Offline with your bullet journal

Loads of individual lists, an agenda, a creative outlet: A Bullet Journal (BuJo) is something that you create yourself. Flow’s intern Suzanne starts 2020 with a whole load of empty pages and looks at how she can fill them.

My life takes place mainly online. At university, I only use a laptop. When I’m at home, I’m either watching something on Netflix, cooing over cute dog videos on Facebook or chatting with my friends via WhatsApp. And then there’s Instagram, of course, where I regularly check in on what everyone else is doing.

Last Sunday evening, however, while scrolling through my Instagram timeline, I got a notification: ‘You averaged 3 hours and 12 minutes screen time per day last week.’ That’s almost a fifth of my day! I waste more than three hours per day watching movies and the lives of others. This has to change! So I decided to go offline more often. And that starts by spending more time on my Bullet Journal.

Now, I set aside one evening a week to it. During those hours I light candles, switch on some calm music and hang a ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign on my door. This is my offline moment; the time when I grab my fine-liner and start with the agenda.

Although I have one on my phone, I still use a paper version. I like structure and therefore prefer to write my appointments down on paper. And when I’m done with my homework, I cross a line through it on my list. Boring agendas are not my thing, which is why I use my own style in my BuJo.

Three hours later, my new month is finished and my desk is full of paper, stickers and washi tapes. Those three hours that I would normally have spent on my phone, I spent on my Bullet Journal. A week later, I get another message on my phone: ‘You averaged 2 hours and 4 minutes screen time per day last week.’

Introduction of the month

At the start of each month, I introduce a theme. For this month, I chose ‘world’ and I wrote it down in blue hues. The English quote about traveling, with two images of Paris, fits with this perfectly. During a course by @krougiecreatief, I learned that black lines behind letters produce a 3D effect, like the ones in ‘January’. The blue hues are also reflected in the image of the blue tit. To fill the page, I added some doodles of objects from space.

Monthly overview

To make the monthly overview, I look back at the annual overview at the beginning of my BuJo. With a monthly overview I can see at a glance what the most important appointments and birthdays are. I also draw one just before February, so that I can put appointments in there if my February section is not ready yet. The blue hues and stars are also reflected in this spread.

Weekly overview

In my previous BuJos, I experimented with different styles every month, and this layout works best for me. I also use this spread as a normal agenda. I make a separate block for notes and for the tasks that I have to do this week. To inject the month’s theme into this week, I draw mountains that remind me of summer 2018 in Peru, where I walked the beautiful Lares Trail.

Text Suzanne Kuijvenhoven, Translation Julia Gorodecky, Photography Floor van Koert