Pro And Cons To Bullet Journaling

A pink journal open with plain squared pages. Around the journal is pencils, washi tape, stickers and point bulldog clips and pink and gold drawing pins. Next to the journal is also a silver pair of scissors in the shape of the Eiffel Tower.

Photo by Mariaigisheva on Canva Pro

Bullet journaling has been around for a while now and its popularity seems to keep growing with more and more people turning to it as their preferred planning system. Bullet journaling is by far the most superior planning system with a wide variety of features and promotes productivity. I am far more productive when I have my bullet journaling system in place.

If you are contemplating starting a bullet journal, you can sometimes become overwhelmed with the information available on the Internet. This is why I am sharing the pros and cons of bullet journaling based on my 4 years experience.

Indeed, bullet journaling can work for anyone and improve their organisation skills and productivity however there can be some down sides to this creative form of planning that you should be aware of before you start exploring and purchasing supplies.

Pros to the bucket journaling system

Creative

Bullet journaling is the ultimate creative planner experience that allows you to be completely open to any design, colour or spread. It acts as a blank canvas for you to put your own mark on it. The creative aspect of this style of journaling is where the joy and relaxation comes in. Many bullet journal users will say that the time they take to set up their planners is their down time. Being able to create an idea or design that is completely your own cannot only bring a sense of achievement, but you have a planning system that is specific to your needs with your favourite colours and designs. 

As an adult, unless you are in a career that allows you to be creative, you do not have the opportunity to express yourself in this way, on a daily basis. Furthermore, family life, daily chores and work commitments can all get in the way; bullet journaling offers you that creative space. By practising being creative in your journal, you will be able to develop your handwriting, lettering and designing skills. 

Organisation

Bullet journaling is the ultimate tool for enabling you to become a more organised person. Bullet journals are superior to other planners on the market. You can design collection and tracker pages for just about any subject to help organise all areas of your life. Being able to track and record all areas of your life in one place can make things so much simpler. For example, you can keep a log of daily and monthly house chores, a list of all your account passwords down to a habit tracker to remind you about daily tasks e.g. taking medication.

A bullet journal double page spread. On the left hand page is a habit tracker in a table form with washi tape. On the right page is a blog stats tracker with washi tape and flower sticker down the right side of the page.

Productivity

It can be difficult to be at your most productive during a normal week; this is why bullet journaling has page ideas that help you track your to do lists, habits and more. Having a single place where you can record all your tasks, enables you to check them off thus increasing productivity and motivation. This style of planner is flexible and designed around your needs, so that you can be goal specific when creating your weekly and monthly spreads. Just by writing your tasks or assignments down encourages and motivates you to get them completed rather than trying to remember what you need to get done. Using habit trackers are the best productivity tools for holding yourself accountable and will actually motivate you to check each habit/task off your list. 

Although I have shared many positive benefits of using the bullet journaling system, there are some cons that I am also going to share with you as you need to be aware of these before starting your journal. 

Cons to the bullet journal system

Creativity v productivity

The reason most people keep coming back to bullet journaling is for the creative aspect. However, if you find yourself spending hours on your designs (if you have the time, then that’s great!), it can sometimes be less productive as you are spending more time on creating your spreads rather than completing your tasks. You have to find that balance between creating your designs, but also giving yourself enough time to complete your tasks within the deadlines.

Time consuming

The bullet journaling system is more time consuming than your standard planner. Even with the bare minimum set up, you still need to set up each weekly spread, make your own habit trackers and monthly calendars; you have to make sure that you have allocated enough time for your monthly set up. Once you start to feel the joy and sense of achievement with each spread, it will not seem time consuming and you will want to find the time each month.

A bullet journal double page spread. On the right page is a gratitude list. The gratitude page has floral washi tape with a big pink flower sticker on the right hand side. On the left page is a 'one line' page which has green floral washi tape and two giant flower stickers in the top left corner and the bottom right corner.

Overwhelming

There are so many beautiful spreads, designs and ideas shared by many people in the bullet journal community (it’s an amazing community by the way!), it can sometimes be overwhelming when you see pretty or intricate designs and you feel that pressure to deign something equally as fabulous or you feel that you are failing at this style of journaling. You may feel pressure to have the best supplies, create the best designs or lettering, but you be careful to remember that you are creating something just for you, so it doesn’t matter if it doesn’t turn out quite how you wanted; bullet journaling is meant to bring you joy not frustration or annoyance with the end product! 

Information overload

If you search bullet journaling on social media or in Google, there is so much information, tips, suggestions and supplies available, it can be confusing to know where to start. There are helpful websites (like the Official Bullet Journal websites) or you can find people on social media such as bloggers who you trust to read about their experience or their shared tips and ideas. 

Social Media

Social media has so many benefits, but it can also have a negative side which can add to the feeling of being overwhelmed or information overload as stated above. Instagram has a huge bullet journaling community which can sometimes add to the pressure to make Instagram-worthy content in your journal. Comparison is negative behaviour and can leave you feeling inadequate; this can happen to anyone, but you don’t want your journal to end up becoming a chore. Just take a deep breath and appreciate the skills and talents that you do have. However, Instagram offers a community which can inform and inspire you with your journal.

