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.

    my schedule is too busy

    My schedule is too busy!

    We’ve all been there: juggling a million things, running around like a chicken with its head cut off, and feeling like you’re about to drop from exhaustion. However, you may not realize that when you’re schedule is too busy it can actually be counterproductive.

    It makes you less productive, less effective, and more likely to make mistakes PLUS your brain doesn’t work as well if you need to remember things and focus.

    And what’s even worse is that the more stressed you are, the harder it is to switch gears and relax. So even if you do have a few free minutes, you’re not able to fully enjoy them or use them effectively.

    A few of the issues with being too busy are:

    • You may miss important deadlines.
    • You may forget essential things.
    • You may neglect your health.
    • You may neglect your relationships.
    • You may feel stressed and anxious.

    Being too busy is honestly one problem after another. You may even be too busy to notice how ineffective you are in almost every area of your life. Plus, of course, the amount of joy you can feel when you’re overworked and too busy is greatly lessened than if you try to schedule and organize your life in a way that creates a balance with all areas of your life.

    So what can you do when you are screaming “my schedule is too busy”?

    • Recognize that being too busy is a problem. It’s not something to be proud of or boast about. It’s something to be avoided.
    • List your priorities and stick to them. If you know your needs versus wants, you can schedule them first.
    • Simplify your lifestyle and routine. Focus on your goals and what is most important to you. Identify what brings you joy and what you can live without. Let go of what doesn’t serve you and make room for what does.
    • Organize your time and space. By decluttering your life physically and emotionally, you can make space for what truly matters.
    • Learn to say no. You really can’t do everything, and you shouldn’t try. When you’re already stretched thin, the last thing you need is to take on even more.
    • Get enough sleep. Plan to sleep at least 7 to 9 hours a night. Sleep is a crucial part of health and well-being, but it’s often the first thing to go when you’re busy. Ensure you’re getting enough rest so we can be at your best.
    • Ask for help and delegate. You can’t do it all alone, and when you finally admit that you’ll suddenly become much more productive. Asking for help shows strength, not weakness.
    • Make time for yourself. You need to schedule some downtime every day, even if it’s just for a few minutes. You must turn off phones, log off from work, and focus on relaxing and recharging. Set boundaries and practice enough self-care.

    Why everyone needs downtime

    If your schedule is too busy, you probably feel overwhelmed and stressed out.

    Your to-do lists are a mile long, and your mind races a million miles a minute. As a result, you feel like you’re about to snap. Sound familiar?

    If you’re feeling like this, it’s probably because you need some downtime. Downtime is essential for our mental and physical health, yet most folks don’t make enough time for it.

    8 reasons you need downtime when your schedule is too busy

    • Downtime reduces stress. If you live an overscheduled life, your body is in a constant state of stress, leading to several mental and physical health problems. Time to relax and unwind can help reduce stress and promote better health.

    • Downtime boosts creativity. If you’re stuck in a rut, some downtime may be just what you need to jumpstart your creativity. When you let yourself relax, your mind is free to wander and come up with new and innovative ideas.

    • Downtime improves focus. By taking some time to relax, you’re giving your brain a chance to rest and recharge, so when you start working again, you’ll be able to focus better and be more productive.

    • Downtime helps you sleep better. If sleeping is hard for you, it may be because you’re not giving yourself enough time to wind down before bed. Your body needs sleep preparation time.

    • Downtime gives your body a chance to heal. Your mind and body reset and repair during rest so you can heal. When you take time for yourself, your body will repair any damage, and you can return stronger than before.

    • Downtime helps you make better decisions. If you’re feeling overwhelmed with choices, downtime may be just what you need. If you take some time to relax and clear your mind, you’re more likely to make thoughtful decisions.

    • Downtime improves your relationships. When you’re constantly doing something, you’ll have less time to invest in your relationships, and they can start to feel strained.

