an unpopular opinion

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Photo by Estée Janssens on Unsplash

So I've kept a bullet journal for about two years now.

At first, it was kind of fun.  Novel, I guess.  Felt kind of freeing when I wasn't constrained by what some printer thought I needed to include in my planning process.

I kept it in my Traveler's Notebook (which I adore, by the way, to a nearly puppylike devotion), but switched out to a Leuchtturm 1917 because I thought I needed more space.

But I noticed something.

Off and on, I'd just....abandon it.

Honestly, part of that's a heaping dose of stupid depression that, unfortunately, is just something I live with.  (Yay, anxiety and depression.  You both suck.) I get all ennui about stuff from time to time, and keeping up with a daily plan isn't all that much fun when you're kinda just trying to overcome the mental inertia long enough to get out of bed and be a semi-functional human.

But that aside, I would go sometimes two or three weeks without using it, which sort of blew my whole reason for needing one.

And generally speaking, when something like that happens to one of my systems, it's a pretty strong indicator that that system...?  Is broken.  Something about it doesn't work with the way I actually live my life, because when something doesn't fit quite right, I generally avoid using it.

Additionally, the whole Cult of Pretty thing was messing with me.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting things in your life to be pretty.  To be an artful reflection of yourself or how you want things to be.  There is nothing wrong with that.  Let me just say that now.

However, when making it pretty gets in the way of making it functional, that's where it kind of loses me a little.

I sorta realized I wasn't having fun with it anymore.  I felt actual pressure to make my spreads "pretty", and not to make them be useful.  Yes, I had pretty hand-lettered words.  Yes, I had stickers or washi or drawings.  

What I didn't have was the focus left over to do the things on my lists half the time.  Or I'd hate the spread (because that's what artists do half the time, hate our own stuff) and avoid looking at it because clearly, that means I suck at life...which means I wasn't looking at my lists.

And without lists, I'd forget to breathe half the time, much less get anything else actually done.

I'm almost done with this book.

I've got, like, five pages left in this bujo volume.  At which point, I plan to toss the whole bujo concept on the pile and go back to just using Autofocus in a cheap, spiral-bound notebook that I can throw out when it's full.  

(For the uninitiated, Autofocus is just one big-ass list that you add to as you think of things.  You scan the whole list, pick a thing, do it, and then cross it out.  That's pretty much it.  You don't migrate anything unless it's on an orphaned page way back in the book, when you decide if it's still relevant or you can toss it out by not migrating it.  There's no collections -- I'll keep lists in my MTN for reference -- no prettifying, no decorating, and nothing to buy.  A pencil and a notebook <--- that's all that's needed.)

I'm finding that I need simple more than I need pretty.

And that's okay, too.

(And before anybody says anything, I know you can keep minimalist bujos with just lists.  But if that's the case, wouldn't just a regular planner/calendar work just as well, without the "bullet journal" name?)

(Also, also, simple might be a misnomer in my life of paper.  I do keep a writing journal as a braindump, a nature journal with sketches and notes, two sketchbooks for two different purposes, this blog, all my social media, and soon, my autofocus notebook.  Not quite sure if "simple" is really all that accurate a term.)

(Also: three parentheticals in a row.  Parenthesis rock.)

I suppose I'll be kicked out of the planner club now, but I'm kind of okay with that.

As long as I'm getting things done, I'm not going to complain.

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© G O * E X P L O R I N G Maira Gall.