Hey there, it’s Mark from @Menwhobullet on Instagram and Youtube. I’ve seen and heard from so many planners over the past few months about their struggles with planning and bullet journaling during this COVID-19 pandemic. Weekend outings are not as frequent. There aren’t any more mid-day coffee breaks with co-workers. Let’s not overlook the fact that there have been layoffs that have completely disrupted lives. The stresses and anxiety that many of us are feeling have penetrated a lot of what we do, including planning.
With all of this stress, it’s no wonder so many of us have been struggling to keep up with their bullet journals and planners. I myself have changed the way that I use my bullet journal during this pandemic. I have gone from large month pages and double-page spreads to just using single pages. Honestly, that blank, open, empty space was making me really feel unproductive.
My approach to reassessing myself and my journal was to stop. Wait… stay with me. I didn’t stop using my journal, but I did take a step back. I asked myself what was its purpose now during a quarantine situation? Your journal needs to work for you, you shouldn’t need to work for it!
So I wanted to share with you a few tips of what you can do with your own journal pages during this pandemic, or anytime when you are struggling with your planner or journal.
Tip 1 - Work Smaller.
If you are feeling defeated by a large, unused journal page, work on a smaller scale. If you usually use two pages for a spread, take it down to one page. This will help you fill out a page better, get more out of your journal pages, and also challenge your brain to think about new page spread ideas. For an added bit of relaxation, use an art medium that helps you decompress. For me, that’s watercolor. I’ll share a favorite one-page spread of mine using watercolor.
Tip 2 – Doodle or Journal More.
If you still need the larger space for your weekly then use the extra space at the end of the week to doodle or journal more. Along with filling up your space, you are also getting the added benefit of exploring your creativity through doodling. This could be a doodle of an idea, visual notetaking, or maybe just some patterns or shapes. If you don’t feel comfortable doodling, use the extra space to write out your feelings. A good brain dump is sometimes the best way to empty your head of the negativity and stress. You can also come back to these pages months from now to reflect on this time.
Tip 3 – Track something else in your journal during a pandemic
Maybe you were tracking your spending, eating out, or daily steps before. Use those same skills to track what’s happening at home now. Are you cooking more at home? Why not create a meal plan in your weekly? Track how many times you are cooking versus ordering in. Use all the same planning skills you already have and focus them on something you are doing now.
If you were let go, furloughed, or lost your job – First, I’m sorry that happened to you. As you are getting back on your feet and looking for new opportunities, think about making a new spread for your job interviews. Who have you sent resumes to, had phone calls with, or received offers from? Use this time to also reflect on your interviews afterward. What went well or what could have gone better? Use that to ensure your next interview is even better than the last.
It’s incredibly important to try our best to keep as positive as possible and to ensure we are looking after ourselves and one another. I know that this isn’t always going to be possible – just know that a little bit of your positive might be all someone else needed to lift themselves up. If you have a lot of extra positivity to spread, be sure to take time to call someone you haven’t talked to in a while, write a letter, or send a quick message. Sometimes all someone needs in times like these is a smile and to know that we are here for one another.
Watch how I created these spreads here: