Posts Tagged Time management

200+ Stunning Bullet Journal Page Ideas To Organize Your Life For Good!

200+ Stunning Bullet Journal Page Ideas To Organize Your Life For Good!

stunning bullet journal page ideasSo you’re looking for some creative bullet journal page ideas? One of the great things about bullet journaling is that it’s a very flexible way to organize your life. It’s helped me tremendously with my tasks and time management, but the trouble with being able to do anything is to figure out where to start.

After using a bujo for years now, I figured I’d share some of my go-to bullet journal pages types that should be in every journal, plus some extras that others find super helpful when adding to your notebook.

How To Organize Your Bullet Journal Pages?

How To Organize Your Bullet Journal Pages

Keep in mind that your pages can be in almost any order because, with your index page, you’ll be able to keep track of where everything is. As you get more experienced with journaling, you’ll figure out what your first starting pages should be.

For me, I start by numbering all the pages if they aren’t already. After that the first page of my bullet journal is usually a “this journal belongs to” page, then I add my key and index so they face each other.

From there I usually think broadly and then narrow in scope. So I start with yearly planning and goals, then narrow to months and, within the months, I narrow again to weekly.

Start planning your bullet journal by writing different types of bullet journal pages on post-it notes, place them on the pages in the order you think you want. After you’re done, start to flip through your journal and see if the flow makes sense. If something needs to be changed, the post-its let you quickly rearrange.

How Many Pages Should Be In A Bullet Journal?

How Many Pages Should Be In A Bullet Journal

There is no hard and fast rule: Include your index and key, then start with a weekly spread. Add more pages as a need arises.

For most people they’ll often have your standard bullet journal pages, then add weekly spreads as the months go by. Some people like to insert monthly cover pages to delineate the weeks. In January I’m usually doing a lot of goal setting and yearly planning, so I often will layout pages for items like bucket lists, workout trackers , or other trackers to keep a record of new habits I want to build.

bullet journal printable sticker pages


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Bullet Journal Cover Page Ideas

Bullet Journal Cover Page Ideas

Use fun doodles, sketches or designs to dress up the first page of your bullet journal. If you aren’t super artistic consider using stamps, stickers, stencils and washi tape to do some of the work for you. This is a great place to get really creative with your BUJO!

yearly cover for bujo

A simple font cover can kick off the year. Hand letter with a fountain pen or use a stencil.

nautical monthly cover for bullet journal

Theme your journal covers each month to get excited for what’s coming up next month!

citrus journal cover page idea

Use some great pens to add some color to your cover pages.

monthly cover floral wreath

Floral wreaths can be drawn black and white or later colored in.

mini calendar bullet journal cover page

Add a calendar on the cover page for quick reference.

citrus fruit bullet journal page idea

Choose a theme for the month: Citrus designs, tropical plants, or the next trend.

fall bullet journal page layout

Find cute play on words to get into the mood. Seasonal title pages work great for this.

fall season cover

Choose thematic colors to sketch in your journal.

simple minimalist bujo cover page

Go with a super simple minimalist bullet journal cover page.

koi august monthly page design 10

Use a stamp to create repeating elements, then color them in to make them unique.

This Journal Belongs To Page Ideas

This Journal Belongs To Page Ideas

Don’t put in all this work only to lose it! I usually start my journal with a simple page letting people know who’s journal it is if they find it. Since you will often include this is every journal, consider getting a stamp as a simple way to label your journal. Some journals come with a pre-printed place to fill out your name like Moleskin notebooks.

simple text bujo page title

No need to get really fancy, All you really need is a simple text and graphics!

Can’t draw? Try out a printable version of bullet journal pages!

mountains journal index
plants belongs to notebook

Bullet Journal Key Ideas

bullet journal key ideas

The Key is what makes your bujo super effective. Different bullet journal symbols let you further organize [LINK] your to-lists, tasks, and other collections. Use these different signifiers to code your different pages and keep track of it all. The key page is where you reference your symbols to keep it all straight.

color coded bullet journal key page layout

Use colors to further codify your items

basic bullet journal key layout

Most keys keep it pretty simple: tasks, in-progress, completed, canceled or migrated.

black pen outline for bullet journal key

bullet journal printables

Flip Out Bullet Journal Key Ideas

Flip Out Bullet Journal Key Ideas

This is a really great hack for your key or index. Using a bit of heavier stock paper, you can keep it right in front of you just by flipping it out, no matter what page you’re on! Anchor the tab with some Washi tape to dress it up.

mini tabbed key for journal

Your key can double as a book mark to make it easy to find your current spot in your journal.

washi tape flip out bullet journal key

Use washi tape to dress up your flip out key or index and reinforce the edges.

Index Pages To Keep You Organized

Index Pages To Keep You Organized

One of the first pages you’ll include is your index page. Your index page will let you catalogue where things are and easily find them later. Every time you create a new spread or collection, add it to your index. This simple method overcomes one of the major hurtles of paper journals: searchability.

simple gold and black index page idea

Write what the page content is, then next to it write the page number.

ribbon bullet journal pages

If you need to continue with a certain collection, use a page range with a dash “–” or call out pages by number with a comma “,”.

bullet journal printable sticker pages

bujo printable stickers


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Daily Spreads And Layouts

Daily Spreads And Layouts

Sometimes you need to get focused on a single day: daily spreads and layouts can be used to plan your day and keep track of your to do lists. Using a daily planner spread gives you some extra space on the page to write down all the little things you need to keep track of. You can do a page per day or choose a layout that has multiple days per page.

washi tape and simple text bujo page decorations

Dress up your daily spread or other layouts simply with some washi tape.

weekly spread fall

If your journal has a dot grid follow the pattern for simple setup.

simple weekly spread with sketch blue pen

Include a mini calendar for quick reference.

black page bullet journal page ideas for weekly spread

Use black pages and opaque markers for some real eye-popping color!

“I currently LOVE having a daily page. While I also use weekly spreads, a daily allows me the ability to be creative and write whatever I want about the day. I don’t feel locked into a small box that you’ll find with the weekly layouts. My weekly layouts are crisp, clean, and structured. You will literally find a little bit of everything in my dailies, from art, to journaling, to stickers, to quotes, to lists, and more.” – Rachel of Planning Mindfully.

