bullet journal hacks and ideas

Bullet Journal Hacks and Ideas

In the past few years, bullet journaling has become an extremely popular way to organize your tasks and record your memories. A bullet journal is a combination of a planner, a to-do list, and a diary, so it can hold virtually everything that you need to write down. But are you familiar with all the bullet journal hacks and ideas?

If you’re just starting your bullet journal, you may be overwhelmed by all the different possibilities. There are an unlimited number of sections you can include in your journal, and you can design them in any way you want. While this gives you lots of room for creativity, it also can make it difficult for you to decide where to start.

With this type of journal, it is important that you have a good plan beforehand, but also that you learn some little tips and tricks that seasoned bullet journalers have already begun using.

This whole post is going to give you an inside look into some tips and “hacks” for your bullet journal, whether you are brand new or have been working with this type of journal for a while.

Keep reading to get the inside scoop on bullet journaling.

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    Deciding on your sections beforehand

    Out of all the bullet journal hacks and ideas, what’s the number one trick everyone should know?

    Preparation! This is a lot more important than people realize. When you rush through setting up your bullet journal, you probably miss a lot and don’t have room to move stuff around or add new pages. The best thing you can do is make a lot of the big decisions before you even put the bullet journal together.

    Choosing all of your sections before you set up your journal will help you keep it organized. You can add collection pages at any time when you think of them. However, if you want sections in your bullet journal that repeat each month, deciding on them beforehand will help you space everything out evenly and leave enough pages for each topic.

    What pages to add

    The main sections for a bullet journal are the index, the future log, the monthly logs, and the daily logs. Some popular collections pages to consider adding include:

    • Yearly goals
    • Books you’ve read or plan to read
    • Movies you’ve seen or plan to watch
    • Recipes to try
    • Things that made you laugh
    • Your favorite quotes
    • Goals or tasks
    • Personal or business lists
    • Packing lists and travel goals
    • Other miscellaneous collections or pages

    If you’re using your bullet journal to track your goal progress or to help with new habits, you can add monthly collections pages. Choosing about the different sections and collections you want will help you select your journal size. Some section ideas include:

    • Sleep tracker
    • Weight tracker
    • Water intake
    • Chore log
    • Spending and savings logs

    As you can see, there are many pages to add and a lot of ways to approach the journal.

    Write down a list of the main sections you want first, such as the index and the calendar logs. Then, come up with a list of other pages, such as those above or others you want to add. Then you can come up with a good order to put the pages in the journal. This very crucial preparation step will save you a lot of headaches later on.

    Make all your decisions before starting

    You don’t want to get halfway through creating your bullet journal before realizing that your setup won’t work. When deciding how to design your journal, consider all of the different sections you plan to include.

    Do you want all of your pages to be uniform, or are you okay with some variety between sections? Would you prefer your monthly task lists to be written in calendar form or in list form? What do you plan to use for signifiers?

    If you want to be very creative or artistic with your journal, try designing a couple of sample pages on loose sheets of paper before starting your journal. This will help you figure out exactly how you want to format your different sections without having to remove pages from your journal that you don’t like.

    Start looking at other bullet journals and sample pages to get a look and feel for how people like to set them up. Don’t just try to copy one person’s journal, but rather use multiple journals as inspiration. Many times, you find the inspiration you need to add your own flair and creativity to your own journal.

    Start simple

    When looking up hacks and ideas for your bullet journal, you’ll probably see lots of elaborate, beautifully-decorated journals with dozens of different sections and collections. You may be inspired to create the be-all and end-all of bullet journals, but it’s better to start simple. Even with all of these bullet journal hacks and ideas, pick and choose what works best for you.

    If you’re not used to journaling, you may get overwhelmed quickly and be more likely to quit. Keep it simple until journaling becomes a habit, then start adding more detail or more content.

    Try beginning with just the main sections of a bullet journal: the index, the future log, the monthly logs, and the daily logs. Add a couple of collections pages that are important to you, but don’t go overboard. If you want to add some color or doodles, go ahead.

    However, your bullet journal can also be written entirely in pencil with no fancy designs or drawings. Focus on the content more than the appearance, and build on the foundation of your bullet journal only when you really feel inspired.

    Not artistic? That’s okay! You don’t need to be in order to make your bullet journal look pretty, but also keep your simple design at the same time. Try using some of the following items to create good layouts that don’t require too much thought:
    Use a ruler when making lines, boxes or grids.
    Try small stickers as your signifiers instead of drawing them yourself.
    Get printables with designs already on the pages.

    Leave blank pages between sections

    It’s up to you whether you set up your journal for months in advance or take it one month or week at a time. If you do choose to get a few months ahead with your journal design, leave more blank pages between each section than you think you’ll need. It can be very frustrating to want to add a new collections page or a longer daily entry but not have enough space.

    The more you journal, the more ideas and inspiration will come to you. Leave at least five or six blank pages between each month, just in case you have a lot to report. If these pages end up staying blank, it’s completely fine. If you do run out of space in one section, though, don’t worry. The index at the beginning of your journal will keep track of where everything is, so you can skip ahead to the next blank page and record it in your index.

