How To Set Goals In As Little As 7 Days

By Nicole Tinkham

goals

Let us first begin by saying it does not matter when it is; it’s always the perfect time to start setting goals. We’re writing this blog just in time for the New Year but if you’re reading at a later date, that’s perfectly fine! Goal setting is something you should do throughout the year anyway. Our golden rule is to start setting goals whenever you feel ready to do it! We’ll walk you through goal setting in 7 simple steps (or 7 days) but just beware; you do not want to skip one of these steps. Not following through with the activities on each day could result in you not reaching your goals and just feeling frustrated. We’ll start with a mass brainstorm to figure out what your main goals are, break those big goals into smaller ones, create an action plan, take action, keep the momentum going, and then evaluate your performance. Ready to get started? Read on for your day #1 agenda.

Day #1: Brainstorm

BEFORE you get started today, you should get in your thinking zone. Find somewhere quiet with no distractions. Get away from clutter and straighten up the room if you have to. Turn off your phone and anything else that may distract you during this session. You can listen to some calming music, light your favorite scented candle, grab a coffee, and whatever else comes to mind to put you in your happy place.

Once you get in the right mindset, it’s time to brainstorm everything you would like to see happen in your life in the next few years. Write anything and everything down! We’ll be narrowing down this list later so just go crazy with it. Think about health goals, career goals, relationship goals, and financial goals. Anything that pops in your head should go on your list. It may be difficult to think of ideas at first but once you get rolling, the ideas will flow.

Now that you have a long list going, we’re going to prioritize your goals. Is there one thing on the list that will help you achieve some of the others goals you have written down? This would be your ASAP goal, or the goal you’ll want to get working on right away. This should also be a very specific goal. Ask yourself “By doing this, what do I aim to achieve?” This will narrow down any broad goals even further. For example, if you have “I want to become a painter” on your list, you may end up changing it to “I want to become a landscape painter”. Being clear on your goals will help you in the following steps of breaking it down and creating an action plan.

Before moving on, we want you to start BELIEVING in yourself. If you don’t do this, you’ll be doing this entire goal setting session for no reason. Believing that you can actually achieve these goals is the key to being successful. We know this can be difficult to do especially with those big goals you have written down. Some of them might seem crazy! Keep in mind working on your belief is something that you should do daily and it does take some time to switch your limiting mindset. Based on your goal, write down an affirmation. Something like: “I am an incredible landscape painter with amazing skills”. Repeat this over to yourself for at least 10 minutes a day, every day.

Day #2: Break it down

Welcome to day #2! This is our favorite part because now you’re probably excited about the goals you wrote on your list yesterday. That big goal probably seems pretty daunting though, doesn’t it? Don’t worry, we’ll be breaking that goal down into mid term and short term goals which will make it easier for you to tackle it.

Take that main goal and dissect it into several short term goals. Consider the different phases of achieving that goal. What will need to be done along the way?

Your short term goal should be a SMART goal meaning is should be Specific (clear on what you want to achieve), Measurable (must be able to review progress), Attainable (can you get it done with the resources you have?), Realistic (can it actually be done?), and Timely (must have a deadline). Now take that SMART goal and break it down even further into action steps. What is the process you’ll need to take in order to reach that specific goal by your set deadline?

Day #3: Action Plan  

Now we’re getting into the good stuff! This should excite you. You are literally planning for success in reaching your goals. This is where some research comes in. We’ll all have very different goals but you may need to look into different strategies for achieving your goal. Weigh the pros and cons of different ways of doing things to figure out what will work best for you. What exactly do you need to do in order to reach your goal? You may start with learning something about what you want to do. Maybe it’s educating yourself on different nutrition plans or a system for saving money.

Make sure the action items on your list are detailed so there’s no second guessing yourself when doing them. You’ll know exactly what needs to be done. You also want to organize the action steps so you know what you should be getting done first.

Based on your action items, create a daily checklist of what you need to be doing each day. This just narrows it down even further to help keep you on track. You can transfer this to do list to your phone so you always have it on you and can check things off throughout the day.

Day #4: Take action

This is where the magic happens! Without this key step, none of your goals would ever be accomplished. It’s great to have a solid plan in place (what we’ve been doing up until now) but none of that matters if you never get started. We know it can be scary but just start with the first task on your list. Don’t think twice about it, just get it done. There’s no time for procrastination so make this the first thing you get done in the day.

