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Bullet Journals, planners that'll help you find mindfulness in 2020

Bullet Journaling is about more than just organization;

Bullet Journaling is about more than just organization; it's about mindfulness and creativity, says Rebecca Burick, DIY content manager at Paper Source Credit: Paper Source

A new wave of journaling may encourage you to leave your ordinary date book in 2019. 

Between Bullet Journals, goal trackers, astrological calendars and more, kick-starting your New Year's organization resolution isn't just about gathering all your plans in one place. It's about figuring out which trendy technique works best for you.

"There's a lot out there. Whether it's a blank page or a book that's very structured, everybody has a format that'll work best for them," says Rebecca Burick, manager of DIY content for Paper Source, with locations in Greenvale and Garden City. For Burick, the perfect fit comes in the form of a seemingly intimidating blank journal, with nothing but dots lining the pages. It's known as the Bullet Journal, or BuJo, and it's a system that's been growing in popularity since Brooklyn-based Ryder Carroll (who first introduced it to the internet in 2013) released a book on the method last year.

"People use it for time management, with task-oriented lists," Susan Altman, 41, of Moriches, says of the technique that leaves the page planning up to, well, the planner. Carroll's system teaches first-timers the basic structure of the analog system which starts with the drawing of monthly, weekly and daily calendar spreads on blank journal pages, using bullets as line guides. A logging system created by the user (strikeout, checkmarks, arrows, etc.) tracks when tasks are completed. 

"Really, you can continue to add a lot of different things to your journal," says Burick, 42, who's been Bullet Journaling for the past three years. She recommends adding pages dedicated to a wish list, movies to see, goals, budgets and bucket list. "There's just no limit to what people will add."

A quick search of #BuJo on social media proves just that. The organizational method has quickly evolved into a form of mindfulness, helping you pay as close attention to your moods, goals and personal achievements as you do your "to-do" list.

Altman, an adult services librarian, leads Bullet Journal meetups at the Connetquot Public Library (her most recent was Dec. 11) where groups of Long Islanders have gathered to swap tips, materials and page-crafting strategies. "I've seen them get creative, throwing in their own artwork because it's not just for task management," she says. "It's artwork. It's beautiful to look at, but I don't have that ability," she adds with a laugh. 

But first-timers need not be intimidated. If you're looking to pick up a Bullet Journal hobby, a new year is the ideal time to start. With 2020 planners in demand, consider picking up a starter kit — like Target's DIY Journaling Set ($24), Paper Source's Creative Journaling Bundle ($52), or others — which often come complete with the necessary thin-tip gel pens, stickers, washi tapes and stencils you'll need to map out your year. 

"People may associate it with really artistic, creative people because of some of the images that are out there, but there are really so many different ways you can do it," Burick says. "It is so customizable."

If you're looking for inspiration, consider joining one of the several Facebook groups, like Bullet Journal Beginners or Bullet Journaling Tips and Tricks, or looking to designers and influencers who blog on the topic, like Erin Condren or Kara "Boho" Berry.

But Bullet Journaling isn't the only way to pick up a new planning habit in 2020. You can still follow a more structured format with a mindful twist by considering jumping into a "Lists for Happiness" journal that encourages you to track your year by listing the ways you've helped others, or the new things you've tried. Or, maybe it's an astrological journal that'll help keep you on track with weekly horoscopes and guided tasks. 

"Start simply and figure out what works best for you," Burick says. 

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