Bullet Journals are the hybrid of a to-do list, a planner, and a diary, bringing three separate entities into one book. Typically written on dotted or grid paper, these journals are completely hand-drawn by you and so are entirely tailored to your needs and preferences. Along with a trusty index key, a journal is a log of your everyday life. With codes to help you figure out what you need to do, it’s everything that should be in your brain but in a single notebook.
Sounds complicated? Watch this.
Although it seems overwhelming, having a bullet journal can help you become more mindful and see changes in your mental health if you use it to remember, recognise, and recharge.
In our daily lives, we have so much to remember. Whether it’s a work report, needing to take the bins out, or needing to buy a birthday present for a loved one, there’s just too much going on. Plus, with so many different ways to jot down reminders, we’re often left with cluttered notes in our phones, unorganised post-it’s messing up our desks, and even shopping lists on fridge doors (that never seem to make it out to the shop). There are reminders everywhere.
If you find notes clutter up your physical and mental space, a bullet journal could help you free up some much-needed room. By using dedicated pages or spreads for work tasks for the week, home chores, or even a list of daily to-do’s, you can tailor your journal to include whatever you need to remember.
A tool to declutter the mind, with everything in one, convenient place, a bullet journal can remember all the little things for you, allowing the ability to forget and move on with your day in clutter-free environments. By writing everything down in convenient places in your bullet journal, this can not only give you the freedom to focus, but also the ability to easily find, remember, and complete tasks you may otherwise forget.
Alternatively, due to the evolving nature of a bullet journal, you could use one to set yourself goals and remember long-term plans. Although we all have personal targets we’d like to achieve; they’re often unreachable and unattainable. Without a clear plan of action or effort being made to achieve them, sometimes our long term plans can be swept under the carpet in place of day to day life.
Yet, using a Bullet Journal, you would have the ability to flick through the pages, remember any long term plans you’ve set yourself, and see what you can add into your weekly plans to make micro-movements towards those goals. For example, if you really want to get a promotion or be considered for a new big project, you could set yourself a goal of doing one extra workpiece per week. By setting achievable goals (either daily, weekly, or monthly), you’ll easily be able to track your progress, self-evaluate your efforts, and look back to see how far you’ve come.
The bullet journal was created so you could “write down information (…) to find it quickly and easily later on.” Yet, according to Minda Zetlin, the “true value of the bullet journal is mental”, as “it’s been called a mindfulness practice disguised as a productivity tool”.
With the help of ‘Trackers’, they serve as a guide to teaching you more about yourself and your habits. Whether these are in the workplace or at home, trackers can serve as a useful tool in recognising obstructive, unproductive, or self-sabotaging habits that can be setting you back in daily life.
For example, if you’re not as productive in the office as you’d like to, you could try a time tracker for a week. Using a timesheet, such as this one, can help you realise not only how much time you’re wasting, but how long working on a task actively takes. So, next time your manager asks how long you’ll take to complete a task, look back on your tracker. Instead of guessing and giving yourself unrealistically high expectations, evaluate other things on your to-do list and set realistic goals.
These trackers can also be used to improve your mental health too, with mood, habit or physical trackers. Mood trackers to record how you’re feeling on a day to day basis, whereas habit trackers allow you to evaluate your behaviour. They show how you’re coping with the physical symptoms that may come along with conditions such as depression or anxiety.
Alternatively, physical trackers allow you to see if you’re really working out as much as you’d like to and can motivate you to exercise when you might not want to. These trackers can also be beneficial when speaking to a doctor or therapist about your mental wellbeing, as you will have a documented guide on how you’re doing and steps you’re taking to combat any issues you may face.
By tracking yourself throughout the day, or sitting down at the end to reflect, you’re able to recognise the signs of a decline or incline in your mental wellbeing. By setting yourself goals, being honest, and writing it all in your bullet journal, it makes it easier to see how you’re actually doing (even if you’re trying to pretend you’re fine).
Although we’d like to, we often find it hard to keep up with journals. While it has known mental health benefits such as easing anxiety, reducing stress, and helping you to cope with depression symptoms, actually implementing and sticking with a journal can be a hard task.
Yet, filled with to-do lists, your schedule, or even trackers that help you make positive changes, a bullet journal could be the perfect medium for your mind. This solo-space for your thoughts isn’t just about your headspace, but rather your entire lifestyle.
As a bullet journal is completely customisable, this gives you the opportunity to not only plan your upcoming week, but also a creative outlet, as you design your weekly, monthly, and yearly spreads. Giving you that much needed moment away from the world to think about your time and how you wish to spend it, this freedom to create gives you both a project to work on and the tools to help yourself.
Ultimately, a bullet journal can be whatever you make of it. If you don’t have much time in the day or prefer a cleaner look, you could make a minimal design to help you declutter your life. Alternatively, if you want something elaborate and detailed, make an insane spread.
Whatever you decide to do, a bullet journal is your space to do whatever you want with. With no pressure, keep the concept true to you. Using a journal to take a moment to unwind, reflect, and recharge your batteries, implementing one into your routine could help you create a more positive future.
Written by Alison Irlam
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