By Samantha Papesch
It’s almost the beginning of another new year, and as I write this, a sense of calm prevails.
Right now I’m at my most relaxed. The flurry of Christmas is over, and every year before I return to work, I use the time to reflect on the previous year, and prepare for the one ahead.
For many, the new year provides a chance to renew hearts, refocus minds, and mend our ways. It grants us permission to wipe the slate clean and start afresh in any area of our life we choose.
For me, the excitement of the new year extends to starting a new diary.
Back when I was a teenager I couldn’t wait for the sun to set on January 1st. I’d look at the blank page and feel a sense of hope, possibility, and clarity before penning my maiden entry.
Things haven’t changed much since then. Journaling is still fundamental to my existence, and as I’ve learnt over the years, so is my need for order and structure (I’m an ESFJ Myers Briggs personality type).
With the absence of to-do lists, or a system to organise my thoughts and ideas, things can go awry pretty quickly (typically, the state of my environment reflects my state of mind, so when my desk or home is a mess, so is my head – and vice versa).
For me, and for many others, being organised is crucial to leading a sane and productive life, so last year when I stumbled across an information management system tool called ‘bullet journaling’, I was brought to my knees in unprecedented, administrative euphoria.
Suddenly, my diary, calendar, to-do lists, project notes, ideas, goals and plans (past, present and future) were centralised in one place, cutting through the fog of ‘busyness’ and enabling genuine productivity and direction.
Up until then I had multiple places to capture and refer to information, using a combination of a diary, notepads, and online tools and apps. I was constantly oscillating between them all, sometimes doubling up on the details, or forgetting where I’d actually stored them (if I even had).
What I love about the bullet journal system is that it goes back to basics. It involves a single analog notebook and pen, uses symbols to tag and distill information, and employs an index to quickly retrieve the content.
The concept is super simple, and after investing just a small amount of time to learn the process and set up your journal, the benefits are immediate.
Bullet journaling has virtually achieved cult status these days (just check out Pinterest) – and styles and symbols have evolved. But, you can make it as easy or as intricate as you like.
For me, simplicity reigns supreme and I continue to follow the basics as outlined in this four minute overview video.
As I reflect back on 2016 now, decluttering my home, continuing a minimalist approach, and bullet journaling have all been life-changing tools for me. They’ve improved my mental clarity, soothed my soul, and given me more time, space, energy, and freedom to do the things I love, with the people I love the most.
The good thing is, these tools are available to anyone who wants to simplify their existence. So, if you’re looking to enjoy life as you truly intend in 2017, adding them to your new year’s resolution list is a great place to start.