In April 2017, I got into bullet journaling. Given how no planner I got has ever lasted more than a handful of months before I admitted to myself it’s useless, I fully expected this new fancy to be flitting and gone before the end of the year.
I’m currently finishing up my third bullet journal, so I think it’s safe to say this aspect of my life is here to stay.
You’re probably wondering what does bullet journaling have to do with low impact living. It’s certainly not zero waste, and it will never be, unless someone somewhere invents an app that could emulate what my bullet journal offers me in terms of flexibility and creative output.
Hell, if I’m being honest it might have nothing to do with YOUR low impact living. It does however have everything to do with my own journey of lowering the impact I have on the environment.
You see, my bullet journal adventure is probably the most perfect visualisation of what happens when I find a passion in my life, as I seem to follow the exact same steps, no matter the passion.
I discover the thing and fall in love with it.
It was the case when I got obsessed with nail polish and painting my fingernails, it was the case when I started writing more substantial things than 100 words drabbles. And it was certainly the case when I discovered bullet journaling and how lovely it could look.
I dip my toes in.
The beginning is always hesitant because after all my years of, well, being me, I know how my passions run. Fast, bright, and rarely permanently. It’s how I roll. I have accepted it and am now doing my best to trick myself into keeping up with things I want to get involved in the long term.
Which for bullet journaling meant finding an old relatively unused notebook to try things out. It was just a pen and paper and maybe some highlighters here and there.
I go all in because THIS THING IS THE BEST THING IN THE UNIVERSE
That’s when my enthusiasm for the thing (be it bullet journaling, nail polish or minimalism and zero waste) is at its peak. It usually means I’m buying way too much stuff connected with the things (my scrapbooking hauls or paper and washi were a real problem at one point). And I get super creative, which actually is the aspect of my passion I like the best. It’s a kind of high, you know?
It means coming up with story concepts and novel ideas almost every day. Brainstorming new nail art designs and creating colorful and elaborate planner spreads. Finding that happy spot.
Not really sustainable, but amazing to experience nonetheless. Which almost always leads to
Crash and burn.
If I don’t double check myself, force myself to slow down and get realistic about my passion, the level of involvement and effort I demand from myself usually end up burning me out. Life happens and I find myself struggling to keep up the output and creativity I had during the honeymoon phase.
With that fall of productivity comes decrease in enthusiasm and raise in discouragement. The passion fizzles out and I forget about the thing. Or decide to put it on hiatus while I reevaluate. Sometimes (though rarely) I come back to the thing (writing is one such passion).
With bullet journaling, I’ve never reached that step. Hopefully, I will never reach that step.
I’m also hoping my minimalism and zero waste passion will also be here for a long time.
Lessons bullet journaling taught me:
1. Less is more
Pen and paper was enough for me at the beginning and even now it’s all i really need in my planning. Sure I love colored pens and brush pens but I don’t need them.
2. It doesn’t matter if you take a break. It’s more important that you come back.
There are weeks where I don’t open my bullet journal at all. I didn’t use it for the majority of March and all was fine. But I always come back. And more importantly:
3. I don’t beat myself up over failures.
I don’t fret if a spread doesn’t come out the way I want. Or if I end up not using a spread I designed and was very enthusiastic about for all of two seconds. I try not to shame myself when I spend money or buy something in plastic, or when a vege or vegan receipe I try doesn’t suit my taste buds. It’s about the journey more at this point, less about the destination.
4. Pace yourself
When I started bullet journaling I looked at hundreds of spreads. Yearly spreads, monthly, weekly, daily, trackers, collections… I saw everything. I watched Plan-With-Mes, organizational videos, etc. And i wanted to try them all. The problem, or rather the advantage, was that I could only try out one thing at a time. I didn’t need more than one monthly spread for each month, so I could try a different layout, but I had to wait a month. Which meant that my exploration of bullet journaling and scrapbooking was slow and steady, instead of an explosion of everything at once. And it worked. It kept my passion up because I kept discovering new things consistently without burning myself out.
That’s the approach I’m taking with minimalism and low impact living, because the cause simply matters too much for me to give up. And while it’s a difficult challenge, I’m hoping it will work in the long run.
And with this website, I will be able to update you as I go! Keep your fingers crossed and support me on socials.