A couple of months ago I stumbled across the concept of the Bullet Journal and it has actually changed my life. That might sound dramatic, but when you’re a serial busy person you need a bloody good tool to keep you organised and on top of things as much as you can, and the Bullet Journal concept is just that tool. I’ve been using my Bullet Journal for a month now, so I thought I’d share a series of blogs on how I use it in case it can help you too!

Make sure you look out for my next post for my everyday use and recommended stationery.

So, what is a Bullet Journal?

Put simply, a Bullet Journal is just a method of organising lists. The main contents of a Bullet Journal are:

  • Index
  • Future Log
  • Monthly Log
  • Weekly Log
  • Daily Log
  • Collections

Tasks are logged using a concept called “rapid logging”. Different signifiers, or bullets, help you quickly distinguish a task that needs doing from completed tasks, or an event, note, etc. The original signifiers are below:

. tasks

x completed

> migrated

< scheduled

– note

o event

* priority

! inspiration

Some people have added their own signifiers, but personally I think this complicates the system – the whole point of it is to be simple and objective.

Bullet Journal Contents

Index

The Index is a quick-reference contents page of all your main Bullet Journal pages. You can index however you like, but I like to index my monthly spreads, trackers and highlights pages separately, then group my weekly and daily spreads into one month’s entry. Collections, like Level 10 Life, reading lists, etc. are also individually indexed.Bullet Journal Index Page

Future Log

In a Bullet Journal you only ever plan for the current month/week, so to keep track of events and tasks for the future without having to draw out each month’s spread you use a Future Log. This is usually a spread that covers 6 months to a single view. In it, you write any appointments or tasks you know need to be addressed in a specific month. When you draw out that month’s spread, you simply migrate the events and tasks over to that view.

Bullet Journal Future Log

Monthly Log

The Monthly Log is an at-a-glance view of the month ahead, with one page for appointments/events or tasks you know you need to complete on a specific day, and another page for the month’s to do list or goals. Some people like to draw their Monthly Log out like a calendar, but for now I like the simplicity of the list of dates. I colour the first square after the date with my husband’s shifts and the remaining space is for appointments. On the right of the spread I write my tasks for the month and then I have a space at the bottom for my blog stats so I can keep an eye on monthly info for planning, progress checks and my media kit.

I stick washi tape down the side of this page so it’s easy to quickly spot my Monthly spread and habits tracker – this helps me to keep going back to them daily.

Bullet Journal Monthly Log

Weekly Log

To break down tasks even further, there’s the Weekly Log. This is where you get really specific and plan out your week’s appointments, tasks and anything else you need to keep track of for the week. I draw a plan for my week on the left-hand side, including appointments and events, and then on the right I list the tasks from my monthly log that I plan to get done that week. I also have a meal plan at the bottom, and a social tracker to help encourage me to post and share on my blog social media channels more frequently and to ensure I get coverage across them all… you can probably tell that some channels are more well-used than others!

Bullet Journal Weekly Log

Daily Log

The Daily Log is where the tasks get completed. Each day’s tasks are listed as the day comes and I check them off as I go. I draw up the weather and temperature forecast in each day’s log so I can be prepared – will I need to de-frost my car? Will I need an umbrella? Should I wear an extra layer? It also helps to keep my Bullet Journal fun to look at with drawings and colour – if it looks nice I’m more likely to keep going back to it every day!

Bullet Journal Daily Log

Collections

This is where you store everything else… literally anything you can think of. I have Collections for birthdays, savings goals, level 10 life (inspired by Boho Berry), a reading list (check out Zanna Van Dijk’s post for some good reading inspiration) and I even had a dedicated Collection for Christmas shopping. Whatever you need to track, plan, log, or even if you just fancy a dedicated page for doodling – make a Collection for it. I also have plans to draw up projects pages and blog post planning pages to help me be more productive with my blog and blog projects.

There really can be a Collection for anything… I even have a page at the back of my Bullet Journal where I’ve drawn out a plan of our garden with information on when and how to prune/cut back our plants! This system is organisation to the max – make the most of it.

Bullet Journal Inspiration

I’ve drawn inspiration from a variety of sources, but most of my research was done using Boho Berry‘s fantastic website and YouTube channel. I’ve pinned a lot of my favourite spreads and designs to my {JOURNAL} organisation Pinterest board – feel free to follow this board to keep up-to-date with my favourite designs!

Check back soon for a post on how I use my Bullet Journal, as well as some tips for how to manage and prioritise your tasks.

If you liked this post please let me know by commenting, liking and/or sharing it. And if you have any questions about Bullet Journals that you’d like to ask, or posts you’d like me to do, feel free to comment or drop me a message via social media!