    If you aren’t sure where in your journal you might want to add more pages, just add one blank page after every few sections. This gives you room to add more as needed, and additional space in the journal if you end up migrating pages later on.

    Color code your different categories

    Once you’ve set up your journal and have gotten used to it, color coding is a great next step. There are a few different options for color coding, so you’ll have to decide which is best for your own journal. You can color code each section of your journal, so monthly logs are all one color, daily logs are another color, and collections are other colors. One option is to color code your collections based on these categories:

    • Things that have happened
    • Things you plan to happen (books to read, recipes to make, etc.)
    • Habit tracking
    • Ideas
    • Tasks and goals

    Another option is to get more precise and detailed with your color coding of individual tasks or items in the journal. Instead of assigning each section its own color, you can color code subcategories within the sections. For example, you can mark up your monthly spread according to different tasks or events that day. Doctor’s appointment days could be blue, birthdays could be red, and bill due dates could be green.

    You can also color code your daily log by assigning different colors to different tasks. This is mostly the purpose of signifiers, but some people respond better to colors than to symbols. You could use a different color for job or school tasks, chores, events, reminders, and memories. If you’re serious about color coding, buying a collection of high quality colored pens might be a good idea. You can also use highlighters or markers to assign colors to different topics.

    Try using sticky notes of different colors when deciding on the colors for each section. This allows you to do the planning work without having to keep going back and switch the colors. Once you are settled on them, you can then go in with pens or markers to assign colors permanently to the pages of your bullet journal.

    Keep signifiers simple

    Signifiers are the symbols in your daily logs that provide visual categorization. You can take a quick glance at your list and see what type of tasks or reminders you’ve written. This is a fantastic organizational method, but it can get confusing and messy if you use too many symbols.

    The purpose of signifiers is to easily recognize what’s written in your daily log, but if you have 20 different symbols to keep track of, you’ll just have to spend more time remembering or decoding the symbols. Some people keep a fold-out key for their signifiers in the cover of their journal. This can be very helpful, but it’s usually easier just to keep your signifiers simple.

    You should be able to split up your daily entries into just four or five categories. You could use one symbol for things you need to do, one for appointments or events, one for reminders, and one for memories you’ve recorded. Once you get familiar with your signifiers, you may want to add new ones to be more specific. Try to gradually add signifiers instead of introducing them all at once, so you can take the time to get familiar with them.

    If you are having trouble deciding what signifiers should be, consider shapes and what they mean to you. These do not have to be the same as for other people. Here are some examples:
    ❤️For any list of things you love.
    ⭕Often used for bullet points, you can check items off a task list.
    ⭐When you do something amazing, use a star!

    Use threading

    You may have projects or collections that spread out throughout your bullet journal. You can flip to the index page to find all the page numbers, but that can be a hassle. Threading is a helpful way to connect the pages of your ongoing projects, even if they aren’t in consecutive pages in your journal.

    In the bottom corner of the page, write the page number of the previous or next entry of that particular topic or collection. This will quickly and easily direct you to the correct page when you want to see the collection in its entirety.

    Don’t forget to add the threaded pages to your index! It is imperative that you stay as organized as possible with your bullet journal.

    Use sticky notes

    You may sometimes have short-term reminders or small lists that you want to write down but don’t want to keep in your journal permanently. Grocery lists and weekly meal plans are great lists to keep on sticky notes with your daily or weekly logs.

    Also, if you design your monthly logs one at a time, you may have an event or task to remember in the next month but don’t want to make the log for that month yet. In these cases, you can add a sticky note to your current monthly log as a reminder to jot the information down when you make next month’s log.

    Sticky notes can also be used to put blank pages on hold for collections or projects. You may have an idea for a collection but aren’t yet ready to write it down. Keep a sticky note with your idea on a blank page, so you’ll remember that the page has a purpose.

    Get creative with your sticky notes! You don’t have to just use the plain, boring yellow ones. Not only are there a lot of fun colors to choose from, but fun shapes as well. If you can’t find shapes in your office supply store, check craft stores in the planner and journaling section. They often have different options, like stars, hearts, dogs, and just about every shape you can think of.

    Mark important pages with washi tape

    Washi tape comes in a wide variety of colors and patterns, and it can be a useful organizer for your journal. To mark an important page, you can line the edge with washi tape, which will let you easily turn to the page without needing to check the index. You may want to use washi tape on your monthly spreads or on important collections pages. You can even color code pages with the tape, which will make it even easier to find important pages.

    Use Washi tape to add more color and design to your bullet journal, but also for organizing. If you don’t like boring grids and boxes that you draw, make them with the Washi tape instead.

    Make it look pretty

    Once you’re comfortable with the layout of your journal and journaling has become a habit, you can start decorating. Making your bullet journal pretty is a great stress reliever, and it can make you feel especially proud of your project.

    You can find hundreds or even thousands of pictures of bullet journals online, which can provide some inspiration. However, your journal should be representative of you. While finding ideas from others is a good starting point, you should always put your own creativity into it. You can start by choosing a theme, which can change each month or remain constant throughout your whole journal. Your themes could be related to travel destinations, nature scenes, current holidays, or anything else you’re interested in.

