The Dark Side of Bullet Journaling: Perfectionism and Burnout

The Dark Side of Bullet Journaling: Perfectionism and Burnout

Plot twist: life isn’t always rainbows and perfectly-drawn unicorns in our beloved bullet journals. I know I can’t be alone here... right? [crickets]

Maybe it’s just me, buuut my journey with this creative outlet has been a rollercoaster and I’m here to spill the tea on the not-so-glam side: the dark corners of perfectionism and the looming burnout cloud.

So, I’m cruising along, making my daily doodles and ticking off those to-do lists with a sense of accomplishment. But let’s be real—how many times have you spent hours trying to make that habit tracker look Insta-worthy, only to realize you forgot to actually do the habits? Guilty as charged!

The pressure to create the perfect spread, the Pinterest-worthy bujo pics—its like we’re on a quest for the holy grail of journaling. And that’s where the trouble begins.

Suddenly, it’s not about enjoying the process; it’s about meeting unrealistic standards.

I fell into this trap. I found myself spending hours on Pinterest, ogling at those beautifully crafted spreads that seemed to have leapt straight out of a stationery store. Suddenly, a simple to-do lists transformed into intricate masterpieces. It became less about productivity and more about creating a bullet journal that could rival a work of art.

And then, the burnout hit. Hard.

I’ve had moments when I wanted to give up, kiss all my pens goodbye and just embrace a life without daily gridlines. But, like, I can’t. Quitting feels like breaking up with a significant other. I’ve got countless thoughts about it, seriously.

But can we all agree on something?

The pursuit of perfection can lead straight to the land of burnout. You’re so busy making your journal look flawless that you forget the whole point was to make your life feel more manageable, not more stressful.

I’ve had times when my journal became a guilt trip. Missed a day? Cue the guilt. Made a mistake in your lettering? Cue the frustration. It’s like my journal turned into this judgey friend, silently whispering, “You’re not doing enough.”

But guess what? It’s okay to put the pen down sometimes. Your worth isn’t measured by how well you can draw a straight line. Embrace the messy, the imperfect, the real.

I’ve accepted that my bullet journal is a reflection of me, and surprise, surprise—I’m not perfect. I’ve got doodles that look more like abstract art and to-do lists that are more like wishful thinking. And that’s totally fine.

I’m still learning to ride the wave. Some days, I’m all in, color-coding like a pro. Other days, I’m MIA, and that’s okay too. It’s about finding that sweet spot between creativity and sanity.


It’s fine to have messy pages and unchecked boxes. Embracing the imperfections is what keeps this bujo love affair alive. If you’re feeling the burnout, take a step back. Remember why you started in the first place: to organize your chaos, not create more.

This deserves to be said in all caps: it’s a journey filled with bumps, detours, and the occasional wrong turn. But isn't that what makes it real? Embrace the imperfections, take breaks when needed and it’s just ink and paper. Life is messy and so is my bullet journal and I wouldn’t have it any other way!

In the end, it’s about finding joy in the process, not just the end result. And if your spread looks more like modern art than a planner, well, congrats! You’ve just created a masterpiece <3

Maybe you can relate? Have you ever found yourself in a creative pursuit that started out fun but slowly turned into some type of worry zone?

How do you navigate the fine line between creativity and burnout?


  1. I wish bullet journaling was for me, but I would get so frustrated when it doesn't look perfect!

    The Reluctant Blogger |

    1. I used to be a bit of a perfectionist too, especially when it came to my journal! I'd get so frustrated if things didn't go exactly as planned. But now I'm just rolling with the flow and appreciating the beauty in the crookedness and messiness of being human :)

  2. I can relate to this. The amount of money I spend on the pens, not just one type but various (brush pens, coloured, gel pens, 0.5, 0.7 the whole nine yard), washi tapes, and stickers which I still have hundreds of them still remain untouched, all kinds of binder cover and inserts which I rarely use nowadays. Such a waste. I still bujo once in a while but not pinterest worthy. Only up to my own liking and just to serve its purpose as a habit or expense trackers. Not for the instagram. I stop doing that now.

    1. Oh, I totally get that! I'm all about the pens, too - different colors, sizes, you name it. And don't even get me started on washi tapes and stickers! It's awesome that you've found your own groove with bujo, keeping it real and for your own happiness. That's what matters most, right? :)

  3. Lenne, I have been through this journalling burnout more than once and it's reassuring to know that I'm not alone. I've had many grand plans for bullet journal designs and after many heartbreaks, moved to a planner and a few stickers that I love. It's funny how a simple switch can completely change your mindset!

    Intentional Lucie

    1. Absolutely! Sometimes simplicity is key and finding what works best for you is what matters most. Glad you found a system that resonates with you, Lucie <3