    • Downtime helps you find your purpose. When you are constantly on the go, losing sight of what’s essential in life is easy. But when you take time for self-care and self-discovery, you can reflect on what’s truly important to you.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    How do I overcome a busy schedule?

    The effects of overscheduling are numerous. And it takes conscious effort to back off from that lifestyle. We get so caught up in “getting it done” that we don’t even realize what we’re doing to ourselves. Stepping back and learning to prioritize can go a long way to overcoming that feeling.

    How do I create balance with a busy schedule?

    Obligations and responsibilities dominate our world and we certainly can’t get out of a lot of them. Through more proactive time management, we can get control of our schedule and create that balance that is probably lacking.

    How do I politely say that my schedule is too busy?

    One major way to reduce your business is to start saying “no” to things. But that can be hard when we have so many obligations. Here are a few ways to politely decline a request or invitation when you’re too busy.

    unproductive habits to break

    Unproductive habits to break

    We all find ourselves with unproductive habits, which can prevent us from reaching our full potential. Some of the most common unproductive habits to break include:

    Phone Habits

    Do you waste hours scrolling through social media or playing games? We must limit ourselves on how much time can be spent on the phone each day in order to break this habit. Once you hit that limit, put the phone away and focus on something else. If you are able, you can also leave the phone in another room when you need to focus on a particular task.


    If your bedroom is a mess and your purse is overflowing, staying organized and on top of things will be nearly impossible. I want to encourage you to take some time to declutter your personal space and create a system that works for you to help you feel more in control and less stressed.

    Binge Watching Shows

    I can easily get sucked into a good TV show and watch episode after episode. You know this. But this it’s also a huge time waster. If you tend to binge watch, set a limit of one or two episodes per day or assign certain times that binging is allowed, like during inclement weather or when sick.


    Procrastination is one of the most common unproductive habits and can be very damaging to your success. When you procrastinate, you end up putting off essential tasks, often leading to poor performance, missed deadlines, and overwhelm. It will help to find the underlying reason for procrastination.

    Social Media Addiction

    Social media connects you with friends and family, but it’s a significant waste of time for the most part. We need to focus on work or other essential tasks, instead of getting sucked into scrolling through newsfeeds or posting social media updates. It can also help to show how you limit yourself so your friends and family know a successful way to deal with this issue.

    Poor Sleep Habits

    Many (read: most) of us don’t get enough sleep which can lead to being tired and unproductive during the day. “They” say we need at least 8 to 12 hours of sleep each night to function at our best. The problem is that often we are so overscheduled it makes it hard to accomplish this. Take a look to see whether you are overscheduling yourself, and what could be reduced or eliminated.

    Poor Diet

    Eating unhealthy foods will make anyone feel sluggish and uninterested in being productive. A healthy diet is vital for both physical and mental wellbeing.

    Lack of Exercise

    Exercise releases extra energy and improves focus. However, many of us lead sedentary lifestyles and don’t get enough exercise which can make us feel tired and uninterested in being active. Create regular routines that encourage after-dinner walks and physical activity.

    Breaking unproductive habits can be difficult. But we focus on our goals so that we can live the abundant life we are meant to live.

    Characteristics of a Highly Productive Mindset

    (aka the opposite of the unproductive habits to break)

    Once you get beyond these unproductive habits to break, we can take a look at what the opposite looks like.

    A person with a highly productive mindset possesses many characteristics that allow them to be successful in achieving their goals. Therefore, if you want to be productive, it’s a good idea to study what productive people have that you don’t have.

    Highly productive mindsets have a clear vision of what they want to achieve, allowing them to focus on their goals despite distractions. They develop their goals by staying disciplined in their work habits and sticking to their schedule.

    In fact, even when things are tough and are always looking for ways to improve their productivity without being busy. This requires always being willing to keep learning and growing, allowing them to improve their skills and knowledge continuously.

    Read through these characteristics of highly productive people and don’t worry, you’ll soon become one after you’ve gotten over those unproductive habits to break.