    Decorating your page headers is another way to spruce up your journal. Try practicing your cursive to write elegant headers, or write your headers in bubble letters and fill them in. You can use highlighters or colored pens to decorate around the heading, or you can draw a banner around the heading to make it stand out. If you like doodling, you can add decorative borders to your pages or devote entire pages to drawings.

    Even if you don’t feel that artistic, you can make your bullet journal look great just by keeping it organized and adding some color. You can add patterned washi tape to your pages to make them more artistic, or you could include photos in some of your entries to break up the text.

    Use stickers and stencils found at your local craft store if you want to add more color and creativity to the bullet journal pages.

    Make journaling a ritual

    Many people are very excited to write in their journal for the first few days, but they quickly fall off the wagon and forget about their project. The best way to stick with your bullet journaling is to make it a habit or a ritual. Try to keep your bullet journal in the same place, so it becomes a regular fixture in your life. This may be on your nightstand, in your kitchen, or in your bag to go with you everywhere.

    One great thing about bullet journaling is that it’s a much smaller time commitment than other types of writing. Once you set up your monthly spread, you just have to jot down a few bullet points each day. However, this also means that it’s easy to tell yourself, “I can write this down tomorrow and catch up.”

    Maybe it will only take you a few minutes to catch up the following day, but getting in the habit of procrastinating your journaling will eventually lead to you stopping entirely. If you have a thought that you want to record in your journal, write it down as soon as you can.

    If you’d rather write everything down at once instead of sporadically throughout the day, find the best time of day for you to write. This could be during your lunch break, right when you get home from work, before you go to bed, or whenever you feel the most productive or creative. Set a reminder on your phone to journal during this time, and make it a habit to journal every single day.

    Find the time of day when you would enjoy using the journal the most. This might be early in the morning, or right in the middle of the day when you are on your lunch break. This should always be fun for you, so choose what works best for YOU.

    Don’t compare to others

    Looking at other people’s bullet journals can be great for finding ideas or inspiration, but you shouldn’t compare your journal to theirs. You’ll see some journals that look like professional pieces of artwork and others that only contains messy bullet points written in pencil. As fun as it can be to decorate your journal, the content matters more than the appearance, and your content is unique to you.

    Also, don’t think that just because other people include certain topics or collections in their journals, you have to as well. Bullet journals are very customizable, so you only need to include what’s relevant to you. Don’t make your journal look a certain way or contain certain topics just because other journals do. This will make your journal less sincere and authentic to you.

    Keep looking for inspiration

    Your bullet journal should always be representative of you, but you should also keep looking for inspiration to stay interested and motivated. You can read blog posts about bullet journal ideas or look at other people’s journals on Pinterest, Instagram, or YouTube. You might see something that’s perfect for your own journal, and adding a new page will spark your enthusiasm.

    Continually looking for ways to improve your journal will prevent it from becoming just another chore. It should be a fun project that helps you stay organized and lets you record important moments or ideas. If you focus on what really inspires you to write, your bullet journal can become a lifelong project.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    How do I start a bullet journal?

    Wow, that was a lot of bullet journal hacks and ideas but what if you’re brand-new? Most of us have a lot of things on our minds, yet we don’t put enough of it down on paper. Many of those ideas and thoughts bouncing around in your head can sometimes start to feel overwhelming. You may have secret hopes, dreams, love interests, failures or ups and downs going through your head.

    It can be hard to remember each of those and it can be very difficult to keep all of your thoughts organized without writing them down somewhere. A great way to remedy this, as well as clear your mind a little, is to write everything down in a journal. Keeping a journal is great for anyone and is an awesome way to express yourself away from any judgment of others. Below are some tips for starting your first journal.

    1. Protect your privacy – You must first think of ways to protect your privacy when you start a journal. This is especially true if you plan to add ideas that you don’t want people stealing. Always reserve the first page of your journal for your name and phone number or email address. This way, if it gets lost, you might get lucky and have it returned to you. If you like to write online, you may consider getting a personal email set aside just for your journal entries. Alternately, consider getting a flash drive to keep your entries on and make them password protected.
    2. Date your entries – If you are only able to establish one habit when writing in your journal, it needs to be adding dates to all of your entries. This will allow you to reconstruct your entries chronologically by dates. It can also let you notice the silence in between certain entries.
    3. Keep and read what you write – Many don’t feel the need to go back and read what they have written. However, it can be of great importance to go back and read what you wrote previously. You can be pleasantly surprised with how much you knew before and how far you have come.
    4. Write thoughts down quickly – Many people who journal regularly know all to well about “journal block.” This is the same as writer’s block and you can lose everything you want to write down if you don’t get it out in time. To outsmart this block, write everything down as fast as you can or as soon as you have a thought come to mind. Don’t tell yourself you will write it down later because you might miss your chance.
    5. Be truthful – Your own personal truth is not your enemy. You are writing for yourself, not for anyone else. Do not try and talk yourself out of getting to know yourself better and trying to understand how you really feel about things. You have to give yourself permission to tell the truth about everything. Also, give yourself the ability to go at your own pace. If you are having a hard time facing your own truth, you can slow it down a little.
    6. Write naturally – The best thing about keeping a journal is that there are no rules to follow. Don’t overthink what you are writing or how you are writing it. Write naturally and enjoy the process. You will gain more from it than you realize. Even with all these bullet journal hacks and ideas, don’t go over the top and try to do “all the things” at once.
    7. When you start, don’t stop – When you start a new entry, it is best to start with the present moment. This could be what is going on in your life that day or that week. It is best to keep the thoughts and ideas flowing. Add in how you are feeling about everything going on as well. When you come back to read old entries, you will find it easier to relive the moment if you were more descriptive about how you were feeling as things were happening in your life. While writing, don’t take time to go back and edit or rewrite anything. Let everything flow out naturally.
    8. Start with a quick meditation moment – In order to get yourself ready for a writing session, take a few moments to take some deep breaths and meditate. You can use a variety of things to help you get in the mood for writing. The use of deep breathing, soft music, stretches or candles are all great things to help get your creative juices flowing.