Days #5 and #6: Keep going

Congrats!! You made it through one day following your action checklist. Now it’s time to celebrate your completion. You did an amazing job. Go ahead and do your happy dance 🙂
Now it’s time to move on to the next list. Keep on going!! Each day may only produce small results but those results add up over time. You have to build up your momentum so you can become unstoppable. If there’s ever a time you feel like giving up, remember why you started in the first place.

If you find yourself procrastinating, work on tasks in 25 minute chunks of time. This will keep you focused and little breaks in between will keep you from burning out. Continue to check in on your action plan to be sure you’re still on track and in line with your goals.

Day #7: Evaluate your performance

The final step in this process will determine how quickly you reach your goal. And that last step is to reflect on what you’ve done so far and measure your progress. Without doing this step, you won’t be able to adjust and improve on the areas you are weak in. That’s the whole point of reflecting. To look at the areas in which your strengths lie, where your weaknesses lie, and where your errors were made. From here, you can tweak and improve your action steps. By the way, your action steps are never set in stone. It’s important to update them when something just isn’t working out. It’s ok! Do not give up when things don’t go your way. Make the appropriate changes and move forward.

There you have it; How to set goals in as little as 7 days. But don’t think that your work ends there. Continue to work on your daily check lists and action plans. Keep evaluating your progress and make adjustments when needed. And most importantly keep adding to your list of goals! There’s so much you can accomplish in this lifetime if you put your mind to it. Stop pushing them off thinking they’re too big for you to actually achieve. Following these steps and breaking down each goal makes them more manageable so you can totally do this!

The 4 Phases of Handling Negative Feedback

negative-feedback
By Caleb Hoopingarner

Words are powerful. Think back to a time when someone spoke something over your life, either negative or positive. What was the outcome? Did those words stick with you as you grew up? Did you start to believe those things said about you, whether uplifting or discouraging? It’s amazing the impact and weight our words carry. Over the past few years of running a highly engaged Facebook page and Blog, we’ve faced our fair share of encouraging and critical words. We’ve all been there before- you put out what you think is an amazing story, post, or email piece, and you get a comment that completely throws you for a loop. Isn’t it crazy how one negative comment can overshadow all of the other inspiring and uplifting comments in a thread? It’s like we disregard the good and only think about that one bad review. While your natural instinct could be to quickly delete the comment and move on with your life, we actually think this is the worst possible reaction. Here’s why: the commenter wants their voice heard. In order to get the most out of this situation, you’ll do yourself and others good by addressing their comment, seeking to understand their perspective, consider what they have to say, and explaining your decision and reasoning to them. If you want to learn to seek the valuable lessons in negative feedback, read on for four phases of handling negative feedback to leave your customer with a positive experience.

1.    Address the comment

So someone left a terrible comment on your Facebook page, a recent blog post, or on some other platform. What you do next shows how in touch you are with your audience. The worst thing you can do is ignore the comment or delete it right away. This shows that you’re either scared to face a little bit of criticism, or you’re only ok with your customers when they say nice things about you. Reality check- being in business is tough, and receiving negative feedback is just part of it. Your goal is to learn from the situation and do what you can to turn the relationship around. Make them feel GOOD about your company despite what they originally thought when they made the comment or review. Maybe they had a bad experience and this is their way of letting you know. Even if you don’t agree with how they are handling it or the words they’re saying, your business can be better because of their comments.  We all want to be heard, which is probably the reason they made the comment in the first place. Hear them out! Remember, your reaction says a lot about you and your company so you want to respond wisely.

2.    Understand their perspective

If someone leaves a negative comment about your company, it’s understandable if you want to get a little defensive. After all, this is your company and you know how good you really are. But hold off on that. Instead, take a deep breath and calm yourself down. Now put yourself in their shoes so you can see from their point of view and try your best to understand where they’re coming from. Is their complaint valid? Would you feel the same way if a certain situation happened to you? Is this something others are experiencing too? If so, you may need to step back and take a look at where this issue is coming from. Even if you still truly believe the comment is false, do your best to view it from the other side, and then respond from that place.

