I remember the moment when I first discovered bullet journaling, “Who has the time for that?” I exclaimed to myself. Though giving it a little bit more thought, I figured that what triggered that reaction was due to the reason that I envy people who could make time for such a fun-looking activity. With how bullet journaling is on the rise and somewhat hyped up, it doesn’t change the fact that it can be a tool for you. And so, I gave it a try. Although there are many creative ways to accessorize and funky ways to format your journal, let’s talk about how it can be a practical tool for you.
There are many benefits to bullet journaling if you know how to use it to your advantage. Although I understand that the ‘bullet’ in journaling can be hard to find sometimes, it doesn’t change the fact that the activity itself can bring in more benefits than it seems.
Having a bullet journal often makes things a little simpler for you even though to other people, it might look like a complicated system. By trying out different formats and methods of planning, noting or tracking, you find and create your own integrated system that’s custom-made for you. Nothing great comes easy so by working out a system that suits you, it’ll improve your self understanding and effectively utilise your learning curve. This will help you in many daily situations like organising things for school or work.
Having goals is a good way to know that you’re heading somewhere. With an integrated system that you have made, all you need to figure out is your purpose that would put this tool to great use. Whether it is something you’re saving up for, the grades that you need to get to the school that you want, getting that certain promotion at work or ticking something fun off your bucket list, goals are usually an important part to bullet journaling – you just need to know what you want.
We all know that not all plans will go through but to not plan your day, month or year could well be a recipe for disaster. You’ll only know when it’s too late but with careful and considerate planning, you can schedule things ahead, minimise consequences on forgetting important dates, formulate daily actions to counter something you’ve been procrastinating and many more. I’m sure many of you understand the benefits to planning. Implementing this to the integrated system you’ve created can take you a long way. It’ll appeal to how you make decisions, your priorities and shuffling your tasks at your own time.
Listing things can help you if you know how to go about it. Realistically, you can complete a maximum of 3 big task in a day, outside of your daily routines and tasks. Incorporating lists to your system might help especially if you’re the type who feels overwhelmed by the amount of responsibilities or lacking the kind of focus that you need. I always find the specifically categorized lists to be more effective than a general to-do list that could go on forever. Having lists like; Groceries, Things to Pack or School would be more helpful and less distracting instead of one master list (unless that works out for you!). Trying out different ways of listings would help you narrow down a listing system that works best. From then, you can either combine or even create your own listing system. The healthy objective is to reduce stress in remembering, keep tabs and proactively tackle tasks in the least amount of time as possible.
You can also be creative in the ways that you handle your lists! Checkboxes doesn’t always have to come in a shape of boxes and there’s plenty of ways to make a list work for you.
One of the known thing to do when you’re journaling is to track things for a specific period of time whether it is within a whole year, month, or weekly. It works well for building up habits and routines – showing the pattern on specific behaviours you want to be more aware off. Having more numbers and recognising patterns that you have built overtime will give you more data that can help you make the necessary changes towards the direction you want to take. Already having goals would give you specific things to track and make sure you’re heading closer to achieving it everyday.
Taking notes is one of the simplest ways to keep a journal of sorts. It could be just about anything; class notes, travel details, people you meet, movies you’ve watched or daily reflections. Noting things down helps free up your mind from mental clutter. Instead of storing every single information coming your way, you note them down as reference for another day. Writing things down have proved to be more effective for committing things to memory so while clearing up all the mental clutter, you’re also sorting out the information instead of aimlessly noting things down.
Since I’ve started filling up my day with things to do, I found that it was very helpful to track what I do every hour of the day. It might sound a little extreme to some people but I found by observation that many people who do, accomplish more in an hour than others. Documenting daily helps increase awareness on what we do with our time and shows you where you actually have more time in a day. This is also another form of tracking but I find that as a whole, it’s more of a documentation of your days, weeks and months in sum than it is tracking something very simple and specific, like a singular habit.
The expression part of bullet journaling often takes the highlight of the activity since it is the fun part of it. Making things fun would be helpful to help you keep doing something consistently. With so many responsibilities and commitments, there’s no reason to turn away something that can help you organise everything in your life while having fun.
It is always good to have a specific outlet to constantly use to express your creativity. Being able to also pour out your thoughts and feelings through reflections will also help you cope with the daily stress.
I used to have a separate planner and journal before it became cool for people to keep one. With the trend of more people keeping a bullet journal, it created a community where people collectively share formats and ways to get better at being productive together. It gives a good place for people to have fun together.
Although there are always better ways to do things, your journal is the documentation of your life and you should be able to dictate the way you enjoy things while getting things done. The best kinds of people are the types to have a good balance between the practicality and fun parts in life. It isn’t a culture we should put down if it promotes good habits and results.