    What do I write in my bullet journal?

    There is nothing quite like that breath of fresh air that tends to come with starting a new year. For those who have stumbled and made mistakes in the year gone by, it is their time to start to rebound and make better choices for the future. For all of us, it is a time of self-reflection and hopefully some positive changes. Many use this time to come up with some resolutions for themselves for the new year. A common (and productive) one is to choose to start journaling. Today we take a look at some creative ideas for writing prompts for each season. These bullet journal hacks and ideas will keep you writing all year long!


    We start with the coldest of seasons because this is the time when New Year’s resides. If you happen to decide to start your journal during this time of year, then you need some creative ideas to get those writing juices flowing.

    A lot of people associate people getting out and about during the Summer time, what about those interesting people who are outside during the frigid Winter. Surely there is something interesting to say about them.

    You don’t even have to write about this exactly idea, but it probably got you thinking already. The point is to spark a creative jolt within you.


    The weather is starting to warm up and people are in a better mood (generally speaking of course). This time of year is one that we can all appreciate almost no matter who we are. You might choose to write about revitalization and how even in the darkest days of Winter, we always know that Spring will still come around and make everything feel new and fresh again.

    If you are feeling like being contrarian in your journal, how about writing about the decay of certain things (think abandoned malls, outdated inventions). Either direction can take you on a fun journey in your journal.


    Each season possesses a unique challenge for the writer to tackle. It can be difficult to remain motivated to write in one’s journal when all of our lives are so busy. However, we have to remain on the straight and narrow in order to continue to fill that journal up. A few of these writing prompts may just help make the process a little easier.

    And of course, summer vacations are prime for bullet journals! From the planning to the packing list, to the adventures along the way!


    This is the season of Halloween and of football. Sports are a go-to topic if you can’t think of something else to write about. Who is your favorite team? When did you first decide that would be the team you support? What about their rival team can you just not stand?

    For Halloween, think about what really scares you. Not just the vampires and goblins, but your true fears in life. What are the things that keep you up at night? Are you afraid to even talk about them out loud? If so, writing them down may give you an outlet to release some of that fear and move on.

    What do I do on the first page of my bullet journal?

    Categorize your index

    A huge one in the world of bullet journal hacks and ideas. A chronological index is very helpful for keeping your bullet journal organized. The way you format you index is up to you, but it’s usually wise to list your index items by page number. However, you can also add additional pages to your index that list everything by category. This way, you can easily find all the pages that relate to a specific topic.

    One category for your index page may be monthly logs. Then, you can easily see the page numbers for each monthly log all grouped together. If you have a lot of collections, you can list the different categories in your index. When you want to find all of your journal entries that involve that particular topic, you won’t have to scan through your entire index. Instead, you can go right to that category in the index.

    If you don’t want to make a separate index page for categories, you can also color code your traditional index page. Your journal entries and categories can stay concisely listed on one or two pages, but you can also find entries quickly by recognizing the colors.

    It’s important to decide how to format and use your index before you start setting up your journal. Make sure you leave enough pages at the beginning for your index to expand if it needs to. If you want to divide your index into lots of different categories, consider splitting your index pages into two columns, which will give you twice the space.

    Write your index in pencil when first starting your bullet journal. This makes it much easier to switch around when you are still working out where the pages should be.

    the 4 P's of time management

    What are the 4 P’s of Time Management?

    Time management is a way to know where you spend your time and what you can do to improve it. If you find that you can’t get everything done or you are exhausted and aren’t sure why, it probably comes to how you manage your time. The 4 P’s of time management can help focus your attention on the key characteristics to make you more productive.

    Here are some of the best time management tips that can make a positive difference in your life.

    Prioritization leads to better time management

    The first one of the 4 P’s of time management kick-starts the whole process. You can’t really have good time management without prioritization.  How can you manage your time if you don’t know what’s important and what isn’t?

    Do your tasks have external or internal deadlines?  Can you group tasks together?

    I am a big fan of grouping tasks.  If I have several doctor’s appointments to make, it’s so much more efficient to knock them all out at once.  If there are several emails that you have to send, take 30 minutes and get them all taken care of.

