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Last Updated on January 5, 2021

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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Published on September 21, 2021

How Remote Work Affects Your Productivity And Wellbeing (Backed By Data)

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How Remote Work Affects Your Productivity And Wellbeing (Backed By Data)

The internet is flooded with articles about remote work and its benefits or drawbacks. But in reality, the remote work experience is so subjective that it’s impossible to draw general conclusions and issue one-size-fits-all advice about it. However, one thing that’s universal and rock-solid is data. Data-backed findings and research about remote work productivity give us a clear picture of how our workdays have changed and how work from home affects us—because data doesn’t lie.

In this article, we’ll look at three decisive findings from a recent data study and two survey reports concerning remote work productivity and worker well-being.

1. We Take Less Frequent Breaks

Your home can be a peaceful or a distracting place depending on your living and family conditions. While some of us might find it hard to focus amidst the sounds of our everyday life, other people will tell you that the peace and quiet while working from home (WFH) is a major productivity booster. Then there are those who find it hard to take proper breaks at home and switch off at the end of the workday.

But what does data say about remote work productivity? Do we work more or less in a remote setting?

Let’s take a step back to pre-pandemic times (2014, to be exact) when a time tracking application called DeskTime discovered that 10% of most productive people work for 52 minutes and then take a break for 17 minutes.

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Recently, the same time tracking app repeated that study to reveal working and breaking patterns during the pandemic. They found that remote work has caused an increase in time worked, with the most productive people now working for 112 minutes and breaking for 26 minutes.[1]

Now, this may seem rather innocent at first—so what if we work for extended periods of time as long as we also take longer breaks? But let’s take a closer look at this proportion.

While breaks have become only nine minutes longer, work sprints have more than doubled. That’s nearly two hours of work, meaning that the most hard-working people only take three to four breaks per 8-hour workday. This discovery makes us question if working from home (WFH) really is as good a thing for our well-being as we thought it was. In addition, in the WFH format, breaks are no longer a treat but rather a time to squeeze in a chore or help children with schoolwork.

Online meetings are among the main reasons for less frequent breaks. Pre-pandemic meetings meant going to another room, stretching your legs, and giving your eyes a rest from the computer. In a remote setting, all meetings happen on screen, sometimes back-to-back, which could be one of the main factors explaining the longer work hours recorded.

2. We Face a Higher Risk of Burnout

At first, many were optimistic about remote work’s benefits in terms of work-life balance as we save time on commuting and have more time to spend with family—at least in theory. But for many people, this was quickly counterbalanced by a struggle to separate their work and personal lives. Buffer’s 2021 survey for the State of Remote Work report found that the biggest struggle of remote workers is not being able to unplug, with collaboration difficulties and loneliness sharing second place.[2]

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Buffer’s respondents were also asked if they are working more or less since their shift to remote work, and 45 percent admitted to working more. Forty-two percent said they are working the same amount, while 13 percent responded that they are working less.

Longer work hours and fewer quality breaks can dramatically affect our health, as long-term sitting and computer use can cause eye strain, mental fatigue, and other issues. These, in turn, can lead to more severe consequences, such as burnout and heart disease.

Let’s have a closer look at the connection between burnout and remote work.

McKinsey’s report about the Future of work states that 49% of people say they’re feeling some symptoms of burnout.[3] And that may be an understatement since employees experiencing burnout are less likely to respond to survey requests and may have even left the workforce.

From the viewpoint of the employer, remote workers may seem like they are more productive and working longer hours. However, managers must be aware of the risks associated with increased employee anxiety. Otherwise, the productivity gains won’t be long-lasting. It’s no secret that prolonged anxiety can reduce job satisfaction, decrease work performance, and negatively affect interpersonal relationships with colleagues.[4]

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3. Despite everything, We Love Remote Work

An overwhelming majority—97 percent—of Buffer report’s survey respondents say they would like to continue working remotely to some extent. The two main benefits mentioned by the respondents are the ability to have a flexible schedule and the flexibility to work from anywhere.

McKinsey’s report found that more than half of employees would like their workplace to adopt a more flexible hybrid virtual-working model, with some days of work on-premises and some days working remotely. To be more exact, more than half of employees report that they would like at least three work-from-home days a week once the pandemic is over.

Companies will increasingly be forced to find ways to satisfy these workforce demands while implementing policies to minimize the risks associated with overworking and burnout. Smart companies will embrace this new trend and realize that adopting hybrid models can also be a win for them—for example, for accessing talent in different locations and at a lower cost.

Remote Work: Blessing or Plight?

Understandably, workers worldwide are tempted to keep the good work-life aspects that have come out of the pandemic—professional flexibility, fewer commutes, and extra time with family. But with the once strict boundaries between work and life fading, we must remain cautious. We try to squeeze in house chores during breaks. We do online meetings from the kitchen or the same couch we watch TV shows from, and many of us report difficulties switching off after work.

So, how do we keep our private and professional lives from hopelessly blending together?

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The answer is that we try to replicate the physical and virtual boundaries that come naturally in an office setting. This doesn’t only mean having a dedicated workspace but also tracking your work time and stopping when your working hours are finished. In addition, it means working breaks into your schedule because watercooler chats don’t just naturally happen at home.

If necessary, we need to introduce new rituals that resemble a normal office day—for example, going for a walk around the block in the morning to simulate “arriving at work.” Remote work is here to stay. If we want to enjoy the advantages it offers, then we need to learn how to cope with the personal challenges that come with it.

Learn how to stay productive while working remotely with these tips: How to Work From Home: 10 Tips to Stay Productive

Featured photo credit: Jenny Ueberberg via unsplash.com

Reference

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