Weekly Bullet Journal Spreads

Weekly Bullet Journal Spreads

This is my preferred format; I find that a one-page weekly spread is the perfect size for most of my needs. The question of daily vs weekly is a matter of preference, so don’t be afraid to try different layouts for a few weeks, then switch it up until you find something that works well for you.

index card weekly spread design ideas

I really like this one=page spread because it uses the dot grid to quickly make the boxes.

fall weekly spread page ideas

A simple highlighted background can dress-up your headings quickly and easily.

simple box weekly spread with mini calendar

I like this one because it includes the weekend and a dedicated to-do list area.

basic weekly spread with washi tape

Simple black and white scheme can be very attractive.

Monthly Layouts

bujo Monthly Layouts

Laying out a whole month can be tricky, but sometimes you really need a view like this for planning. Use this month view to map out what’s coming up in your schedule, mark important dates, and list important deadlines. During the holidays it can be really helpful around Christmas or Thanksgiving with all that goes on in these months.

monthly calendar view for your bullet journal

Use a simple monthly calendar layout to mark important dates.

august month cover page for bullet journal

A simple numbered list that corresponds to the days can work well too!

Monthly Cover Page Layouts

Monthly Cover Page Layouts

Monthly cover pages are a great place to dress up your journal. While weekly spreads are working pages, taking some time at the end of each month to create a new title page for the start of the next month is a great way to reset. I find that getting creative with your pages once a month is about the right amount. Some people spend days creating gorgeous pages in their journal, but realistically once a month strikes a great balance of getting things done while also bringing some creativity to the mix.

water color monthly bujo

Don’t be afraid to try different pens, watercolors, or other mediums.

super simple monthly calendar page with mini calendar

Get creative with cut paper designs.

bullet journal printables


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Year At A Glance – Yearly Spreads

Year At A Glance bullet journal page ideas

Come January I’m thinking about what I want to get done in the coming year. A yearly spread can help you get organized and pointed in the right direction. Outside of January planning I don’t often use these “year at a glance” layouts, but see what works for you!

yearly floral wreathes

Thematic monthly pages across two pages give you a yearly view.

minimalist calendar bullet journal

I like this one because the lines continue across to the next page for notes.

Bullet Journal Goals Page Ideas

Bullet Journal Goals Page Ideas

A bullet journal is a great way to keep focused on what you want to achieve. Bullet journaling really helps me get things done and move ahead more than other journaling options. Use some of these layouts to outline your goals, track your progress, and celebrate your success! Get your year started off right with goal planning in your BUJO!

yearly goals career self fitness financial

Use a 4-up layout to set goals for the major areas of your life.

yearly goals fitness creative happiness money

Get healthy, save money, follow your passions, and live intentionally when you track your goals!

the fabs 20s

“It is so powerful to always see your goals laid out in front of you and work towards them on a regular basis.” – Claudia of

Workout and Fitness Trackers

Workout and Fitness Trackers

Work up a sweat, stay motivated, shed those pounds, and build those muscles. People who track what they eat often eat a third less calories, so use workout and fitness trackers to keep you moving forward with your health goals. Trackers like these help you stay accountable and look back at all you’ve achieved when all you want to do is watch Netflix on the couch.

bullet journal health goals

Keep track of your critical health stats month to month.

workout tracker

Color code your workouts to keep track of what you do and when.

tracker page

Keep it simple with a dot grid layout, add color hatching to track your workouts.

monthly exercise tracker page

What could be simpler than highlighting a day with a highlighter?

“I always include a wellness tracker on every monthly spread to track how I’m taking care of myself.” – Nicola of

Savings and Budgeting Layout Ideas

Savings and Budgeting Layout Ideas

Get your finances in order by tracking your spending, staying on top of your savings and sticking to your budget. Pages like this will help you do just that!

money tracker

Add a graph to show the breakdown of your spending each month.

budget bullet journal

Use a budget to track income and expenses to stay on top of it.

expense tracking sheet bujo

Use your dot grid to create a graph for month to month tracking.


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Brain Dump Bullet Journal Pages

Declutter your brain quickly with these brain dump spreads. I find that if an idea is sticking in my brain and I can’t get it out, putting my ideas down on paper really helps. I usually spend around 5 minutes writing down everything that is going through my mind, outlining ideas that I’m excited about, or things that bug me. In the end I usually feel better and can move on with my work.

notes page in a bullet journal

A bullet journal is as unique as you are, so call it notes, brain dump, thoughts, ideas, etc.

brain dump science sections

Give yourself different areas to explore different ideas.

simple blank page for brain dump bullet jouranl page

Go minimalist with your bujo with just a blank box.

life is messy and brilliant

“A brain dump page is useful for whenever I have too many thoughts running around in my head.” – Jenniffer of

Contact Lists And Address Pages

In the age of digital I still find a place to write down contact info helpful. How often does someone lose a phone, drop it in the water or your contacts get erased by accident. A paper contact list and address book is a great solution to all these modern problems.

bullet journal printables

Birthdays Tracker Ideas

If you’re anything like me, you’re terrible at remembering when people’s birthdays are. A list of birthdays helps you keep on top of them. Also consider important dates such as anniversaries, holidays, etc.

birthday trackers

Try to view the entire year in one view so you can know what’s coming up next.

two page birthday page

Split up your tracker by month, then list birthdays in order.

printable bullet journal stickers

Mood Trackers Ideas

For those who are trying to improve their mental health, not just their physical, a daily mood tracker can be really helpful. Fun designs that you color in to indicate your mood keeps it fun, but also lets you spot trends and patterns.

fall leaf tracker for mood

Use a black and white outline to serve as a template to fill in with colors to match your mood.

coffee cup coloring mood tracker

Use a stencil to repeat icons that you can color in later.

bullet journal printable sticker packs


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Habit Tracking Pages

A daily habit tracker helps you keep up momentum when your trying to establish a new pattern. Keeping a log of it lets you keep on top of it and get back on track when you start to slip.

cactus habit tracker

Color code your habits to trak them and spot patterns.

habit tracker bujo spread

Use a simple dot grid pattern with color coded hatch to track patterns.

sticker for bullet journals

Level 10 Life Wheel

Create a level 10 life wheel or worksheet to master different areas of your life. I’ve found this to be really easy for me to use, there is some actual science behind it, and it quickly shows you what areas you are deficient in.

level 10 life bujo spread

Choose any 10 areas of you life that you want ot focus on them rate them.

level 10 graph design page

Instead of a wheel use graph bars instead.

level ten life bullet journal spread

Using a dot grid journal you can quickly make a “wheel”.

printable bullet journal stickers

Bucket List Page Ideas

Set lifelong or seasonal goals for yourself. Think about the big things you want to do in life and write them down, then start checking them off. You can find countless seasonal bucket lists like “fall bucket list items” to make sure you do all the fun things during the season.

