My Bullet Journal: “Back to the Basics”

Today I’ll share why I’ve decided to take my Bullet Journal Back to the Basics, for the time being at least..

Towards the end of last year I began to feel slightly overwhelmed and these feelings have lasted into the beginning of 2019.

In truth journaling, and the social media aspect of my journaling was contributing to my feelings of being overwhelmed and I had started to feel insecure and nervous about something that had once been enjoyable for me.

I wrote about how I was feeling unsettled regarding my journal choices for 2019 at the end of January in my blog January (Journaling) Blues but it wasn’t until February, after revisiting the Bullet Journal Website and reading Ryder Carroll’s blog Back to the Basics that I finally had that “ah-ha” moment, as Oprah Winfrey calls it, that I had been so desperately in need of.

Finally I was able to admit my Bullet Journal no longer served its purpose. I had started Bullet Journaling after discovering it on Instagram but I had fallen in love with the system via the Bullet Journal Website and the examples of Bullet Journaling I’d seen there.

Basically, my story was exactly what Ryder Carroll described in his blog. I found I was putting a lot of pressure on myself and dedicating all of my time to create bullet journal spreads I hoped would get a lot of ‘likes’ but I wasn’t left with any time to complete any of the tasks I listed in my Monthly or Daily Logs.

This had to stop.

Why go “Back to the Basics”

So I decided I had to reassess my approach to Bullet Journaling and this would begin with reading the Back to the Basics blog and then re-immersing myself in the system.

After an hour or so of reading and re-reading I found myself feeling the same excitement and hopefulness I had felt just before I had started Bullet Journaling the first time. I already had an unopened dot grid journal in my desk and without thinking I opened it and started setting up my four core collections exactly as is suggested on the website.

That’s when I realised I’ve never actually used the Index and I’d never considered using the suggested layout for the Future Log because I’d never seen anyone on Instagram use that layout! (Another “ah-ha” moment). I created a Monthly Log with a Calendar and a Task Page (I had forgotten you could use the Calendar to record events after they’ve happened and so I filled my Calendar with such events) and then went about setting up my Daily Log.

Following that I wrote out a recipe in my new journal and added idea pages for a weekly routine and a daily routine (something I’ve been wanting to do for months but had been putting off because I couldn’t think of an artistic enough way to display the information).

All of this took me, I think, two hours (max). And after those two hours my thoughts were organised and I felt lighter.

Moving Forward..

I’ve found I’m much happier now that my Bullet Journal is again, serving it’s purpose.

I’m enjoying keeping my journal simple which allows me time to complete the tasks I note in my journal which are important to me. Also it’s alleviated the pressure I’d been putting on myself to keep a perfect artistic journal.

I’ll still add artisitc pages, if and when I feel like it, but for the time being keeping my journal very simple is best.

Again I’m grateful to Ryder Carol for creating this system and sharing it with us so we can all benefit from the Bullet Journaling process.

What style of Bullet Journal do you keep? I’d love to hear in the comments below!


  1. Julia

    Thanks for this blog, I am in love with the minimalistic spreads. I’m also going back to the basics to find out what works for me.
    Thanks again!

    March 3, 2019 Reply
    1. ajournalbyannie

      Thank you, I’m glad you enjoyed the post!
      It’s nice to hear you’re also trying to work out whats best for you with back to the basics – I hope you enjoy discovering new things!

      March 4, 2019 Reply
  2. lalunechacha

    Great read!
    My setup is simple with a little pop of color. I use weeklies because I tend to work week by week and it’s useful seeing the whole week and what I did when. As for the future log – I do still add the days because it’s easier to get a birdseye view of when certain deadlines are and stuff like that.
    Yet, I never used the bullet journal exactly like the ‘original’ way before. So I started a little test by doing daily logs in a completely separate notebook.

    March 4, 2019 Reply
    1. ajournalbyannie

      Thank you and thanks for sharing!
      It’s nice to hear about the different things that for everyone 🙂 I’m thinking I will invest the time in my next journal to create an over view of all the months, because it is so useful. Then I will probably continue with the simple future log layout.
      I’m really interested to hear about your test notebook, that’s a nice idea when you are so used to working with weeklies!

      March 4, 2019 Reply

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