My Bullet Journal as a Vice

When I started using my Leuchtturm1917 bullet journal, I said that I wasn’t going to be one of those people that turns it into an arts-and-crafts project with a small side of productivity. I haven’t. If you look at my Instagram feed, though, you will see a rainbow assortment of highlighters, gel penswashi tape, and even stickers. When I take photos of some of my spreads, you can see that they aren’t entirely devoid of asthetic considerations. So what gives? Am I a hypocrite? Have I given in and jointed the cult. It’s simpler than that. I’m embracing the idea of my bullet journal as a vice, in addition to a tool.

My Bullet Journal as a Vice

There are two parts to this. On the most basic level, I’m not setting up pretty spreads with calligraphy headers and all that sort of foofaraw. I do use color coding to make things easier to find. When things aren’t specifically color-coded, I will add color to help things stand out. There’s an index, sure, but I do end up flipping pages to find things and color makes that easier. It remains a practical consideration.

Decoration tends to be added afterward, and I’ll tell you why: it helps me to woolgather. When I setting up a spread, looking over my day, reviewing my week or month, I tend to doodle. Making the journal isn’t the point of the process. It’s merely a kinesthetic tic that helps me to think. Half of the time I’m just color-coding patterns that I’m discovering, but the rest of the time I am adding color and design as I mull something over.

The reason I’ve begun collecting accessories is that I rarely spend money on myself. When I do, it tends to be food. While I am a minimalist and lean toward practical things, I do sometimes want a little treat. Rather than nabbing snack foods, I spend a pittance on a pen, a roll of decorate tape, or a sheet of interesting stickers. It’s a small but harmless bit of happiness.

Given that my workspace is a black laptop on a natural wood table next to a brown wall, the journaling accessories add a pop of color. Even if I’m not using the things, they brighten the place up. It’s cheerful on the cheap. Minimalism doesn’t have to mean living an austere, black-and-white existence. And there are far more expensive, unhealthy, and cluttering vices I could have.

2 comments / Add your comment below

  1. It’s like we’re twins when it comes to this. I haven’t gotten washi tape yet (although I was eyeing them at Staples the other day), but I’ve certainly gotten more highlighters than ever in my life (I need new non-bleedthrough ones as well).

    Also, foofaraw. 👌

  2. Stabilo Boss highlighters. You may need to treat them like watercolors and dab a blotch now and again. I’m also learning to work with gel pens without smearing anything, which has more to do with me being left handed than the pens or the journal.

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