5 Reasons to Start a Bullet Journal

Keeping a bullet journal style planner is the number one way I am able to stay organized in my life. Have you been thinking of starting a bullet journal but don’t know if it’s right for you? I’ve compiled a list of 5 reasons you might want to start one. These are the top reasons I can’t live without my bullet journal — but really, I could come up with SO many more.

1. It helps you stay organized in a way that works for you.

I think one of the main draws of starting a bullet journal is the customization aspect. I mean, let’s face it — there are thousands of premade planners out there and it may seem crazy that you’re drawing boxes and calendars over and over again right? But in my opinion, premade planners are always missing tons of things that I want in my planner, and they include things I don’t need. When you have a bullet journal, you can set it up however you want. Just flip to the next blank page and create whatever spread or list you need at the moment!
Personally, I love to use my bullet journal as a mix of a planner, a journal, random lists, and a place to document my life. And my needs from month to month may vary — and even week to week! So there is no way any premade planner can account for those fluctuations.

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2. It can help build or break habits.

One of the most popular types of spreads in bullet journals are habit trackers. These are nifty little charts, graphs, or even illustrations where you can keep track of habits you want to maintain, cultivate, or break. I’ll admit that I’ve done something just to be able to color in the little square in my journal! It sounds crazy, but any little way we can trick ourselves into doing something good for ourselves is a win in my opinion.
When you’re keeping meticulous track of your habits, you become very mindful of how you’re spending your time. If you’ve tracked that you seldom did something you’d like to do everyday (i.e. exercise, cook healthy food, practice a skill), but instead tracked a lot of instances of something not so great (watching tv, scrolling through Instagram), it gives you some accountability and honesty for where the majority of your time goes.

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3. It can help you achieve your goals.

In the beginning of my notebook, I have some large goals/trackers I document. But tackling a huge goal is so intimidating and often, we don’t know where to start. It would be so difficult to tackle a vague and huge project like that all at once. So each month, I like to make a list of smaller goals that will help me achieve these bigger goals. Then within each of my weekly spreads and daily lists, I can further break down that monthly goal into bite sized, actionable pieces. This has been really helpful for me to feel more emotionally ready to tackle big projects and to make larger changes in my life.

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4. It’s a great way to document your life.

This was especially important to me in 2018 because I had a lot of big life events happening — getting engaged AND married in the same year, moving, traveling. Of course, a bullet journal is a great way to keep track of those big events. But when I think about documenting my life, I actually think it’s the small, seemingly forgettable moments that I feel are so precious — all the more so because the little things are the things we forget first. I mean, for all those big events, we usually already have them on camera or video, but we don’t usually take videos of our everyday life. There are SO many examples of things I have documented in my bullet journal that are inconsequential but all together, they paint a picture of what my life is at a certain moment in time.
One example of this is the “Favorites” spread I do each month. This list is usually a list of very ordinary every day things — my favorite makeup at the time, something I’ve been cooking/eating a lot, that sort of thing. If you asked me what my favorite meal to cook three months ago was, I couldn’t tell you. But I’d have it written down in my planner!

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5. It’s a creative and emotional outlet.

I think that our society greatly undervalues creativity. Whether or not you consider yourself creative, or even if you’re not in a creative field, everyone can benefit greatly from doing something creative every day. This isn’t just my opinion — google it and you’ll find countless articles that can articulate the benefits of creativity far better than I can. Here is one article from Forbes and here is a blog post that I enjoyed.
Besides the obvious of how adding doodles and different font styles helps you to explore your creative side, I also find so much value in the space that my bullet journal creates to express myself in words. When you have a dedicated space to write down your thoughts and make list after list, you’ll find yourself discovering so many things you didn’t know about yourself, while unwinding from your day with a non-digital hobby — which is a blessing in itself in our day and age.

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So there you have it, 5 reasons why you should start a bullet journal. Now, if you want to find out how to actually set up your first bullet journal, check out my post on how to set up your first bullet journal, and follow me on Instagram for more inspiration!

