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!

The Secret To Reaching Your Goals On Time

By Nicole Tinkham

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It’s now October. Just let that sink in for a moment. That means there are only a few more months until 2016 is officially over! If you’re just now thinking about your New Year’s resolutions that you haven’t accomplished yet, you’re not alone. It’s incredibly easy to set goals for yourself in the beginning of the year and then put them off since you know you have a full year to accomplish them. But then when it gets to around this time, just a few months before the year is over, we tend to ditch the old goals and decide to start fresh in January again. But why give up on them now? You still have a few months to go!! In this blog, we’ll explain how to get in gear to reach those goals by January plus the secret to reaching your goals on time so you don’t run into this last minute situation again. Read on if you’re not ready to give up on your goals just yet.

We’ll admit, a couple of months is not a lot of time to reach some big goals you may have, but you can still make some headway before the New Year starts. For example, you may not be able to get your business up and running by January but you can save up the money for start up costs or create a business plan. Start thinking about smaller goals within the big vision you have that you can start doing right now. Breaking them down makes them seem more manageable and you’ll feel more accomplished when checking them off your list.  

Another thing you’ll have to do in these final months is get laser focused on those goals. You won’t be able to work on them just when it’s convenient for you. It’s time to get serious! This may mean making some sacrifices and working late into the night. But if you push through now, you’ll be in a much better place come the New Year. Plus, doing anything at this point is better than nothing at all! Just do the best you can and make the most of these next couple months.

Whether you’re setting goals to end the year out or looking to set new goals for next year, the KEY to actually achieving them on time has everything to do with the deadline. You absolutely must have a deadline for every single step in the process of achieving your goals. Realistically think about what it will take to reach that goal. What do you need to put into it? How much time will it take you? What type of obstacles will you possibly face and how long could they hold you back?

Once you figure out about how much time it should take you to reach your goal, move that deadline AHEAD! It could be moved up a week or a whole month. This will really help you push to get it done by the new date and if you don’t accomplish it by then, no worries because you’re still within your main deadline.

Shooting for an earlier end date really gets you focused. Sure, you may have to work harder but it also allows you the extra time to get started on the next goal. You mostly likely won’t procrastinate (as much), you’ll be more productive, and you’ll reduce stress.

However, we also understand that moving the deadline forward can easily scare some people out of getting started. That’s what your success partner is for. This person supports you along the way and holds you accountable in your journey so you actually reach those goals. You won’t want to let that other person down so you’ll be sure to follow through with what you say you’ll do! Here’s more on how a success partner can help you and how to find one.

Setting goals is so EASY! The difficult part, however, is following through with them and seeing them to the end. Don’t let the end of 2016 stop you from crossing some of those New Year’s resolutions off your list. There’s still time and you’ll be amazed at what you can achieve when you really get focused. Side note: It doesn’t have to be a new year to set goals for you! As you reach your goals, start creating new ones regardless of what month it is. When you do go about setting your goals, get super determined and push the deadline up. This gives you a little wiggle room so you don’t freak out (and give up) as the deadline approaches.

We can’t wait to hear what you’re tackling for the end of 2016. COMMENT below and let us know some goals you’re going after in the next few months.

How to get your office ready for the New Year

By Nicole Tinkham

How to get your office ready for the New Year

Besides the obvious new calendar for the year, there are a few other things you should do around the office to prepare for the year ahead. Organization is a huge one. You’ll want to get rid of any old files that you no longer need so they don’t clutter up your work area. You also want to have the supplies you need to work effectively. You may even want to rearrange your workspace so you can be more productive and get those New Year’s resolutions accomplished. It sounds like a lot of work but we’re here to walk you through the process. You know how they say “A Sunday well spent brings a week of content?” We believe this is true for the entire year. Get your office ready for the New Year with these 4 tips.

Organize
The first thing we recommend doing is going through your paperwork. Sift through your documents and ditch anything you no longer need. The second step in this process is sorting. We recommend creating 3 different piles:

•    Recycling
•    To be completed in the short term
•    To be completed in the long term

We find this system works well but feel free to categorize your piles differently depending on the types of documents you have. You should be doing this to your computer files as well!

