With so much going on in our lives, it’s important to have an outlet. An unfailing way for me to reduce overwhelm is by writing things down. If I write it down, it seems to magically disappear from my head onto the paper/screen. I’ve had many journals over the years to track and dump, and I’d like to share with you my current configuration of journals and how I use each one!
This is probably the most common type of journal I’ve been seeing around lately, on the internet and in person. I use my bullet journal for 4 main things: daily planning for busy days, habit tracking, health tracking, and memory keeping.
Here are 3 example layouts that demonstrate how I use my bullet journal:
Daily spread – here’s a simple daily spread I created. I follow a similar layout each time, including a section for a schedule, to do list, the weather, note-taking, and water tracker. It’s a working page throughout the day that I use it. I will generally do this type of journaling on a Saturday or Sunday over tea in the morning and work on creating a complete spread by the end of the day. While I love my planner for daily and weekly planning, it can be fun to do a more creative spread when time allows!2. Monthly habit tracker – this helps me to ensure that I’m taking time to do the little things each day, because these all add up to a bigger picture. It’s very insightful to notice when I fall off of a habit and helps me be mindful of my daily actions.3. Monthly stress tracker – this spread helps me to be mindful of my mental health. This is a new spread I just started this month and it’s been an interesting journey to track how I’m feeling stress-wise at the end of each night. I also have a mood tracker I use each day which has helped me realize how fleeting and diverse my emotions really are.4. Highlights – I like to keep track of big events/things that happen to me throughout the year so I don’t forget about them in the long-run. I have a pretty bad long-term memory so I like to have everything in one place to remember. It’s important not to live in the past, but it’s also very important to acknowledge what you’ve done – which I have some trouble with, and this memory-keeping system helps a lot. I feel like I’m always moving from one thing to the next and committing a memory to paper can help me slow down.
I like to keep a little journal with me in my planner in case of boredom or inspiration for calligraphy. I’ve brought it out many times in the middle of a class when there’s a lull. You never know when an opportunity will arise, and it’s better than mindlessly scrolling through social media!
Brain Dump Journals
I have these two little spiral-bound notebooks that I got from Typo that I keep near my desk that have no specific purpose other than to contain my thoughts. I sometimes write little daily overviews to get things straight, do sketches for calligraphy projects, or more commonly brain dumps to turn into to do lists.Daily Thought Journal
I picked up this cute little journal at Ross – I use it for journaling any thoughts I have right before going to bed at night. It’s become a part of my usual night routine and it’s really helpful to get me in a state where I’ll be able to stop thinking and start winding down to sleep.
Sometimes, you just have too many thoughts to sit down and write it with ink. I definitely type faster than I write and so I also keep a journal on my computer. I use Microsoft OneNote to keep everything because I can access it on my phone and both my computers. I like how you can organize the “notebooks” into “tabs” and the software is amazing in that you can add different symbols and tags. I have a specific thoughts journal on OneNote which I use for bursts of writing inspiration.
Journaling is a great way to express thoughts and record snapshots of daily life. I enjoy having different journals for different types of things, but this system is consistently changing as I begin to emphasize different things and find new, cute journals to use. I have built up an arsenal of sorts of different journals to use, and I cycle through them.
Question of the day: Do you have a journal, or more than one? How do you use it?