3.    Consider what they have to say

Let’s make this clear right off the bat: you do not have to agree with the negative comment or review. BUT, your customers have a unique perspective that you do not. They feel pain points a lot quicker than you do, and in ways unfamiliar to people on the inside. They might hate the way your website functions when you think it’s incredibly well-designed and user-friendly. This is why listening to what your customers say will make or break your company. After all, you are doing this for them, not the opposite. If they’re talking, you better listen! Could you make some changes for a better customer experience? What are the pros and cons of making a change? Have others made similar comments in the past? Sometimes we are blind to issues and the way we do things in our own company. This is why analyzing negative feedback and making the appropriate changes (when they make sense) can actually help your business more than getting positive comments.

4.    Explain your decision

After taking the comment into serious consideration, it’s time to make your decision and have strong reasoning to back it up. This lets the customer know that you’ve thought over what they had to say and you’ve considered their suggestions. This does not mean you have to make changes simply because of their comment though. Point out the valid points they mentioned in the review and thank them for bringing it to your attention. State your plan of action and tell them why you chose to go a certain route.

Trust us, you are not the only one who receives negative feedback. Here’s an example of one we received and how we handled it.

We have an email list for artists whom we typically send out art workshop information and sale flyers to. Since we received a great response on our Keeton’s Facebook page with our encouraging and inspiring posts, we decided to add to the emails an encouraging story written by a different Keeton’s employee each week. We were blown away by the positive responses we started receiving about these emails. We were truly helping our customers on a deeper, more personal level. However, we did receive an email from a regular customer complaining about how our emails should be strictly art related. Instead of ignoring the customer’s response, we considered what she had to say. Were we sending out too many emails? Were these emails not providing value? How many positive comments have we received? We even looked at the open rate of these emails versus the other emails we were sending out. Our conclusion was to keep the encouraging emails as they were helping far more people than that one customer. We explained to her our reasoning and suggested she just delete the Monday morning emails when they come in.

It’s ok to disagree with negative reviews you receive. The important thing is to hear your customer out and take any and all comments into consideration. You want to keep a positive relationship with them and turn their negative experience into a positive one. Even if you don’t agree with what they have to say, try to come up with a solution that helps them with their problem. Also, don’t take negative reviews to heart. We know how devastating they can be but people just like to voice their opinion. Remember that. Although a punch to the gut can hurt, consider all the positive feedback you get as well. You can’t make everyone happy but you can address their concerns and be understanding to their problems.  Next time you receive a negative comment, stop yourself from deleting it and instead try out these four phases of handling negative feedback to build positive relationships with your not so happy customers. And for more information on your online reputation and why it matters, visit our friends over at Reputation Management. They do a great job at explaining why your reputation is an important thing to consider and some shocking stats you need to know!

What Not To Do When Adding New Friends To Your Life

friends
By Nicole Tinkham

When it comes to creating a friend group, you have more control than you may realize. We’re surrounded by so many people in our lives; some that have a good influence on us and others who have a bad influence on us. These people come and go and it’s easy to hang out with the same people without putting much thought into it. But what if we told you that these people in your life, and more accurately the 5 people you spend the most time with, will determine your success? Would you reconsider who you allow in your circle?

When the people you choose to surround yourself with are positive, uplifting, and are people you admire and aspire to be like, a real change begins to happen in your life. You’ll start achieving more goals, dreaming bigger, becoming happier, and discovering your passions. But in order to find the best people possible for your friendships, you’ll have to do some soul searching. What we know about friendships already (that they just happen) needs to be reconsidered. Now is the time to make better choices, so we put together a list of what NOT to do when adding new friends to your life.

1.    Don’t add someone just to add them

We often strive to surround ourselves with more and more people. We sometimes think that the more friends we have, the better off we are. But the opposite is actually true. It’s more beneficial to have just a few friends who inspire you and lift you up than a bunch who don’t have any kind of positive influence in your life.

Your top five people that you spend the most time with are the most important. The habits of these 5 people are the habits you’ll most likely pick up by spending time with them. Don’t fill these spots up with just anyone. Choose your friends wisely. Be patient because it may take awhile to find the perfect friends.

2.    Don’t choose people who you don’t admire

There are times when it seems like all the wrong people flock to you. You may not have a lot in common with them or no real connection. Don’t just settle! Pick and choose your friends based on how much you admire them. What type of person do you want to be more like? Who do you look up to? Who’s doing the thing you would one day love to do? Remember that the more you hang out with these friends, the more you’ll pick up on their positive habits, and those habits could change your life.