If you have been bullet journaling for a while, what pros and cons do you have from your experience? Can you relate to any of these? I’d love to hear in the comments. 

 

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85 thoughts on “Pro And Cons To Bullet Journaling

  1. These look so lovely. I fell completely out of love with mine about two months ago. I’m trying really hard to get back into it 😔 I think I new pens and supplies I think to restart my motivation!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I keep coming back to Bullet journaling, but not all the Pinterest ones. It does keep me on track with running list and keeping all in one notebook. But I find it hard to keep up all the other hype. It helps me being an Teacher’s aide though because I can divide up pages for what needs to be done in my workday.

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  3. I love the idea of bullet journaling but my inability to draw or even write nicely ruins it for me 😫 I get frustrated that mine looks like a 3 year old did it 🙄🤣

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I am so intimidated by bullet journalling – but I do find I quite like my pre-printed weekly planner anyway so I’m not sure it’s something I need? I have a couple of apps on my phone which track habits and are useful for when I’m not at home so I’m not convinced that it would help me with that either.

    Love the balance in this post – possibly not the intent but it’s kinda helped me see that bullet journalling probably isn’t for me and that’s okay because I’m still getting the basics with my current systems.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Great post! I haven’t jumped into bullet journaling yet, but I know that if I do, I’ll be sure to look on your blog first thing for pointers. You always have great recommendations and tips, and this post really helps to point out the honest perspective of pros and cons. Thank you for sharing!

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  6. I love the idea of bullet journalling but I think I would get frustrated that I couldn’t get it to look exactly how I wanted, AND I would need to set up the whole year in advance because I like having that overview of what’s coming up. I’ve compromised by getting journals which have a full week on one page and then a notes page on the facing page so I can use that space to record and doodle things each week. It’s worked quite well for me!

    Your journal is beautiful! I love how bright and decorative it is, and it’s so neat! It looks really perfect.

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  7. I know someone who bullet journals and she likes it. I can’t see myself doing this since I’m impatient and would have to scrap the entire notebook if I mess up a page. This is why I can’t use adult coloring books and prefer adult coloring postcards.

    If you look at my phone, it’s pretty basic. Basic background, same phone case I had when I first got my phone. Based on this, you can see I’m a boring, simplistic person, and bullet journaling is everything but boring. Love the concept – but I’m not skilled enough to do it due to lack of patience and perfectionism 🤷‍♀️😓

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good thing is you can use washi tape to cover mistakes or make it into a doodle page. There is so many ways not to have to pull out a page. Not boring just like the simple things in life and there is nothing wrong with that. It’s not for everyone. But it’s good you know what works for you x

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      1. I almost bought these cute stickers for planners/scrapbooking but didn’t end up buying them. Now I really wish I had. The only washi tape I used came from the dollar store so maybe that’s part of the issue I’m having (it doesn’t stick very well but it’s cute). I’ve seen what you’ve done with your washi tape – you really make your journals come to life! 😊💜

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  8. It’s really interesting to read about someone’s experience with something you’ve tried!

    It had always been the self-customization, time-consuming feature of a bullet journal that stopped me from using it — tried it twice and just can’t. But I can totally see the creative outlet it offers to others and if it helps, that’s great! For me, free writing on my phone is a more easily accessible and therapeutic method. And then I have my numerous sketchpads and journals for more artsy, visual creative channeling!

    Kate | https://allthetrinkets.com

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  9. I loved bullet journalling but I got too caught up in needing the perfect layout! I almost feel like I need to have the whole bullet journal planned out and ready to go by January 1st, otherwise, I don’t have time to plan everything I might need properly. I would love one specific to blogging and writing but not sure how to get started.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Thanks for this excellent post it’s reminded me I haven’t picked up my bullet journal for a few weeks and actually seeing as today’s plans have changed and I’m feeling generally under the weather it’s a perfect day to spend an hour on it 🤗

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Such an interesting post, Lauren. I know exactly what you mean about feeling daunted by Pinterest rather than inspired sometimes! And time is a great factor too, I don’t keep a particularly fancy BuJo, just a note of my blog and social media scheduling, along with my monthly stats recording. I’d like to use it for more one day, perhaps books I’ve read, places I’d like to visit, a bucket list perhaps. Food for thought – and yay for your washi tape! Lisa xxx

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    1. Definitely a good idea to do that in the future. I am excited to share more bullet journal posts! I would love to read or see how you use your bullet journal. So please link me if you ever post anything about it xxx

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  12. Oh my, those pages full of your colourful doodles are incredible! They are so bright, fun and happy! 🙂 I always admire those who can keep up with bullet journalling, it’s such an amazing way to be creative and I love that it gives you so much freedom. The tracker is especially cool and such a good way to stay motivated with daily goals and healthy habits. I’d love to give bullet journalling a proper go sometime as it combines two of my favourite things – planning and being creative 🙂 I’m defo looking forward to more of these kinda post as they are fantastic for ideas and inspiration. Thanks for sharing Lauren, brilliant post as always! ❤ xxx

