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You Only Need A Tiny Journal To Supercharge Your Productivity

You Only Need A Tiny Journal To Supercharge Your Productivity

You know next month will be busy. Several big projects are due at work, your friend is getting married, and your sister wants you to babysit while she goes on vacation. Suddenly, you start to dread those reminders popping up on your smartphone. That little screen covered with pinging reminders and to-dos is making you feel claustrophobic.

Technology is great for so many things. But sometimes old-fashioned tools just make more sense. Making use of a simple handwritten journal will not only save you from the stress of technology overwhelm, it will also make you more productive in your daily life.

The Challenge of Staying Organized

Chances are you have tried different methods of organization in the past. Post-its, phone apps, calendars. They all have their place as organizational tools. Yet, each of these tools lacks the ability to cover all of your organizational needs in a given month. The sticky side of a Post-it note wears out, and somehow your Post-it reminder about this week’s dentist appointment ends up in the goldfish bowl. Phone apps are easy to ignore when reminders pop up while you are busy doing something else. Calendars don’t usually have enough room for you to list all your daily tasks.

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The Bullet Journal

The Bullet Journal — Invented, ironically, by a digital product designer, this handwritten organizational system is now increasing productivity for people around the world. Ryder Carroll of Brooklyn, NY experienced the same challenges with organization that all of us face in the digital age. Yet instead of turning his smartphone to silent, hunkering down, and hoping the barrage of reminders would stop, he decided to invent a new strategy for getting organized. In the process, he wound up returning to old-fashioned pen and paper to get the job done.

Setting Up Your Bullet Journal

The Bullet Journal only takes about half an hour to set up at the beginning of each month. Setting it up involves creating a simple index along with monthly and daily logs. Carroll invented a collection of symbols to easily separate tasks, events, and notes. As a result, you can write down everything you need to get done all in one list, while easily distinguishing between these three categories. The monthly log allows for an overview of the weeks ahead, while the daily log breaks down your to-dos into bite size chunks. Check out this video for more information about the Bullet Journal and how to set one up for yourself.

The Bullet Journal has been featured in the Los Angeles Times, and it enjoys over 100,000 followers on various Facebook groups. In a time where smartphone apps reign supreme, this handwritten system has gathered quite a following.

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Simple Ways to Get Started

1. Buy a paper journal of your choice.

It doesn’t get any easier than that. The Bullet Journaling system works with any type of journal or notebook.

2. Find and make use of a pen.

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Yes, I am actually putting this as a step. Considering that most of us spend our time typing or inputting information on our phones, finding a quality pen takes attention these days. I also want to highlight how ridiculously simple it is to get started with a Bullet Journal to show you that you really have no excuse.

3. Watch Carroll’s short video about setting up the Bullet Journal.

You can find the video in the middle of this article. Pay attention to the symbols he uses and be sure to record each page in your index. Other than that, his tips are pretty self-explanatory.

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4. Enjoy increased productivity and less stress.

With all of your reminders and notes in one place, you can scan your daily log in the morning and then relax, knowing that you will remember to get everything done.

Featured photo credit: Pixabay.com via pixabay.com

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Lindsay Shaffer

Freelance Writer, Artist, Photographer

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Last Updated on March 31, 2020

How To Break the Procrastination Cycle

How To Break the Procrastination Cycle

How often do you find yourself procrastinating? Do you wish you could procrastinate less? We all know how debilitating procrastination can make us feel, and it seems to be a challenge we all share. Procrastination is one of the biggest hindrances to moving forward and doing the things that we want to in life.

There are many reasons why you might be procrastinating, and sometimes, it is really difficult to pinpoint why. You might be procrastinating because of something related to the past, present, or future (they are all intertwined), or it could be as simple as biological factors. Whatever the reason, most of us follow a cycle when we procrastinate, from the moment we decide to do something to actually getting it done, or in this case, not getting it done.

The Vicious Procrastination Cycle

For some reason, it helps to understand that we all go through the same thing, even though we often feel like the only person in the world who struggles with this. Do you resonate with the cycle below?

1. Feeling Eager and Energized

This is when you commit to taking a new action or getting something done. You are feeling confident and optimistic that, this time round, you will do it!

2. Apprehension Starts to Come Up

The beginning stages of optimism are starting to fade. There is still time, but you haven’t done anything yet, and you start to feel uneasy. You realize that you actually have to do something to get it done, and that good intentions are not enough.

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3. Still No Action

More time has passed. You still haven’t taken any action and probably have a lot of excuses why. You start to panic a little and wish you had started sooner. Your panic starts to turn into frustration and perhaps even irritability.

4. Flicker of Hope Left

You can still make it; there is a little time left and you ponder how you are going to get it done. The rush you get from leaving your task until the last minute gives you a flicker of hope. There is still time; you can do this!

5. Fading Quickly

Your hope starts to quickly fade as you try desperately to understand why you just can’t do this. You may feel desperate and have thoughts like, “What is wrong with me?” and “Why do I ALWAYS do this?” You feel discouraged, or perhaps angry and resentful at yourself.

6. Vow to Yourself

Once the feeling of anger or disappointment disappears, you most likely swear to yourself that this will never happen again; that this was the last time and next time will be different.

Does this sound like you? Is the next time different? I understand the devastating effect that procrastination has on many lives, and for some, it is a really serious problem. You also have, on the other hand, those who procrastinate but it doesn’t affect them in any way. You know whether it is affecting you or not and whether it undermines your results.

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How to Break the Procrastination Cycle

Unless you break the cycle, you will keep reinforcing it!

To break the cycle, you need to change the sequence of events. Here is my suggestion on how you can effectively break the vicious cycle you are in!

1. Feeling Eager and Energized

This is when you commit to taking a new action or getting something done. You are feeling confident and optimistic that, this time round, you will do it! The first stage is always the same.

2. Plan

Thinking alone will not help; you need to plan your actions. I always put my deadlines one or two days in advance because you know Murphy’s Law! Take into consideration everything that you need to do, how long it will take you, and what you will need to get it done, then plan the individual steps.

3. Resistance

Just because you planned doesn’t mean that this time is guaranteed to be different. You will most likely still feel the resistance so expect this. This stage is key to identifying why you are procrastinating, so when you feel the resistance, try to identify it immediately.

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What is causing you to hesitate in this moment? What do you feel?  Write them down if it helps.

4. Confront Those Feelings

Once you have identified what could possibly be holding you back, for example, fear of failure, lack of motivation, etc. You need to work on lessening the resistance.

Ask yourself, “What do I need to do to move forward? What would make it easier?” If you find that you fear something, overcoming that fear is not something that will happen overnight — keep this in mind.

5. Put Results Before Comfort

You need to keep moving forward and put results before comfort. Take action, even if it is only for 10 minutes. The key is to break the cycle and not reinforce it. You have more control that you think.

6. Repeat

Repeat steps 3-5 until you achieve what you first set out to do.

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Final Thoughts

Change doesn’t happen overnight, and if you have some deeper underlying reasons why you procrastinate, it may take longer to finally break the cycle.

If procrastination is holding you back in life, it is better to deal with it now than to deal with the negative consequences later on. It is not a question of comfort anymore; it is a question of results. What is more important to you?

Learn more about how to stop procrastinating here: What Is Procrastination and How to Stop It (The Complete Guide)

Featured photo credit: Luke Chesser via unsplash.com

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