My Path to Bullet Journaling & What I’ve Learned Along the Way

Posted by tabitha hamon on

I’m Nina Scheliga, and I am 28 years old and live in Brazil. I lived in Canada for four years and, since I’ve been back in my country, I’ve been working in the third sector with local development. Apart from work I love studying, reading (specially when I am not swamped with academic readings) and traveling or enjoying my city when going away is not an option. My journey with bullet journaling started in March of 2017 but, before we get into that, I want to tell you a bit about my life at that moment and how I thought the bullet journal would help me reach my goals.

These last four years have been crazy busy. I had a very demanding full-time job while I was pursuing my second undergrad degree at a top university. I ended 2016 out of shape, anemic and with no energy due to three years of working and studying with no vacations. Thus, at the turn of the year, I decided to live 2017 differently. As cliché as it might sound, I was looking for a more balanced life, paying more attention on my health, my family and how I was spending my free time. The year started off really well. I graduated, got a new and more easy-going job and created a healthy routine with regular exercises, meditation, less alcohol and more sleep. Although I was heading in the right direction, I still felt like I did not have control over my life. I had a hard time visualizing projects, ideas, goals and even keeping track of small things I wanted to accomplish. I kept having this feeling that my life was passing me by, and I was not able to process and reflect it. That’s when I found the bullet journal!

How I Got Started:

I discovered the bullet journal system through a friend and fell in love with the flexibility of it and the space for creativity. The first couple of months were absolutely overwhelming. I spent so much time on Facebook, Instagram and Youtube discovering so many beautiful accounts full of creative and artistic journals when I realized it wasn’t taking me anywhere. So, I took the following steps:

  1. Getting to the source: I went to Ryder Caroll’s website ( and found the simplest explanations to the system and printed the free printable available with all you need to start your bullet journal.
  2. Sticking to one inspirational account: I decided to follow one account that inspired me and would give me tips to follow through with the method. I subscribed to Boho Berry’s Youtube channel, newsletter and Facebook group and made those my main go to pages in the first couple of months.
  3. Getting started: I got started with whatever materials I had at home. Although all the amazing supplies in the internet looked so pretty, I realized I had to test the method before going all out. Here you can see a picture of how simple it looked.

Only after one month in my starter notebook, I bought a proper one, some better fineliners and created my first bullet journal with different spreads I wanted to try out.

Yes, I Had Some Difficulties:

I think it is very important to share that we all have difficulties when we are first starting out! For me, I had three main ones:

  1. Overwhelming amount of ideas and beautiful spreads: As I started my research I was blown away by how many different ways people kept their bullet journal. There were never ending styles, collection ideas, spreads layouts and so forth… I was lost. And the artistic talent that was connected to most of the big bullet journal accounts really intimidated me. Part of me wanted to have a beautiful and elaborated bullet journal and it took me a while to remember that organization was my main purpose and the rest would come with practice and time.
  2. Fancy supplies and stationary: Yes, I know we don’t need all those fancy supplies, but they are so pretty! Seeing everyone displaying their fineliners, fountain pens, highlighters, brush pens, etc., led me to think that if I had those, my bullet journal would be better. What helped me get detached from this idea was the difficulty of finding these supplies in Brazil. I know it’s not the right reason but as I bought the essentials and affordable supplies I realized how they should really not be an obstacle to my organizing and planning.
  3. Creativity: This is one I still struggle with. Although I understand one does not need to be creative for bullet journaling, I love exploring my creative side with it. But I am not a creative person! So yes… its been a long journey of looking for inspiration and breaking some internal barriers.

Tune in next week when I'll be sharing my top tips from what I've learned so far! 

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