“I keep a wish list in my planner. This isn’t entirely out of the ordinary, but I use it for more long-term goal items. As a plant fanatic, I also include a plant section in my wish list!” – Elizabeth of

Packing List Ideas

Don’t forget a thing for your next trip with a packing list collection. Group like items in fun ways, use check boxes to make sure you pack everything you need and don’t worry about forgetting anything.

bullet journal printable sticker packs

Blank Bullet Journal Pages With Decorative Borders

Sometimes you just need a blank canvas to get your ideas down, but that doesn’t mean it needs to be boring! Use these blank BUJO pages with some flourish for your next spread.

printable bullet journal stickers


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Gratitude Logs

There is a lot to say about focusing on the good things and a gratitude log does just that. Life can get messy, but a way to keep track of the good things keeps your day a little brighter and focused on what’s important.

“I love my monthly Gratitude Log. It helps me to reflect on each day and always try to find the good.” – Blogger Kara of Boho Berry

Books To Read Log

If you’re anything like me, you’re a major book person. I constantly have 10-15 books on deck to read next and I’m often reading more than one book at a time. Keep track of the books you’ve read, the ones you want to read next, and rate them once you’re finished.

bullet journal printable sticker packs

Movies To Watch

This is a great way to keep a list of movies you want to see, movies that are coming out soon, or movies that you’ve already watched.

stickers for bullet journals

Sleep Tracker/Log

The older I get, the more I realize how important sleep is. Use a sleep track to log when you go to bed, when you get up, and how rested you feel after a night’s sleep.

printable bullet journal stickers

Quotes Page

These pages serve as reminders, inspiration, and even add some wisdom to your bullet journal.

bullet journal printable sticker packs

Post-It Notes Bullet Journal Pages

Using sticky notes in your bullet journal is a really great way to design a single page and reuse the design over and over again. You can design boxes to “hold” the post-its for you. Consider using different sizes, shapes, and colors to organize your journal and stay flexible while doing it!


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To sum up, a bullet journal is super flexible so you can pick and choose bullet journal pages that suit your needs. I hope these page ideas helped you choose different layouts and spreads that will suit your needs when you design your own journal!

Genius Ways To Use Washi Tape In Your Bullet Journal

Genius Ways To Use Washi Tape In Your Bullet Journal

genius ways to use washi tape in a bullet journalUsing Washi Tape in your bullet journal can help take your spreads to the next level with ease. If you’re anything like me, you look at stunning bujo spreads online and wish you could do the same. Some of you might be super talented, but for those like me, I needed a leg up and Washi Tape did just that!

What Is Washi Tape

what is washi tape

For the uninitiated, Washi Tape feels similar to masking tape, but it’s also flexible and durable. The biggest distinction is that Washi Tape often comes in fun patterns used to decorate your journal. There are a ton of solid color options as well as patterns of all kinds. You can find just about any design you’d ever want, only for a buck or two.

What Is Washi Tape Used For?

what is washi tape used for

At its simplest, use it as tape! Washi Tape can be used in your journal or planner pages to add some color, to quickly decorate a spread, be a border on a page or whatever else you can think of. Many people also use Washi Tape to organize themselves, creating a color-coded system to quickly label and organize their pages or tasks.

Is Washi Tape Removeable?

is washi tape removable

Washi Tape is Removable, one of its key features is that you can peel it off and not leave [much] residue. This makes it great for people like me who sometimes need to adjust things later. Depending on your tape, you’ll sometimes find that some residue is left behind, but I find this is pretty minimal. You can lightly apply the tape at first, when you are happy with its placement, go ahead and press it down in place.

bullet journal productivity

How To Use Washi Tape In A Bullet Journal

how to use washi tape in a bullet journal

What is really great about using Washi Tape in your bullet journal is you can pick up a bunch of rolls for very cheap. This gives you a lot of options on how to use it. Using Washi Tape can also help make good looking pages pretty quickly, there are some people who spend hours making a single page, I just don’t have time for that!

Here are some genius ways to use Washi Tape in your bullet journal


Using Washi Tape To Color Code Things

Washi Tape can be used to dress up your designs, but it can also be used to color code things to add a whole new level of organization! You can use different colors or patterns to tie different tasks, events, or even whole pages to a certain topic. This can be a great way to quickly find things.

washi tape flag clips

Make little flags attached to paper clips, you then can move your flags around as need be.

washi tape calendar schedule

Show extended time frames on your weekly spreads.

washi tape page tabs

Make color coded page tabs with your Washi Tabs.

color coding key with washi tape

A flip out key to color code things.

Time Block Your Weekly Spreads

One thing I really like with digital options is the ability to have bars that extend across multiple days to track certain blocks of time. Using Washi Tape lets me quickly do this in my weekly or monthly spreads.

printable bullet journal stickers

Cover Up Mistakes

You make an awesome page that you spent a lot of time and effort on, then all a sudden, you make a mistake. Channel your inner Bob Ross and call it a “happy accident”! Washi tape lets you quickly cover up a mistake that could have otherwise ruined a great page. Using a solid color or dense pattern will let you block out the mistake, while giving you a new surface to write on.

sticker for bullet journals

Color Code Pages With Washi Tape Tabs

Are there certain pages you want to highlight or you refer to a lot? Add a piece of Washi Tape along the edge to make the page stand out and reinforce the edge you’ll be flipping to a lot.

color coding mind map with washi tape-in-journal

Washi Tape Stickers And Shapes

If you have a paper punch or are just talented with a pair of scissors, you can take washi tape, apply it to a piece of paper or ideally wax paper, punch out a shape and bam! You have yourself a sticker! With this technique you can make a ton of different looks to quickly dress up one of your bullet journal pages.

bullet journal printable sticker packs

Create Washi Tape Flags or Clips

This is really helpful to flag your current weekly spread or an important collection such as a to-do list. Take your tape, fold it around one side of a paper clip and if you want, use some scissors to cut little flag angles into it. What’s great about this is you can then move the flags to a new page when you’ve migrated a collection or moved onto a new weekly spread.

washi tape flag clips
printable bullet journal stickers

bullet journal printable sticker pages


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Cut Out Elaborate Quotes Or Titles

Have a quote or piece of text you want to call out? Print off a stencil of it, then apply bands of overlapping Washi Tape, then use a X-Acto knife to cut it out. Peel it off and you have an instant text treatment for your next page.

bullet journal printable sticker packs

Make Quick Work Of Common Elements

I just discovered they make Washi Tape with checkboxes ! Make a to-do list quickly with this tape. They also have Washi Tape days of the week and Washi Tape monthly Calendars.

