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 pens, washi 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.