    I want to mention errands specifically.  With the increasing cost of gas (not to mention traffic in my area), I try to group errands together.  And I’ve even been known to mentally map them out to reduce the amount of back-and-forth I have to drive.  And while you might save a few dollars in grocery bills by visiting multiple stores, balance that savings against your gas cost and your time cost.

    Before you put together your to-do list, make sure to check out these strategies to create a more productive to-do list.

    Planning for more efficient time management

    Once you have your prioritization taken care of, next comes planning.  How do you plan to get it all done in the time you have available?

    Looking at your calendar, review the blocks of time that are immoveable (appointments, meetings, jobs, etc) and then work around those.

    If you feel like you don’t have enough time for everything, then it comes down to one of two things: you are either trying to do too much, or you aren’t spending your time wisely. Take a few days to write down what you work on each day (including non-work tasks), and how long each thing took you. You might find you spend too much time reading email, on social media, or just procrastinating.

    Whether you use a time blocking system or set a Pomodoro timer for tasks, it helps to designate a certain amount of time to each task. Some tasks will take more or less time, but without a timer, it is hard to know when it is time to move on to the next thing.

    Make sure to maximize your most productive time of day no matter when that may be. 

    Everyone has their prime time to work each day, often referred to as your golden hours. This is the period of time when you tend to have the most energy and focus. When it comes to time management, you need to know when you are able to focus the most on certain tasks, and when you should spend your time on lower priority items on your list.

    Multi-tasking feels efficient but when our focus is divided, all of the tasks can suffer.  Let me just say this…

    Enough with the multi-tasking!

    We are now discovering how detrimental this can be for your focus and productivity. Choose one task to work on and focus at a time before you move on to the next on. It might seem like it would keep you from being productive, but this actually helps you to get more done in the long run.

    And don’t forget to “schedule” yourself some downtime too.  It can be hard to squeeze it in, but the more complicated our schedules become the more we need that downtime built in.

    When you do have down time, make better use of it. Read a book, learn something new, or enjoy a relaxing break. Otherwise, down time just turns into mindless tasks that don’t help you in any sort of way.

    Productivity is time management

    Brushing up on your prioritization and planning skills definitely leads to increased productivity.  Isn’t that the ultimate goal?  To get more done in less time?  And by the way, let’s be clear on the differences between busy and productive.

    There are two rules that I have to share, just so that you actually hear them:

    • Delegation: It’s okay to delegate tasks.  You can’t do it all by yourself in most cases, so if you find that there just isn’t enough of you to go around, it’s time to delegate.
    • Deletion: It’s okay to not do something.  You might also have some tasks that are just unnecessary, and more like busy work that you don’t need to spend as much time on.

    Positivity about what your time management looks like

    Out of all of the 4 P’s of time management, this is the one that can slip past me. We all have bad days — competing priorities, jobs, school, obligations, responsibilities, bills, chores, errands, family, friends, and the list goes on.

    But positivity can really go a long way.  It doesn’t reduce everything we have to do, it just makes “getting it all done” a little more bearable.

    Lots of errands on Saturday?  Maybe treat yourself to lunch.  Waiting at the doctor’s office again?  Bring a book you’ve been looking forward to reading.  I don’t even mind the 3-hour drive to my mom’s house. It’s 3 hours to myself, to listen to the radio or drive in silence and let my mind work through everything.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    What are the 4 D’s of time management?

    They are Delete, Delegate, Defer, and Do.  Personally, I love the visual guide that the Eisenhower Matrix offers for these guidelines. This works wonderfully with the first of the 4 P’s of time management – Prioritization!

    to-do list strategies - Eisenhower Matrix

    How does time management increase productivity?

    Look at it this way.  At the grocery store, we typically walk from Aisle 1 to Aisle 2  to Aisle 3.  If we shopped from Aisle 10 to Aisle 3 and back to Aisle 8, what does that do to our energy and our time?

    By being in control of our time, we can move from one task to another more efficiently and more effectively. These proactive time management tips such as using reminders, developing a planner system, establishing a routine, and time blocking are in our toolbox now!

    What are the benefits of time blocking? How does it work with the 4 P’s of time management?

    Time blocking is a method of choosing what tasks you will do during different times of the day. The blocks of time are dependent on your schedule and the tasks(s) at hand. You dedicate each block of time to one specific type of task.  This definitely goes hand-in-hand with the 4 p’s of time management, as part of the Planning step. Take a look at all the benefits:

    You Can See How You Spend Your Time

    The first benefit to using a time blocking schedule is seeing how you spend your time.  Assess your daily tasks, and how long they usually take.

    You Focus on One Thing at a Time

    Each block should be dedicated to just one task or one type of project. It is okay to use batch work, since your focus will still remain on the same type of task.

    You Have Better Time Management Skills

    If you struggle with managing your time and often spend too long on one project, then not enough time on the next, time blocking will be perfect for you.

    You Don’t Get as Bored

    With time blocking, you also tend to not get bored or procrastinate, since you move fairly quickly from one task to the next. A trap that many people fall into is that when they finish one task, they take too long to move to the next one. With time blocking, this rarely happens since you are improving the use of your time throughout the day.

    You Have More Free Time

    Lastly, you might even find FREE blocks of time, thanks to these skills. If you think you don’t have any spare time, use time blocking and find those little blocks of time when you can enjoy yourself.

    How can journaling help with time blocking?

    Journaling has been used by numerous successful people to actively engage in their future and control various obstacles that will inevitably spring up on the journey forward.

    You Can’t Stop Me!

    Let’s face it, multitasking, for the most part, is one of the biggest killers of your success in the modern age. Many of us pride ourselves on our ability to perform various tasks simultaneously, new data reveals that multitasking is not what it’s cracked up to be. In fact, multitasking renders us either unable to finish a project or leaves multiple tasks performed below our normal standards.

    Once a section of productive time has been completed, follow that with a short-duration break that can range anywhere between 15 to 30 minutes.

    Get Control of Your Work Output

    Many of us that have full-time jobs have undoubtedly heard grunts and groans from our fellow coworkers over the years about how many hours they’re forced to work. Take a look at the average person’s workday — shockingly, on an average 8-hour workday we only have 2 hours and 53 minutes of productivity.

    With time blocking through our journal, we can greatly increase our output and bring insight into how we spend our day and what activities are preventing us from getting ahead.

    As a helpful tactic for the upcoming week, write down in your journal areas of your day that you’ve found yourself wasting time, goofing off, falling asleep, or quite frankly, avoiding a certain task that you need to be doing. When we actively seek out tasks that sabotage our future, we are more inclined to correct them.

    Stress Relief

    Time blocking through a journal approach is, quite literally, like breathing a huge sigh of relief on a daily basis. Many areas of our lives, particularly our career and finances, are riddled with doubt and anxiety from lack of action and clarity.

    Journaling gives us a playbook that we can follow throughout each moment of our day and give us a map that can steer us in the right direction. Much like how a football coach would never play a game without his playbook, we should never tackle obstacles without a series of rules and pre-planned actions.

    Having structure in your day will, unequivocally, put you in the top 1% of successful people and high-end producers on the planet. In a short period of time you can not only achieve the goals you’ve laid out for yourself, but help others build structure in their lives to succeed in their personal journey.

    Erin Condren Workspace

    Erin Condren Workspace Collaboration

    An Erin Condren workspace? Yes please! Through my friends at Erin Condren, I was so excited to get the opportunity for this collaboration. One of my favorite aspects of Erin Condren is the customization options available on so many of their products. I know I’ve posted about my EC hauls before. I’ve customized spirals, sticker sheets, and planners. Someone actually made them just for me! I’ve even been to the physical store in Austin, Texas. I may have overspent while I was there…..

    (Please let me apologize a little for the quality of some of the photos, I took them with my smartphone. I wanted to show you actual pictures of the products, not just the images from the website).

    Before we dive into the amazing products I’ve been trying out, I also wanted to mention that if you love any of them as much as I do, now’s the time to buy them by clicking the sale picture!

    EttaVee In the Flow 2023 LifePlanner in Hourly Layout

    The famous Erin Condren LifePlanner! This 7″ x 9″ 12-month calendar includes mini months, monthly quotes, monthly notes and productivity pages, dated spreads, additional notes in the back, and contacts page. It also includes 4 planning sticker sheets and 1 Keep it together folder.

    Talk about having everything in one place! If you have days that are very scheduled and regimented, then this hourly layout is definitely for you. In the customization options, it also comes in vertical and horizontal layouts. You can even choose your internal color scheme from 4 unique options.

    I love the idea that this planner is the all-in-one. With the notes pages and the included folder, you can really take it all with you.

    To organize your work space:

    Watercolor Stripes Neutral Ultimate Desk Organizer

    So I have to admit, I’ve been eying this organizer for a while and was sooooo excited to get the chance to try it out. I’m constantly on the search for beautiful things that will help organize my beautiful things. And after seeing it in person, my Erin Condren Workspace needs this! The organizer is 9.375″ W x 12.1″ H x 2.5″ D when closed and 21.125” W x 12.1″ H when open. Here’s a quick rundown on the dimensions of the different compartments:

    • Accessory Section 1: 5.125″ x 2.5″ x 1.25″ (perfect for washi & other accessories)
    • Accessory Section 2: 3.25” x 4.25” x 1.25”
    • Listpad Section: 5.125” x 5.125” x 1.25″ (perfect for listpads, half-dashboards, etc.)
    • 3 Divided Compartments: 3.25″ x 4.25″ x 1.25″ (perfect for writing tools)
    • Paper section: 8.5” x 4” x .625 (perfect for 8.5″ x 11″ papers, 7″ x 9″ covers)

    Colorful Fineliner Pens 10-pack

    In addition to a crisp new spiral, I love a fresh beautiful pen. This 10-piece set includes Navy, Marigold, Garnett, Purple, Amethyst, Black, Dusk, Cerulean, Aloe, and Aquamarine. The most fabulous feature is the stand-up case. It folds back on itself and stands up on the desk at an angle. The smooth writing is perfect for color-coding and planner or journal that you use.

    To beautify your workspace:

    Metallic Monthly Deskpad

    While I plan to use most of these workspace items in my home office, this one will go to the actual office! It is a 19.25″ x 12.25″ large monthly desk calendar, plus it includes an enormous sheet of almost 400 stickers! What event does that not cover???