Decorate Your Bullet Journal Pages With Washi Tape

The most common way to use the tape is to dress up a page in your BUJO. Here are some Washi Tape ideas for your bullet journal.

creative washi boarders in journal
wahsi tape frame

Make Your Journal Yours

Dress up the cover of your journal to quickly take any mass-produced journal into something that’s uniquely yours.

diagonal washi tape journal cover

journal cover with washi tape design idea
printable bullet journal stickers

Washi Tape Collections

A simple way to start with Washi Tape in your BUJO is to make a simple spread that you can use to show off your favorite Washi Tapes. For a quick way, find a stamp that you can create a repeated pattern that you fill in with Washi tape patterns.

washi tape catalogue page layout

A common way people make a catalogue is by making a spread with hanging flags icons.

washi tape swatch page layout

Use a repeating pattern, consider a stamp to make it quick and easy!

washi tape bullet journal spread idea

You don’t have to make it complicated, just a simple layout to quickly reference.

washi layout

Make them look like polaroid pictures hanging.

bullet journal printable sticker packs

Use It As Tape

It may seem simple, but don’t forget that you can attach things easily with the tape itself.

flip out key made with washi tape

Tape in your flip outs.

taping photos into bullet journal with washi tape

Attach photos with your Washi Tape.

washi tape bullet journal pocket

Add extra storage by making a quick pocket with an envelope.

sticker for bullet journals

Get Creative With Washi Tape Ideas For Your Bullet Journal!

get creative with washi tape

The thing I like the best about Washi Tape when I’m bullet journaling is that I can quickly add a good-looking pattern to a page without needing a lot of artistic skill. Beyond just decorating, it lets me color code important things, cover up mistakes, and create grids for lists or calendars quickly.

Your Turn!

  • How do you use Washi Tape in your journal?

Bullet Journal Printables

tropical leaves PDF printable

Start your bullet journal today with these tropical plant inspired printable journal pages.

Rugged moutain masculin printable PDF bullet journal downloadable

Get organized with these mountain inspired printable bullet journal pages.

How to Start a Bullet Journal and Master Your Productivity

How to Start a Bullet Journal and Master Your Productivity

How to Start a Bullet Journal and Master Your Productivity

How to start a Bullet JournalAs someone who is obsessed with mastering my time and productivity, I can’t emphasize the benefits of starting a bullet journal enough. A bullet journal is a paper journal, but it’s also a planning tool. Thanks to the system of migrating tasks, it’s a powerful goal-setting method as well.

printable bullet journals for saleWhen you start a bullet journal, you’re essentially wrangling all the bits and pieces floating around in your head (and on post-it notes around your desk). You’re setting priorities and creating a deliberate, practical action plan. You’re able to track your status and know your next step each day. Bullet journals offer clarity and focus.

The concept that really sealed the deal for me on bullet journals was the system of migration. With bullet journals, you roll over, or “migrate” unfinished tasks each period (weekly or monthly). This methodology quickly helps you keep track of what’s on your plate at any given time.

The other feature I love is an index as page one of the journal. It’s searchable and convenient. Again, it’s such a simple solution, but that’s the appeal of bullet journals—they seem stupidly simple, but they’re incredibly useful.

Simple, but genius! That sums up bullet journaling.

productivity quote from Benjamin Franklin

Finally, there’s no understating the convenience of paper. Now, I know the trend these days is toward cutting back on paper and going digital whenever possible. I agree with this idea for the most part, as well. I’ve digitized much of my “paper life,” and it’s been beneficial for organizing. BUT a few weeks ago, Google Calendar went down. I logged off my computer and stopped working for the day. There was no way to know what I was doing, and that’s where paper wins—paper can’t “go down” like the internet.

There are many additional reasons to start a bullet journal as well. This is a great productivity system. Here are all the details you need to know to start a bullet journal and take control over your to-do list.

Why Bullet Journals Work So Well

why do bullet journals work so well to organize your life

I got turned onto bullet journals by my friend, Zach. I was visiting the school where he worked and during our conversation a question came up. He reached for an innocuous looking journal. He checked the index and then flipped right to his plan. Instantly, he had the answer.

I had to know more about this super-efficient notebook system. I asked a lot of questions: What was a bullet journal, and how did it work? How should I start a bullet journal? Most importantly, would a bullet journal actually increase my productivity and help with organization, or was it a pretty way to doodle (and waste time)?

As many of my readers know, I’m a big fan of any tool to organize the chaos of everyday life and bring a minimalist mindset to work. Bullet journals are no exception.

Keeping a simple office and minimalist working habits

I’ve explored a lot of productivity concepts, time management, and planning activities. Anyone who’s hoping to follow a minimalist approach to their schedule (cutting out the chaos, clutter, and stress) has probably looked into many of the products and ideas like the Pomodoro method, daily planners (like the Franklin-Covey system or the Happy Planner system), and digital tools like Trello, Basecamp, and Asana. There is no shortage of ways people try to tame the chaos in their lives.

While most of these productivity tools have pros and cons, I’ve found there are positive takeaways and lessons in each one. The main idea of any efficiency tool is organizing your time and taking control of your schedule.

being stressed out over time managmentChaos, stress, clutter, and confusion all stem from a lack of priorities. Minimalism is the counterfoil to chaos because it’s all about aligning your life to your priorities.

Do you know your priorities? Do you know where you’re going? Do you know how you want your future to look? Clarifying these questions and distilling down the solutions help you move in a productive direction toward the life you want. Bullet journals offer you a simple, clear road map to your destination.

