The Corner Shop

27th January 2017

Not sure what the bullet journal hype is about? Look here.

As my internship at The Corner Shop comes to an end, it’s safe to confess I’m not much of a perfectionist when it comes to presentation. Chronically punctual and always up for a chocolate biscuit, absolutely, but I’m unable to draw a straight line or write without smudges (symptom of being left-handed) so I’ve rejected perfectionism as a coping mechanism.

An unlikely fan of bullet journaling then, a journaling system designed to facilitate easy life organisation but better known online for terrifyingly detailed pages that you’d need an Art degree to recreate. A quick search of the hashtag on Instagram shows a community in love with pastel highlighters, elaborate charts and pocket rulers. They’re single-handedly stopping calligraphy from becoming a dying art. Every page is meticulously planned, every task given a place, every goal ticked off – but not before being featured in a nice flatlay with a succulent and some latte art. So what’s a girl with no spatial awareness to do to achieve that flawless #bujo look?

There’s no point forcing yourself to copy something that doesn’t come naturally to you. But the fun of creativity comes from ideas as well as execution, so appreciate both parts. Perhaps your hands struggle to turn your ideas into reality, but a couple of coloured pens, a Sharpie and some nice washi tape can help create something you’re proud to look at, with minimal effort. (Top tip: writing headers on washi tape means you don’t need to worry about permanent spelling mistakes. Even if you can’t spell Febuary. Febrary. Feburary. Whatever.) Stencils, tracing and fine nibbed pens will all help, and you might even convince someone you have a competent level of hand-eye coordination. Sketch it out in pencil first if it helps, and while I wouldn’t say you need to buy the fancy Leuchtturm ‘proper’ bullet journal, I would recommend one with dotted grid paper rather than lined for easier aligning and tables. And yes, even straight lines. The horror.

Once you’ve stuck in your washi tape, ticked off your habit tracker and contemplated spending 20 quid on a pack of colourful fineliners (before remembering you have to pay your tuition fees soon and instead sitting down with a cup of tea for the shock) try to think about why you wanted to start bullet journaling in the first place. Pretty layouts are lovely and can be enjoyable as a creative project of their own, but ultimately it’s there to help you get s**t done. So do it however suits you, rather than chucking the whole thing in because you misspelt ‘buy bread’ as ‘buy beard’ and had to do a crossing out and also start a new life in Brazil under a secret identity because it looked a bit messy. Amuse yourself by imagining what you’d look like with an array of splendid beards and move on. You can always Instagram that doughnut instead.

Whatever makes you feel organised and productive is the best layout, so use that free biro you got from a charity or a tiny IKEA stub pencil. Just get on with it and enjoy the immense satisfaction of watching your chores get crossed off and your deadlines sit neatly somewhere obvious, never to sneak up on you again. The more you play around with it the more confident you’ll get, and you may one day squint at a page and think ‘You know what? That looks alright’, the highest form of non-perfectionist praise.

Now for my parting advice: it is 100% acceptable to write jobs you’ve already done just for the satisfaction of ticking them off. Indeed, it is actively encouraged.

Sophie Owers

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