File & Label
Once you have your piles sorted out, it’s time to file and label them. This is an important step! Everything should have a place and should be put back in that same place after use. Don’t be afraid to label like crazy, file folders, desk drawers, file trays and all. You can never be too organized. Color coding where you can is a great way to organize. Create your own system and whenever you see that particular color, you’ll know exactly what it is and where to find it.

Again, do the same thing with your computer files, even your emails! Our favorite trick for organizing your inbox is to create various folders within your email to sort unread messages. Having an “urgent” file may be a good idea. This will contain all of your most important tasks that need to be completed ASAP.

Rearrange
Work smarter, not harder in the New Year! That means it’s time to reassess your work area. Rule #1: Have all important supplies that you use DAILY within arm’s reach. Think Post-it Notes, pens, stapler, etc. Your desktop needs to be the least cluttered area of your space. This will hopefully keep you stress-free. Any supplies you don’t use often need to go in a drawer. But don’t just throw them in there. Remember, everything needs a place.

While we’re at it, let’s talk about desk ergonomics. Here are just some adjustments you can make for a more comfortable work environment: Are you using your wrist rest wrong?

Supplies
You’ve taken a look at what you currently have at your desk and we bet you’re missing some essentials that can help keep you organized throughout the year. Take a look at the list below to see what you may need.

•    Calendar/Planner
•   Post-it Notes
•    Legal pads
•    Pens
•    Highlighters
•   Stapler
•    File folders
•   Labels
•    Desk sorters
•   Page flags
•   Binders
•    Index dividers
•    Correction tape
•    Binder clips
•    Paper clips
•    Rubber bands

Having the right tools will help you get more done. Check your supplies often to make sure you have everything you need to get the job done.

We spend time getting our personal lives organized for the New Year (click here for tips on writing your New Year’s resolutions) but we often neglect our work life. Spending a few hours organizing doesn’t sound very exciting but you’ll feel so good coming in every morning to a nice clean desk. You’ll be able to get much more done and reduce your stress. We bet it’ll even put you in a better mood. Start the New Year off right by getting your desk in order! Let us know how you’re organizing by leaving a comment below or over on our Facebook page.

How to Make & KEEP Your New Year’s Resolutions

By Nicole Tinkham

HOW TO MAKE & KEEP YOUR

2015 is almost over. Yes, you read that right, and you might agree when we say that this year has absolutely flown by. For most of us, we welcome a brand new year because it often gives us a chance to begin a new season in life; out with the old/bad and in with the new/good. If you’ve ever sat down and spent time mapping out your goals for the year ahead, you’d probably agree that creating a list of things you hope to achieve in the upcoming year is actually the easy part. When the New Year rolls around, you’re inspired to do all the things you’ve always wanted to do. For example, you might try and lose weight, save money, take a vacation, go on an adventure, do new things, etc. However, after the first few months the excitement begins to fade, you lose interest, and all your plans get pushed aside. In fact, only 8% of people actually complete their New Year’s resolutions (according to research from the University of Scranton). This happens when you don’t have a set PLAN. You can’t just create a list and magically expect those things to happen. It requires a lot of consistency, effort, and persistence. We believe that 2016 is going to be a great year for you, and we can help you stay on track with these 12 tips.

1. Choose something you really want
There are two types of New Year’s resolutions. There are the things you know you should do and the goals you actually want to achieve. For example, you know you should quit smoking but you may not be ready to do so at this point. If your heart isn’t in it, you’ll seriously struggle making a commitment to it. Only include the goals you’re passionate about and really want to accomplish.

2. Narrow your list down
You can come up with a massive list of things you’d like to see yourself accomplish in the next year, but are you being realistic? While we’d love to see you reach every single resolution you may have, you must narrow your list down to only a few goals so you can actually achieve all of them. Focus on the goals that will add the most value to your life.

