The Satisfying World of Bullet Journals
In recent years, bullet journaling has grown from a small online community to a part of the mainstream. As a personalized approach to planning one’s life, the trend has reached Skidmore’s campus in recent years. Katherine Eiger and Parisa Kabiri are two enthusiasts of the organization method.
Eiger and Kabiri both started bullet journaling around the same time, yet they approached the activity from very different angles. Eiger, a first-year, now runs the Instagram page @vivetstudy, which is dedicated to her journal with nearly 3,000 followers. She started journaling in the summer before her senior year of high school, but only after looking at calligraphy blogs online and thinking that she couldn’t do any of it. She explained that she initially started her page as a bit of a joke, a way of saying “‘oh look at me, I can’t do any of these things’” said Eiger. But instead she decided to give bullet journaling a fair chance and quickly discovered that she enjoyed it; the hobby took off from there.
Kabiri, who is currently a junior at Skidmore, cites her crafty childhood as a driving force in her taking up bullet journaling. Like Eiger, she had plenty of inspiration online before starting her journal, but she views it as a more private item. Speaking as a self-declared “perfectionist,” Kabiri explained that perfectionism isn’t always ideal for bullet journaling, but she went for it anyways. “It is supposed to be personal, so it doesn’t actually matter what it looks like because it’s for you and no one else is necessarily going to be looking at it,” said Kabiri. Over her winter break last year, Kabiri started to set up her first bullet journal, channeling her childhood self who had a different project each break. “Bullet journaling kind of became my craft for that winter break but then it continued throughout the year and I was actually really good at keeping up on it,” said Kabiri.
When asked if bullet journaling really makes her more productive, Kabiri replied “it definitely has, and there’s a caveat to that because it also takes up a lot of time,” said Kabiri. “After those few couple days when I’m just like trying to get everything set up, for the rest of the month it’s set up and I don’t have to worry about it anymore,” she added. For Eiger, starting a bullet journal “just really made it easier for me to keep track of everything,” she explained.
For those looking to start bullet journaling, Eiger and Kabiri can offer a few pieces of advice. “Don’t be afraid to try things that kind of look hard,” said Eiger. Kabiri is an advocate for the productivity goals of the journals: “I wouldn’t start a bullet journal if I wasn’t actually invested in the productivity aspect of it,” she said. She explained that at the beginning, people should focus on the productivity and once they’ve been using the journal for a while, then they can add in aesthetic elements.
Neither Kabiri nor Eiger have noticed many of their peers using bullet journals in their daily lives, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t out there. When out and about you might not even notice Eiger’s bullet journal. “If I’m being completely honest, I admit that I use a planner too,” said Eiger, while explaining her methodology for writing and re-writing her notes. Eiger also noted how many of her friends are often too busy to commit to a time-intensive method like bullet journaling. Kabiri’s desire to keep her journal private might run true with other Skidmore students who just aren’t out in the open with their bullet journals. “There’s a lot of people that write stuff down that you never really notice,” added Eiger.
It is important to remember that a bullet journal “is first and foremost something for you to help you stay organized and to keep track of what’s going on in your life,” said Kabiri. On a similar note, Eiger emphasized the importance of committing to the project. “You don’t have to be a master calligrapher to do anything. You don’t have to be like the best hand letterer to ever exist or have super neat handwriting. Those are things you can practice. What matters is just putting your foot down and saying ‘this is something I really want to do.”