    • Clearly defined goals — They know exactly what they want to achieve, and they have a plan for how to get there. Productive people are not just going through the motions but are actively working towards their goals.
    • Focused and disciplined — They can stay on task, focus on their goals, and stick to their plan, even when it gets difficult.
    • They know their own principles, morals, and values — The fact that they ensure all goals align with their personal principles, morals, and values makes it much less likely they’ll give up.
    • Organized and efficient– They use their time and resources wisely and don’t waste anything. They know how to prioritize and focus on the most important tasks.
    • Learning and growing — They constantly try to improve themselves and their skills. They are open to new ideas and willing to change their approach if it helps them achieve their goal.
    • Positive and optimistic — They believe in themselves and their ability to succeed. They are confident in their ability to overcome any obstacle.
    • Resilient and able to overcome setbacks — They don’t give up when things get tough. They can recover from setbacks and learn from their mistakes.
    • Grateful and appreciative of what they have — They are thankful for what they have and appreciate the people and things in their life. They realize that everything is a blessing, even the difficult times.

    If you want to improve productivity in your life, focus on developing a mindset that encompasses all the above characteristics. Set clear and defined goals aligned with your values and then create a plan to achieve them. Make a real action plan to know what you need to do to reach your goals when you wake each morning.

    Stay focused and disciplined and be willing to put in the hard but productive work required. Work on your organization skills to be efficient in your approach, and always keep learning and growing. Challenge yourself each step to ensure you’re doing things the best way you can.

    The biggest factor?

    Finally, remain optimistic, cultivate a positive mindset, and don’t give up when things get tough. If you can do all these things, you will achieve your goals in a very productive way without feeling overly busy and overwhelmed.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    How can I be more productive?

    Through efficient time management and building a better to-do list, you really can improve your productivity. I would love you to check out my email course, The Power of Speed, which will show you how to improve your time management skills, how to stop procrastinating, how to speed up your learning process, and ultimate how to achieve more in less time. Talk about productive!

    Why am I unproductive?

    There can be a lot of reasons we are unproductive – too many distractions, too many responsibilities or obligations, less-than-ideal habits about our sleep or our food or our exercise.

    the effects of overscheduling

    What are the effects of overscheduling?

    The effects of overscheduling can actually harm not only your health but also your productivity. Overscheduling means that you are trying to pack too much into your day, resulting in you feeling overwhelmed and stressed– leading to health problems, including anxiety, depression, and even physical illness.

    Here are just a few ways that you could feel the effects of overscheduling:

    It leads to burnout

    If you’re constantly on the go, it’s only a matter of time before you start to feel burned out. When you overschedule yourself continuously, you never have time to rest and recharge, which can lead to serious health problems down the road.

    It increases your stress levels

    If you’re always running around trying to juggle everything, it’s no surprise that your stress levels will go through the roof. But unfortunately, high-stress levels directly cost a whole host of mental and physical health problems due to the high cortisone levels you release in your bloodstream.

    It disrupts your sleep

    When you overschedule yourself, it’s hard to stick to a regular sleep schedule. Unfortunately, this can lead to many health problems, including fatigue, irritability, and depression.

    It makes you sick

    It will affect your immune system if you’re always on the move and don’t get enough rest. Unfortunately, this means you’re more likely to get sick, and when you do, it’s likely to be more severe than it would otherwise be.

    It ruins your relationships

    When you’re always running around, it’s tough to find time for the people who are important to you. Plus, you may not be that fun to be around. Over-scheduling can put a strain on even the strongest of relationships.

    If you feel like you’re overscheduled because you notice the signs of the harm your current schedule is causing in your life, take a step back and reassess your priorities. Of course, your health should always be at the top of your list, so remember to put your needs first.

    To avoid overscheduling is to figure out what your priorities are. What are the most important things you need to complete each day? Once you’ve determined your priorities, plan your day around them. Finally, leave some free time in your schedule to relax and rejuvenate yourself.

