Arts and Entertainment

The art in the craft

  • While bullet journaling can help one manage their schedule and be more productive with their daily routines, it also provides room to experiment with art within the open pages of a notebook
- ABANI MALLA, Kathmandu

Feb 6, 2019-

Bullet Journaling, or ‘BuJo’ if you may, is not a new concept. It has been around for a number of years but was brought to prominence by Ryder Carroll, a Brooklyn-based product designer, gaining precedence as it unfolded within the art communities on social media platforms such as Instagram and Pinterest. For the uninitiated, BuJo revolves around the idea of keeping a journal but progresses with elements like indexes, logs, planners and to-do lists. This, in essence, helps you organise but, at the same time, can also help you unwind.  

Bullet journaling is progressively being used as a form of planning and tracking daily to monthly events, tasks, personal habits, negligible financials and other aspects of a person’s life that usually take a backseat in the larger scheme of things.

Usually these notebooks are sturdy and can have patterns, like grids or dots, and are accompanied by doodles based on a theme. With more details on the inside, the journal leads to pages that are divided into daily sections holding empty boxes with a room for assigning tasks. There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to maintaining this journal—assign a task, tick off once done, add an arrow to postpone, or cross it off to cancel—for the end goal of this exercise is to have a therapeutic experience while organising many aspects of your life into one small notebook.

In the Nepali art community, there are bullet journaling enthusiasts who are passionate about this craft. To reach out to a wider audience, they share their work on social media platforms. The Post reached out to a few remarkable ones on Instagram, to learn about their experience, their motive behind it, and to sneak out some tips for newbies!

Therapy at its best

“Bullet journaling is akin to therapy for me. This exercise helps me unwind everytime I make a new spread,” says 21-year-old Sneha Manadhar, a BBA student, who goes by @scribblesbysneha on Instagram. “It gives me something to do when I’m off my phone. But more importantly, it helps me track my tasks and makes me feel less anxious.”

One could well keep a regular journal and still enjoy the therapeutic benefits, so why take the trouble of managing a bullet journal? The answer is the plus point of having the liberty of doodling without looking silly. And, for people who are good at multi-tasking, a daily dose of doodling on their bullet journal can be rewarding.

“I also keep track of my well-being from it. It’s really a mindless process that keeps me going,” says 24-year-old Rubina Shrestha, a freelance illustrator and embroidery artist, who goes by @robbiebobbypins on Instagram. “I’ve listened to many audio books and podcasts and learnt so much during the process.”

Therapies can be time consuming but if bullet journaling is the medium of your choice then about 10 minutes on the clock should bring you the results. For some, even a few minutes work wonders.

“It’s something I enjoy doing so I take out 10 minutes every morning and evening to update my journal,” says 18-year-old Kajina Shrestha, a BBA student,  who goes by @shresthakajina on Instagram. “Honestly, it is one of my favourite times of the day.”

Improving the art

Anyone with innumerable tasks to accomplish within a limited time frame tends to plan their days in advance but bullet journaling is more than just that, it lubricates the creative engines of your mind as it requires practice to fill the pages alongside sticking to your plans.

“Bullet journaling is a great source of inspiration for my ‘art’ growth,” says Rubina. “Never have had pursued a degree in Fine Arts, my illustrations haven’t really developed in the conventional way but it has helped me because even though it is a mainstream thing now, journaling at its core is personal.”

This craft comes with the freedom for a creator to choose their own way of using their journal. Bullet journals can be decorated with monthly or weekly themes depending on the individual’s preference. Aside from doodling, adding stickers or images along a theme can not only add a visual appeal but can also get your creative juices flowing. And, even if the rules are broken, it’s alright—it’s your own planner anyway.

“I see many people who stick to a single theme for a whole month, but I find that a tad bit boring so I come up with something new every week,” says Sneha.

Art is all about experimenting with mediums to let artists express themselves. While bullet journaling helps one manage their schedule and be more productive with their daily routines, it provides a room to experiment with art within the open pages of a notebook.

