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How Journaling in a Day Planner Changed Our Lives

You’re a highly productive lady (or at least you’d like to be). You’re present in the moment (or at least you try to be). And you’re really into bullet journaling (or at least you’ve thought about it, once). 

But shorthand code and never-ending to-dos aren’t for everyone. Here’s something (a lot less stressful) that you might prefer instead: backward journaling.

OK, we made that term up, but the idea is simple. You take a regular old paper day planner (ideally one with a large-format week view) and, at the start of each week, jot down very loose to-dos for each day. (Say, Monday is Bachelor night with the girls, Tuesday is spin class, Wednesday is for laundry and Thursday is your nephew’s soccer game.) Then leave the rest of the slots open for reflection after the fact. Use that space to list out how you felt that day, what you ate, if you exercised and any other notable interactions, good or bad. (“Hit a record sales number at work!” or “Ugh, my knee has been feeling tight.”)

We recently started doing this as a way to keep track of some personal health goals, and the combination of planned to-dos, completed achievements and emotional insight helped us form much more real expectations for ourselves.

It’s also a great excuse to doodle and play with stickers (which—fun fact—come with all Ban.do planners, our personal fave). The more fun you have with it, the more accomplished you’ll feel.

RELATED: 29 Unexpected Ways to Relax After a Stressful Day

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