You’ve probably seen examples of bullet journalling on Instagram before – crisp pages laid out to perfection, an immaculate interplay of ink, words and in some cases, illustrations. At the forefront of the bullet journalling (or “BuJo,” as it’s referred to by enthusiasts) scene in Malaysia is local stationery maker, Summorie. Founded by Cynn Chua and PeiYing Tang in 2010, we recently chatted with the dynamic duo to find out everything you need to know about the art of bullet journalling.
Give us the basics on bullet journalling.
Summorie: Bullet journaling is a form of note-taking or journaling, in a more convenient and organised way. You are basically jotting down things you need to do in bulleted points, instead of long sentences, and there is a system to help you organise your notes, events, to-dos etc. It is definitely a great way to get creative and have a little fun with an otherwise boring day-to-day task. The most common way of journaling (the one everyone is familiar with) is more lengthy, more like a therapeutic way of letting out feelings, mainly in the form of many words. With bullet journaling, it is a combination of note-taking, a planner, and a diary (to keep memories), but we like to keep it fun and interesting.
Is bullet journalling easy to do?
Summorie: Definitely! We started this practice earlier this year. Right now, we have found the right layouts for ourselves, what we need and what is not necessary for us. It is different for everyone. You’ve just got to try it for yourself and see what suits your style.
Our notebooks are also created to open-flat. This gives users ease and comfort when journaling, allowing every inch of a page to be used. Furthermore, Summorie notebooks are customisable; you can create a notebook depending on how you want to use it and select elements such as the text paper inside (eg. dotted with grids or plain), as well as the colours that fit your style.
Why would you recommend bullet journalling to people?
Summorie: It’s not as life-changing as KonMari’s ways of decluttering, but it does spark joy. For me (Ying), I still rely on both technology and my notebook. Nothing can replace the digital perks, but planning my week ahead on something physical has started to become a habit for me. It helps me keep track of things I need to do, my goals, and most importantly, daily priorities. There is just something about penning down an idea that helps one retain information better. I am also able to express my creativity through this method of documenting. If you are looking to be more organised and productive while having fun, you should definitely give bullet journal a go!
When we started Summorie, we really put into account how we use notebooks and what features we actually want them to have. We agreed that the minimalistic style is something we want, we also wanted to create a notebook that can open-flat, among other things. We believe that the detailing and thought put into designing Summorie caters and adds value to avid notebook users and how they use their notebooks – whether it is something simple as organising your week or bullet journaling.
What’s a mistake people new to bullet journalling make and how can they avoid them?
Summorie: There are two things: the notebook and the system.
Choose a notebook that is small enough to carry everywhere, but big enough to do a monthly spread. Notebooks that are too small would be impractical. Make sure the pages are sufficient to last you for six months to a year. Generally, people switch to a new BuJo notebook once a year. You don’t want to start a new BuJo on a thin notebook and realise you’re running out of pages after three months.
Keep it simple. We advise beginners to just start with simple spreads with your system; if it is too hard, you will find maintaining it difficult and more likely to give up the practice. At the end of the day, this is a great practice that requires some getting used to. It’s important to go at your own pace, style and comfort. The last thing you’d want is to feel like it’s becoming a chore.
Why would you recommend people keep physical journals instead of relying on digital ones?
Summorie: As much as technology is important in our everyday lives, it is always great to take a step back and go back to the basics. There is no argument that digital note-taking is convenient and very accessible, however, we see the beauty and amazing creativity that can come out of keeping a physical journal. Once you’ve grown comfortable with it, you’ll also begin to appreciate the memories you’ve documented; plus it’ll look cooler when you look back at it many months later.