Can you still Bullet Journal if you aren’t creative?

Using a stigu planner as a bullet journal

I’ve seen a lot around about Bullet Journals recently, lots and lots and lots of prettily designed pages.  Creative uses of washi tape.  Beautiful doodles in the corner.  The creative touches that people add to them, that make them things of beauty.  All of these things are what put me off ever looking at starting my own Bullet Journal, despite the usefulness of them.

I am not creative.  Therefore I thought I couldn’t bullet journal.

Well of course I could, I could have a scribbled down bullet journal but I didn’t want a scribbled bullet journal, I wanted a beautiful one that wouldn’t turn into a book to scribble my shopping list down in a month down the line.  Or one where my husband would pick it up and not realise it was my very own precious book so use it to write his own lists (sacrilege).

I read post after post, I lusted after photos of bullet journals, I read what peoples personal favourite Bullet Journal pages were.  I read that they didn’t think they were creative then saw what beautiful designs they were making whilst I struggle to hold a ruler.  I followed and like countless beautiful designs on Instagram like this one from @sublimereflection who has a beautiful journal that she shares.

And I decided time and again that it wasn’t for me.

Even though I am a paper person.

I can’t be dealing with electronic diaries and if you ask me to remember something that I then put in my Google Calendar you can bet that I forget our playdate until you text and remind me an hour before I’m due to meet you and instead of getting ready I’m battling the weekly shop.  Paper is my friend.  Bullet journals should be my friend.  I just couldn’t get my head around it not being pretty.

Yes, there are printables out there.  But I hate sticking things, I don’t have a printer, and it still wasn’t quite what I was after to help me design my very own pretty bullet journal.

Enter the Stigu Planner

A planner as a bullet journal?  Could I?  Should I?

A planner as a bullet journal – I should and I did.

I had been reading reviews on the Stigu planner at the start of the year, and it made me start to wonder.  Could this be my Bullet Journal?  Can I use my Stigu to BuJo?

So it arrived in Qatar through the wonder of Shop and Ship a mere 4 days after I placed my order and as I drove to collect it on my birthday I was both excited and nervous as I had no idea what I was going to do.  Would the Bullet Journal get the best of me?!  Could I BuJo?!  Would I??

Why I liked the idea of using a Stigu planner as a bullet journal

Of all the layouts I had seen I liked the weekly layout the best.  I simply work better on a weekly basis, give me a big blank page for a daily layout and I will panic and fill it with things *just because* which isn’t the thought process behind me using a bullet journal.  I wanted to use my Stigu bullet journal to get organised, to stay on top of things, to not miss play dates and to organise my working life so I can spend my evenings with my husband rather than frantically grabbing my phone because I missed a Facebook scheduling spot.

The Stigu has a weekly layout split, one side is blank which was perfect for me to practice the “creative” part of bullet journalling, the other side is the days of the week split into 5 boxes.  A box for everything I could think of, a running time, appointments, blog posts.

stigu planner

My first week using a bullet journal

It all went wrong.

I got completely overwhelmed and dived straight in.  Forget about my plans of using a bullet journal to become more organised, to remember some of the little things.  I used it like a list.  A great big messy list.

It just didn’t work for me.  Nearly every single to do item, and there weren’t that many, had a great big arrow through them to move to the following week.

I was still in a jumble so it was time to think smarter.

using stigu planner as bullet journal week one

I liked the way I had used the weekly calendar but the list?  It had to go.  I needed a ruler.  I needed boxes.

Week 2 using a bullet journal

Week 2 and out comes a new weekly layout, separating out my list into separate goals.

  • To do

A mix of work, blogging, emails.

  • Blog posts

Posts that I plan to get published that week

  • Sponsored posts

Posts that needed to be written, published and invoiced

  • For me

The things I do that are just for me, this list is depressingly short at the moment!

  • Facebook Course

I am taking a Facebook growth course at the moment, to grow my Facebook page into a more engaged community with the marvellous Rachel Miller (and it’s working having seen 200 page likes and an increase of engagement by 15%, seriously amazing stuff, you can watch a class here as a try before you buy!) it’s been a struggle to fit it in at times.  Especially at a sit in front of the computer kind of thing, by writing it down I am making time to do it.

