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BOOK REVIEW: Bullet It! A Notebook for Planning Your Days, Chronicling Your Life, and Creating Beauty by Nicole Lara

BOOK REVIEW: Bullet It! A Notebook for Planning Your Days, Chronicling Your Life, and Creating Beauty by Nicole Lara

Pan Macmillan Australia
September 2017
Paperback, $19.99
Reviewed by Natalie Salvo

Non-Fiction/Self-Help & Personal Development

7.5/10

The bullet journal or BuJo is a planning system that was created by designer, Ryder Carroll. It’s one that allows people to get organised, reflect on their actions and beliefs and to consider the future by combining a traditional calendar or planner with a diary/journal and notebook. Its aim is to eliminate the need for lots of post-it notes and never-ending to-do lists and to keep everything in one orderly spot. Individuals are free to create their own BuJo using a blank notebook but for those people that are new to this enterprise or who want a little direction and guidance in their journaling habits, there are options like artist, Nicole Lara’s beautifully hand-written and illustrated, Bullet It! A Notebook for Planning Your Days, Chronicling Your Life, and Creating Beauty.

I’ve written and illustrated this special notebook to create a fun and exciting tool for those who want to plan their lives, journal their days, or just express themselves through pen and paper…Based on what I’ve learned from using my own notebook as a creative outlet and a planning tool, I’ve included methods in this book to help you do the same. Use this information as a guide but don’t limit yourself to this content only. I’ve learned a great deal about myself and how I am more productive by experimenting with various planning systems, so I encourage you to do the same.

This book is printed on perforated paper, which allows people to easily rip out pages as little keepsakes if they choose to do so. The book also includes a number of inspirational quotes that are positive and nice to read and are also formatted in such a way that they’re also great to look at and admire. This includes such positive things as Abraham Lincoln’s “The best way to predict the future is to create it,” and the motivational quote, “Capture every moment like it’s your last.”

A big drawcard of the bullet journal is the use of planning to break down goals into simpler, achievable steps. You can combine this planning with a tracking system to see how you are progressing with things. You can also use this in conjunction with colour-coding or a set of symbols to distinguish between the different parts of your life, like distinguishing between a work or personal project, etc. The design of your bullet journal is completely up to you.

A planning system is a tool used to successfully plan and execute your goals and projects. Although the future cannot be predicted, taking even a small fraction of time to create a map that will guide you through the best path possible is always a good idea. The best planning system is one that is concentrated on daily action, focusing on making sure you take small steps that get you to where you want to go one day at a time…A planning system should always work FOR YOU, not the other way around. Taking out what is unnecessary will help you to better focus on what is really important for you.

Bullet It! is also designed to stimulate the creative juices. It does this by including pages where people can experiment and see some different styles of fonts, artistic arrows and headers as well as other pages that allow people to just sit back and doodle away. Lara guides us through how to draw some objects in a step-by-step manner, including a camera and hot air balloon that begin with some easy pencil lines. Individuals can make their pictures as elaborate or as minimalist as they like. These pictures can also be coloured in and allow people to relax just like the adult colouring books that are so popular. These pages will not appeal to everyone because some people don’t enjoy drawing or prefer a style that is less cluttered and minimalist because they find illustrations and doodles messy and distracting from all their planning work. One big downside of this book is the lack of index and page numbers because the inclusion of these simple things would have enhanced its ease of use and ultimately, the organisational element that this notebook aspires towards.

This journal also prompts the user to reflect on a range of different things. It asks them to consider and list their values, what type of friend they’d like to be, the things they’re grateful for, and to write a letter to their future self. These pages offer a good opportunity for people to stop and consider, especially if they hadn’t thought about such stuff before in their busy lives. It’s good that these tasks are focused on the future as well as on reflecting on what has already transpired.

Lara’s book is ultimately a very pretty one that offers people a good outlet to document things and to use this as an input to help shape their futures. Users can work on a system that benefits or works the best for them, however Lara also offers us a sound starting point here. By documenting things, people can feel a sense of accomplishment while also getting more organised and efficient in how they structure their days, months and beyond. It’s nice that the artistically-inclined have such a colourful and visually-appealing means to get to this destination while those craving something more plain can always use a blank notebook.

BOOK REVIEW: Bullet It! A Notebook for Planning Your Days, Chronicling Your Life, and Creating Beauty by Nicole Lara

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