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Bujo. The latest buzzword. And one of the greatest forms of freedom in planners…EVER!

I just finished the second week of bullet journaling (aka BUJO). Even got a Pintrest account – but it disappeared right after I’d set it up. Of course.

What the heck is a “bujo”?


Nice. But what is it? Really?

FREEDOM!! (Seriously!)

A gentleman by the name of Ryder Carroll has been credited for publicizing the journaling technique. He demonstrated that our inner need for organization doesn’t need to be confined to preprinted day planners or stringent designs created by over-achievers or programmers.

We can design our own! Every day or week, the layouts can be changed. Bored with one design? It isn’t working for you? Or you want to include things that aren’t on traditional planners?

Great! This method will work for you!


For those of us whose brains hate being forced to remain on one task for any length of time, this method is ideal. And it can be used in conjunction with any other methods that work for you.

Like foods, healing, exercise, and just plain life, each one of us is unique. But the ability to express that uniqueness wasn’t being allowed. Work has strict schedules and timelines. Projects MUST be completed by specified dates. Meetings…endless meetings…for those in leadership roles take away from not only our creativity, but our time.

Not to stray too far from the subject, but it does tie in. Boundaries are necessary. They keep chose from reigning. But the limitations from other people kills creativity.

Remember when…

you were a kid? Did you like to draw? Anything you wanted. And to you, it looked like the best artistic rendering of…whatever.

Enter the school years. For those who are not home schooled (and even some who are), there was a certain regimen that was imposed on each one of us. Classes were held during strict hours. Lunch could only be eaten between allotted time frames. Playtime? As a young kid, we used to have those things. They were called “recess”. But today, that seems to be filled in many larger cities with studies instead of fun.

And school wasn’t fun. It was work.

Then graduation with the promise of freedom. And earning a wage.

But working for someone else wasn’t much different than school. Time for eating, time off, breaks, commuting hours to beat heavy traffic, family life…all of it began to take on the shape of unwavering rules and regulations by those for whom we worked.

We looked forward to retirement. Only to find that what we longed to do was no longer possible.

We had become accustomed to someone else’s timelines for so long that we couldn’t really enjoy ourselves. Creativity disappeared long ago. And our health, because of our long working years, no longer serves us to enjoy the trips and lifestyle we looked forward to.

Unless…you were one of the lucky ones and left the rat race long ago. Or early enough to regain lost dreams.

Planner journaling…

So what has that got to do with bullet journaling?

The original models for planners were designed to conform to the work and school, regimented model. Everything was in strict accordance to what was being demanded by educators and bosses alike.

But many are learning that they can break free of that demanding lifestyle. The freedom to do something you love is no longer work. Even if it might have a start and end time, like running a coffee shop, it still gives the flexibility to do things the way you decide. Want to close at 2 and take the rest of the day off? Okay.

How about writing some articles for a newspaper to be turned in by a specific date? Great! You can do it anywhere, and, if the muse left you one day, do it tomorrow. As long as you meet the deadline.

But traditional planners don’t accommodate that kind of freedom. They are as rigid and stiff as cube walls. Unbending and not creative. No matter how many pretty stickers you put in them…

Enter BUJO…

It’s been decades since I ever wanted to pick up a colored marker or design anything at all. That was drained out of me completely years ago.

Or so I thought.

Even getting the concept of bullet journaling was a chore.

Then the light dawned.

I realized that my loooonnnnngggg To Do list was a mess. I had no idea what to do first, so I ended up doing nothing at all. That all had to get that sorted out in a way that would work for me. Once my TO DO list was set up (some people like doing “brain dump” pages) and prioritized, everything else was FREEDOM!!!

I pick two TO Dos from the high priority list, and one TO DO from the not-so high priority list to accomplish weekly. If there is some free time, at least one creative project goes into that week as well.

Except for appointments or meetings, a bujo isn’t designed on a schedule. It is Task Driven. If it cannot be done in one day, that’s okay. If you are ADHD and don’t have the energy to focus on anything another day, it doesn’t matter. As long as it’s finished by the end of the week, that’s okay.

It takes away the stress of trying to figure out how to work within the confinement of designated time slots. Something I’d struggled with under the traditional methods. After all, some days there was more energy to work with, and some days there isn’t anything at all.

Naps aren’t all bad.


The things that is the most exciting about bujos is the creativity.

Not every bujo has pretty designs on them. Nor do they all have charts and graphs, plants and butterflies. Some are more artistic than others. And some look like boring lists on categorized pages.

It doesn’t matter.

The freedom with this technique is that it allows everyone to design what works for them.

And, it also allows for the freedom to choose what is important and what isn’t. Some make a page every day. Others make pages for a week. And the idea of an overall monthly calendar is as unique as the person who designs it.

It automatically causes the journalist to review what works, what was accomplished, and what is left to do. Every week. Without taking away from the creative aspect of the pages.

There is something soothing about drawing. Everyone did it as a child. Some were more technical than others, but everyone made pictures.

Doing a bujo wakes up that desire to dive back into that side of the human being that is so crushed by the weight of our societal demands.

But was it always that way?

To a degree, it was. But not to the same degree as our modern world.

In the agrarian life, time is limited by daylight hours, not a clock. Animals need to be tended regardless of what the clocks say. Fields are plowed, seeded, harvested by the seasons, not the day. And the transactions that result from the business of farming or ranching are done when the money comes in.

Life was based on a longer view of time. Not confined slots punctuated by meetings and appointments.

And when the night fell, it was time to relax. Summer time, after the chores were done, supper eaten, and dishes put away, people didn’t spend their time on tablets and iPhones. They talked. They enjoyed watching the sun set, and sometimes picked a few tunes to sing.

There was no running into town every few days. Town was miles away, and reachable by horse or bicycle.

It was a simpler life.

As strange as this sounds, that kind of perspective of life comes with using a bujo as well. It is freedom from the confinement of a time clock. And technology.

There is nothing that can replace the sensory feeling and memory development by using a pen and paper. That is a scientific fact.

But what amazed me was the awakening of the creativity I thought was long dead.

I can hardly wait until I design next week’s pages!

Maybe I need to add those doodle pages after all…

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