3.    Don’t always be the giver

The perfect relationship will be a balanced one where you’re not always the one giving. Constantly giving will drain your energy! Make sure that both people in the relationship are growing and becoming better people. There shouldn’t be one dragging the other down.

Friendships aren’t just life’s little bonuses. They can actually shape who you are. If you’re spending too much time with toxic people, you’ll have a difficult time rising up to be the person you want to be. Don’t let it happen to you! Cut ties with those toxic relationships if you have to and choose to spend your time with more people who lift you up. You’ll become a happier and more positive dreamer who actually follows through and achieves great things. So when adding new friends to your circle, keep these 3 things NOT to do in mind.

6 Ways To Give The Perfect Gift This Holiday Season

gift
By Nicole Tinkham

The holidays shouldn’t be a time of stress but often times the panic sinks in when we see the long wish lists of our family and friends. It can be overwhelming to come up with the perfect gift for each person not to mention pricey! We believe that giving should never be a hassle though. It should be easy and come from the heart. No taking the gift card route this year! We challenge you to pick out a gift for everyone on your list that is something they truly want and need in their life. Give meaning to the gifts you give! Ready? Here are 6 ways to give the perfect gift this holiday season.

1. Pay attention

Start this ahead of time. Spend some quality time with the people closest to you and really study them. Figure out what interests them. Discover the little things they like. They’ll most likely drop subtle hints about what they like and what they need. If you’re really good you can pick up on these little things without the recipient even realizing that they needed that item! Remember that people don’t always ask for what they want which is why it’s important to pay attention well before the holidays. You need to dig deeper. Consider what would make their life easier. What’s something they need to replace? What could they benefit from? This is all about them! So put yourself in their shoes.

2.  Consider personality

When you’re shopping for someone else, look for things they absolutely love and are a little obsessed with (like cats, art, the color purple, a certain football team, coffee). You can actually combine the first point in this blog with this one. Here’s a little equation we came up with..

What they subtly hint they want + something unique to them = the perfect gift
Here’s an example: Someone who loves to read needs a new bookmark. They also love monkeys. Monkey bookmark!

Be sure to find something unique. If everyone knows this person loves monkeys, then they’ll most likely be getting them anything they can find with a monkey on it.  Find something different that no one else would think to get them.

3.  Consider their hobbies

Hobby gifts are so meaningful because they allow the recipient to do something they absolutely love to do. Consider what can help them achieve their goals. What do they want to learn more about? What can help them in their career? What do they like to do just for fun? What do they like to do with their friends and family? These are the types of gifts that can drastically change lives! It’s all about learning new skills, becoming a better person, and moving forward with a passion.

True story from Nicole: One year I got my husband a bunch of medical books (what to expect in med school, a medical dictionary, and some other fun ones). It may sound like a boring gift to some people but that’s where his passion lies. It helped him get excited for med school and the journey he’s on.

4.  Give to a cause

Even with the incredible ideas in this blog post, there’s bound to be someone on your list who’s impossible to shop for. Some people honestly don’t want anything or they just seem to have everything already. That doesn’t mean you can slack off with a gift card though. A really creative gift idea is to give to a cause they’re passionate about. You’ll still have to get to know that person and determine the charity they would most want to give to. Do your homework on the recipient and give to a cause under their name. It’s a unique gift idea that they’ll truly appreciate.

5. Give your time

Never underestimate the value of time! We are all short on time so when we can give our time to help someone else out, it becomes such a powerful gift. You’ll have to get a little creative with this. Think about what skills you have to offer. Can you help with a home project? Watch their kids or pets? Make them a nice dinner? It may seem like a simple gift but just allowing them some extra peace and quiet in their lives can go a long way.

6. Make something

You are a creative person! Whether you’re an artist or not, we believe that you do have a creative side. We all do! Get artsy and make gifts like ornaments, baked goods, goodies in mason jars, poems, and more. If you don’t make the actual gift, consider adding your personal touch through handmade cards and wrapping paper. Crafty gifts are meaningful because they require time and effort. There’s endless possibilities when it comes to handmade gifts so get your thinking cap on and create something perfect for the person on your list. Remember, you always have to keep them and what they like in mind first.