Leuchtturm1917 Bullet Journal - Black
Leuchtturm1917 Bullet Journal - Black

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Leuchtturm1917 Bullet Journal - Nordic Blue
Leuchtturm1917 Bullet Journal - Nordic Blue

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Leuchtturm1917 Bullet Journal - Berry
Leuchtturm1917 Bullet Journal - Berry

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Leuchtturm1917 Bullet Journal - Emerald
Leuchtturm1917 Bullet Journal - Emerald

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Moleskine Cahier Large Notebook - Kraft
Moleskine Cahier Large Notebook - Kraft

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Moleskine Cahier Large Notebook - Black
Moleskine Cahier Large Notebook - Black

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Moleskine Cahier Large Notebook - Red
Moleskine Cahier Large Notebook - Red

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Moleskine Cahier Large Notebook - Grey
Moleskine Cahier Large Notebook - Grey

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Micron Pens - Variety Pack
Micron Pens - Variety Pack

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Zig Clean Color Real Brush Pens - 12
Zig Clean Color Real Brush Pens - 12

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Zig Clean Color Real Brush Pens - 24
Zig Clean Color Real Brush Pens - 24

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Zig Clean Color Real Brush Pens - 48
Zig Clean Color Real Brush Pens - 48

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Plan With Me | January Bullet Journal - FREE PRINTABLE!

Hello! Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas!! Now that Christmas is over, it’s time to get ready for the new year… am I the only one who is shocked that it is almost 2019?? I feel like this year went faster than any other year in my life, but this just gives me even more reason to stay dedicated to keeping a journal for me to keep track of everything!

Today I’ll be showing you how I set up my bullet journal for January. I know it’s a new year and there’s some extra work that usually goes in the front of your journal for that, so I’m going to have a video for you in a couple of days showing you how I set up my bullet journal for 2019 (so make sure you’re subscribed so you get notified when that comes out!) But for today, we’ll be concentrating just on the January monthly and weekly spreads :)

After setting up my new bullet journal, I flipped to the first blank spread and created a decorative cover page for January. This month, I’m going to have a snowflake theme because I thought that this would be doable for all skill levels! And my theme color is a nice wintry, sky blue.

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For my monthly overview spread, I did pretty much the same thing as I did for my December setup because I know that this layout works well for me. I just subbed in my blue color instead of green, and scattered some more snowflakes around!

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For my weekly spreads, I tried a different layout than last month, where I had vertical boxes for each day. Instead, I created horizontal spaces for each day, with large brush lettered titles for the days of the week. I love the contrast and clean look of this.

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I’m not very good at keeping typical chart-like habit trackers, so I thought of a fun idea for this month, where each “habit” is a snowglobe, and every time I do each of the things, I’ll draw a snowflake in the snowglobe. Then by the end of the month they’ll be all filled with snowflakes, and I think it’s going to look so fun!

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Then, as usual, I ended my pages with some simple lists for gratitude, favorite things, and brain dump/journaling ideas. Easy enough!

Thanks for stopping by today! I hope this post gives you some inspiration for your January bullet journal, and as always, feel free to tag me on Instagram @michelleyuen_ so I can see your creations! :)

Leuchtturm1917 Bullet Journal - Black
Leuchtturm1917 Bullet Journal - Black

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Leuchtturm1917 Bullet Journal - Nordic Blue
Leuchtturm1917 Bullet Journal - Nordic Blue

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Leuchtturm1917 Bullet Journal - Berry
Leuchtturm1917 Bullet Journal - Berry

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Leuchtturm1917 Bullet Journal - Emerald
Leuchtturm1917 Bullet Journal - Emerald

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Moleskine Cahier Large Notebook - Kraft
Moleskine Cahier Large Notebook - Kraft

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Moleskine Cahier Large Notebook - Black
Moleskine Cahier Large Notebook - Black

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Moleskine Cahier Large Notebook - Red
Moleskine Cahier Large Notebook - Red

AMZ
Moleskine Cahier Large Notebook - Grey
Moleskine Cahier Large Notebook - Grey

AMZ
Micron Pens - Variety Pack
Micron Pens - Variety Pack

AMZ
Zig Clean Color Real Brush Pens - 12
Zig Clean Color Real Brush Pens - 12

AMZ
Zig Clean Color Real Brush Pens - 24
Zig Clean Color Real Brush Pens - 24

AMZ
Zig Clean Color Real Brush Pens - 48
Zig Clean Color Real Brush Pens - 48

AMZ

VIDEO: Northern Lights Inspired Alcohol Ink Tutorial

Hello everyone! Today I have an alcohol ink tutorial that is inspired by the Northern Lights! I think the Northern Lights has to be one of the most amazing things in this world and definitely something for my bucket list. But until I can see them in person, I thought it would be great to take some inspiration and try to recreate those gorgeous colors on paper.

