Beyond Bullets (Ulysses Press, 2017) by Megan Rutell, is for anyone who likes bullet journaling. Rutell has found new and creative ways to use all of the pages of your journal. Find out what else you could be adding to your journal from all of the great ideas and photos that Rutell has shared.
Tables, Task Charts, & Habit Trackers
One of the most exciting things about journaling is seeing your life on paper. It gives form to your hopes, goals, and experiences. Contemporary journalists do not document everything for the sake of documenting; they want to make sense of it all.
The graphic representations in this section can help you unravel all the life data you collect in your journal. Armed with a deeper understanding of your behavior patterns, you can make meaningful change toward even your loftiest goals. Plus, journal users have a way of dressing up their charts to make them fun. Far from boring, these are vibrant and exciting ways to stay organized!
Habit trackers are extremely popular in the paper planning world. They give a snapshot of individual behaviors or tasks. Many people also find this process keeps them motivated to establish new healthy habits or break destructive cycles.
You can create a full-month habit tracker with a simple table of columns and rows. People who do the majority of their planning on a monthly basis may find this format especially helpful. It’s a natural extension of the monthly scheduling layout.
However, others may find this many habits daunting to track. If you plan on a weekly basis, you can still use a habit chart to gain a snapshot of your week’s behaviors. When establishing a new habit, it may be more useful to track only that item. Play around with formats, shapes, and the number of habits you track, and you may find this is the single most impactful part of your journaling practice.
Simple Grid Table
You already saw how a grid table can work for habit tracking, but its usefulness does not stop there. Of all the tables listed here, this one will probably emerge as your most reliable and flexible format.
This cleaning schedule uses small grids to create check boxes for each item. However, you can vary the size of your columns and rows as much as you need. Make large rectangles to hold information, or keep them small to act as check boxes.
Also Useful For:
- Meal planning
- Wish lists
- Bills and spending logs
- Workout schedules
- Sleep trackers
- Medical appointment records
- Car maintenance tracker
Line charts are useful when you want to measure change over time. For example, if you know you want to run a certain number of miles in a month, you can create a line chart to track your cumulative distance throughout the month. Line charts also allow you to overlay different sets of measurements. In the example spread, a gray line indicates the goal, and the green line indicates the actual running distance. Flat lines represent rest days (no progress made). Overlaying the lines in this manner makes it easy to see how they relate to one another. The running chart shows a cumulative upslope, but these can also be set up for downslopes or individual (noncumulative) measurements.
Charting distance is easy because it is measured in miles or kilometers. If you want to use a line chart for something more subjective, you may need to assign a measurable scale. A pain scale, for example, places a person’s pain levels (subjective) on a scale from one to ten (measurable).
Also Useful For:
- Change in finances over time
- Weight tracker
- Child’s change in height over a number of years
- Pain/energy/mood tracker (if assigned a measurable scale)
Bar charts also measure data sets, but they make it easier to compare information. Draw your spending categories and indicate your max budget. You’ll see how your budget is distributed between your expenses. In this example, the bars were open at the beginning of the month and colored throughout the month to show spending levels.
The runner who tracked running distance each month might want to see how those months compared. She could create a bar chart (twelve bars for twelve months of the year) to compare which months were her best running months.
Health & Wellness
Mahatma Gandhi said, “It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver.” Balancing modern work schedules with the fundamental need for exercise, good nutrition, and mental well-being can be a challenge. Special journal pages that support a healthy lifestyle are a great way to maintain focus and reinforce wholesome habits. Tailor the layouts to specific goals, such as weight loss, gaining strength, lowering cholesterol levels, or taking a more holistic approach.
A healthy eating guide can reinforce good decisions at the grocery store, where countless temptations are likely to derail our efforts. This could also serve as a master grocery list of sorts. People following a specialized diet plan can create pages to remind them of foods to choose or avoid. Your journal will ensure these important pages are always within reach.
Sometimes, healthier living starts with awareness of how current lifestyle choices affect overall well-being. Energy levels, for example, fluctuate throughout the day (or month) for a variety of reasons. Tracking your symptoms can reveal a pattern, and over time you may discover a particular habit was contributing to low energy levels. Even though the spread above was not intended to address any serious health concerns, it nonetheless reveals valuable information. This same format adapts easily for tracking mental health factors like mood or outlook. People with more complicated medical questions might develop pages with their healthcare providers to observe symptoms over time.
Custom exercise trackers can demystify how your physical activities affect overall health. The market is flooded with different fitness journals, but they approach fitness from one perspective: their own. Everyone has different limitations and objectives. A runner might perceive fitness based solely on time or endurance. A fitness model, on the other hand, has to consider body fat percentage and overall muscle tone. An outdoor enthusiast might prefer to track the number of mountains she climbs in a year, taking notes on the terrain and length of each hike. A yogi has an entirely different set of objectives, including strength, flexibility, and mental clarity. All of these are fitness activities, but they call for distinctive exercise trackers. Your pages will mold around your lifestyle.
More Ideas for Health & Wellness Pages:
- Track weight, strength, or measurements (losses or gains).
- Establish mood patterns based on daily, monthly, or yearly cycles.
- List activities that make you happy.
- Incorporate self-care into a journal routine.
- Use lists to reinforce positive body image (e.g., “I love my body because________”).
- Track sleep (number of hours and quality).
- Create a food and vitamin log to track dietary habits.
- Track immunization or medical check-ups.
- Design specialty pages specific to individual medical needs (blood sugar trackers, pain levels, pregnancy, etc.).
- Design a meditation log (date, time, duration, and results).
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