Grab a notebook: Fans swear it will help you get more done, organize your days, and plan ahead.
As a new-mom, you might feel like it's a waste of time to jot down your thoughts between bathtime and the next diaper change. But this buzzy new practice of merging your daily to-dos, long-term goals, and diary together in a good old-fashioned notebook can help you beat baby brain and remember this exhausting and amazing time in your life.
If you're looking for journal inspiration, just head to Instagram: @bulletjournal invented the system, @boho.berry is an organization guru, @sublimereflectionblog is a mom of 10!, and @lifebywhitney will boost your lettering skills.
Still need convincing? Here are 6 reasons moms are taking note:
1. It captures chores and dreams in one spot.
An app for this, a Post-it note for that, a mountain of paper from school—ugh. “Bullet Journaling is great because it keeps everything in one place,” says Leah Fink, a mom of two in Brooklyn. “I also love the flexibility. You can make a section for playdates to plan or one for immunization records.”
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To start your Bullet Journal (or “BuJo” for short), create an index and number pages to keep track of what is where. Then write up a master goals list of all the things that you want to accomplish. (You’ll update that master list each month.) Fill the remaining pages with your “daily logs”, then whatever fits your life: an exercise tracker, a daily gratitude page, maybe a list of travel goals.
2. Planning becomes satisfying.
The daily log pages are the heart of the BuJo. “I am 100 percent more likely to get things that are important to me done if I write them down in my journal,” says Susan Gray, a mom of two in Underwood, Indiana. To set up the daily log, give each day its own page. Reference your master list to plan out the day’s objectives. To create the planner component for each day, box off a section for events taking place at set times. Tomorrow, you’ll start a new page and “migrate” unfinished tasks to the new day.
3. It marks milestones.
Leave space for diary entries on each day’s page. This encourages you to add notes in real time, such as work wins or moments you want to remember (Baby tried pureed peas!). “I was inspired to try Bullet Journaling after feeling overwhelmed about documenting my baby’s early months,” says Julia Dennison, Parents.com digital director. Create or design a special bullet for these entries (a heart?!) so you can easily look back on them.
4. You feel accountable.
At the end of each month, many journalers make a “month in review” page to recap achievements. Others create a page for habit tracking. This is how a Bullet Journal trumps an average to-do list: By tracking progress, you build long-term habits.
5. It helps you define and sharpen.
Use your journal as a place to dream big. Make categories of long-term objectives, such as health (running a 10K), family (regular date night with your spouse), work (getting that promotion)—anything that’s an overarching priority in your life—and write down your top goals. Remember, goals aren’t to-dos, they’re reminders of what you value.
6. It encourages dreams.
Set aside pages for little thoughts, notes, and even doodles. “I keep a daily gratitude list, and I’ve started adding a list of milestones hit by my 18-month-old,” says Dennison. Maybe you’ll start a page noting songs you want to download, baby names you like, books you want to read, or friends you want to see for coffee this month—it’s totally up to you!