The most appealing aspect of the bullet journaling process for me was the process called migration. One of the biggest problems with other productivity methods is the lack of a way to carry tasks forward. With digital calendars and apps, you check off a task and forget it, or you keep mindlessly rolling it forward and changing the date. With a paper list or planner, you turn the page, and it’s gone.

The idea of migrating tasks is shockingly simple at face value, but from a practicality standpoint, it makes a HUGE impact and is a big deal for me. Writing down each task reinforces your dedication when you migrate them forward. You are thinking about what you’re doing, and you’re solidifying the importance.

how to migrate a bullet journal

The other aspect of bullet journals, that I liked was the index. As I said, when Zach showed me his index, it was one of those “ah-ha” moments. I’d avoided the idea of a paper planner or journal because it seemed there was a lack of searchability (unlike digital tools). You must flip through every page to find your notes. The index feature of a bullet journal provided an analogue, but still effective solution to my hang up with paper journals.

The paper aspect of a journal is nice too. Paper is convenient; you can take it anywhere. There’s something very intentional and deliberate about writing by hand. You think of what you’re jotting down. You write it with purpose. If the bullet journal system resonates with you, I think you’ll find the paper factor is a pro rather than a con.

Since bullet journaling seemed to work so well for Zach, I figured I’d give it a try, so I jumped in and learned how to plan and organize my life with the bullet journal method. I researched bullet journals further and was blown away by the amazing and artistic spreads and layouts, interesting collections, and the system itself.

What is a Bullet Journal (and How Does it Work)?

what is a bullet journal and how does it work

A man named Ryder Carrol invented the bullet journal (or bujo as he likes to call it). The system of “rapid logging” was designed to help people quickly jot down their thoughts and ideas. This method consists of bullets and signifiers (symbols) to indicate the status of each item.

There are central components to a bullet journal:

  • Index
  • Key
  • Spreads
  • Calendar/Future Log
  • Collections (projects)

We’ll go into the definition for each of these components, but it’s important to realize there is a lot of internal jargon and lingo when it comes to bullet journaling. These terms may seem intimidating or off-putting at first, but let me assure you, the components and actions are actually straightforward and practical.

introspection quote by Ryder Carroll

In addition to the basic components, there are many different collections/projects people like to include:

  • Habit trackers – Meals, workouts, moods, and more…
  • Brain dump or mind map sheets
  • Goal sheets
  • Lists – Books/movies/podcasts, travel, shopping
  • Schedule or agendas
  • Plans for meals or workouts
  • Inspiring quotes
  • Vision boards

enjoy the journey with beautiful printable bullet journal pagesAs you see, there are endless bullet journal ideas out there. The bullet journal layouts vary for each collection. After viewing so many bullet journal ideas on Pinterest and Instagram, I have to say there are very talented artists out there! The aesthetics of bullet journals was one of the aspects that really appealed to me personally. They’re small works of art for some avid bullet journalers.

But again, it’s easy to get caught up or intimidated by beautiful layouts and designs. You don’t need art skills to create a bullet journal. Many of the signifiers (symbols used to indicate the status of items on your log) are simple: a star, a checkmark, a box, or a greater than/less than symbol. You don’t need to be a calligrapher or designer to create an aesthetically pleasing bullet journal.

Better still, there are many bullet journal printables and pre-designed layouts to help you get precisely the look at features you need—no artistic talent required!

masculin printable bullet journal pages of moutains

Bullet Journal Printables

Get a head start on your bullet journal and do it in style with these printable designs.

tropical leaves printable bullet journal pages PDF

Basic Terms of Bullet Journaling

Basic bullet journaling terms

In bullet journaling, there are many specific terms used to describe the various pieces. Here’s a quick breakdown of bullet journal terminology and their definitions:
  • Index: This is the first page of your bullet journal. Each subsequent page gets a number and is logged in the index. With a quick check, you’ll find each piece of information at a glance.
  • Key: Like the key on a map, your bullet journal key breaks down the symbols (signifiers) and colors you will use to indicate the status of your projects. Most people like to put the key in the front (or in the very back), so it’s easy to reference.
  • Signifier: Signifiers are the symbols indicating the status of each task. Usual signifiers include a square (for a checkmark when complete), a > (meaning a migrated task), a < (meaning a scheduled task), a – for a note, and a * for priority. Customize signifiers to whatever makes sense to you.
  • Spread: A two-page overview of the month. The left side contains the dates, usually written as a numbered list. The right page contains your tasks/to-dos for the month. Some people prefer a weekly spread.
  • Daily Log: The heart of your bullet journal, your daily log is used to write down bullets (rapid logging) each day. You enter multiple days on a page. The topic is the date (or dates) on the page.
  • Collection: Each page in the bullet journal has a topic, and those topics are referred to as collections. Every entry in your bullet journal, whether it’s a project, list, or tracker, is called a collection. You may have several collections aligned with the tasks on your monthly spread.
  • Future log: The future log is essentially a calendar where you will add your future tasks. You consult your future log when you set up your spread each month (or week).
  • Migration: When you set up your spread, you’ll migrate the incomplete tasks/to-dos from the right page of your last spread. The migration system ensures you never lose track of what you’re doing. Migration also really sets your intention for the next period.
  • Dot Grid: Many bullet journal users journals with dot grid pages. These dot grids are useful for tracking habits and to-do items. For example, each day you work out, you may fill in a square on the grid (or a line segment) to show your progress.
  • Doodles: While this isn’t necessarily a specific term for bullet journaling, many journals feature themes, doodles, or drawings. They’re often very beautiful with different motifs used throughout the journal. Many people find a beautiful journal is more motivating.

How to Start a Bullet Journal

how to start a bullet journal in a few easy steps

When you set up your bullet journal, you’ll create the index on the first page. Then you’ll number all the pages in your journal, if it isn’t already numbered. Decide if you want your key on the front page or the back page.

You’ll want to set up your future log next. This is a year-long calendar (usually set up with space between each month, covering 2-4 pages). In this log, you’ll add significant dates like vacations, holidays, birthdays, conferences, etc. Think of your journal as working from the broad to the specific, starting with your bigger goals and planning, then as you get deeper into the journal, you get down to the nitty gritty of weeks or even daily spreads.