    Bexa | http://www.hellobexa.com

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  13. It is interesting that you have included some cons in bullet journaling. You’re being real that not all things are perfect. I love the ability to be flexible with your bullet journal! You are so creative with your bullet journal designs! I agree that it can be super time consuming. If you have a lot of time, it is great. If not, it can be proven challenging. Oh man, I don’t want to imagine the cost of all of the stickers! Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

    Nancy ♥ exquisitely.me

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  14. Agree with all of these, love getting creative with mine and having all my stuff in one place, but it does take so much time to get it looking the way I want and so time consuming, my habit trackers and mood trackers end up not fully filled out sometimes because I’m too busy! Great post and your journal looks really good

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I’ve never tried bullet journaling- but I have seen online that its a huge community. I’m definitely into things that aid productivity, but feel like I’d probably find this overwhelming like you said.

    Such a cute spread you shared!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I love how you presented the pros and cons to bullet journaling. Most blog posts I’ve read about journaling only talks about the benefits and pros but don’t talk about how someone can get easily discouraged when they don’t know how to strike a balance between productivity and creativity. They forget the true essence of having a journal.
    Great post as always, thank you for sharing!

    http://www.lifebeginsattwenty.com

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  17. i really appreciate both perspective of bullet journaling. I tried my hand at it once and while I really enjoyed the creative release that came with planning, as you mentioned above, I spent waaaay more time creating than actually doing. For now i’ve settled with doodling through a generic planner but hope to try bullet journaling again soon!

    Not sure if you’re familiar with Smash Books but i also enjoyed those in the past. they’re a little combination of pre-made and self-made journaling books that were a ton of fun and what lead me into the bullet journaling world. i love flipping through the ones i worked through when i was younger!

    loving this post & creative insight ☀️

    Liked by 1 person

  18. The one reason why I stopped with my bullet journal is that I was spending more time on the creative side, rather than the actual purpose of planning. Saying that I would love to start it up again…I’m thinking more of a project plan type journal, then it is just one thing to concentrate on. I don’t know if that counts as a bullet journal then though haha!
    Great post, thanks for sharing!

    Aimsy xoxo
    Aimsy’s Antics

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  19. I completely agree with both sides! I loved the creative aspect but used to use so much time to prepare it and then barely use it because I would lose any interest in it! Thank you for sharing x

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  20. I think this is the first BuJo post I’ve read that clearly lays out the cons of bullet journaling. You only tend to read about the reasons to start and keep one. Most of the cons are why I don’t keep one regularly (well, that and a lack of time) so thank you, Lauren, this was a very refreshing read. That said, I do love seeing your BuJo layouts and trackers, they are always simply beautiful! xx

    Liked by 1 person

  21. This is really interesting. You often hear about the benefits but its rare that you see anything about the cons. I’ve dipped in and out of bullet journaling, mainly because of the time it takes up. I see so many beautiful pages that I’d love to create but just lack the time and then feel unmotivated.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. This is really great! I have always thought about bullet journaling but never have actually done it. Love that there are pros and cons on here though because it can really make you think about whether it is something you would want to do x

    Liked by 1 person

  23. For a couple of years now I’ve wanted to get into Bullet Journaling but never really got round to doing so but after this, I think I might. I love the fact you can be so creative! Xo

    Elle – ellegracedeveson.com

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  24. I love this. I adore bullet journalling, but honestly more looking at everyone else’s because I just think people are so talented.

    I was so sure I would hammer my journal this year but in reality, the cons are spot on. I end up spending so much time on the set up that I rarely have time to be as productive with it as I would like!

    Great post x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is a common downside. I did find setting up a simple design back in the summer last month that it really helped me be more productive. I hope you find a design that may help improve your productivity. Thank you for reading and commenting Claire x

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  25. I love the idea of bullet journalling but I literally have zero time for anything these days. I love how much time and effort goes into it all and I know that if I can’t do it perfectly, I’ll be annoyed with myself!

    Rosie

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Completely agree with you here! I started bullet journaling at the beginning of the year yet it’s so time-consuming and I’m very behind now hehe! I love being creative and doodling in them though x

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  27. It’s ridiculous that something even as fun and lovely as bullet journaling has a community that can make you feel overwhelmed by the prospect of it! Social media really does have it’s pros and cons doesn’t it! I think your cons basically sum up why I don’t bullet journal. I’m very productive and I’d rather just get something done than spending time drawing and creating a fancy page for it. Plus I’m not very good at drawing or artsy things so I know I’d be completely let down by my own lack of creative skills! I love looking at everyone else’s bullet journals though!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Social media definitely can have its downsides. I like bullet journaling as it is my me time and I get to be creative and be away from a screen. But it isn’t for everyone. Thank you for reading and sharing your comment Jenny.

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  28. Great post babe! I keep wanting to start but almost am certain that I wont keep it up. I’m terrible at keeping up with my journals! I hate that it makes you feel overwhelmed 😦 but I can definitely how it would! I love looking at people’s creativity and designs xx

    Lynn | https://www.lynnmumbingmejia.com

    Liked by 1 person

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