I’ve been asking a lot of people about their biggest struggles with the Bullet Journal system and a lot of people said it’s time. They don’t have time to create spreads and use the system, or maybe they’re afraid to even start, because they’re already way too busy. Does this sound familiar? Then read on! I have a strategy on how you can accomplish all you have to and let Bullet Journal help you out!
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Bullet Journal pages we see all over Instagram and Pinterest often look like works of art, that probably took hours to complete. This created an idea that Bullet Journaling is something not suitable for busy people. Even if you just decide to go for a simplistic format, there’s still the issue that with Bullet Journal, you also have to spend time setting up every page yourself vs the pre-made planners.
The truth is, Bullet Journal can take as much time as you want to give it. You can spend hours drawing all the spreads, or you can spend 10 min and have all your pages done. The choice is yours!
Will You Have Time For BuJo?
Yes you will! How do I know? There are lots of people who are using the Bullet Journal system even on their busiest times. I’m definitely one of them!
I work as a freelancer, which means not only having weird working hours, but I also have to always hustle to find more work. Plus, I work on this blog trying to post twice-three times a week. And finally I also study online to up my working skills. I find time to do all this not despite, but thanks to my Bullet Journal. I don’t need to find time for my planner, because it actually helps me to make time.
Now, let me be honest – I don’t always use my planner, sometimes I skip days, sometimes I switch to just a running task list format. But that’s ok. Like with everything else, nobody can be 100% all the time! Your Bullet Journal should be a tool, not homework.
There are many techniques and tricks you can use to make sure your planner setup takes the minimal amount of time. Read on to learn how you can cut your setup time and keep planning in your busiest of time.
Plan During Breaks
The key to finding time to set up your Bullet Journal is to make time for planning. I know it’s easier said than done, but if you get a bit creative it gets much easier. The secret here is to plan when you have time. Lunch break at work, evening TV time with the family, while your kids are doing their homework.
You don’t have to plan it all in one sitting, take little planning breaks throughout your week to finish your setups.
Switch To Minimalist Design
As I said, the easiest way to cut time on your setups is to make the designs as simple as possible. Minimalist Bullet Journals are super popular among the community. They look extremely classy and are so much easier to set up, since there is no need for elaborate drawings.
All you need for these setups is a black pen. You can even just draw basic outlines of your spreads and add any accents and patterns later if you wish. Just check these 11 minimalist weekly spreads and you’ll see that Bullet Journaling can take just a few minutes a day.
Looking for some minimalist creators to get inspired? Check these amazing bullet journalists:
Get Rid Of Unnecessary Pages
When I started my Bullet Journal, I had all the pages, not just the basic ones. I had beauty tracker, mood tracker, time tracker, lunar calendar and a bunch of collections. All at the same time.
As you might’ve guessed setting up my month became super time consuming. If you’re busy, just cut off all the pages you don’t need! I personally cut down a lot, and it was really a game changer for me.
Bullet Journal offers a lot of possibilities and many interesting pages that can be beneficial for you. Being busy doesn’t mean you won’t be able to use these. All you need is first to decide what is the main goal for your Bullet Journal. Is it time management? Is it self development? Make sure you get your priorities straight. Remember with limited time you have to prioritize the important pages.
The second thing you can do is to try different spreads one at a time. Don’t use them all in one month, this will be too hard on your schedule, even if you have all the time in the world. Try one new spread per month, or maybe for just a week (for example time tracker practice is definitely enough for just one week).
Use Stationery To Help You
The right stationery is probably the biggest time savior. With the right chosen supplies you can cut your planning time in half.
I have a separate detailed post with 11 supplies under 10$ that can help make Bullet Journaling easier. Here I’ll just give some general ideas.
Stickers (definitely check some awesome options on Etsy) help you decorate your pages if you don’t have time to draw, and set up some annoying repetitive things like calendars (my favorite are these stickers).
Stencils can also help you draw and setup easily your monthly spreads, such as monthly log and habit tracker (I mean this amazing Bullet Journal essential stencil set).
Finally you can also use stamps for all of the functions I mentioned above.
There is an incredible amount of free and paid printables available. You can start from joining Planning Mashers and getting access to TONS of free printables in our Resources Vault. Just fill out the form at the end of the post.
Some of my other favorite resources are The Petite Planner blog, where Erin has a lot of free printables and lately started selling monthly setup sets, and Life By Whitney with their huge printable library and shop.
Printables can be very pretty and are super easy to use – print, cut, glue and there it is! Believe me they WILL cut your setup time significantly. With all the options you’ll definitely be able to find the perfect setup for your own journal.
Follow A “Plan With Me”
Another easy way to speed up your planning process is to follow a plan with me video. These videos already give you a thought through setup with exact step by step instructions and certain themes.
If you don’t mind copying somebody else’s spreads, just dive in and do it. You won’t need to look for ideas or thing how to do the setup, and this will definitely speed up the process.
Some of my favorite plan with me channels are:
Use Simplified Journal
If you don’t have time at all, but still want a Bullet Journal – try some simplified journals. It’s actually a mix between a Bullet Journal and pre-made planner. These journals take away the time you need to spend on setting up your monthly spreads, but leave enough space for you to explore and get the best from the Bullet Journal planning system.
One of the options is Scribbles That Matter Bullet Planner. It already has these pages made: key, year at a glance, yearly statistics tracker, monthly log, monthly habit tracker, two types of weekly spreads, password page and mindfulness page. With all these pages, it also has enough space to customize it the way you wish.
Another option would be a Clever Fox Planner. The pages they already have pre-made are: gratitude and self awareness page, daily rituals page, vision board, yearly goals and focus, mind map, monthly calendar and weekly spreads with weekly habit trackers. The rest 60 pages of the journal are empty dotted pages for you to fill them out at will. I’d say this journal is a bit less customizable than the Scribbles That Matter Bullet Planner, but it’s still a good option.
These are the little tricks you can use to find time and keep Bullet Journaling.
I think the most important question here is whether you want to have a Bullet Journal. Think what it brings to you and whether it’s really something you want to do. If it is – great! I believe with all these hacks you’ll be able to find time, disregarding how busy your life is.
What other tricks do you use to make time for Bullet Journaling? I’d love to see your ideas in the comments section.
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