    Medium Mid Century Circles Rotating Desk Organizer

    This is one of those things that I didn’t know I needed until I had it! What won’t this hold – writing tools, accessories, art supplies, makeup, and whatever else you want to organize. The set includes six wedge-shaped cups and a round center cup, all of which are individually removable. And it sits at 10″ diameter as far as the desk surface it occupies. This may end up going to my actual office too!

    Erin Condren Black Pinstripe Adjustable Wood Laptop Stand

    Black Pinstripe Adjustable Wood Laptop Stand

    I have to admit — as beautiful and stylish as this is, it probably doesn’t quite work for my large size laptop. It’s definitely sturdy enough to support the weight but puts it at a strange angle. It’s beautiful and has four adjustable heights and folds up nicely to take with you from home to school to the office, or anywhere else you may be working! It is 10.5” x 10” x 1”.

    To take your Erin Condren Workspace with you:

    Large Watercolor Stripes Accordion Zipper Pouch

    I am a huge fan of packing cubes and zip bags when I travel, to keep things organized and easily located inside my backpack suitcase. I think this beautiful three-compartment zip bag would be excellent for that! Earlier this year, I took a lovely vacation to Charleston, SC with my mom and this would have some in so handy. It might even make a good toiletry bag since it just wipes clean. The pockets are 10″ x 7″ so they definitely hold a lot.

    I hope you enjoyed learning about all these ways to “up-level” your workspace with Erin Condren. I was always the kid who loved picking out new school supplies, and now with these goodies I get to do the same as an adult!

    how to establish new habits

    How to establish new habits

    Simple, yet true. Anytime you want to establish new habits and ditch the “bad” ones, you’ll face opposition from yourself. This might not even make sense because you know that the good habit is in your best interests, but you’re still struggling to stay consistent with it. One common example is eating clean. We all know that we should be eating healthy, nutritious foods, and yet, we still overconsume processed foods, sugar, alcohol and other foods that will harm us in the long run.

    “Bad habits are easier to
    abandon today than tomorrow.”

    Trying to make the switch to clean foods will be a Herculean task that’s unpalatable and a constant struggle. So how do we form newer and better habits?

    There is a proven process…

    1. Focus on 1 or 2 habits at a time

    This is one of the most important points to note. When effecting change in your life, less is more. If you try to change too many habits at once, you’ll be overwhelmed and your willpower will be drained. Changing your habits will take a toll on your energy levels… and the amount of energy you have daily is finite. So, the more you try to do, the lower your chances of success because you just won’t have enough energy to see them through daily. Just focus on 1 or 2 new habits until you master them.

    2. Go slow when you are trying to establish new habits

    Inch by inch, life’s a cinch. Yard by yard, life is hard. Even when focusing on just 1 habit, it’s best to apply it gradually. For example, instead of overhauling your diet overnight, aim to replace one or two food choices in your daily meals with healthier options. Drink one less can of soda a day. Drink more water and so on. Over time, reduce your intake of the ‘harmful’ foods, and increase your intake of the healthy foods. You’ll face fewer sugar cravings and be less likely to binge eat at night. Your body and mind need time to adapt. Yes, it will take time. You can’t rush the process and trying to do so will only sabotage your efforts.

    3. Be consistent

    The goal is to make small changes, but stick to them daily. Like Will Durant said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.” So, aim to comply with your habit requirements every single day. The more you do it, the more you’ll reinforce it in your daily life.

    4. Track your progress

    Keep a journal to track your compliance. It’s inevitable that you’ll slip up occasionally. Always remember that a slip-up is NOT the same thing as failure. You only fail when you quit. So, acknowledge your error and strive to quickly correct yourself. You’re always only one better action from correcting your mistake. Don’t aim for perfection. Even a compliance rate of 90% is fantastic.

    5. Control your environment

    You’ll notice over time that some environments make it more difficult to stick to your new habits. For example, if you’re trying to eat clean, joining your friends at the bar may make you binge on pizza later. The bar environment and the drinks made you let your guard down. So analyze why you slip up and see if the actions or environments preceding the slip-up had anything to do with it. In most cases, you’ll see a very clear and definite link.

    Once you follow these 5 steps, it’s just a matter of staying accountable to yourself and removing any obstacles that may trip you up. Do remember to reward yourself once you’ve successfully built the habit. Now it’s just a matter of practicing this new habit for life while you work on instilling the next beneficial habit. That’s it in a nutshell.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    How long does it take to form a new habit?

    “They” say that the 21/90 rule will help cement the new habit. If you’re not familiar with that rule, it states that after 21 days the goal becomes a habit. And after practicing that new habit for another 90 days, it becomes a permanent change. I think this is a reasonably good rule, and sets realistic expectations of three weeks and then three months.

    How many habits should I establish at once?

    To get the best results, it’s good practice to focus on only one or two at a time. Too many and you will lose your focus and willpower and all of the new habits you’re trying to establish could suffer. Trying to change too much at once is the recipe for disaster so please don’t set yourself up for that kind of failure and disappointment.

    Is it possible to establish new habits?