You may want to leave a few pages to set up various collections as you go. You don’t need to set up your collections anywhere in particular, but some people like to put them in the front of the journal. These include lists like your bucket list, books, movies, podcasts, and more. You could add your goals, meal plans, and other collections here as well.

From there, you’ll set up your first spread. The left page should show the monthly overview, including the primary goals you’d like to accomplish, as well as other important or meaningful tasks. The right page is your focus for the next week, with a daily list of goals, tasks and other important items.
example spread pages
Your next pages contain your daily log. Each day, you’ll write down notes, to-do items, scheduled items, and goals. Next to each item, write a symbol to indicate the status. A sample log may look like this:
example daily spreads
Each day, you spend a few moments noting and then migrating tasks. The migration process really makes bullet journaling a great way to stay organized. Despite being an analog method for project management, I find bullet journaling simple and effective.

bullet journal migration steps

At the end of the week or month, you’ll re-write your tasks and information on the next spread. You’ll migrate the to-do list forward, adding any incomplete items to a new list (along with any new tasks). Each time you add a new spread or a new collection, you’ll add it to your index.

Thanks to the rapid logging and signifiers, the process is quick and efficient. Scan through a bullet journal very fast and know precisely the status of every item.

There’s no dogma to bullet journaling either. Similar to minimalism or living the tiny life, there are guidelines, but the process is entirely up to your interpretation. Find the ways bullet journaling works for you. Start simple, adjust as you go, and incorporate new ideas and new collections as you become more comfortable with the process.

how to know what to focus on, goal settings quote henry thoreau

Keep in mind, you WILL make mistakes (we all do). This bullet journal is for your personal use. There’s no way to really “mess it up” or ruin your journal. If you’re worried about aesthetics, you may want to invest in whiteout or use erasable pens before you go out and buy calligraphy markers (which are in no way a requirement for bullet journaling).

You’ll also want to remember this is your journal! Use it to make notes, jot down reminders, and make notations. The power of a bullet journal is that you can refer back to it for years and years.

Using a Bullet Journal to Manage Projects

using a bullet journal to manage projects at work

Where bullet journals really shine is as a project management tool. While bujos are also a useful tool for goal setting and getting organized, I find the method is also very useful for projects requiring step-by-step action.

For example, when setting up land for a tiny house build, a bullet journal is a highly effective way to manage all the lists, to-dos, and planning.

As you see, the bullet journaling process helps you organize and keep track of moving pieces. You’ll know the status of every part of the project. Easily adjust timelines and plans accordingly, add to the lists and refer back as needed.

Some people prefer to set up a separate journal for a big project like a build. Others prefer to keep all their to-dos in one place and manage the project in their single journal. I’ve found it’s nice to create a bullet journal for each project because it gives me plenty of information to refer to later. The journals are helpful for blogging and future tiny house projects. If I run into a question, I look back in the appropriate journal and know precisely what I did, how long a task took, and any complications I encountered on the job.

Bullet journals are practical because they give a home to all the moving pieces you’re tracking. You no longer need to hold everything in your mind, jot it down on sticky notes, or access an app to remind you of the status. It’s all right there in your organized bullet journal.

An example of a bullet journal page I created for setting up land for a tiny house:example page to set goals in a bullet journal

If you’re looking for a way to organize information clearly, keep track of your day-to-day activities, or get serious about your goals, I highly recommend bullet journaling. It’s a beautiful way to keep track of your life!

Bullet Journal Printables

tropical leaves PDF printable

Start your bullet journal today with these tropical plant inspired printable journal pages.

Rugged moutain masculin printable PDF bullet journal downloadable

Get organized with these mountain inspired printable bullet journal pages.

Your Turn!

  • What’s your favorite method for goal setting and tracking?
  • What do you like about the idea of using a bullet journal?

Battle the Busy Schedule: How to Simplify Your Life

Battle the Busy Schedule: How to Simplify Your Life

You’re late to work again. You forgot your niece’s birthday. You double booked yourself. You forgot three items at the grocery store…You’re fighting the battle of the busy schedule.

Here’s the deal: there are literally hundreds of decent time management tools out there to help you reclaim your time, get organized, and take back your schedule. And you know what? Not one of them will work if you don’t address the root of your busy schedule problem.

In fact, the advice you hear about time management (write a to-do list, download a scheduling app, buy a planner, set priorities) is completely WRONG if you don’t have control over your time in the first place. I mean, the tools aren’t exactly bad. In fact, many of them are quite effective (and I’ll tell you which ones are really worth it). But before you buy a time management tool, you need to address the real issue here.

The Root of the Busy Schedule: Saying Yes When You Should Say No

saying no to a busy schedule
In a given day, we all know we have 24 hours. Over an 80 year lifetime, you get 700,800 hours. That sounds like a lot of time, right?

Subtract out the time you spend sleeping. Figuring most of us get 7-8 hours ideally per night. We’re left with 16 hours, of which many people spend half at their jobs. 8 hours for work, an hour to get ready (prepare your breakfast and lunch for example), and an hour for commuting leaves you with 6 remaining hours in the day. For many people, the number is even smaller. Let’s say, 5 hours.

So, what do you do in those five remaining hours each day? If you exercise, cook dinner, watch a movie, or spend the average 2-4 hours on your phone…well, you’re left with precious little time. Becoming more productive and laser focused, is the answer, right? After all, if you only have a few hours of free time during the day, you must manage it carefully.

For many of us, myself included, the better time management solution didn’t work until I shifted my mindset. If you’re seeking a simple, minimalist lifestyle, chances are you’re trying to minimize clutter including the clutter on your schedule. Getting real clear on my own goals really helped this process to, so make sure to take time to set goals for yourself.

simplified life without a busy scheduleWhen I started to live more simply, my schedule underwent a big transition. To take back my schedule and simplify my calendar, I had to change my mindset and weed out the timewasters. This was long before I started using time management tools. First it was about getting into the right headspace and social practices.

We think if we had better tools, we could manage every second of our days. In reality, the answer is a little more complex. Going out and buying the latest planner, spending hours setting up a bullet journal, downloading and learning Trello or Asana, won’t help boost your productivity if you don’t address the root cause of your busy schedule. In fact, all these tools may leave you feeling overwhelmed and inclined to throw in the towel on your busy schedule (in other words, setting you right back to square one).

If you want to reclaim your time, you need to start saying no.

