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7 Benefits of Bullet Journaling and Why It’s Great for Everyone

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7 Benefits of Bullet Journaling and Why It’s Great for Everyone

There’s just something about the physical act of writing that helps you remember things more clearly, whether it’s something you have to do, someone’s birthday, or just the name of that book that you want to buy. You may have owned dozens of planners throughout your life and always started with good intentions, only to find yourself abandoning them a few weeks later in favor of to-do lists on post-it notes instead. The solution you may be looking for is bullet journaling.

Bullet journaling is an extremely customizable system, as you can use any notebook or even loose-leaf paper, and fill it in the way you want it to look. After testing it out, you can upgrade to a fancy notebook with graph paper and benefit as much as you like from the new system.

Bullet journaling is for everyone, and each person can use it to fit their specific needs. Let’s take a look at all the benefits bullet journaling offers.

1. It’s Customizable to Your Needs and Budget

I needed a unique planner since I planned to use it for a full-time job and full-time graduate school. All of the other planners I had used were good for one or the other, but not both. Using the bullet journal meant that I could divide up the weeks, days, or hours exactly how I needed to, even if that changed week to week.

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It also helped me stick to my budget. I didn’t have to spend $100 on a planner with custom-designed pages. I just added a $1 ruler to my shopping cart, and now I can draw in my own pages. Some people use washi tape to decorate their bullet journals or to help them color code things, but it’s just as easy to use inexpensive highlighters or colorful gel pens instead.

For a first-timer, you don’t even need to buy anything. You can use the system with paper and pencils that you already have around your house.

2. Set up Is a Breeze

It can seem intimidating to look at a blank notebook and realize that it’s up to you to fill in the design and the content, but bullet journaling is actually very easy. You don’t have to make it pretty, even though a lot of the online inspiration is overwhelmingly gorgeous. The official website has a very simple design, with just a few different icons to keep tasks, personal, and notes visually separated[1].

The first page of my journal is dedicated to the key. It has each symbol drawn with the definition beside it, plus I have what my different ink colors mean (I have one for each class, so I can quickly see what homework is due). You can include whatever you want in your key; if you don’t like the official icons, make up your own!

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3. It Promotes Organization

Bullet journaling is a great system simply because of how visually impactful it is. It makes sure the important parts of your to-do list stand out and grab your attention when necessary. It’s easy to see at a glance what you need to do that day, and you can create monthly log pages so you can see long-term goals and activities.

It also keeps everything in the same place, so you won’t lose your to-do list between days. At the end of each work day, I make a short list for the following day about what I need to do. That way I don’t have to spend time first thing in the morning trying to remember what I need to be doing, or trying to remember where I left the list.

4. It Keeps Everything Where You Can See It

This is especially good for people who are visual learners. Everything is always within sight—something that you can’t get with a digital planning method.

I also like being able to track my productivity across time. Since everything is kept inside one notebook, I can see what I struggle with and what patterns I’ve fallen into. This was a great insight for me, and one that I would never have been able to get if I’d stuck with my haphazard post-it note method.

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5. It Inspires Productivity

I hate seeing undone tasks in my planner when bullet journaling. If you can see that you still have to email a professor or send out that memo to your coworkers because that box isn’t filled in, then you’re more likely to get it done that day in order to mark it on the task page as complete.

It’s also nice to get to the end of the day or the end of the week and see that everything has been completed. It’s a nice sense of accomplishment that can help me relax over a weekend.

6. It’s Great for Keeping Lists

I find myself constantly adding lists to my journal. When bullet journaling day to day, making a list is as easy as turning to an empty page and writing down your items: a packing list, a list of books that you’ve bought but haven’t had time to read yet, a list of movies that you want to see, a list of article ideas that you want to write…anything that comes into your head has a place in the planner, so it won’t be forgotten or lost.

7. It Makes Tracking Long-Term Goals Simple

The third page in my planner is a calendar for this year with “write every day” written across the top. Each day that I get some writing done, I mark off on this page, and try to keep the chain going each day. This was one of my New Year’s resolutions, and once December 31 rolls around this year, I’ll know for sure how well I kept that resolution. I won’t have to guess, as it’s plainly written out in my planner.