“I like to play with doodles and colours in my journal which feeds my creative soul and they are really important to me,” says Kajina. A bullet journal can encourage and create a personal space for one’s self-growth. “I initially doodled devoid of anyone’s judgment or criticism, and even though you can’t avoid that forever, it really was a good start,” adds Rubina.

Photo Courtesy: Sneha Manadhar

Productivity and creativity

If you’re familiar with using planners, maintaining bullet journals shouldn’t be a mammoth task. One can add or make their own pages depending upon their requirements of tracking and planning things.

“Bullet journaling helps me to stay organised and productive,” says Kajina.

“I always feel like I don’t have enough time but I also end up wasting a lot of time; bullet journaling helps me stay on track and plan out my time effectively,” says Sneha. “I started this process because I’m a bit forgetful. I bought many planners and even tried free printable planners found on Pinterest but none of them worked for me.”

Being productive doesn’t always have to be determined by checks in task squares. For someone to be able to make more out of their day, following their plans and trying to keeping up with them is also a progress. “I like to be flexible with my plans and go with the flow. I try to complete as many planned tasks as I can for the day but in case it doesn’t work out I move the task for another day,” says Kajina.

The whole process of creating pretty journals can be overwhelming but at the end of the day, a bullet journal is something you can check to figure out how effectively you’ve spent your day.  

“Since I started on Instagram , I had a hard time keeping up with people’s expectation. Now, I don’t really fuss over my journal as long as I’m productive. This has so far been a great experience and I don’t plan on stopping any time soon!” says Rubina.

Memory book

Anticipating the things to do is one side of the bullet journaling coin, the other side is a whole different story—it gives you the chance to walk down your memory lane while tracking your progress and productivity.  Rubina says, “Journaling at its core is personal with memories attached to every little thing you jot down.” Alongside acting as a medium to track one’s habits, expenses and such, it allows the creator to reflect on the headway she or he has made since starting the exercise. “Journaling has really helped me reflect on myself. Besides the daily to-dos, I also include habit trackers in my journal which has helped me understand my habits better,” says Kajina. One can even make a decorative page containing lists of activities one wants to do later. “You can add whatever pages you want catering to your personal interests, for example, a page dedicated to movies to watch or books to read so you don’t have to spend time on deciding what to watch or read later,” says Sneha.

Additionally, it acts as a reminder for all the important dates (birthdays, anniversaries, appointments, or any other special events) you may otherwise have missed. “It’s a great way to remember your friends’ birthdays!” adds Rubina.

Photo Courtesy: Kajina Shrestha


“The process of bullet journaling doesn’t have to be complex just because that is how everyone on Pinterest seems to be doing it,” says Sneha. “Remember that this is your bullet journal and you have the liberty to go about it however you like. For anyone starting out, Pinterest has a sea of ideas for reference but be careful not to drown in it.”

Kajina, Rubina and Sneha, all agree on one of the salient points of maintaining a bullet journal—don’t make it complicated. One takes up this exercise to increase one’s productivity and to make life easier, therefore, complicating things is the a no-no. The addition of themes and designs is add-ons and depends upon the creator’s choice to have them included, or not.

“For bullet journal inspiration Pinterest, tumblr and Instagram are the go-to places. There is a whole community of bullet journaling out there so you have tons of references to draw inspiration from,” says Kajina. “Also, use the keyword ‘Bujo’ while searching for spread pictures and you’ll get a variety of options to choose from.”

For beginners, the options on the web may be quite daunting starting with the type of stationery items you might require to start. But here’s an advice from Rubina, “You do not need an expensive notebook to start off, just a simple notebook will work, make sure you like it though. Same goes with supplies, ideally a pen is all you need, you do not need high-end stationery. Bhav notebooks work great. To make your life easier, they also sell planners and supplies.”

“Just get started and find the best method that works for you, aesthetics come later. You will know what works for you once you start experimenting, so the first thing is to jump on the bandwagon of bullet journaling,” says Kajina.

Published: 06-02-2019 08:39

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