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October 10, 2016

The Bullet Journal: How one tiny notebook can change your life

Organization Journaling
Christie_Journal Christie Mandia/for PhillyVoice

Christie's Bullet Journal

Many people are passionate about journaling and find that taking the time to put pen to paper helps to inspire their everyday life. To be honest, journaling has never been a concept that really resonated with me. I don’t have much down time, but when I do, I prefer to go out to a fun restaurant or unwind on the couch watching Netflix.

That being said, I am a major list person, as in, I have ‘To Do" lists everywhere, and my lists have lists.

I really have tried everything from paper planners to digital calendars. Nothing seems to work because it is hard for me to differentiate personal tasks from professional tasks, as well as the many subcategories within each designation.

When I came across the concept of Bullet Journaling, I was unfamiliar with the method but became increasingly intrigued. In essence, it is a customized daily, weekly, monthly planning system. All you need is a blank journal, a pen (erasable), and your imagination.

You begin by establishing your Key and your Index. (See mine below)

The Key is meant to delineate tasks, appointments, events, etc. … and also notes when these have been completed, canceled or migrated (moved to the following week or month.) This allows you to see at-a-glance what you have accomplished and what you still need to do.

Because the planner is your own and you can use the pages as you wish, the Index is your point of reference as to what page you have created for each purpose. It is very important to number your pages and record them in the front of the book so you don’t have to fumble through the book looking for things.

The way I am laying mine out, I will have the monthly calendar, followed by the weekly calendars with corresponding meal plans and shopping lists and creative pages in between.

The creative pages will be fun things I always mean to write down and always forget like, “Restaurants to Try,” “Cities to Visit,” “Books to Read,” “Future Goals,” “Savings Tracker,” “Ideas for Articles,” etc. This is how you make the planner yours. Some people draw on these creative pages, other people write inspirational quotes; it can really be whatever you want. That is what sets bullet journaling apart.

Although I have only been using the bullet journal for a short time, I feel a huge sense of relief that I have a central location for all of my appointments, tasks and lists. I find the Key to be particularly helpful because it keeps me from making run-on lists that don’t distinguish between appointments and tasks.

So far, I am a believer in bullet journaling and would love to hear your experience with it or what has worked for you. You can find tons of bullet journal inspiration here. I will continue to keep you posted on my health journey. Please feel free to share below or tweet me @christiemandia.

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Each week, on Mindful Mondays, Christie shares her tips and tricks toward a healthier lifestyle. Give these tips a try to improve your health, wellness and quality of life!

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