Updated: Jul 16
Hi everyone! I hope you’ve all been staying safe and taking care of yourselves through the crazy times we’ve been living through. My name is Alysa, I’m 21 years old, and I’m from California. I’ve been bullet journaling for almost two years, on and off, but I’ve only started getting into the artistic side of it since last summer, and posting my work on Instagram since late January. That was where Kyra first approached me to write for this blog, so I figured I’d write a little about this hobby and the role it’s played in my life.
I personally graduated from college literally the week stay home orders went into effect, abandoning my apartment with most of my things still in it. Quarantine itself hasn’t actually been that different from what I would have been doing otherwise. I’m living with my parents, and earning some cash on the side tutoring while I get the rest of my life together. I fully recognize that this isn’t true for everyone, but I’m fortunate enough that it has given me the opportunity to regroup and relax for a bit.
I’ve seen lots of memes about how we all have 2020 planners that we regret buying, now that there’s nothing to plan. After all, without the structure that our daily lives once brought us, it really does seem like the whole concept of time is artificial. So it might seem weird for me to say For those of you who don’t know what it is, basically, it involves taking any notebook and essentially turning it into a DIY planner. It’s often a way for people to flex their artistic skills like you often see on Instagram, or it can be extremely simple. But what they all have in common is that it’s a planning system that you get to tailor completely to your own needs. And that writing in the spreads I make is really the only way I often remember what day it is.
Most people who get into this are high school/college students, who use their bullet journals to write down assignments/exams/due dates. But even now that I’m not in school, I’ve found it more useful than ever. Aside from keeping track of things like important phone numbers, paperwork, and household chores, I’ve been using it to keep track of the new things I’ve been learning in quarantine, which is especially useful now that I’m trying to go into a career field I didn’t study. I’ve also been using the artistic side of journaling to raise awareness about important issues. Through my Instagram account, I’ve collaborated with many other bullet journal artists to create spreads that have raised awareness and educated our audiences about many important issues, from information about COVID-19, to guides on taking action against police brutality.
And of course, this post wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t talk about how I got to where I am in my own bullet journaling journey. Overall, I feel like it would be excessive to say that picking up this hobby has absolutely transformed me. But aside from giving my days some much-needed structure, it’s had lots of other benefits.
I have dyspraxia. It makes creating art a lot more physically difficult. It’s very hard to go through the intricate motions of things like drawing and painting, and even now, I struggle making spreads that have intricate artwork in them. But I have always loved designing things and putting things down on paper, and bullet journaling creates a structure around which I can do that.
I also have a hard time remembering things if I don’t physically write them down, and don’t conceptualize time well. It’s much easier to internalize my schedule when I’m the one drawing all the calendars myself.
It’s really nice having a hobby I do where no one else really has to see me in action. It’s just “me time”. Though I will say that posting my work on Instagram negates that quite a bit, and I’m trying my best to ensure that it’s still a thing I do mainly for myself.
Making spreads is something you can do while catching up on TV, which is great if you have a short attention span like me. Though I wouldn’t recommend doing that if you have to read subtitles.
Now, of course, this planning system isn’t going to work for everyone, whether you just don’t have time to create spreads or your work requires you to input things into a digital calendar. But I do think that everyone can benefit from both ways of keeping track of your time, and having ways that you can exercise your creativity just for yourself in all the ways that you’re able.
*Wanna get into bullet journaling go to Alysa's page @egg_letters on Instagram for some gorgeous inspiration!