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For today’s technique, you will need:

  • Yupo Paper

  • Alcohol Inks (and some metallic mixatives if you want)

  • Rubbing Alcohol

  • Paintbrush

  • Cup for mixing

  • Alcohol based markers (like Copics)

  • Silver gel pen

Then, you can bring in any other supplies you have to turn this into a card or decor piece! I used the Essential Sentiments stamp set from My Favorite Things with Ranger Liquid Platinum Embossing Powder for my card and a Silver uniball signo gel pen for my lettering piece.

This tutorial is best shown in video form, so watch below for the process:

These pieces were truly a trial and error process, and I found out what I liked simple by experimenting, so I encourage you to do the same! Every piece will always come out differently, and that’s the fun of the process :)

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I made three inked pieces for the video, and I turned one into a card and one into a decorative quote page for my bullet journal. I’m going to save the other one for a future project!

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I had a lot of fun playing around with inks (even though my fingers were stained for dayssss haha), and I hope this inspires you to try this out! If you do, make sure to tag me on Instagram with your creations @michelleyuen_!

SUPPLIES USED:

Mini MISTI
Mini MISTI

HA | MFT
Hero Arts Heat Gun
Hero Arts Heat Gun

HA
Liquid Platinum Embossing Powder
Liquid Platinum Embossing Powder

MFT
Alcohol Inks - Dockside Picnic
Alcohol Inks - Dockside Picnic

MFT
Alcohol Inks - Farmers Market
Alcohol Inks - Farmers Market

MFT
Metallic Mixatives - Gold and Silver
Metallic Mixatives - Gold and Silver

MFT
Yupo Paper
Yupo Paper

MFT
Versamark Ink
Versamark Ink

HA
My Favorite Things Essential Sentiments
My Favorite Things Essential Sentiments

MFT

VIDEO: Stitched Holiday Cards with MINIMAL SUPPLIES - NO DIES!

Hello everyone! I don’t know about you, but I am in full holiday mode - gift shopping, present wrapping, and of course, holiday card making!!

Today I have a tutorial for you using MINIMAL supplies - just in case you’ve spent all your money on presents (for others OR yourself…) and blew through your crafting budget!

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The only supplies you’ll need for these cards are:

  • Cardstock (duh!)

  • Embroidery floss

  • Cross stitching needle

  • Foam or mousepad

  • Paper piercer or thumbtack

  • Graphic paper

And THAT’S IT! I’m sure you already have most of these things laying around, and if not, it would only cost a few bucks to get them. Whereas a metal die for this would easily cost $15-30! However, if you also want to bust out some of your stash, here are some optional things to grab:

  • Sequins (star shaped ones are great for the tops of the trees)

  • seed beads

  • gems

  • The stamp sets I used are the Altenew Happy Holidays and the November 2017 My Monthly Hero Kit.

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The basic idea is that we’ll make a template for the stitching holes with our graph paper (it’s super easy!). Then we can use the template to transfer the holes to whatever cardstock we want to stitch through. Then from there, it’s the fun part of picking some thread colors for your tree and even adding some shiny bits to the threads if you want!

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I know that stitching is sometimes intimidating, but I promise that these cards are SO simple to make, and would be great for children or beginners as well. The long stitches are so fast to whip up - I probably did five of these cards in under an hour!

If you’d like to see the tutorial in video form, here it is below:

I hope this tutorial gets you in the holiday mood and helps you create some fun Christmas cards! If you decide to try this out, make sure to tag me on Instagram (@michelleyuen_) so I can check it out and see how you recreated it!