Anyone who knows me or has been keeping up with my blog recently might be aware of how I have been using a bullet journal to organize my life, starting in June of this year. I’ve only been at it a few months, and I have tried many different layouts and lists to try and keep my life organized. I’ve abandoned a few layouts that I simply couldn’t keep up with or see the merit in for myself, but I’ve also found a few kinds of pages that have really worked for me! In addition to a post early next month with the full setup of my October bullet journal layouts, I wanted to make a heartfelt post about two particular layouts that have really clicked with me!
I consider myself to be a very talented and very intelligent individual (in the most confident and non-snooty angle possible), but I sometimes fall behind in school or lack motivation due to not being organized or happy with myself or my progress. For many years I have been prone to bouts of low work ethic and depression, have suffered many anxiety attacks, and never realized what was happening to me or why. My self-esteem has always been a weaker area for me.
I’m smart. Why am I behind?
I’m an awesome person. Why am I feeling so low?
I can do this. Why aren’t I?
One layout I’ve been using for a few months now is a habit tracker. Write down all sorts of habits you want to track, (good and bad ones!) and then allocate a box for each day of the month. As you do things, color in the box for that habit and that day. As the month goes by, you have a physical way to see how your habits are shaping your days. If you take a close look at mine, you’ll notice that I have a few good habits that I want to do more of, like cleaning, reading, and designing. There are also a few that I would like to do less of, like drinking, spending money unnecessarily, and playing computer games, like League of Legends (an embarrassing vice for me). This is a rather simple tracker, but I am testing a similar one like this that also includes a place to record my moods and things like how much I exercise/drink alcohol/watch TV. So far it has worked pretty well, so be sure to look out for that layout in my next BuJo post.
I have used this habit tracker layout in lieu of the “Daily Log” layout that I posted about in my last full bullet journal blog post. I have found it more effective to fill in squares about my mood and daily activities, and only elaborate on important moments when I am feeling very happy or very sad. I had trouble the past two months consistently filling in two lines of daily activities every day for a month. I left a lot of days blank and then would get behind, then forget what happened that day. A habit and mood tracker has been much more useful to me. I can also look back and see much more clearly the correlation between my moods and my activities/experiences.
Months ago, I made to-do list after list, downloading printables, making lists for myself of things I need to do, thinking that after seeing everything I’d be more motivated to get all of it done. For many people, this works just fine. In my weekly layouts I still write down checklists of things I need to get done over the week/month. However, I noticed that the darker side of myself, i.e. my depression and anxiety, would sometimes break out whenever I saw a to-do list I’d made where I was unable to get everything done. I’d feel like a failure for not being able to motivate myself to get the things I’d written down for myself to do. I didn’t even understand that this was happening until I read this Buzzfeed article about how to use bullet journaling for mental health. (this is also where I’m getting my new habit tracker from, to keep up with my moods, sleep, and exercise etc.)
Instead of making only to-do lists, I set aside a few pages to make “done” lists. As I did things I needed to do, I would write them down in list format. It instantly makes me feel accomplished and ready to get onto the next task. On some days, even just getting out of bed and showering was a task I could write down and be proud of. Some days are like that, you know? For me, it’s been a fool-proof way to improve my mental health, self-esteem, and self-motivation. I still have a long way to go before I have complete control over my self-motivation, but I can already feel the difference.
I like to change up my weekly spread every couple of weeks so that I don’t get bored of making it or using it. From the Buzzfeed article I also saw this layout and decided to give it a try. I’ve used it for two weeks so far and I love it! I write down on the left side, my class assignments, work schedule, and appointments. On the right, I make a list of tasks that need to be accomplished that week, but not on a particular day. Then there’s a space for me to write any notes to myself, such as motivation, reminders, and the like.
My bullet journal journey is still young and fresh, but I feel great being able to express my creativity and artistic ability along with organizing myself and helping my mind to grow. I only make the pages that are useful to me and can change them up at any time, which I’m unable to do if I buy a premade planner. These are two pages I have been using a lot and have already planned to include in my bullet journal for 2017 next year! What do you think? What specific pages do you use for your mental health?
- Gabrielle @ Monochrome Caffeine
(all images taken by me, layout inspiration from this Buzzfeed article)