How to Start a Bullet Journal

Apparently 32% of us in the UK were expected to have made New Years’ resolutions for 2016, yet only about 12% of people successfully kept 2015’s resolutions, and most are likely to have given up within the first month. The gyms may be packed now, but they’re likely to be empty again by February. If you don’t want to be just a statistic, then it’s time to look at how to keep your New Years’ resolutions.

So just how do you make, and keep, New Years’ resolutions that will actually work for you?

I’m halfway through a Sport and Exercise Psychology course, and one of the most interesting topics so far has been adherence to exercise. Using what I’ve learned, and my own personal experience, I’ve put together my top four tips on how to make New Years’ resolutions that you can stick to, and actually benefit from.

Before you think this is going to be another SMART goals post… I promise it’s not! There are plenty of good posts out there telling you how to write SMART goals – and you’ve probably tried them all – so if you want to try something a bit different, keep reading.

1.      Make Process Goals

Focus on the Process, Not the Outcome

Focus on the Process, Not the Outcome ¦ Photo credit, Reading Half Marathon

One of the top New Years’ resolutions people make is to lose weight. But, this is an outcome goal (what you want to achieve) rather than a process goal (how you plan to get there).

And get this… research suggests that 66% of people who set process goals are still adhering 6 months later, compared to only 44% of people who set outcome goals.

Struggling to stick to your goals? Change them to process goals to boost motivation! Click To Tweet

Revamp Your Goals

Take the goal of losing weight. Let’s assume you want to lose a lb of fat per week. To do this, you need a calorie deficit of 500 calories per day (3500 calories per week).

If you eat 300 calories less per day, and exercise to burn 200 calories more per day, you already have your 500 calorie deficit.

So, your process goals might be:

  • Eat between 1700-1900 calories per day.
  • Walk 30-40 minutes every week day.

2.      Prompt Yourself

Lay kit out to prompt you to wear it!

Lay kit out to prompt you to wear it!

There’s a reason people say to put your running kit out the night before you plan to do a morning run – it’s a psychological technique to enhance adherence, called a “prompt”.

In one study, placing a sign linking use of stairs to health increased the use of stairs from 69% to 77%, and an email sent out a week later by the employer’s doctor, pointing out the health benefits of stair use, further increased use to 85%.

Keep a slightly messy house to increase your chance of exercising! Yes, really: Click To Tweet

Be Untidy

So, want an excuse not to tidy up? Now you’ve got one! The results above could quite easily carry over to exercise frequency by:

  • placing posters, slogans or notes in prominent places around your house/workplace
  • keeping exercise equipment in visible locations rather than hidden away in cupboards
  • laying out your kit the night before, or leaving your trainers next to the front door
  • recruiting social support from your friends and family to remind you to exercise
  • exercising at the same time and place every day

All of these things will help prompt you, eventually turning your New Years’ resolution into a habit!

3.      Keep a Training Diary

Keep a training diary to help you keep it up.

Keep a training diary to help you keep it up.

Are you recording your efforts to keep active? If not, why not? Research shows that 73% of cardiac rehabilitation patients who kept a training diary were still exercising a year later, compared to 40% of those who didn’t self-monitor.

A training diary can help you stick to your #newyearsresolutions. Here's how: Click To Tweet

Make it Public

Keep a diary to track your workouts, and make this diary public to help even more – if people know their workout record is there for all to see, they are much more likely to work to keep it up. I keep a training diary on my blog, helping to keep me accountable.

If you want an extra challenge or focus, you can also keep your training record in the form of a team challenge or competition. For example, set a challenge to cycle the distance of London to Paris over a period of weeks, or swim the Channel in your local pool. The options are endless!

4.      Record Feedback

Record feedback to monitor your progress

Record feedback to monitor your progress

Positive feedback keeps you going, but studies show that those who receive printed feedback about exercise levels displayed higher levels of adherence than those who received feedback via telephone.

Log your feedback to boost your chances of sticking to an exercise programme: Click To Tweet

Log Your Feedback

Take measurements, (chest, waist, hip measurements, weight, body fat percentage), do strength tests (10RM, or 1RM if you’re experienced) and test your cardiovascular fitness (resting heart rate, exercise heart tae, time to walk/run 5k, number of kilometres cycled in a 10 minute cycle test, etc.).

But most importantly – log the results! You’ll know how far you’ve come and be more likely to stick to your resolutions.

It’s Not Too Late

IMG_3972

Even if motivation has already started to dwindle, or you’ve announced your goals to the world, it’s not too late to put some, or all, of these tips into practice. Revamp your goals, be untidy, make it public and log your feedback – it could just help your New Years’ resolutions become a part of your life!

Have you made any New Years’ resolutions? What are your tips to keep on track? Comment below!