Getting Past the Fear of Saying No

get your time back and have a simplified schedule
For many of us, the thought of saying no grips us with fear. We don’t want to sound rude. We don’t want to miss out. Maybe we feel an obligation to our boss, our spouse, our friends, or our kids. We have a difficult time turning down the request to stay longer at the office, coach Little League, or attend a birthday party.

But realize every time you say yes, you are saying no to something else. Every time commitment you set is subtracting time from another commitment or activity.

  • Say yes to staying late at the office? You’re saying no to family time.
  • Say yes to happy hour with friends? You’re saying no to the gym.
  • Commit to helping your buddy out? You’re saying no to your personal time.

At first, this thought is jarring. Most of us don’t like choosing between, say, happy hours with friends or cooking dinner at home. But each day, and every time we commit to adding an item on our busy schedule, we’re making an either/or choice, inevitably. If you’ve never thought of saying no as a chance to reclaim your time, it’s an eye-opening realization.

If you want to take back your schedule and reclaim your time, you need to start viewing your time as a precious resource. Instead of focusing on the items you’re saying yes to, think about what you’re choosing NOT to do instead. Is it worth the extra commitment?

When we distill down our choice, not only are we tackling our busy schedule, but we’re regaining control over our time. Look at our time as a resource, we can start to figure out how we’re going to fit the necessities in and eliminate the unnecessary items. It’s not about saying “no” to your boss, your friends, or your kids, but about saying yes, to simplifying your schedule and finding time for the activities that are really important to you.

Understanding the Reason Makes it Easy to Say No

set priorities in your schedule to avoid being busy

Go through your commitments and start to separate them out into the yeses, and the noes. When you’re saying yes, what’s the flip side? What are you declining in the process?

When you change your mindset, it also helps ease the stress of saying no. You’re no longer saying no because you don’t “want” to do a task. You’re saying yes to another task instead. In fact, one of the best ways to say no easily, is to offer up a reason. If you’ve explored the yes/no question about a task, your reason becomes evident.

“I can’t stay because I’m doing something with my family.”

“I won’t be able to meet you tonight, I have an appointment at my gym.”

“My schedule’s full this week, and I can’t commit to another activity right now.”

Having the reason and rationale behind the “no” makes saying it much simpler. No guilt. Remember, your time is a resource, if there’s not enough to go around, there’s simply not enough.

Never Waste Your Precious Time

don't waste time and free up your schedule
When we’re too busy and frazzled, we often cease making practical deliberate decisions about our time. If you’ve ever felt you’re running around, or find you’re forgetting the purpose of an errand, you’re probably not deliberately managing your time resource. In fact, the more we multitask and take on too much, the higher the likelihood we’ll miss something, make a mistake, or run late for an appointment. If you want to boost your productivity and free up your busy schedule, stop packing in extra tasks.

When we narrow our focus to the activities that truly matter, we’re able to become much more efficient. It’s about eliminating the extra steps and processes that don’t make sense. For example, when I started a new job a few years ago, I was training and noticed we were running the same report over and over. I spoke up and asked why we were running a report that seemed redundant.

The woman training me stopped dead in her tracks, and said, “I have no idea. No one’s ever asked before.”

focus your life and your calendar on what matters

After an exploration, they determined the report was truly superfluous and a waste of time. There were many other tasks like that on the to do list. Whether it’s simplifying your work life and office, or deciding to take back your time at home, always explore the reasons why you’re doing something. If it doesn’t make sense, or seems unnecessary, don’t be afraid to ask!

If You Say Yes to This, What Are You Saying No To?

Eventually, it will become habitual to ask, rather than simply perform a job or do an activity. Each time you’re presented with something to complete, ask yourself:

  • If I say yes to this, what am I saying no to?
  • Is this worth using my time resource?
  • Could this be done more efficiently?
  • What is the reason for this task? (the reason may simply be fun!)

Once you’ve really clarified the necessity of a task and deemed it worthy of your schedule, mindfully commit! Block out time, to dedicate solely to the task at hand. This will help you really simplify and pare down to the job in front of you. You’ll complete the task faster and more efficiently.

If you’re fighting the battle of the busy schedule, adopting this strategic approach will help you parse your schedule down to the items you really want to do. You will feel at peace when you say no, and you’ll get the items on your to do list down faster and more efficiently.

The Best Time Management Tools For You

best time managment tools for you to master a busy schedule
If you purchase a planner, adopt the Pomodoro method, or download an app like Asana, before you’ve simplified your schedule, the tool becomes more of a distraction and an excuse. That’s why it’s so important we understand our priorities first.

We may spend hours writing items down, organizing our to do lists and planning out our tasks without really achieving anything. When we’re unproductive, we place blame on the tool. It’s important to remember each tool is only as good as the user. If you’re prepared and narrow down the items you need to tackle to what’s really important, any tool is useful. If you haven’t addressed the underlying mentality that comes with a jam-packed schedule, then any tool, no matter how great, becomes a procrastination excuse.

In reality, almost every commercial tool out there is pretty useful. They’re intuitive and user-friendly. It’s really about finding a tool you love and will stick to using. As long as you’re committed, a paper planner is as good as a robust program like Trello.

Here are a few of the better time management tools I’ve found:

Paper Planner

What it is: A paper planner may seem a bit old school, but for many people they’re easy to carry and give a nice, clear overview. Typical paper planners include a calendar and a daily/weekly/monthly agenda where you block out your time. A planner may also include goal setting tools and other helpful pages.

Who it’s best for: Those who are comfortable with paper, but like structure. If you love having something tangible to refer to, then a paper planner is a great place to start. The drawbacks of a paper planner is that it’s bulky and it’s harder to erase/change/move appointments. Paper planners to check out: Panda Planner, Erin Condren LifePlanner, Franklin Covey Classic Original.


What it is: Journaling is a different style of planning—more free-form and customizable. Some journals offer prompts or grids you fill in to track a variety of habits and activities. Journals are as simple as a notebook, or much more involved.

Who it’s best for: Goal-setters, creative planners and those who prefer a visual interpretation of planning. If you’re artistic, paper and list-oriented, and plan using mind mapping, then a journal planner could be a good fit for you. Look at resources on Pinterest for bullet journals, goal-setting journals and daily journals. A few journals to check out: The Habit Journal, The Mastery Journal, The Morning Sidekick Journal, The 6-Minute Diary.