Giving gifts should only put you more into the holiday spirit. It shouldn’t stress you out or make you dread the holidays. Use this opportunity to get to know your friends and family a little more. Follow these 6 ways to give the perfect gift and have fun coming up with clever ideas they’ll absolutely love. If nothing else just spread love and joy to everyone you see. Tell us, what type of gifts are you giving this holiday season?

5 Small Art Mistakes That You’re Probably Making

By Nicole Tinkham

mistakes

You are an amazing artist! Whether you’re an experienced artist who’s been creating for awhile or a total beginner, there’s always room for improvement. In fact, these five mistakes that you could be making are ones that you probably already know. But it’s always great to have a reminder. We’ll touch on everything from the media you’re working with to washing your hands before starting a project. Seriously, these are super basic but must-know tips. Read on for 5 small art mistakes that you’re probably making and how to fix them.

1.    Your environment is off

It sounds so simple but let’s face it, artists get messy. It’s just what they (typically) do. Before you begin working on a project, clean up your space. If there are any projects with wet paint, get them out of the way. Gather ALL of the supplies you’ll need before you begin working. Also set your space up to make you feel more creative. Move your easel by the window, move some plants over to the area, and do whatever it is you need to do to get in the zone.

2.    You’re not patient enough

Are you impatient?? No worries if you are, we and many other artists who we know can relate. Remember that it’s important to take the time to let your ink and paint dry completely to prevent unwanted smudging. If you’re working in oils, the struggle is real! You can always use mediums that will speed up the drying time though. Dry time isn’t the only struggle artists face with impatience though. Work with many details can take time, learning takes time, improving your skills takes time, great ideas take time to come up with. Art in general takes time! Take a deep breath, get focused, and try not to rush things.

3.    You’re not working with the right media

Use the right materials! It’s so easy to pick up the closest brush and start creating but it may not be the correct brush for your particular project. If that’s the case, your desired effect could be off and frustration can creep up on you. For example, if you want fine details you should use a small liner brush, not a large flat one. Pick the right supplies for the desired effect and know that quality supplies do go a long way. If you’re just starting out and aren’t sure which supplies are best for your project, just ask! We’re always here to help (call us at 941-747-2995) or ask a fellow artist or instructor. We’ve found that the art community is super supportive so don’t be afraid to speak up and learn from others.

4.    You forgot to wash your hands

This is a simple one but so important and especially so when drawing! The oils from your hands can affect the paper you’re working on and how the pencil lays on it. It’s something you may not think about since when the creative mood strikes you just jump right into it, right? But a quick wash is best before beginning a new project.

5.    You overwork yourself

Everyone needs to take a break. It fuels you to keep going and be more productive. We know many artists who work straight through the night and get very little sleep. We understand that nothing can stop that creative mind of yours but we suggest listening to your body. When you feel overly exhausted, it’s time to take a break. When you’re totally drained and can’t think of any ideas or aren’t moving forward with a project, it’s time for a break. Trust us when we say those breaks will pay off in the long run! You’ll return with a clear mind, ready to go!

You are a talented artist (we’ve seen your work and know this is a true statement 🙂 ) but the little things in this blog make a big difference. As you learn new things, it’s easy to slip up on the small things you’ve probably heard a thousand times in the beginning. Just keep these 5 small art mistakes in the back of your mind on your next project and see the improvement. Even small improvement is still moving you forward! Keep on going artists, you are doing incredible.

9 Tips For Believing In Yourself And Your Artwork

By Nicole Tinkham

believe.jpg

You don’t have to be an artist to be struggling with your belief and confidence but we know many artists who do. It’s not easy being an artist (we’ve written a whole blog on it here) with exposing your creativity to the world, a world who doesn’t all understand what it means to be an artist. There’s a constant battle of ups and downs, feeling like you’re just not cut out to be an artist then selling a major piece. No matter what area in life it is, it’s extremely easy to let the beliefs of others soak into your own mind leaving you to think you’re just not worthy. We are determined though to get your belief back in both yourself and your artwork! Read on for 9 things you can start doing today to boost your confidence.

1.    Get in the right mindset – You need to change those negative beliefs into positive ones. Here’s a simple exercise to help you do it. Write down your negative beliefs, all of them! Just jot them down in your notebook. Now ask yourself if these beliefs are true. If you think they are, what is your evidence? If you don’t have any, that means the belief is false and you need to cross it off your list. Literally, draw a line through each one. Now it’s time to turn that negative belief into a positive one. Here’s an example.

No one likes my artwork.
I have a following of people who love my artwork.

We know that just writing out the positive belief won’t change everything overnight. That’s why you must read your list of positive beliefs every single day. Don’t stop looking them over because this works! The more you read them, the more you’ll start believing in them.

2.    Focus on the process, not the failure. Failure is the top reason for insecurities. We often take failure to heart and are fearful of making the same mistakes in the future. But if we shift our mindset and start looking at mistakes as opportunities to grow, we are more willing to try new things. Your career as an artist is a process. Believing in you is a process as well. Give it time and continue to move forward no matter what.

3.    You are the expert of your own artwork – Maybe you’re feeling insecure and think you don’t know as much as some more experienced artists. First of all, you will get there with time and practice. Also remember that no one knows your artwork better than you. This is where you are truly the expert. You have all the answers and people can’t question it because it’s your creation. You can’t be wrong here! Feeling a little more confident about it now?

4.    Test yourself and see what you can really do – Get out of your comfort zone and do something different and a little scary. This will not only improve your skills but it also makes those other scary things not seem so bad. It’s like having a fear of heights and deciding to go skydiving. Now climbing a ladder won’t seem half as bad! You are capable of so much but you’ll never realize it until you try new things.

5.    Success partner – Having a success partner to help you get through your struggles and to help push you to greater heights has got to be the greatest support system you can have. They’ll be there to work through the problems, help you get over your fears, and reach your goals. Learn how you can find a success partner here.

6.    Don’t compare yourself to other artists – Always look to other artists for inspiration, not comparison! Everyone is on their own journey and at a different stage of the process. Comparing yourself to others can be a very dangerous thing and it’s easy to start feeling very down on yourself by doing so. Realize that you’re on your own path and you’ll get to where you want to go if you keep focused on your own journey.

7.    Read self development books. These will help you get your mind right and become a more positive, happy, and confident person. It doesn’t matter which book you decide to read as long as you’re flooding your mind with positive thoughts. The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz is a great one to start with. Also treat your body well by eating healthy and being active. It helps you feel better all around.

8.    Hang around people who you aspire to be like – They say your personality turns into the 5 people you spend the most time with and we couldn’t agree more! If you have toxic friends who aren’t trying to do any better with their lives, you need to start hanging around people who lift you up and who inspire you to be a better person. The negative people in your life will only want to bring you down with them. Be selective with who you spend your time with and you’ll quickly start picking up some positive habits which will lift your spirit.

9.    Practice often – So much improvement can happen simply by practicing often! If you’re nervous about sharing or talking about your artwork to others, just start talking about it to everyone! We know it’s a scary thing but it’s the best way to get better at it. It does get easier once you make that leap.

Your success starts with your belief in yourself. Whatever you believe about yourself, you are right. So if you believe that you’ll never sell any of your artwork, you never will. But if you know in your heart that you were born for greatness and that you can make your dreams come true, you will be a huge success. With all the negativity in the world, it’s not an easy task but if you implement these 9 ways to believe in yourself and your artwork, you’ll get there and you can make incredible things happen.

Everything You Need To Know About Bullet Journaling And Keeping Your Life Organized

buet-journaling
By Nicole Tinkham

There’s a new cooler way to keep track of your happenings! Go ahead and ditch that non creative planner and jump on board with us as we discover the craze of the year, bullet journaling. Having a creative mind doesn’t mean you have an excuse to be unorganized. We’ll show you how you can be artsy and still have everything in order through a journaling/planning technique that can change your life. Read on for everything you need to know about bullet journaling and keeping your life organized.

What it is

Put simply, a bullet journal is a customizable to-do list, journal, planner, organizer, calendar and note taker all in one book. With this type of journal you can create your own pages which allow it to work with you and your schedule rather than you having to fit your priorities into a pre-made planner like we’re used to doing. Before you get all crazy with your notes and ideas, know that your bullet journal should be super structured and there’s a reason for that. It’s designed for you to be productive, keep up with reaching your goals, and weed out the unimportant tasks that can hold you back. Not everyone is a structured person and that’s fine. Your journal should have at least some structure but you can also make it your own.