3. Create a plan
Larger long-term goals are daunting but can be broken down into smaller, simpler steps. Create an action plan that gets you closer to the big picture throughout the whole year. Let’s say you want to start selling your artwork. The first step you may take is attending an art workshop to improve your skills. The next may be to network in your community, followed by setting up an online store, and so on. Achieving these mini goals will keep you focused on the long-term goal.

4. Be Specific
Instead of having the goal to exercise more, be specific by saying you plan to go to the gym Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 6:00 pm. Don’t be vague in your resolutions. If it’s unclear, it becomes hard to judge whether or not you’re on track. Set specific days and times for your resolutions.

5. Schedule TIME
As you would an office meeting, pencil in time for activities that will help you reach your goal. Living such hectic lifestyles, sometimes we need to set aside time for ourselves. Some tasks may only take 15 minutes a day in which case you can do them on your lunch break. Ones that take longer should definitely be put on your calendar with a reminder alert on your phone. We suggest creating a schedule ahead of time to prepare you for what’s ahead in the week to come.

6. Always be thinking about it
Listen up because this is KEY to keeping your resolutions. Write them down! Keep them in front of you at work. Read over them before you leave the house. Talk about them. Think about them every single day. Visualize yourself achieving them. Don’t let your goals slip out of sight. Once they do, you’ll completely forget about them.

7. Record your progress
It’s a good idea to track your progress. You can see how far you’ve come, which will encourage you to keep moving forward. The way you do your tracking will depend on the resolution. Apps, spreadsheets, simple notes, or a diary are just a few of your options. You’ll also have to determine how often to record. Is it something that needs to be recorded weekly or just once a month?

8. Celebrate
Celebrate the small victories too. You don’t have to wait for the main goal to be completed to give yourself a pat on the back. Celebrate and enjoy the process of getting there. Remember, sometimes it’s all about the journey. Treat yourself with a special dinner, a small gift, a party, or whatever it is that makes you feel special (because you are!).

9. Work with a friend
Encouragement from a friend is the best way to stay on track no matter what your resolutions are. Friends push you, challenge you, and help you become a better person. Don’t forget to do the same in return. Talk about your goals and struggles frequently even if you don’t share the same resolutions.

10. Forgive yourself
Don’t become frustrated if you fall out of sync with your resolutions. You’re human and it happens. The important thing is to get right back into it with even more determination than before. Don’t stop going after a goal just because you fell off track for a little bit. Pick up where you left off and keep going!

11. Be positive
Always have a positive attitude when it comes to your goals. Believe in yourself. As soon as you begin having doubt and negative thoughts, everything will feel like it’s falling apart. Don’t let it happen!

12. Reassess your resolutions
If something isn’t working out no matter what you do, it’s ok to modify that goal. You don’t necessarily have to ditch it entirely. Make small tweaks so it’s doable in your life. If you can’t manage to save a certain amount of money and pay your bills at the same time, drop down that amount of money. No big deal.

Having a support system goes a long way in helping you achieve your goals. We want to see you SUCCEED! You are capable of so many amazing things and there is no better time to push yourself and create the life you want. We recommend that you pick out a morning or afternoon in the next few weeks to start writing out possible goals for the upcoming year. Get a cup of coffee, a writing pad & pen, and begin to jot down a list of things you’d love to accomplish in 2016. It’s free to dream, so don’t be afraid of writing down huge & scary goals. As you go deeper into the process, you’ll begin to narrow down your list and decide on goals that are reasonable and doable.

We’d love to hear about your process of choosing yearly goals. Leave a comment below with some of your resolutions for the New Year and we’ll cheer you on throughout your journey. Good luck and happy New Year!

6 Ways to Have a Happier Year

By Nicole Tinkham

As you open your new planner to the first page of a fresh year what runs through your mind? Maybe it’s a celebration. Or all the things you’d like to accomplish in the New Year. It could be a joyous feeling or you could feel overwhelmed and stressed. Maybe it makes no difference to you. It is just another day after all, right? You don’t have to make extravagant plans and goals to go into 2015. What you can do (and we recommend it) is strive to be a better person. In fact, you should be doing this throughout the year regardless. This is your chance to put the past behind you. You’re onto bigger and better things. You will go FAR in 2015. Use these tips as encouragement to move forward with a positive attitude.