Electronic Calendar

What it is: Google Calendar is available through Gmail. MS Outlook also uses a Calendar program. These calendar programs sync with the respective email programs and are accessible from nearly any handheld device or desktop. Both calendars offer multiple calendar options, automatic scheduling, and are very user-friendly.

Who it’s best for: People on the go, who don’t like carrying paper, and those who need a relatively simple calendar planning program to manage their schedule. If you always carry your phone with you and are comfortable with an electronic calendar, then these are two very easy-to-use programs. Outlook is available as part of the Microsoft Office Suite, and Google Calendar is free for Gmail users.

The Pomodoro Technique

What it is: The Pomodoro Method or Pomodoro Technique has been around for decades. This productivity method uses time blocks (typically 25 minutes) to work on a task. You decide on a task, set a time, work for 25 minutes, and then take a five minute break when complete (and a longer break when the full task is complete).

Who it’s best for: Procrastinators and those who struggle with distraction. If you enjoy working in short bursts and feel more focused “under pressure” then the timer is a big productivity booster. You will still need a calendar or a paper to track your tasks and block out your time. The method is explained in Francesco Cirillo’s book, Pomodoro Technique; there are Pomodoro apps and online tools as well, such as: Tomato timer and Focus Booster.

List Making Apps

What it is: When it comes to list making apps there are a huge variety out there. Most list making apps offer an opportunity to manage your to-dos, sync with your calendar and set follow up reminders. Certain apps are collaborative, allowing you to share tasks and projects with a team, while others are best for a single user. While, all list making apps aren’t created equal, at the end of the day, they all do a similar task: help you manage your lists.

Who it’s best for: If you’re a list maker, you may find any of the list making apps quite helpful. From the palm of your hand you’re able to access to do lists, receive reminders and keep track of all the tasks on your plate. Many of the list making apps are great for helping you break down goals into small, manageable steps. A few list making apps to check out: Wunderlist, Todoist, Remember The Milk.

Productivity Apps/Project Management Programs

What it is: A more robust and work-friendly project management tool, these apps are great for teams. For personal use, they’re helpful for families and for big projects with a lot of moving pieces (like building a tiny house). Some users simply prefer the interface and find project management tools help them really set goals and keep track of many different parts at once.

Who it’s best for: Those who use project management software at work, have large projects to manage, or really enjoy digging in. There are plenty of comparisons online between project management programs, but two of the most popular are Trello and Asana. Both have pros and cons but are worth checking out. One word of caution with project management software—if you’re new to planning, and simply hoping to manage a busy schedule and take back your time, the software is often too robust. Remember, you don’t want to use the project management software as another excuse to procrastinate (“I’ll get a handle on my schedule as soon as I figure out how to use this software.”)

At the end of the day, the tool you use is really about finding the best fit for your lifestyle. If you prefer an app, paper, or a timer, it really doesn’t matter. What does matter is that you stick with it and apply it to your time management.

Taking back your time and getting a handle on your busy schedule, doesn’t need to be a battle, but it does mean shifting your mindset. Remember, if you only have 24 hours in the day, you need to use them wisely. Once you decide to prioritize and take back control of your time, you’ll find yourself more relaxed.

If you want the peace that comes with a simple schedule, start saying no to the extra tasks and commitments weighing you down!

A New Take On Time Management

I was reading this article and it spoke to me while it described following your passions, but in a productive way.  It is an interesting take on how to organize your day and boost productivity, check it out.

Reprinted from, written by Danielle Laporte


I’m done putting my life into categories. Quadrants. Day types. Feck.
Here’s how it happened: Last year I turned my life upside down. Took a break from marriage. Moved. Shelved numerous obligations to meet a writing deadline. Avoided said writing deadline for a long time. Slammed that writing deadline. Put my health significantly further up on the priority list. Chose yoga over blog posts. Hung with friends instead of wooing clients. Launched stuff at light speed. Killed projects. Stopped cooking dinner mid-boil to capture an idea. Talked on the phone with friends…in the middle of the day…for hours.

I lived more, because it was time for some things to die.  I had to arrive at thrive or I would get stuck in survival mode. In this dimension, nothing is predictable, and unbridled is the only way to go. It was not the time to “manage” my time.

Time management systems are tricky beasts. They may help us be more productive, but not necessarily less stressed, or more fulfilled, or more in touch with our true nature. We may look freer with our priorities all tidy, but too often, time remains the master and we get “given” time for obeying the system.

I’d rather be fulfilled than obedient. And it turns out that when I’m fulfilled, I’m…fulfilled – whether I’m productive or not. And that gives me plenty of energy to be more focused on what matters most, which makes me truly productive. It’s a beautiful thing. Here’s how I got there:

1. Stop keeping a detailed to-do list. If it’s truly important, you’ll remember to do it. A few post it notes and texts to yourself should be all you need.

2. Say no, thank you to four things a day. My coach gave me this assignment. It changed my life.

3. Relentlessly focus on the one or two vocational desires that turn you on so much that envisioning doing JUST those things seems so fantastical that it borders on erotic pleasure (yep, I think it’s your birthright to feel that hot about your work in the world). Everything else that is not about fulfilling your most intense vocational desires is getting in the way of making your fantasy life a reality.

4. Work with talented and excellent human beings. Amateurs, posers and mediocrity-makers are time squatters. Move ’em out.

5. Delegate the stuff that doesn’t light you up.

6. Have (only) 3 important things to accomplish every week. Make those three things happen and you’re closer to making your fantasy life a reality. Accomplish more than that and you’ll feel like a super hero (good esteem fuels fulfillment AND productivity.)

7. Batch n’ chunk. Pay all of your bills at the same time. Create a day just for errands. Make all of your calls before noon. This “while you’re at it” kind of momentum is incredibly efficient.

8. Ask yourself every morning what you really feel like doing. Not what’s most important. Not what’s expected of you. But what you’re most excited to do. Enthusiasm is the DNA of making things happen. Start there.

Flying without a to-do list made me worry. It was scary to let go of revenue streams and planned projects. Going to yoga when I had obligations actually took some moxie. Doing what I was truly stoked to do each day was unnerving, guilt-inducing and exhilarating all at once. And it didn’t take long for this free forming time style to reveal my most lucrative, artistically satisfying, relationship-enhancing year ever.

Easy does it.