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  • How Bullet Journaling Helps Me Get 8 Hours of SleepIf you told me that a plain unruled notebook would be the solution to my lack of sleep, I would have probably laughed at you. But in the last month, my Moleskine notebook, a sharpie, washi tape, and a magnetic paper clip have become the best tools in my self-care toolkit. Simply, Bullet Journaling has revolutionized my quality of life.

    The Issue
    At my last doctor’s appointment I told my doctor I hadn’t been sleeping well. She mentioned that it might be a sign of my anxiety returning. I think she was right. I recently started a new project at work and I was traveling a lot. I was feeling quite behind on just about everything (including blogging!) and my mind was always racing. And as a person who takes her self-care seriously, I started trying a few things for better sleep. Then like magic, I saw this video on my Facebook timeline.

    The Experiment
    This video describes the bullet journal process. Although I am a diehard digital fan, when I watched that video, something about this analog organizational system just felt right. I have quite a few extra Moleskine* notebooks lying around so it wouldn’t cost me anything to try it. I set up the system and got to rapid logging. I wanted to give it 21 days to see if I could stay better organized and be more productive.

    Bullet Journaling Process
    Bullet Journaling is a “customizable and forgiving” organizational system developed by Ryder Carroll. At it’s simplest, it’s a notebook where you keep your to-do list, notes, sketches and similar items. But there is a method that makes it more useful than just a running list of chaos.

    • Monthly Log : At the beginning of the month, I dump my brain and write out the tasks, events, and milestones that need to happen that month. Then I plot them by date and can refer to this list daily. This is future planning.
    • Daily Rapid Logging: At the beginning of each day, I write my task list. Then I go to the monthly log to see if there is anything on that list I want to add. As the day goes on I add items and notes in short actionable phrases.
    • Future Logs and Migration: At the end of the day I have to deal with my list. I have to decide if something is going to migrate to the next day, week, or month. Even if I don’t do the task, I have to migrate it. It keeps me very aware of what’s on my plate.

    My Results
    The first night I got 8 hours of sleep. Then it happened again. And again. I was suddenly getting 8 hours of sleep on a regular basis. Better sleep was not the goal of this project. I just wanted to keep better track of things. However adequate sleep is a biological basic and I am ecstatic that I found a way to make it happen. I am also much more productive in the office. I was even getting things done early. But what exactly makes this system work for me?

    Peace of mind. My anxiety is reduced when I am confident I have things under control. With this system, I am sure that everything I need to do is in the notebook.

    Prepared and Productive. Since it’s fairly clear what I need to do, I seem to be able to be more productive. I don’t have as many anxiety filled moments where I am trying to remember what I need to do.

    Organized. I have to interact with my list. Every single day, I am looking at my list to see what isn’t done and I migrate it to the next day. Nothing falls through the cracks.

    Flexible. I need flexibility in my life. I generally can’t follow a system if I can’t tweak it. The video shows the basics, but on Pinterest I found so many ways people have customized the system. I have added a weekly view where I track, things that are due the next week, weekly personal goals, notes from church service, and the affirmation for the week. This really helped it be about my life and not just my work.

    Creative. Through my Pinterest searches, I also got to see how people jazz up their journals. So I have pulled out my stamps* and washi tape* to bring a little color and life to my journal. It gets me off my computer/phone for a while to do something fun.

    Final Thoughts
    When I set out to solve my sleep problem, a new organizational system wasn’t on my list of things to try. But the power of synchronicity is always working in my life and I found what I needed in the least obvious of places.

    Note: This post contains sponsored links from Amazon.com.