    To create the best schedule for you, be realistic about how much time you have available. Packing too much into your day will make you feel rushed and stressed. When you are rushed and stressed, you feel anxious and undone. Instead, give yourself enough time to finish tasks, including set up and tear down time, so you don’t feel overwhelmed.

    If you realize you are overscheduled, don’t be afraid to say no to new commitments. You can’t do everything, and that’s okay. Prioritize your time to focus on the essential things in your life.

    Overscheduling is a common problem, but it doesn’t have to control your life. Instead, focus on being mindful of your time and priorities. With the right mindset and focus, you can avoid overscheduling and live a healthier, happier life.

    Reverse it – counteract the effects of overscheduling by creating a balanced schedule

    If you want to get more done in life without feeling too busy and burning out, it’s imperative that you create a balanced schedule. A balanced schedule has enormous benefits for your life when you make sure to account for what you need and want to do in every area of your life as you make the schedule.

    Instead of overscheduling… when you have a balanced schedule, you:

    • Get more done because you’re efficient with your time
    • Reduce your stress because you’re not overwhelmed by a packed schedule
    • More free time to enjoy life apart from work and responsibilities
    • Are able to focus better on the task at hand when you have regular breaks
    • Avoid burnout from working too much or taking on too much at once

    A balanced schedule is the key to a happy, productive life. If you currently feel overwhelmed, stressed, and like you can’t keep up, it’s time to take a step back and assess your schedule. Review your obligations to see what can be cut out or spread out more evenly. You’ll be surprised at how much better you feel when you have a handle on your time.

    Using a balanced schedule to avoid the effects of overscheduling

    • Creating a balanced schedule means looking at all the areas of your life and ensuring there’s enough time for everything important to you. This includes work, family, friends, hobbies, and taking care of yourself. If one area takes up too much of your time, something else is likely suffering.

    For example, if you’re working long hours, you may not have enough time for your family or friends. Or, if you’re spending all your free time on hobbies, you may neglect your work or other obligations. Therefore, finding a good balance between all the areas of your life is essential.

    Like your boss, friend, and neighbor, you only have 24 hours a day, so be realistic regarding how much time you can devote to each area of your life. Also, keep in mind that your schedule may need to change from week to week, depending on what’s going on in your life. So schedule the most critical aspects of your life, like work and family, and then fill in the rest of your time with other activities.

    A balanced schedule is essential for a happy, productive life. When you are mindful about what you really need to live a satisfying life, pay close attention to needs in all areas of your life, and ensure there’s enough time for everything important to you, you can avoid stress, burnout, and feeling overwhelmed. So, take a look at your schedule and make the necessary adjustments to create a more balanced life.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    What is overscheduling?

    If you feel like you might be overscheduling your time, you’re probably right. It is forcing yourself to fit so much into your time that you have no time to recuperate from your activities. And I do acknowledge that there are times when it’s unavoidable. But surprisingly, some of it is!

    Why do people overschedule themselves?

    I think there are many reasons people do this to themselves. Sometimes it’s to avoid something in their lives, other times it can be a never-ending cycle of anxiety. You have feelings of anxiety which leads to staying busy to avoid those feelings but then staying too busy leads to anxiety. That’s not a good cycle to find yourself in! It can also indicate other underlying issues such as a need to feel significant or a need to be liked.

    How do I prevent overscheduling?

    Easier said than done! The effects of overscheduling are numerous but in the moment it can be hard to decide where to cut back. You have to learn to say no and to prioritize, both of which are hard! It helps to use your best time management skills. In addition, try to keep sight of your long-term goals. For example, I want to continue focusing on eating more of a plant-based diet. But that can get expensive at the grocery store so I’ve been expanding my garden plans. All of the planting I have in mind will take a lot of time and scheduling! But it keeps me working towards my goal – to focus on a plant-based diet while being more economical about it. Plus gardening also counts as exercise!

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