Why you should try it

Not all planners will suit your needs. Have you ever bought a planner that doesn’t provide enough room to write the tasks and appointments you need to? Or maybe the planner is too big when you’d really like something smaller. Or maybe you’d like to track something (like a food journal) that a typical planner doesn’t allow for. This is why you need a bullet journal for total customization!

For the creative thinkers who don’t like structure but also need to get organized, this is for you. It’s perfectly acceptable to doodle in a bullet journal. In fact, it’s highly encouraged. You can make it your own and it’s a fun way to get used to organization in your life.

So many times we think having a different list for everything helps us stay organized when in reality, it just stresses us out even more. Think about it. You have your grocery list, your to-do list, your brainstorm of creative ideas list, and more. Having all these different types of lists everywhere can be distracting. With a bullet journal it’s all right there in one notebook making your life easier.

You can set goals for yourself and actually make them happen. Since you can customize this journal, you can include your big goals and areas that you need to work on and fill them in daily. Having your goals and tasks clearly written will keep them in the front your mind so you can achieve them.

You can be totally unique and artsy! Add some color, doodles, fancy handwriting, fun washi tape, and more. This seriously takes planners to the next level.

Every day can be organized differently and you can change things up as needed. You can’t do that with other planners. You won’t get bored and you’ll discover new and better ways to staying organized.

You can add in a habit tracker to help you stay on track with good habits. It’s simple too! Every day you do something right, you fill in a square for the day. This will show your consistency, where you need to improve, and will help you get better at doing that habit. This is especially helpful to visual people who like to actually see their progress on paper.

You can put in as much time as you want. You can set up your day in just 2 minutes or you could spend more time reflecting and jotting down each detail. You can make it super simple but most people like to spend some more time on it and make it look nice too.

You don’t need any fancy supplies, unless you want them! All you really need is a grid journal and a pen. Colorful pens, highlighters, stickers, and other embellishments are just an added bonus.

Different ways to do it

There are two ways to go about bullet journaling: Setting it up 100% yourself as we’ve talked about or purchasing one with premade pages.

It may sound like the premade books go against everything we’ve said about customizing your own journal but hear us out. If there’s a specific goal you have in mind, there may be a journal out there to help you reach that goal specifically. For example, we’ve seen nutrition bullet journals that are set up to plan for meals as well as other things. Even if you go with this option, it won’t be like a typical planner. These are creatively designed and provide you with what you should need to achieve your goals.

If you take the DIY route, all you’ll nead is a gridded journal (in any type and size) and a pen. You’ll be writing everything out yourself but you can use the guidelines below for marking tasks to help you stay organized.

Simple dot = Task
X = Task complete
> = Task Migrated
< = Task Scheduled
O = Events
= Notes
* = Gives task priority
! = Creative idea/inspiration
An eye drawing = Further research required

You’ll also want to leave a few pages in the beginning of your journal open for the index which is what brings everything together. You’ll have to number your journal pages which can be time consuming but it’s definitely worth it in the end. As you work through your book, simply add topics to your index and indicate which page number they are on.

Top tips

•    Create a weekly log where you brain dump all the things you want to get done for the week but not sure which days you’ll do them.

•    Break your days up into time periods. Several tasks don’t feel so daunting when they’re grouped by time and importance.

•    Separate your events in a creative way with doodles or washi tape.

•    Include your reading and movie wish list into a to-do list

•    Get a quality notebook that you absolutely love. We recommend Moleskine.

•    Use a ruler to help you create straight lines.

•    Use planner stencils to help you create fun shapes.

•    Use colorful page flags to help you easily find the page you need.

•    Create a “waiting on” list. This is great for when you place an order for something and are waiting for it to be delivered. Be sure to include the arrival date so you can track it!

•    Have a section to set monthly and weekly goals.

•    Create fun themes by doodling around your lists.

•    Log your memories. Jot down certain words that remind you of a particular event or doodle it.

•    Include a gratitude section.

•    Have fun with your headers on each page. Learn new creative lettering and just have fun with it.

•    Develop a planning routine. Sit down to plan each month, week, and day. Take the time to do this and in the end you’ll be more organized and will actually save yourself time.

Still don’t think bullet journaling is for you? We DARE YOU to give it a try just for a month or two. We totally believe in the power of keeping goals organized and how fun you can make this normally boring task if you do it right. We think bullet journaling will blow your mind! It’s totally different than anything you’ve ever seen before.  Give it a try and be sure to let us know how it goes!