    But of course! The old habit that you are trying to lose didn’t happen overnight and neither with the new habit. But patience is the key. You have to patient for the change to happen and you have to be patient with yourself. If you slip up, that’s okay. Just refocus the next day and move forward.

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    Etsy gift guide

    Etsy Gift Guide – for journals and planners

    Who doesn’t love a good gift guide? It’s like someone else doing all the legwork and you get all the credit! And an Etsy gift guide makes for truly unique and wonderful gifts.

    enjoy the little things notebook
    Photo by Miesha Renae Maiden on Pexels.com

    While we all know what Black Friday is, you might not be aware of Small Business Saturday. I love shopping small businesses, to support folks who are going the hard road of doing their own thing and doing it on their own.

    The pinnacle of small business owners are Etsy shop owners – people who create and produce their own goods and put them out into the world. That’s why I’m so excited to talk with you about these planners, journals, and planning accessories straight from Etsy!

    This post may contain affiliate links and I may earn a small commission when you click the links but at no additional cost to you.

    The editors over at Etsy have put together a beautiful collection of journals and planners that you have to check out! I do want to point out a few of them in particular that caught my eye:

    • This customizable birth flower name journal would be perfect for your mom or a new mom you might know.
    • I saw this terrific bundle of 5 mini leather journals and immediately thought of stocking stuffers or coworker gifts.
    • I love a guided journal and this gratitude journal would be a beautiful gift for someone who needs a boost of self-reflection.
    • If you’re searching for something with a more professional appearance, you have to check out this personalized padfolio.

    An Etsy gift guide would not be complete without mentioning several of my own favorite vendors. I want to introduce you to:

    • If you’ve never checked out Planner Kate, you’re missing out! She offers all kinds of planner stickers, including stickers that are the perfect size and shape for all your Erin Condren planners.
    • Sunshine Sticker Co also offers stickers, and my favorites are the sticky tabs you can add to any planner or bullet journal.
    • I just love my planner pouch from Naptime Craze Designs, not only does it hold my discbound planner together but it has all kinds of storage for my pens and supplies.
    • If you’re looking for some fun and unique stencils, you have to check out Moxie Dori. It was one of the first stores I discovered when I started bullet journaling.

    4 people who would love to get a journal as a gift

    Many people choose to start journaling because of the unique benefits that it can provide. For example, it can help you to de-stress and to even get through some very difficult times.

    Others start journaling because they believe that family or friends may be interested in learning more about their life many years or decades from now.

    While some people buy a journal for themselves, a journal is a very thoughtful gift for someone special in your life. In fact, these are some of the people who may enjoy receiving a journal as a gift.

    A new parent

    Bringing a new child into the world is one of the most emotionally-charged experiences that a person can go through. Regardless of whether this is the person’s first child or fifth, the act of creating a life and being responsible for raising that child successfully to adulthood and beyond can stir emotions that the person may not have even known they had.

    Some new parents understandably may want to share their thoughts and feelings with their child at a much later date. After all, the overwhelming sense of love that a parent innately feels at this important time can be difficult to share later.

    The parent’s hopes and dreams for the child, lessons that he or she wants to share and more may be written down so that the child can read them when he or she is mature enough to handle them.

    A high school or college student

    High school and college years are some of the most formative and challenging years of many people’s lives. These are years when people generally transform from a child into an adult.

    Each person has a unique coming-of-age story, and a journal gives them an excellent space to capture those memories. More than that, the stress and drama associated with the transition into adulthood can stir many emotions.

    Teens and young adults may be able to use their journal to explore their feelings and to gain great insight about who they are and what they stand for.

    A retiree

    You may think that a retiree’s life is on a downward swing, but retirees may tell you that this is when their life is truly beginning.

    Retiring is a new and exciting chapter for many people. It may be filled with experiences of being a grandparent, of traveling to new places and making incredible relationships with people who they meet along the way.

    In fact, retirement can actually be much more thrilling and exciting than a younger adult caught up on the mundane mediocrity of a nine-to-five work life. Many older adults also understand that younger generations may want to learn more about their life at some point.

    A journal can be used to preserve thoughts and even to share memories from many years or decades ago. These documents may even be handed down from generation to generation so that your experiences become a part of family history.

    Someone dealing with a hard time

    Journaling is an excellent way for anyone to deal with an emotional crisis. Everything from dealing with a new disability or a divorce to overcoming grief after losing a loved one may take years to move past.

    When you give a journal to a close friend or relative who is going through a rough patch, you are showing them that you care. This is a way to tell them that you are thinking about them and that you are trying to be supportive, but you also understand that their journey at this time of life must be experienced fully on their own.

    A journal gives them a place to let it all out, and it may even help them to get through this period of their lives more easily.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    What do you include in a journal or planner gift?

    When I give a journal or planner as a gift, I like to include a few nice pens, some relevant or pretty stickers, and an accessory or two like a snap-in bookmark or a pencil case.

    Why give a planner as a gift?

    Journals and planners make great gifts, for so many people. Especially if they are going through a transition time such as changing jobs, graduations, retirements, etc.

    What do people like in a planner?

    The biggest components that a planner needs to have are a calendar system and notes pages! Everything else can be adapted to the design of the planner itself.

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