Why I’m Taking a Break from Bullet Journaling
I started bullet journaling in November 2020 and it was an absolute gamechanger for me! For the first time in my life, I felt organised and (mostly) on top of running my business, life admin and whatever else was thrown at me. It became even more indispensable when I closed my product-based small business and started working as a freelance virtual assistant. Bullet journaling allowed me to map out my tasks for the week, keep track of deadlines and time sheets for all of my clients, and I loved creating themed cover pages and decorating my spreads.
You can read more about my own personal bullet journal journey here and here. If you’re brand new to planning and not sure which system is right for you, you can also check out my Beginner Bullet Journal blog post. If you’re currently bullet journaling and not sure if it’s quite right for you, check out my Keep Going with Bullet Journaling blog post.
…and now back to the task in hand:
Why I Quit Bullet Journaling
Fast forward to a couple of months ago, when I realised that a full-time freelance life just wasn’t working for me anymore. It was exhausting having to be creative for so many people in so many different ways and sadly, not everyone is as wonderful to work with as Nikki! I decided to return to the world of office life Monday to Wednesday, and keep working with a couple of my favourite freelance clients on Thursday and Fridays.
As my new day job involves handling confidential data, I’m not able to keep notes in my bullet journal. I also don’t have as many freelance tasks and timesheets to keep track of, so my planning system needed a bit of an overhaul. One of the things I love most about bullet journaling is how customisable it is, but even before I shook up my working life I’d fallen into something of a rut and was reproducing the same spreads every week/month. I’d often forget to set them up and would be left scrambling to throw a weekly spread together on Monday morning, when I should really have been cracking on with my to do list!
All of this led me to the slightly alarming conclusion: Maybe it was time to take a little break from bullet journaling. I was simultaneously sad to be losing an old friend, slightly terrified I’d fall back into my old habit of scribbling things on scraps of paper and never doing them, and excited to try something new! Thankfully, the timing was fortuitous as I’d just come to the end of my current six month bullet journal, and Nikki's Supply Store had recently started stocking Undated Weekly Archive Planners by Iconic.
Switching from a Bullet Journal to an Weekly Archive
The Weekly Archive Planners caught my eye when they first arrived thanks to the cute compact size, gorgeous muted colours and retro design. They also lie completely flat when open which has become a real “must have” for me in recent years! I decided to take the plunge and give it a whirl for six months, and here’s how I got on…
I’m now six weeks into using my Weekly Archive, and I’m loving it so far! The smaller size is perfect for carrying around, and there’s still ample planning space for my new work/work/life balance. I love that there’s still a monthly view page as well as weeklies, although I decided to use the six-month view for the start of 2024 instead. There’s a good amount of plain gridded paper in the back too, which I’ve been using for my time sheets and content planning. It’s definitely ticking all of my boxes so far!
The one slight con for me is that the monthly view pages have a Sunday start, whereas the weeklies start on a Monday. I much prefer a Monday start so if I got another of these next year, I think I might manually alter the monthly view pages to start on a Monday too. It would be easy enough to tweak as the months aren’t numbered and I’d just need to change the days of the week along the top of each page.
What Supplies Do I Use with My Weekly Archive?
Regular readers of the blog will know that I’m not a big fan of lettering, so I paired my Weekly Archive with Iconic’s Dated Planner Stickers and it’s been so satisfyingly speedy to set up each of my weekly spreads!
As there’s slightly less space to write than I had in my bullet journal set up, I’ve employed a colour coding system with my favourite Stabilo Swing Cool Pastel Higlighters. Rather than writing out “birthday” or drawing a gift icon, I know that a name on a red highlight is a birthday. Instead of writing “Cricut reel”, I know that “reel” on a green highlight means I need to film a reel for Cricut, whereas a pink highlight means it’s for Nikki's Supply Store.
My go-to everyday writing pen has been the Pentel Energel for quite some time now. Unfortunately, I’ve found the 07 nib does make my writing a little bit too big for the Weekly Archive's columns. I’ve been using a Pigma Micron 01 but they aren’t my favourite for quickly scribbling down notes so I’ve just taken receipt of some extra fine pens to try out:
- Kitty Cat Fine Tip Gel Pen
- Livework V2.0 Point Pen
- Mark’s Inc. Tous Les Jours Ballpoint
- OHTO Japanese Pencil Natural Ball Pen
- OHTO Japanese Pencil Oil-Based Ballpoint
These have definitely helped make my writing a little more compact and will be perfect for writing in my Weekly Archive. Conveniently, the pens themselves are a little more compact than the Pentel Energel too, which is an added bonus!
It’s a tough call, but after an initial pen test, I think my favourite is probably a two-way tie between the OHTO Pencil Natural Ball Pen and the Kitty Cat Fine Tip Gel Pen. They’re smooth and free-flowing and I particularly like how the natural wood pencil feels, as someone who only uses mechanical pencils. Pens are definitely a personal choice though as I asked Nikki which she preferred when I was deciding what to order, and her favourite was the Livework!
Customising Your Weekly Archive
I had a bit of a love/hate relationship with creating monthly cover pages for my bullet journal. When I had a good idea and time to execute it, it was one of my favourite creative projects to do every month! However, as with all creative pursuits, there were some months when it just didn’t go to plan and I cursed myself for setting a goal of sharing every cover page on Instagram. After a little break from creating them, I felt ready to dip my toe back in and created this speedy August cover page in my Weekly Archive.
I did something a little more elaborate for September, which you can watch me create here.
I generally don’t have much to write on Monday to Wednesday as I’m working at my day job, so I decided to create my cover page on the left-hand side of the double page spread. If you don’t want to do this, you could always tape in an extra page. I glued in a sheet from my A5 Ombre Dot Grid Pad, and brush lettered the word "August" with a Pentel Twin Tip Brush Sign Pen.
Nikki Supply Store's dot grid pads are great for adding a splash of colour to your Weekly Archive as the paper isn't too thick.
Pros of Using an Weekly Archive vs Bullet Journaling
- Much quicker to set up than a bullet journal
- More compact and easier to carry around
- Less wasted paper if you don’t need as much planning space
- Still has my favourite features i.e. lies complete flat when open and has an elastic closure
Cons of Using an Weekly Archive vs Bullet Journaling
- Layouts aren’t as customisable as a bullet journal
- Not as much planning space as a bullet journal
- Monthly view pages are all at the start of the planner, rather than spread throughout
- Monthly view pages start on a Sunday, weekly pages start on a Monday
- The paper isn’t as thick as an Archer & Olive dot grid journal
Overall, I’m really happy with my Weekly Archive Planner and I think it’s definitely the right choice for me right now. That’s definitely not to say that I won’t go back to bullet journaling in the future as I think a simplified system would also work for my current job set up. Start tuned to see what I decide to use next year...
If you’ve been inspired to try and Weekly Archive Planner, we’d love to see! Please tag @nikkissupplystore and #NikkisSupplyStore on Instagram, where you can find heaps more journaling and stationery inspiration. You can also follow me, @joy.margot, for more craft content and pictures of my cat, Juniper.