Today I want to talk about something that has been plaguing me for a bit now: falling out of love with your planner. Unfortunately, I believe this is something that is more common than we think. Honestly, I have been feeling pretty out of it with my Bullet Journal. I even switched back to a preprinted planner. Even then, I still struggled to what to include, format, and really utilize it as a productivity tool. If you are like me, then you know there will be bouts where a Bullet Journal, or any type of planner just doesn’t cut it. Why, you may ask. Personally, for me I use my Bujo as a planner hybrid: half for creative expression, half for keeping me organized. Truthfully, though, more times than not I spend more time decorating than actually checking things off. The trouble with this is, I am bound to have a creative rut. We can’t be creative all the time; our brains need rest. What is worse is when the blanks interfere with the way I approach my chosen planning system at that moment.
Please tell me you have struggles with this, too. We seem to forget, sometimes, the purpose behind the organization method. I know I do. So, I want to talk about coming back to the basics to fall back in love with your Bullet Journal. Seriously, let’s kick those blues to the curb. No more avoiding your journal, spending time figuring out how to use it again, and tearing out pages. Look, I have been here before. However, after a month or so, I start to “get it” again. I remember why I enjoyed using it in the first place; and, that it really has helped me significantly in the past.
TAKE A BREAK
Okay, so this is simple in theory. If you have been using a Bullet Journal for a time, or are trying to get into it, sometimes you just need to take a break. There comes a time where we just use our planner to just use it. We are not be fully aware of what we are doing, why this is useful, and what it really means for our productivity. We all need to get stuff done. “Being Busy” has become such a trendy, excuse worthy phrase that it is a second nature response. So, why not take a break from “being busy” and reevaluate what you are doing. Does your planner really help you? Are you able to find purpose with it?
Personally, I find taking a couple weeks, or even longer, to regroup is vital for me to use my planner the way I want. Truthfully, I easily get overwhelmed by my to-do lists. I often try to cram ten plus things on there. I know, I know. I have previously talked about limiting your tasks to three priorities. Honestly, I have been having a lot of trouble with that. I have this idea of, once again, “being busy” so I put as much as I can think of on there. I have done dailies for months where I try to take up a whole page. It’s counterintuitive quite honestly.
REEVALUATE YOUR PLANNING NEEDS
So, keeping in topic, to-do lists can be both helpful and harmful. I say harmful because of what I mentioned—cramming too much in. I have seen others list out twenty plus tasks. How can you really get that all done? What are you sacrificing? I can barely get a majority of my ten tasks done, let alone doubling that. I want to spend time with my family at home, work on my Bullet Journal for me, and do other hobbies I love. It’s impossible to do it all. There’s the saying about having it all; having cake and eating it, too. Honestly, we need to dismantle that. Unfortunately, you can’t do it all. And, even sometimes can’t eat cake without sacrificing something important.
So, what I am suggesting is keeping track of where your time is going for a two or three months. Now, this isn’t easy to do. At least, not for me. I often stop keeping track of things mid month. Consequently, I stop thinking about using my time wisely, staying on top of my habits, and just paying attention to my life. With that being said, I want you to reevaluate so you can see what is working and what isn’t working. Improving yourself is so important. When you feel especially stuck, why not sit down and think about what you have been able to do and not able to do. List your distractions down—all of them. Is it playing games on your phone; or, staying on social media too long each day. I recently read an Instagram caption about a woman who spent seven hours on her phone, and ignoring working on her own work stuff.
What this woman did was take stock of her life for twelve weeks. So let go of social media, rediscovered who love of forgotten hobbies, and got focused. This truly inspired me. I find myself watching YouTube videos each day, browsing Instagram “for business purposes” and ignoring my actual business. It’s time to take back our life and time. We need to recognize all our distractions, bad habits, and destructive ways that hinder our ability to “get it done”. Personally, I am going to try to stay off of social media for a week. Even if the type of business I have benefits from social media, browsing for two hours isn’t going to help.
So, what is it that you miss doing? Have you gave up knitting, spending time with people, or finding pleasure in the ordinary world outside? For me, I don’t read as often. In the past three or so years, I have struggled with committing to reading daily; something I did for years. So, during my sabbatical, I will be spending time with both familiar and unfamiliar authors. The aforementioned woman above started to play her instruments daily, practice self care more, and really learned to focus. Imagine, that can be you!
EMBRACE YOUR PLANNER JOURNEY
Okay, I’ve talked about getting productive, taking breaks, and now I want to switch the focus back to your planner. For most, your planner is your lifeline. So, what happens when it stops working? For me, I feel lost and, quite frankly, sad. How did I let this happen? Well, for one, it just happens. LIfe gets in the way. We sometimes need to switch focuses. However, no matter what, we need to be thankful that we were able to do what we wanted to with our planners—reaching goals, crossing things off our bucket list, and even succeeding at work. So, life got in the way. It happens. Your planner will always be there for you; even if you need to change it up a bit.
Look, your planning system will never be the same; no matter how consistent you are with it. Our needs frequently change. Because life can get in the way, it’s vital to change with it. Embrace what worked, but even better embrace what doesn’t anymore. It’s all about what sparks joy; what makes you use your planner and use it in a way that pushes you forward. I can forget this sometimes. I can get so lost and overwhelmed with all that I am trying to do; both professionally and personally. So, embracing all sides of this journey, I can refocus on what I want my future to be like.
Well, I hope these tips will help you overcome your Bullet Journal Blues. Take back your time. Embrace the happiness you have found; as well as the imperfections of it all. When you are taking your breaks, do something you love. Explore both the world around you, and the person inside of you. May your journey be the one you want to be on. If it isn’t, go on one that is! Good luck finding your way. I’m just going to be over here figuring out my system, too. Feel free to drop a comment, or send me a quick email. I would love to connect with you!