  • Social media

As all good bloggers know the aim of the game is to grow yourself an engaged social media audience so I am working on all platforms, this is a way of me tracking what my followers are each week, what’s working and what isn’t.  (Though if you want to know how to grow your IG to I got the inside scoop from Toby & Roo how she gained 50k followers in less than 12 months)

This week worked much better for me.  There were so many more coloured boxes than not coloured and for the first time in a long time not only was I up to date on my blog post scheduling, I was up to date on my social media scheduling as well.  Which never happens.

stigu week 2 plan bug

Week 3 using a bullet journal

This week is my third week using a bullet journal.

Again the boxes with separate titles on what I am looking to achieve this month.  Again with the daily boxes filled with blog posts, runs recorded, play dates and key achievements.

This week has seen me buy some fine liner pens and settle into my weekly planning bullet journalling more comfortable.

stigu week 3

But what about the freedom?

OK so a bullet journal is meant to be all about having the freedom to do more than just an original planner.  It’s about thinking outside of the box and having pages set up that compliment you and your life.

It’s about embracing a lifestyle rather than a planner.  How can the Stigu planner compete with a plain notebook on that score?  Can it even?  Am I just pretending to bullet journal in a planner.

In short.  No.

My Stigu has 32 blank pages at the back to do with what I want, these I have set up, very plainly and uncreatively I may add, to be the “freedom” element of my bullet journal.  Those pages that you don’t find anywhere else in the world.  The pages that make me, well, me.

With an index in the front and a slow work in progess to fill the pages with things that are relevant to me so far I have:

  • Index
  • Email list of people I am, or have, worked with
  • Invoice list to keep track (and to work out what and when I can pay off our next cruise!)
  • Blog brainstorm – a list of post titles and ideas that get lost when I try to work them electronically
  • Meals we love – this is my latest, because we have the same thing all the time and I keep forgetting that I know how to make enchiladas (and love them) that I have a slew of slow cooker recipes that are easy and delicious.

Going forward with my Stigu planner bullet journal

I think I’ve now come to a happy medium on what I want to include per week on the blank side of the page, I know what I want to list out and what I want to record.

The data on the daily boxes is going to become more organised with different colours at the top of the box signifying different things, with different columns being allocated for different ideas such as blog posts or runs.  I am tempted to begin to include a meal plan in the final column to complement the meals I love index.

The freedom at the back of my bullet journal will be added to as and when I want to create a new page, I really want to build a book shelf in my bullet journal though I have found this printable to stick in place.

A Stigu planner as a BuJo

Is perfect for those who aren’t, or don’t want to be, the creative type.

I’ll keep you updated on my progress!

stigu planning and colouring book

*this is a collaborative post.  Some of the links within this post are affiliate links, which means that if you click on them and then buy I receive some pennies for recommending.  All products are ones I use myself.

Pin it for later

How I used my stigu planner as a bullet journal. Using a planner has helped me on my bullet journal journey, giving me the artistic flair and uniformity I craved without having to do it myself. My Stigu planner is the bullet journal for those who are less creative and artistic than they would like to be!

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6 Comments

  1. February 3, 2017 / 7:04 am

    I have this Stigu planner and I love it. I’m similar to you not a very creative person. I love looking at bullet journals but know I couldn’t produce anything like that! I’m happy with the Stigu structure. Xx
    Rachel Bustin recently posted…January Review and February Bucket ListMy Profile

  2. February 3, 2017 / 2:03 pm

    Oh well done, I’m impressed that you’ve managed to get into it even though you’re not creative. Stupidly I just don’t have the time to do it, although I know it would probably make me use my time better if I did. Catch 22 😉
    Nat.x
    Plutonium Sox recently posted…Thursday Photo #143My Profile

  3. February 11, 2017 / 4:06 pm

    I found your post really interesting. Although I’m quite creative and I have been admiring from afar people’s bullet journals for a couple of years, I have never tried making my own, because I know it would end up being such a time-sucking exercise. Does it actually help you focus and get more done or do you spend a lot of time faffing?
    Mel recently posted…‘Free From’ Desserts for Valentine’s Day & #FreeFromFridaysMy Profile

    • February 11, 2017 / 4:54 pm

      I’m definitely finding it’s keeping me more focussed. I am a list writer and crossing it off has really helped. I do need no other distractions though so when I’m working/blogging I need to just have the laptop and the planner in order to keep me on track and stop me scrolling through FB!! For the first time last week I was scheduled up on Social Media for a week for a client rather than the night before!

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