I’m always looking out for ways I can improve myself. I guess it’s where my drive to be more productive originated from. I wanted to figure out how I could get more done in less time — so I started playing around with different planning and scheduling techniques. It was a game-changer! It’s why I find self-improvement so empowering. It’s a proactive approach to life, which infuses the knowing that you can always try or learn something new to give yourself a step up.
And your bullet journal is a powerful way to track your progress and dedicate time to activities and practices that inspire you to be your best. Let’s look at three practices you can try in this article.
1. Your morning routine
I’ve found there are only two parts of the day that you can control. I’m talking about your morning and your evening. You get to decide what you do when you wake up and what you do before you go to bed. You can have plans for the rest of the day, but you never know what else is going to show up that could throw even the best-laid plans out of the window.
It’s what makes a morning routine so powerful — because it gives you the opportunity to get things done for you.
Here’s a picture of my morning routine marked up in my SELF Journal.
With three kids, my mornings tend to be hectic! My priority is getting small people ready for school so there’s always a rush of breakfast bowls, frantically looking for PE kit and trying to get organized to pack lunches on time!
Once my kids are safely at school, my time becomes mine.
I use my Apple Watch to track a 30-minute outdoor walk. I walk at pace and use this time to unwind, get some fresh air, and pump some endorphins around my body!
I also use this time for a mental workout. Right now, I’m in the habit of listening to podcasts. My three favorites are Impact Theory with Tom Bilyeu, Stay Grounded with Raj Jana, and Mind Mastery and Manifestation with Dan and Sophie.
Infusing fresh ideas, stories, and tactics into your brain gets you thinking and helps consolidate your own thoughts. You also get to take away new strategies to try and new mindsets to play around with. It’s a simple way to get into the head of awesome people and understand how they’re experiencing success in life.
Back home, I then pull out my journal and write.
Journaling has been such a powerful self-improvement practice for me. It’s a chance to process thoughts, reflect on experiences, and get clarity on what it is you want next. Anything goes when it comes to journaling. You can draw, jot down bullets, or just write. Your journal isn’t for anyone apart from you so you can use it as a safe space to express exactly how you feel. My morning practice has led to some powerful breakthroughs and discoveries — and the same could happen for you too.
The famous self-help guru Jim Rohn said “Ideas can be life-changing. Sometimes all you need to open the door is just one more good idea.”
I think he’s right. Everything you see around you started off as an idea in someone’s imagination. Every book, song, product, service, movies, painting, the invention was created in the head first. In other words, if you can have good ideas, you can solve problems, innovate, express yourself, and make more money!
But how do you inspire yourself to generate good ideas? How do you train your brain so it can become an idea-generating machine?
Here’s a cool practice used by @inkonleaf, which uses bullet journaling practices to create more ideas.
Image credits: @inkonleaf
Here’s how to do it…
- Take a prompt from the Edison Deck, and write out the title in a creative way using brush pens — that way you can practice your lettering too. Remember to create a new spread for each prompt.
- Spend around 10 minutes brainstorming ideas in response to the prompt. Aim to think of 10 ideas for maximum results. 10 ideas will force you to get beyond the superficial and surface levels thoughts and dig deeper into the more interesting and valuable ideas.
- If you like drawing, start with a little doodle of an icon that best represents each idea. If you can’t draw, feel free to use stencils or stickers for this.
- Then write a small blurb about it — try to be as specific as possible.
The beauty of this practice is you don’t need to fill out 10 ideas straight away. Instead, you can allow your thoughts to percolate and then come back to your bullet journal when you get a new insight.
You don’t have to act on your ideas either (although you can if you want to). Instead, this practice is about instilling a habit of daily idea generation (while expressing your creativity at the same time). Idea-generation is a muscle. If you only ever use this muscle when you have to come up with a suggestion, it will be much harder to unlock the ideas that make an impact. But create a habit. And you’ll be able to generate ideas at will.
This practice is a good way to break through that I-don’t-know-what-to-write-in-my-new-notebook feeling! Lists are always popular in bullet journals — for example, 10 movies I want to watch or 10 places that make me happy, but this practice goes further because it inspires you to think.
And with a set of card prompts to inspire you (such as the Edison Deck), you get to think about topics you wouldn’t normally consider. So as well as filling up your BuJo, you’ll also sharpen your self-awareness, strengthen your ability to think, and even find out what you truly value.
3.Allocate time for self-improvement
When you’re always busy — forever juggling a crazy to-do list — it gets tricky to make time for your self-improvement. You promise yourself that you’ll get to it later, but there’s always something else that needs to get done.
Your bullet journal can change the game for you here because instead of leaving self-growth to change, you can plan it in two simple steps. And if you plan for it, what are the chances it’s going to happen?
Step 1 – lists.
First, create a list spreads in your bullet journal where you write down the self-improvement practices you want to make time for. For example:
- Self-improvement books I want to read
- Podcasts I want to listen to
- Courses I want to take
- Practices I want to try
Step 2 – schedule time.
With your lists made, you can then schedule time in your bullet journal to make it all happen. For example, you could:
- Schedule 30 minutes a day for reading
- Allocate time each week to listen to a new podcast
- Book on a course and schedule it in your BuJo
As you know, if you make time, there’s a much greater chance it’s going to get done.
Self-improvement is the opportunity to create your own learning curriculum that works for you. So why not use your BuJo to make quality time available to you to work on the things that help you grow?
It’s a powerful practice that can make all the difference in your life.
P.S. If you’re self-growth obsessed too, feel free to share your BuJo self-improvement tips, strategies, and spreads in the comments. We’d love to see what you’re up to.