1. Never underestimate the power of a SMILE

Smiling is so powerful! Have you ever burst out laughing simply because someone else laughed? Smiling is the same way. It’s contagious. Try it out for yourself. Next time you’re in a bitter mood, put a smile on your face. We’re not saying that you need to try and mask anything that you’re going through, but it’s amazing what can happen when you take a moment to just smile. If you choose to be happy and choose to smile regardless of what your struggles are, your mood and attitude will begin to change. Remember that you create the type of environment that you live in. If you enter a room with negativity, it will spread to everyone else. Strive to be uplifting!

2. Be kind to EVERYONE

Is there someone in your life you aren’t particularly fond of? You may not have anything necessarily against that person but for whatever reason you clash with them. That’s ok. You probably feel the need to ignore or completely avoid that person altogether. However, that would be the worst thing you could possibly do. Any negativity, including not speaking to a person, can lead to hurt feelings, unnecessary drama and anxiety, and can actually do more harm. We’re not saying you have to become buddies with everyone, but you should try and be nice and pleasant regardless of differences. You never know what people are struggling with in life, so maybe instead of adding more strife to their life, you can speak encouraging and complementary things to them.

3. Positive thoughts = positive life

It’s true, nothing good ever comes from negative thoughts in your head or toward other people. Sometimes it’s hard to remain positive when it feels like your whole life is falling apart. We’ve all been there and somehow we survive it. It’s at these moments that it’s most important to keep your head up. Know that it will only get better from here and that not only will you survive, but you’ll make it out a stronger person. Don’t forget that what you FOCUS on becomes your life. If you allow doubt, worry, and fear to dictate your thought life, chances are you’re going to reproduce those things in your life. And the same goes for being positive, hopeful, and full of joy! Choose your thoughts wisely!

4. Never stop giving

Continuously give to those around you. Don’t worry, you don’t have to spend a small fortune giving gifts to every single person you know. Give your support, time, love, advice, energy, encouragement, etc. Make a difference in someone’s life. Aren’t there times when you just need someone there for you? Be that person and you will receive as well.

5. Believe in yourself

Each and every one of us is here for a purpose. You’re designed to do great things. But the great hijacker of our greatest dreams is fear. You need to know that fear is a liar. It will keep you from believing in yourself and believing in your dreams. You will have your doubts and there will be people that want you to fail, but you need to decide to follow your passion no matter what anyone thinks. In the end, your opinion is the only one that matters and if you want to make a difference in your life, you have to follow your own path. Start believing that you are capable of creating the life that you want. Don’t waste your time beating yourself up and telling yourself everything you’re bad at. Instead, do the opposite. Become your biggest cheerleader, not your worst critic.

6. Be happy

It’s simple enough but many of us aren’t truly happy. Think about it. Do you go to work depressed every day? Do you continuously feel down on yourself? That’s not what life’s all about! Life is supposed to be FUN! You can choose your happiness. Do the things you LOVE. Surround yourself with the people that always lift you up.

Don’t think of these things as your official New Year’s resolutions. There’s no planning needed for this, but if you really want to find more peace and fulfillment in life, it’s important to look within yourself and see what areas you can improve in. Print this list out and keep it close. Ask yourself “Am I happy today?” and if the answer’s no, take a moment to get a new focus and direct yourself back to whom you really want to be. Do the one (or many) things you’re passionate about on a daily basis. Enjoy the small things in life like the time you get to spend with loved ones. That’s what’s really important. It’s ok to work on yourself first but also think about other people. How can you make their lives a little better? We hope the New Year is an excuse for you to be an even more amazing person and feel free to share your inspirational stories with us throughout the year. Connect with us on our Facebook page or right here on this blog.