Monday, March 30, 2015

Returning to Good Habits & Bullet Journaling

I often go through cycles, a personal scaffolding of learning, where I find tools that work really well for me and then slowly drift out the habit. Usually it's some negative event or feeling that reminds me I've stopped using a tool that works. When I return to that tool, if I take time to reflect on why I stopped using it, I can strengthen my ability to stick with it. (I'm reminded of a phrase I learned in my training as a psychotherapist: Relapse is part of recovery.)

Take, for instance, my bullet journal.

Lately I've been so scattered. I have been anxious trying to keep all my lists straight--on my phone, my computer, scraps of paper, those lists I have yet to write down... My system needs a major re-org. And so I am reminded of my bullet journal, this beautiful system that is not only a tool for efficient planning but a pacifier for my mind.

Bullet journaling is a style of record-keeping, planning, organizing, agendizing, and archiving developed by Ryder Carroll. His website gives a full description of how it works for him and how to use it as a tool in your own life. In a nutshell, it's a system of to-do lists that are kept bulletpoint by bulletpoint. There are many devotees to this journaling system, and you can find forums (fora for my Latin-lovin' and/or grammar-schtickler peeps) on Facebook where people give all types of tips and express their love for this system. On YouTube there are also several videos dedicated to bullet journaling, including my own video (plug! plug!) which has somehow become popular on the intarwebs. (A big thank you to anyone who has ever viewed it!)

What I love about the system is that it is adaptable. For someone who either struggles with or doesn't like routine, a system that allows the user to skip large periods of time and then return is a big plus. Traditional pre-printed agendas don't often work for me because I use them for a few weeks, and if I return, I have a stack of unused pages. It's a waste of paper, and I often end up feeling like I've failed at record-keeping. (I should probably take that to therapy, I know, I know.)

I'm happy to say that after a day of using my bullet journal system again, I'm already feeling confident and calm. I have everything I need--a traveling command center--with me in my bag. And it is completely mine, completely suited to my needs.