Why I Stopped Bullet Journaling

After more than a year of bullet journal obsession, for 2018 I decided it was time to put down my Leuchtturm and stop bullet journalling. Here is why I stopped, and how I’m keeping myself organized instead.

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I had a well documented love affair with bullet journaling. I actually first discovered blogging through bullet journaling, and my introduction to bullet journaling was the first post on Xoxo, Rosana more than a year ago!

Where it All Went Wrong

I shared it with my friends, encouraging them to start their own and creating my own bullet journaling community both at school and online. I maintained that it would never be too much work to spend time making the pages look beautiful, using every single dot on the page.

However, when I started my job this summer, I realized that my bullet journal had become too pretty, and always had to be picture-ready for the blog and the instagram. I started carrying around extra notebooks for each of my projects, and my bag started getting heavy.

When my job ended, I decided to just carry a thin, Rifle Paper Co. notebook to collect my thoughts during the few weeks between my job ending and school starting. It was invaluable, so by the time classes rolled around, I put my bullet journal back in my bag along with the everything notebook.

And then I didn’t touch my bullet journal. I carried it around in my bag every day until November, when I decided to switch bags and just left both of notebooks in the old backpack for the rest of the quarter.

But School

This year, my school switched learning management systems from Chalk to Canvas, which has a really comprehensive assignment tracking and submission calendar, complete with alerts and google calendar integration. I actually happened to have done a project for a class last Spring that explored the features Canvas offers, so I knew how to make it easy to follow along with the assignments online.

Also, most classes have a regular schedule of submission dates, and halfway through the quarter, I usually have a groove during the week. I don’t need to schedule meetings with study groups because we all know that we’re working together on the problem set the night before its due.

For social events, interviews, and other meetings, I would just use my google calendar. Even while bullet journaling, I always included meetings and classes in the google calendar because the notification helps me make sure I will actually be where I said I would be.

I Bought a Real Planner

One of my favorite parts about starting a new year is getting to look at all the new 2018 planners. I’ve always exclusively gone shopping for calendars in September with the start of the academic year, but this time when I ran across one I actually loved, I decided to buy it.

I bought the gold stripe, 5×8 Day Designer planner, and I’m obsessed with it! Each day is on its own page, which I need because I’m juggling 4 classes, summer job applications, and some very exciting new projects!! On the left side of the page is a vertical schedule for the day and on the right is a list of to-dos.

Mine has a top-three section at the very top, which makes it really easy for me to prioritize my tasks. It also has a daily quote and at the bottom, it even provides a spot for a gratitude log. It has monthly tabs, and has held up well in my bag over last month. Every month has a grid view of the whole month so I can include important events like tests. My only complaint is that there isn’t an easy way to immediately turn to the date, but I fixed that with a paperclip that I keep moving through the week.

I am still using my Google calendar and the Canvas integration, but with so much going on right now I can’t see myself going back to tracking all my to dos in a messy notebook or just following along online. The only other permanent pieces in my bag are my laptop, my charger bag, my water bottle, and my phone.


After a couple of crazy busy months, I have closed my leuchhturm for now. Although I can’t promise I’ll never pick it up again, there’s so much in store for the next year that I can’t wait to live my 25th hour lifestyle to the fullest and share it with you.

Are you still bullet journaling? How do you track everything you’re doing?

Let me know on Twitter @xoxorosana_blog!

Good Luck!

Xoxo, Rosana

Hello! My name is Rosana Rabines! I'm a student, stationery enthusiast, and runner constantly reorganizing my life to make the most of my college experience in Chicago.


    • xoxorosana

      There are so many different ways to do a bullet journal, you could check out @simplyproductivity’s instagram for minimalist bujo inspiration. I think the system is worth giving a try, but the moment I started posting my spreads, it pigeon holed me into making it artistic consistently!

  • scribblycanvas

    I use both the bullet journal and 5×8 day designer planner. I started bullet journaling about six months ago and i love it! I am not an artistic person at all, so I use a simple and minimalist style of bullet journaling because I just want to use it to give some structure to my life and help me reach my goals, aspirations, etc. In my BuJo, I have a monthly planner in which i just write all the things that needs to get done in that month (to-do list, goals, appointments etc). Then I use my 5×8 daily & weekly planner to plan out my monthly agendas more specifically. I do not keep a weekly and daily agenda in BuJo because I feel like it’s just too much writing and I find it complicated, instead I have a separate planner for that. I know it’s a “two book” system, but it has been working very well for me. 🙂

    • xoxorosana

      That’s really clever! I might miss having all of my goals and a format for my quarterly review in the same notebook!
      Do you take your bujo with you everywhere or do you just pick it up when you need it for long run things?

      • scribblycanvas

        I keep my BuJo at home and I just carry my 5×8 daily planner with me everywhere. However, I do try to open my BuJo at least three times a week for check-ins, just to make sure that I am on track with everything just as I planned and make adjustments, if needed. I also use sticky page markers, post-it notes in my BuJo and daily planner for important pages.

  • Honeybee Joyous

    Love this honest post, and I’ve got a post planned for the future all about why bullet journaling doesn’t work for me. I use a real planner with a page per day because, like you said, every time I try to start a bullet journal I always get too wrapped up in making it picture perfect and then it’s not an effective productivity tool for me!

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