I’ve been using a Bullet Journal for about two years now, and I’m starting to wonder, Is the Bullet Journal a fad?
It’s easy to see in hindsight how something that blows up as quickly as the Bullet Journal did can end up being a short-term craze. People get excited about a new gadget, a new system, a new status symbol of wealth or privilege or introspection, and we all dive in headlong without taking stock of the best practices and potential benefits.
Maybe I was one of those people who got swept up in the craze. I was mesmerized by the hand-lettering and illustrations I saw in so many of the journals on Instagram and Pinterest. There were days when I would carve out a couple of hours(!) to create an intricate mandala alongside my weekly spread, and the act felt nothing short of therapeutic.
But recently, I find myself reaching for my Bullet Journal less because of the standard I’ve set for myself. I’ve come to expect my Bullet Journal to be something beautiful, and that’s troubling, not just to me.
When I had the opportunity to speak with Ryder Carroll, the creator of the Bullet Journal, he expressed concern that people may be emphasizing form over function in their Bullet Journal practice:
The point of the Bullet Journal is to learn more about yourself.… Because you have this ritual of constantly checking in with yourself, you have to hold yourself accountable for how you’re spending your time. Is that time being spent in a way that’s moving you forward in your life or is it bringing you happiness or bringing you closer to the things that matter to you? … We’re so distracted by the things we should be doing that we don’t stop to think and ask ourselves why are we doing those things.
Listen to the full interview with Ryder Carroll here.
I’ve started to wonder what will become of the Bullet Journal if its biggest proponents are people like me who have been using it as an excuse to eke out the time and space to rediscover our creativity. Will we tire of this format, of our own artistic shortcomings in our face day after day, and eventually reject our Bullet Journals outright?
I really hope not. I’ve gained such mental clarity through my Bullet Journal practice, especially when it comes to my personal goals. Checking off my daily to-do list isn’t nearly as satisfying as reaching my annual goals, and keeping a Bullet Journal has forced me to hold those goals in view every day.
In an effort not to lose my focus, not to throw my Bullet Journal into the stack of other half-used journals initiated with the best intentions, I’m taking a new tack—minimalism. No washi tape. No colored pencils. No rulers.
Tidy > Embellished
So how do we keep the Bullet Journal from becoming a fad? Probably by utilizing the system as Ryder intended: as a method for self-reflection rather than comparison.
For anyone who’s been Bullet Journaling for a while now, I’d be curious to know…
- How has your practice shifted with time?
- Have you felt this same pressure to make your Bullet Journal beautiful, either internally or because of what you’ve seen others doing with their journals?
- And do you have any thoughts on whether we’ll see the Bullet Journal become a fad?
Leave me a comment below.