Bullet Journaling works for people who need to keep a granular, truncated list of tasks, appointments, and thoughts in order
It takes a narrative style journal and reduces it to single bullet points
Part to-do list, diary, and planner
It is not a scrapbook (although people do have elaborate designs in theirs)
I keep mine fairly minimalistic, but since nothing is prefabricated it is up to your own personal taste, but the more easy to read and understand it is to you, the better
It works better than a day-planner as nothing is set in stone, and you can use as much space is needed to write down your thoughts
Year at a glance
Major events (holidays, birthdays, vacations, etc…)
Major events as above
Shit you need to accomplish specific to that month
Important reminders that populate for that month (appointments, interviews, etc…)
Major events and important reminders
Smaller tasks (laundry, gym, etc…)
The major events and reminders
The smaller tasks
The “wants” (see a movie, go out to eat, etc…)
General notes about things that happened throughout the day
The idea is that you consolidate everything into one location, and as you progress throughout your week you see which things on your daily log you accomplished, you didn’t accomplish, or things that were cancelled
If they weren’t accomplished, they need to be moved
If you don’t think it is worth the effort of moving is it worth the effort of doing?
You use a series of notations (“X”, “<”, “>”, and a strikeout if you’ve cancelled the task) to show if it has been completed (X), scheduled ([<] an upcoming appointment, tickets, etc…), or migrated ([>]not completed on that day and moved to another day).
As bullet journals are not pre-fabricated you can add in modules that suit your needs
Budgeting (what you need to save, what you have spent, etc…)
Health trackers (gym, weight, food/water intake, mood trackers, etc…)
Self motivation or notes about moments that impacted you that you want to be able to reflect on
It’s best to be analog and not digital, as digital is easy to migrate. The point is to have to put in manual effort to show if something is worth doing (or not)
Why do this?
Each day is a series of decisions that impact the next series of decisions. When we don’t organize our lives in an effective way we live in a less intentional way
We can try our best to make mental catalogues of our day to day actionables (tasks, appointments, etc…) but the issue with that is we end up focusing on too many things at once. We can function this way, but it’s easy to be functionally overwhelmed.
By journaling it helps us to declutter our mind and be more capable of making rational decisions. When we are too cluttered we can end up avoiding making decisions out of anxiety, so it is important to clear your mind.
By categorizing things in an honest way (what do you need to do, what should you do, and what do you want to do), you create the mental space that allows for you to find direction in your day to day.
The action of writing turns everything to a more tangible sense and makes you question whether or not the action matters, or whether it is holding us hostage and not letting us what we need, should, or want to be doing.
The questions I ask myself are this:
Is this task useful (meaning it keeps you alive or healthy)
Is this task heartful (does it matter to you, to those in your life, and does it do good)
If the answer is no to both of the above, then why are you doing it? The more that you identify in this way, the less cluttered your life becomes
By keeping things to a bullet point that is clear and to the point you can make things more reasonable and attainable (instead of paint a portrait, it becomes a step by step guide to setting yourself up for success)
When you have lofty goals, it is difficult to keep them self-contained. By breaking a book down into chapters it becomes less of an anxiety to produce
Our day to day tasks are a map that we have to keep up to date with each discovery and each step we take
Distractions cause that map to become inaccurate and distorted, which means that we lose our course and our ultimate directions
If one does not know to which port one is sailing, no wind is favorable. - Seneca
All of this becomes possible by learning to chart an intentional life, and that can only come through self reflection.
Journaling for Emotional Intelligence
The intelligence quotient (IQ) is not as important to a self-actualized life as Emotional Intelligence is. Journaling can enable you to engage and foster your emotional intelligence through different areas
A lot of this section comes from an article in Life Labs
You can write about your feelings in your journal or reflective notes
You can analyze if your feelings are congruent with your reactions and behaviors
You can make a list of your strengths and limitations
You can then use this to focus on building your strengths and shoring up your limitations
Awareness of others
By reflecting on your work, how you work, and your relationships with other people you can examine them a bit closer
What are the roles you have at work and in your personal life
How do you feel about these roles
What works / doesn’t work
What would you like to change
By taking agency of your own self-understanding of your actions impact others you can gain more understanding into how you can improve your interactions with others
These will help develop empathy and understanding the needs of those in your life
What are your main relationships at home and at work
How well do you interact with each person
What is your body language with each person
How would you like to improve each relationship, and what would that require from you
You can identify on your own reactions to events and how you feel about them in a way to hone your responses to things that happen to you
What is the last impulsive emotional reaction you had and what was its impact
If the impact was negative what would you do different?
If the impact was positive what would you do more of?
If the impact made a difference what would stay the same?
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