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!

5 Hidden Benefits You Didn’t Know About Journaling

By Nicole Tinkham
journaling

In your younger years you may have kept a diary or journal of the things going on in your life but as we get older we tend to drift away from doing this. If you’re still doing it, that’s excellent! But if you haven’t thought about keeping a journal in ages, we have some surprising benefits of journaling that you probably didn’t know. Read on for why you should start journaling again and how it can change your life.

1.    It helps you think creatively

Studies show that while sleeping your subconscious mind wanders and makes connections with different parts of the brain as it does during creative activity which promotes creative thinking right after sleep. With that being said, you can purposefully direct your unconscious mind by thinking about specific things before bed. To do this, jot down the things you want to accomplish in your journal right before falling asleep. Write down any thoughts or questions you want to figure out and be very specific about it.

Right after waking up, grab your journal again and have a thought dump where you unleash any creative ideas or answers you’re thinking about. Just write down whatever comes to mind, be loose with it and let the ideas flow. Don’t be worried if they’re good ideas or not. Just get them in your journal. It may take some time but eventually this could help you come up with new creative ideas for future projects.

2.    It reduces stress

Having too much on your mind or scattered thoughts can lead to stress. You may have a difficult time concentrating on one thing at a time and that can be overwhelming. Use your journal to unload all the ideas you’re storing in your head. Once you have them down on paper they aren’t going anywhere and you can get back to them later. You’ll notice that doing this makes life a lot less hectic and you can finally relax.

In addition to your ideas, journaling also releases the emotions you’re holding on to. When you get your feelings written out, you can begin to let go of the things that are holding you back. You’re more likely able to let go and move on with your life by doing this. View your journal as a way of therapy.

3.    It helps with your memory

It doesn’t matter how great you think you are at remembering information, writing things down is proven to help retain that info. When learning something new, it actually helps to write it down versus type it out. By writing things down, a different part of your brain is engaged which helps things stick. Try it out next time you go grocery shopping if you don’t normally write out a list. You’ll be amazed by what you remember to pick up without even looking at the list! Writing things down also helps you work out problems and helps with your learning process, just an added bonus. So next time you’re in a rut, grab your journal and do a little brainstorming to find a solution.

4.    It makes you a happier person

If you use your journal to jot down what you’re grateful for each day, you’ll draw more positive things to your life and just be all around happier. You can start by listing the big things but eventually you’ll realize just how many small things in your life that you appreciate and may not have noticed on a daily basis prior to doing this. The little things sometimes matter more than the big things.

If you have a relationship that’s going downhill and you’d like to revive it, jot down one thing a day that you love about that person. This will get you thinking about them and all of their good qualities. Soon you won’t even notice the things that once bugged you and instead you’ll notice how much love you have for them. This can drastically change your relationship.

5.    It improves your communication skills

Believe it or not, as you write in a journal you’re speaking to someone. Maybe it’s just to you but that doesn’t matter. You still have to make sense of what you have written down. With time, journaling will improve your writing which also improves your communication skills. Start jotting down little stories and scenarios to keep your creative mind sharp and discover your voice!

Before you go on thinking journaling is a lot of work, remember that a little bit goes a long way. Also, you won’t see a drastic change overnight but with time it could boost your creativity, increase your learning and memory, help with your communication skills, strengthen your relationships, and reduce your stress. Journaling is not just something for teenage girls! Invest in a nice journal, let the ideas flow, and allow it to change your life.

Tell us, do you write in a journal? What types of things do you write in it? Let us know in the comments!

6 Tricks for Lefties

By Nicole Tinkham

Did you know that only 12% of all people are left-handed? That means the majority of the population has no idea the struggles that come with being a leftie. For starters, pen ink easily smears on the side of your hand, using scissors is a struggle, and elbow bumping at the dinner table is just straight up annoying. And not all lefties are the same. You have over-writers who position their hand above the line they’re writing on and the under-writers who do the exact opposite. So in honor of all left-handed writers, we put together a list of tips & tricks (as well as products) that will make your life easier.

1. Notebooks
Flip your spiral bound notebook/sketchbook upside down and work from the back of the book. This way the spiral binding edge won’t get in your way.

2. Pens
Look for pens that are smear proof. Ballpoint pens have quick-drying ink which will prevent smearing. Here are a few we recommend.

Paper Mate® Ballpoint Retractable Design Pen

Papermate-Pen
Paper Mate® Profile Ballpoint Pens

Papermate Pen2

Dr. Grip FullBlack Advanced Ink Retractable Ball Point Pen

Pilot-pen

3. Pencils
For lefties who prefer writing with a pencil, there’s a solution for you as well. We recommend pencils with a hard lead as they’re less likely to smudge. Check out this helpful blog to determine the best lead for your needs.

4. Computer mouse
Most computer mice are geared toward right-handed people, having grooves and buttons on the left side (accessible to the thumb). Grr! However, there are mice that suit both types of people. Hint: make sure to check the description before purchasing a new mouse!

Logitech® Anywhere Mouse MX, Wireless

Mouse1
Kensington® Mouse for Life Wireless Three- Button Mouse

Mouse2

Kensington® Mouse for Life Wired Three- Button Mouse, Left/ Right, Black

Mouse3
5. Scissors
If you’re left-handed, you know this struggle all too well. There are scissors available that are (supposed to be) comfortable for both right and left handed users. Here’s a list of some you may want to look into: Right/Left Handed Scissors

6. Padfolios
Here’s an example of an item right-handed people would have never guessed to cause issues to lefties. Most padfolios come with the pad on the right side, making it easy to jot down notes for the majority of people (except left-handed writers, or course). Look for a pad holder with the writing pad on the left side like the one pictured below.

Universal® Zip- Around Padfolio

Padfolio
We’ve learned a lot about the left-handed writer just by putting this blog together but now we want to hear from YOU! Did we talk about anything you had never thought of before? Did we leave anything out? Be sure to let us know about them on our Facebook page and help your fellow lefties out.