A Beginner’s Guide to Journaling
If you are the kind of person who gets excited about buying school supplies and stationary, you’ve probably heard about or seen bullet journaling (or maybe done it yourself). If you’re unfamiliar, bullet journaling is “to help you track the past, organize the present, and plan for the future,” as the creator coined. Though I don’t have the time for elaborate pages, I love the idea of planning and journaling. I found some alternatives that work for me, and if you want to get started journaling as well, these may help!
Bullet Journaling & Planners
While I don’t fully bullet journal, I love some of the pages I’ve seen – budget trackers, goal lists, habit trackers, and my favorite, the Level 10 Life. The idea is that you pick ten parts of your life (there are suggested lists online), rate how well you’re doing in them, and set goals to get better. At the end of the year, you look back, see how you’ve done, and reset your goals for the next year. These two are great examples, but you of course have the freedom to structure it however you want.
I find that making individual pages from bullet journals help me to still be creative and work on planning and organizing, but without the time commitment! I also use a planner for the same reason, and I try to color-code and denote appointments, assignments, and events with different bullet points. I mark whether I’m carrying events over to another day or week, and I use my weekend spaces for general to-dos with no urgency.
With my busier schedule and frequent lack of creativity when I do have down time, using a planner over a bullet journal is perfect. I can still personalize it, keep track of things, and be somewhat artsy with it, but I don’t have to worry about finding a chunk of time where I start from scratch and draw out the month. Target, Ban.do, Poppin, and Bloom have adorable planners, and you can always find them on Amazon or Etsy.
Whenever I look through magazines, brochures, or someone’s portfolio, I almost always find something I’m inspired by – a color scheme, font, design, or something else along those lines. I started cutting them out or printing them and saving them, but I never really had a place to collect them. I found an idea online for an inspiration journal, where people paste in clippings, quotes, and whatever sparks motivation for them. I figured that would be a great way to keep everything, and I’ve been trying to keep up with it. It does require a bit of time and a few supplies, but it’s always relaxing for me and there’s no pressure to keep up with it every day. It also helps greatly whenever I need an idea for a project or design!
If these all seem like too much, I would either recommend gratitude journaling or getting a prompted journal. Gratitude journaling involves writing down at least one thing a day that you are thankful for or that made you happy, and I find that it helps me to calm down and end the day on a positive note. For prompted journals, I have this Q&A a Day journal, which is perfect for days where I can’t think of anything to journal about or days where I don’t feel like writing more than a sentence. I also have a small quote journal for inspirational, funny, or motivational quotes that I find, although I don’t have much in there right now.
Bottom line, there’s no wrong way to do any of these, and there are so many options. While the semester is nearly over, there’s no time like the present to take a few moments to yourself to get organized, get inspired, or become a little more mindful.