As those who follow this blog know, I work as a clinical social worker and a pastoral counselor in Drexel Hill, PA. My website and my outfit’s website, Psych Choices, has all the pertinent details re that.
I wanted to pass on this idea for you if you are dealing with anxiety and depression (or not), and are still stuck with thinking about a New Year’s resolution. It’s never too late to pick one!
I love this technique, and am really enjoying using it. I’ve been using it since December 5, 2015, and it’s really working.
What is it? It’s a Bullet Journal. A Bullet Journal is a method of task management and monitoring. Essentially imagine a handwritten notebook that you carry around with you which is indexed, lists future tasks for a given month over the next 6 months to a year, has space for a monthly calendar for scheduling things, and also has places where you can put your to-dos, notes from meetings with others, ideas for the future, reminders, lists of tasks specific to projects (I have a growing one for gardening), and pretty much anything else you want to put in there. This notebook, because it is analog and not digital, is also able to help you decide which tasks are critical and which ones need to be let go of. How? Well, if you don’t want to spend the effort writing a task into the next month’s list, you probably don’t need to do it.
When I worked in Southwest Philadelphia (a very rough neighborhood, where people live day to day), I would oftentimes give my clients calendars and try to help them learn how to use it so they could plan their way into a better way of living. By my suggesting the Bullet Journal to you, it is my hope that you will benefit from using this extremely easy way to keep on track with goals, whether they be therapy goals, personal goals, work goals, etc. In other words, do this, and you will be less anxious. Because you are less anxious over things to be done, you will be less hopeless, and therefore less depressed.
So, look at the video and the website (really, it is so simple that the video pretty much shows how to do it). It’s simple, cheap, and effective. Look, the video only takes 4 minutes. How hard can it be?
What are my modifications to the system? I added the year’s monthly logs all at once, so I can use the journal as a calendar as well. I also added a couple of “Someday” pages after the monthly logs. In general, I keep it really, really simple.
Finally, I already have a Livescribe pen which I use with a Livescribe-compatible notebook. That way I can keep a digital copy of my Bullet Journal, and I have the option of audio recording meetings, conferences, etc. with the pen (I NEVER record client sessions or other information using the pen). I can then send my journal to Evernote or other places, where it can be stored and my handwriting can be indexed.
Here’s what can be done with the latest version of the Livescribe pen and a compatible notebook (I use an earlier version of the smartpen which interfaces only with the computer, but gets the job done):
So check these out and see if it something you’d like to look at doing in the New Year. Even if it is just a paper and pencil version out of a $1.00 composition notebook from Walmart, you will be making “X” marks all over the place as you complete your days’ tasks.
Just remember, though, I have something I call the “Three-Fifths Rule“. To be clear, I don’t mean this:
I am sorry to disappoint the alcoholics who are considering coming to me for therapy.
The Three-Fifths Rule is as follows:
If you have 5 things to do in a day, but you don’t have the energy, do 3.
If you can’t do 3, do 2.
If you can’t do 2, ALWAYS do 1, to keep the ball moving forward.
In other words, just keep track and try to get one “X” per day at least. If you are coming for treatment with me, you can safely expect to see more “X”s continue to show up as your energy returns. So, don’t sweat difficulty in the beginning.
If you do decide to use the Bullet Journal to help you in keeping things on track, or beginning to keep things on track, let me know how it worked out. Any questions? I’ll answer them.
As for me: