5 Reasons People Struggle with Bullet Journaling

5 Reasons People Struggle with Bullet Journaling

Do you Struggle with Bullet Journaling? You’re not alone, many people do! That’s why I want to talk about 5 of the most common pitfalls that people struggle with in regard to using a bullet journal, along with some solutions to help you work through them.

Bullet journaling is a way of documenting your thoughts and feelings in the form of lists, diagrams, sketches, and drawings. It's a great way to get organized and stay focused on the things that matter most to you.

It’s all about personalizing your planner with images and symbols that represent your life. It's all about making it yours. That means there are no rules or set guidelines for how you should use it as long as it helps you achieve your goals!

I've been Bullet journaling since 2015 and it's been an amazing experience! But while there are many articles out there showing the benefits of bullet journaling, there aren’t enough that focus on why people struggle with it.

Here are the top 5 reasons people struggle with bullet journaling:

1. You don't use your journal daily...or at all

Simply put, if you aren’t using it, you aren’t benefiting.

First, you need to figure out why your not using your journal. Is it because you don't feel like keeping up with the maintenance? Maybe you struggle with expectations or maybe you lack the skill to maintain your bullet journal.

Once you understand what you are struggling with you can start figuring out how to overcome it.

Working on your planner doesn’t have to be a time-consuming task. I believe that everyone is capable of finding five minutes to review the day ahead. Whether it’s jotting down a few notes about your day, or writing out a to-do list, you can find a little time to do some planning.

If you are only working on it once a week, it may explain why you struggle with bullet journaling or planning in general. So, simplify your process if you feel like you’re doing too much. Start small, and work from there.

And remember it's ok if you miss a day here or there. In fact, if you miss a week, no sweat. Even a month. Life is always more important than your planner. Your needs come first.


2. You don't make adjustments from month to month

Collections and trackers are there to help you learn more about yourself. Whether it’s just tracking your habits or monitoring your goals, you are learning more about how you operate.

When we learn from the past we can see what is and what isn’t working. If something isn’t working, figure out why and then take the time to adjust your plan.

3. You copy content from other planners

Looking to Instagram and Pinterest for bullet journal inspiration is great but only copy the design. Don’t copy their goals or daily schedule when they have a completely different life than you do.

It’s super important that you take the time to work out what your goals are.

It doesn’t mean you can’t use the layout of the spread you admire, just change the goals or tasks to match your own. You may even be creating a lot of unnecessary spreads or missing out on the ones that you need.

Create something that is completely unique to YOU, it will change your whole perspective of the process!

4. I'm not artistic and creating spreads is too complicated

There are some beautiful, detailed spreads out there in the cyber world with intricate doodles and fancy layouts. It’s clear that there are some very talented bullet journalists but not everyone has the same artistic talents.

If you’re feeling a sense of dread while creating your layouts, maybe you need to take a step back and look at the overall picture. Then ask yourself “Is all of this really necessary to meet my planning needs?” Probably not.

You can create beautiful, minimalist layouts that will help you plan your life. If you go back and look at the Original Bullet Journal blog post by Ryder Caroll, you will see that all you need is a notebook and a pen! Everything else is just fluff.

 5. There's no accountability

Accountability is one unique way to overcome your struggle with learning a new habit. Having somebody (a friend, a therapist, a support group, or even social media) to support and encourage you to keep moving forward may be all you need.

Sometimes just knowing people are expecting to see your Instagram posts can be a motivation to keep you going.

You can create accountability in many ways! Here are a few examples:

  • Join a Facebook group dedicated to bullet journaling

  • Start a Social Media Account Dedicated to Bullet Journals

  • Search #BulletJournaling or #BuJo on Instagram

  • Share your bullet journal with your counselor or therapist (if you have one)

  • Create a bullet journal group in your community

Those are the top 5 reasons most people struggle with bullet journaling. If you're struggling, figure out which reason or reasons are holding you back and why. Once you know the reasons it will be much easier to overcome them.

Related Info: Planning & Bullet Journaling Resources

Before you go:

I hope you’ve found these bullet journaling tips helpful. Let me know in the comments below what your biggest bullet journal struggle is.


Even though you only need a pen and paper, here are some of my favorite journaling supplies if you want to check them out:

  • I like to use a few different notebooks for journaling but my favorite is this Leuchtturm1917 Softcover. I prefer the squared pages but you can also get the dot grid, lined, or blank formats.

  • If you would rather use a spiral binding, these notebooks are the best! I love that they come in a three-pack so I always have an extra one on hand. These are also squared format but I think they are available in line and dot grid too.

  • To be honest, my go-to pen is a simple, classic black Bic but when I want something a little fancier I use either use these Muji Gel Pens or these Micron Sakura Pigma.

  • Get creative with your journaling and add some Washi Tape, Stickers, or if you’re artistic you can draw your own doodles.

  • Sometimes I like to add photos to my journaling and over the years I’ve tried a bunch of different printers. I started out using this Fujifilm Instax Mini but it wasn’t very practical to carry around all the time. Since the quality was so much better when I use my phone for pictures I decided to splurge on the Canon Ivy Mini Printer. It connects directly to my phone through the app and easily prints on 2x3 sticker photo paper that I can add right to my journal page instantly.


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5 Reasons People Struggle with Bullet Journaling

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