing me a lot of benefits anyway.
With all of the stress going on in my life, I took very little time for meaningful self-care. But one area of self-care that I wholeheartedly believed was providing me benefit was the time I got to be creative while setting up my bullet journal.
If I quit my bullet journal, I would be easily eliminating hours of creative time that I may not get back. I was pouring everything into my work; I may have used those hours instead to work instead of engaging in meaningful creativity.
And you know what? This experience taught that it was OK to set everything up and be creative, then not use what I created. It still served a meaningful purpose during that time.
Your bullet journal will have moments where you don’t use what you create. But because of the flexibility that bullet journals provide, you will learn what you need and what you don’t. You will learn to create a system that meets your needs at your level.
Provides a thorough record of your life
This benefit of bullet journaling wasn’t one of the reasons I started bullet journaling. Yet, I find now that I have a few to go back and look at, it’s really nice to know that my future family has something to remember me by.
It’s also a lot of fun to go back through old bullet journals to see how much you’ve changed and grown since you’ve started. I occasionally like to pull out my first bullet journal to compare where I’m at now.
My art is a lot better. My handwriting has improved considerably (there is a reason I said they were benefits of bullet journaling!). The setups are a lot cleaner and more optimized compared to my first bullet journal.
Even Julia from Instagram agrees! She says “It got me back to drawing every day AND I can see my progress already!”
It’s also exciting to think about having these records to look back on and enjoy ten years in the future. Because of the effort I’m taking now to better myself, I feel confident that I’ll be reaping the benefits in the future. In the future, I’ll now be able to look at the progress and the journey.
Who knows, maybe I can turn all of that value and knowledge into a book!
You learn more about yourself
This was probably one of the most surprising benefits of bullet journals that I’ve received since starting one.
Prior to bullet journals, I walked around in a daze feeling like I didn’t really know how I worked. Every symptom, challenging scenario I faced in life felt random and disconnected. Despite therapy and medications for my health struggles, it felt like this huge internal struggle of taking two steps forward, then two steps back.
I can’t tell you how bad that felt.
When I started my bullet journal, through writing daily, therapy assignments, and trackers, it was eye-opening. Only one month into my bullet journal and I was able to start seeing patterns and tendencies that I had never uncovered before in my life.
Paperstoriesbycody on IG said that “It helps my ADD and helps me remember my chaotic thoughts.” It can be so easy to forget the small things that happen in your day to day life. When you write them down, you’ll find that you will remember a lot more in your future.
Instant self-care in one convenient place
Often people don’t think about all of the self-care benefits that you can receive from your bullet journal.
For instance, habit trackers can help you learn more about your patterns and tendencies.
Goal trackers can help you work toward your dreams and desires.
Need reminders to help you stay positive? Include quotes to help brighten your spirits. Create collections for things you can do when you’re feeling down.
Lil_scarlet_rain tells me that “Bullet journaling helps me to do something creative every day.” I think it’s great self-care to remember to do that, don’t you?
You will become a better person because of your bullet journal.
Having a bullet journal benefits your mental health
You may not know this, but my first bullet journal came to exist as a recommendation from my therapist.
While I did do some therapy homework in my first bullet journal, and that was helpful to work on with my therapist. What I didn’t intend on though was how the other typical bullet journaling spreads really improved my mental health.
Writing in the calendars helped me visualize how I was really spending my time. I had a record to show my therapist how I was spending my time and the tasks I was/wasn’t completing.
The trackers helped me to be more aware of my behaviors, moods, and daily actions. My therapist uncovered interesting patterns and tendencies I never noticed before. This allowed her to create more meaningful work and lessons I could apply in real time.
My journaling entries and notes helped me remember my challenges and wins. Now my therapist was able to help me learn how to celebrate my accomplishments and work through challenges I often forgot about before bullet journaling.
The data that came from my bullet journal helped me to start making shifts and adjustments that brought real results and improvements. This great article from Medium highlights how if you’re trying to get your life back on track, a bullet journal is a great place to start.
And Barbara, an amazing bullet journalist from Instagram, states that a big bullet journaling benefit for her is that “Writing everything down in an organized way takes away the stress of trying to remember.” Less stress = better, right?
It’s perfect for any budget
While I always have a tendency to promote maybe more fancy supplies than absolutely necessary (hey, I can’t help but enjoy buying copious amounts of markers, stickers, and washi), it doesn’t have to be super expensive.
I feel like I’ve said this a million times, but really all you need to start a bullet journal is a pen and a notebook. It doesn’t even have to be dot grid! You don’t have to worry about buying a fancy planner or getting a bunch of supplies you’ll probably never use, you can create literally whatever you want.
And what’s better is that inspiration is totally free. Pinterest, Instagram, Google, blog posts, you name it, you can find bullet journal inspiration literally every single place you look and you can create whatever you want.
Bullet journals are terrific motivators to complete tasks and finish projects
Any type of planner system can help you with goals, productivity, and time management.
Bullet journals add an extra layer of the process by providing fun motivation.
You can create spreads specifically designed around your task: what your goal is, your due date, and what objectives you need to fulfill to reach your goal.
Didi from Instagram states that her one of her biggest bullet journal benefits is that “I’m less stressed when things are on paper. It’s also an excuse to get some ME time and be creative!” I think being creative is a tremendous motivator for getting things done. Love it!
Need to tackle a tough project? Create a spread with motivational quotes. Or a bullet journal layout that has reminders and encouragement when you want to give up.
Personally, I find using fun pens and stickers make any project more motivating!
Bullet journaling provides a creative way to improve time management
Yes, this benefit is obvious. But for many who struggle with traditional time management, the bullet journal is an absolutely time management savior.
When you feel burdened by traditional time management systems, using a bullet journal is a way that people can blend creativity and time management into one convenient place.
Like my friend Myrthe from Instagram says, “It helps me to get my stuff organized and to plan things in the future.”
Final thoughts about bullet journal benefits
By using a bullet journal, you’ll find so many benefits that will make you all-around a better person. You have a fun place to help you record your life, track your goals, provide better self-awareness, and so much more.
Yes, they do take more work than a typical planner. That said, I think the extra work is well worth it. Not to mention, there is a really sweet satisfaction when it comes to creating something yourself with your own hands.
The best part- there is no structure and no rules. You can do whatever you please to help create a system that is truly your own.
What benefits have you found from keeping a bullet journal? I’d love to hear about your experiences in the comments!
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