Bullet Journals Take Time
Do you find yourself admiring bullet journals from afar, but thinking “wow, I’d seriously NEVER have the time to do all that”? And you can’t help but wonder how in the world you actually keep a bullet journal when you have no time!
It’s not just you. A lot of people have that tendency.
From the outside, bullet journals actually seem like a TON of work. And truthfully, they do take more work to set up then your everyday planner you can pick up at any store. But they don’t have to be super complicated. There are many different ways people keep bullet journals despite a busy schedule.
So can you actually have a bullet journal when you have no time?
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You Can Bujo and Be Busy
I’ve been bullet journaling with a busy schedule pretty much since starting my first bujo in October 2016.
This blog definitely glamorizes my schedule to look like bullet journals are all I get to do! Don’t get me wrong; I definitely hope to get there soon. But right now, I’m busier than ever.
I bullet journal and:
- I work full time
- I exercise 3-4 days a week
- I have a family
- I run a blog and post once a week
- I’m active in church and music
There are definitely days it seems like there is no time to bullet journal. And truthfully, some days I just can’t bullet journal. I have my share of empty spaces on trackers!
But with a little creativity and good habits, it’s amazing what you can do with a bullet journal in just a little time.
1. Work in a productive place
This part is so critical; if you don’t work in a place that is productive, it’s going to waste a lot of time. Multitasking usually just doesn’t work; it’s very challenging to create bullet journal spreads while you are doing other things.
Find a quiet place, pop in some calm music, and work as long as you’re able to uninterrupted. If you need inspiration or a guide to create specific bullet journal spreads, keep a phone or a tablet handy.
Just don’t use it to check Facebook every five minutes. That’s actually anti-productive! I’ve fallen down the Pinterest rabbit hole at least once or twice searching for a spread to copy!
2. Bujo during breaks
Did you know that most of the time I update my bullet journal is while I’m on my lunch break at work?
Sometimes I’ll pull it out and work on it while my daughter is watching television or coloring. She absolutely loves it when I “color” with her. Plus, she’s usually so engrossed in her own activity that she doesn’t disturb me much.
The point is, there are always small moments during the day you can work on your bullet journal. And when you’re time is limited, you have to take advantage of whatever time is going to come your way.
3. Simplify as much as possible
Right now, toss the notion aside that you’re going to emulate super complicated bullet journal spreads done by professional artists. If you don’t have time for that, why even bother? Especially with so many other inventive options to add beauty and flair that actually save you time instead!
So how can you simplify your bullet journal spreads?
Minimalism is IN, especially when it comes to bullet journals. Spreads don’t take long to complete, they look classy, and it’s way less stressful than super artistic bullet journal layouts.
Stationery is Your Friend
Don’t have the time to create a beautiful tracker in your bullet journal?
There’s a printable for that.
Don’t have time to create gorgeous doodles, but love the look?
Stickers are your new best friend.
Point said, if you need to maximize your time, stationery can perform wonders. It’s probably the easiest adjustment for decorating a bullet journal when you have no time.
Eliminate Unnecessary Spreads
This is key when it comes to simplifying your bullet journal spreads.
If you’re trying to keep a bullet journal when you have no time, it sounds pretty silly to maintain 20 different bullet journal collections and trackers.
Sorry, my friend, it’s just not going to work. I’d stick to less than five running at any given time.
4. Toss comparison aside
There are tons of amazing bullet journal accounts and beautiful spreads all over the internet. And when you can’t create the same vision, especially with lack of time, it’s easy to just toss the entire notion of bullet journals out the window.
Some of my best friends in the bullet journal community are incredible artists. I’m, well, mediocre in comparison. But you know what? I’m ok. And I enjoy the hobby more than I dislike being a worse artist.
Think of how a bullet journal can benefit you instead of comparing your efforts to others. It’s done wonders for my time management.
I mean literally: Bullet journals were my gateway drug into time management.
Now I’m rocking a totally different life because I’ve learned time management, even with my somewhat disorganized Type B personality.
Not to mention, there are some pretty easy ways to fix your bullet journal mistakes!
5 Try a more structured option
Did you know that you don’t have to bullet journal in a boring, plain dot grid notebook?
There are actually quite a few options for more “structured” bullet journals. A structured bullet journal has many shells for weekly and monthly layouts, trackers, and other types of bullet journal spreads.
One that I’ve been taking advantage of lately is the Scribbles that Matter Bullet Planner. They took a majority of the work out for me by making the set up for my trackers, monthly layout and trackers, along with weekly spreads. I can be creative and draw what I want around the structure!
Or, if I take the concept of ‘simplifying’ along with a structured bullet journal, I can use stationery to decorate my bullet journal and save even more time than ever. I do this with my fitness bullet journal, and it really makes life much easier!
6. Follow a “Plan with Me”
If one of the things that trips you up from finding the time to create your bullet journal spreads is getting ideas on what to make, following a “Plan with Me” can simplify your life tremendously.
If you’re willing to give up completely original bullet journal spreads, following a plan with me gives you structure and layouts to set up your monthly and weekly layouts.
I just recently started a ‘Plan with Me’ on my blog; currently, right now it’s only blog posts, but in the future, I hope to extend this to video and live video opportunities!
Some of my other favorite “Plan with Me” accounts include:
7. Host a bujo party once a month
If you’re really spent for time and have creative friends, why not host a planner night at your house or at the local coffee shop? Invite everybody to bring all their art and planner supplies. Then work together to get as much done in that time frame.
While not truly multitasking, when you’re in a group of people who are doing the same activity, it’s easier to be productive. Not to mention, it’s a great way to make more bullet journal friends in general!
8. Make more time
If you really want to bullet journal and struggle to find the time, you may just have to make it yourself.
Can you wake up 30 minutes earlier and work on your bullet journal prior to everybody else waking up? Not only is this a great, productive time to work, but you get the opportunity to review your day and optimize it before it even starts. Bonus.
If you’re not a morning person (like me), you can make more time in the evenings. Go to bed 30 minutes later if you’re capable of working on that schedule.
Procrastination, in general, can be a time suck, so build more free time in your day by getting things done immediately. Wash dishes immediately after using them. When you’re finished using an item, put it away. It’s tasks such as that which pile up and then take longer to complete.
How much television do you watch per day? Or, more likely, mindless social media scrolling? Can you cut that in half?
There’s a lot of inventive ways to add more time to your day so you can bullet journal, you just have to get creative!
9. Do a Little Every Day
Let’s break down the math.
If you spend two hours working on your bullet journal four times a month, that’s 8 hours worth of time.
Did you know 16 minutes each day equals to the same amount of time above? 8 hours per month on a 30 day month.
I know it’s not always easy to find a two-hour time frame to work on your bullet journal. But I guarantee you can find 16 minutes most days. So stop saying you can’t keep a bullet journal when you have no time; trust me, you can find at least a little time.
How Bad Do You Want It?
Ultimately, how bad do you want to have a bullet journal?
If you don’t want one, don’t make all these changes. You shouldn’t keep a bullet journal because it’s trendy or because your coworker does it.
The whole point of having a bullet journal is to provide a flexible, creative option to help you conquer time management differently. If you think it’s not worth the work, then there is no point of making significant changes for something you don’t want to do.
If you’re already bullet journaling, have tried these tactics, but are still struggling, you may have other issues beyond time. I’d recommend checking out the 11 Most Common Struggles in Your Bullet Journal to see if your problem (and solution) lies there!
How do you maintain your bullet journal when you have no time? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!