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I also suggest creating a page with a list of long-term goals, a place you can turn to when you’re unsure of if you’re heading in the right direction with your decisions. This is a page that will help you measure how and why you’re making decisions in order to propel you forward.

The Bottom Line

Bullet journaling is one of the most versatile ways to keep yourself organized and to offer a helping hand to your mental health. It’s great for those who are already good planners, and it’s even better for those who aren’t sure how to get on track with everything they have to do.

With all the extra space your mind will have now that it doesn’t have to remember the due date of that project or the date of your niece’s birthday, you’ll have more time and energy to devote to being more productive and spending time on things you enjoy. Start bullet journaling today and see exactly what it can do for you.

More Tips on Bullet Journaling

Featured photo credit: Ava Sol via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Bullet Journal: Home

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Kathryn Harper

Media Relations Manager

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Last Updated on January 13, 2022

How to Use Travel Time Effectively

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How to Use Travel Time Effectively

Most of us associate travel and time with what we’re going to do one we get to our destination. Planning and mapping out what to do once you arrive can certainly make for a more pleasurable vacation, but there are things you can do while you are on your way that can make it even better.

Sure, you can plan for the things you’re going to do on your vacation while you are travelling en route – but what about making use of that time for other things that you don’t usually do when you’re at home? You don’t need to have your gadgets with you to do it, and you can really connect with yourself if you take the time to manage your life while heading towards your vacation destination.

Here are some great tips to help you with your time management while you travel, some of which are more conventional than others. Nonetheless, you can find out what works best for you and apply them accordingly depending on when and how you are travelling.

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1. Take Your Time Getting There

As I write this, I’m on a flight to San Francisco. Flying is the fastest way to get from place to place, and for many people it’s really the only way to travel.

But I’ve often taken the train or ferry on trips so that I have extra time without distraction to get more done. I’m not worrying about navigation or lack of space to do what I want to do. Instead I’m able to focus on getting stuff done during the time I’ve got without feeling rushed. For example, when I took the train from Vancouver to Portland, it was an eight hour trip and I managed to get a ton of writing done and closed a lot of open loops. It also was less expensive than flying, which was a bonus.

Sometimes taking the long way to get somewhere on vacation can be the best thing for you to get somewhere with your life.

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2. Go Gadget-Free

This is going to be a tough one for a lot of you. But why do you need to bring your gadgets with you when you go on vacation? It isn’t be a bad idea to leave all but one of them behind, and only pull out that one when you absolutely need to do so. In some countries, you’d be wise to be discreet with them anyway since flaunting them in front of those that are less fortunate than you isn’t a good practice. While it may not seem like flaunting to you, in different cultures it can definitely come across that way.

If you can’t go gadget-free, then at least go Internet-free. If you use a task management app that requires syncing across your multiple devices to be effective, remember that if you only have the one device with you then it can be the “master device” for the time being and will store your data locally anyway. Just sync up when you get home.

3. Reflect and Prepare

Finally, going on any sort of excursion gives you the perfect opportunity to reflect on where you’ve been. The fact you have removed yourself from where you usually are can give you a perspective that you simply can’t get when you’re at home. You may want to journal your thoughts during this time – and by taking more time to get to your destination you’ll have more time to dig deeper into it.

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After a period of reflection – however long that happens to be – you can then begin to not only prepare for the rest of your travels, you can prepare for the rest of what happens afterward. The reflection period is important, though. You need to really know where you’ve been in order to properly look at where you want to be. Time away from things gives you that chance.

Conclusion

Traveling isn’t always about where you’re going and how quickly you can get there. In fact, it’s rarely about that at all.

More often it’s where you’re at in your head that will dictate how much you benefit from traveling. So don’t just go somewhere fast. Instead, take your time on the way there and take the time to connect with not only where you are but who are while you’re there.

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If you do that, you’ll have a better chance to be who you want to be when you leave.

Featured photo credit: bruce mars via unsplash.com

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