As somebody who has been collecting bullet journaling inspiration for years, I’ve found that most “bujo” enthusiasts and their pretty spreads fall into five major categories or personalities, each with their very own strengths and pitfalls. Though there’s definitely no wrong way to bullet journal, finding out which personality you lean toward can help you leverage your bullet journal to its greatest potential and minimize its weaknesses.
So far, I’ve discussed my own bullet journaling personality, The Minimalist; a personality I admire very much, The Scrapbooker; and The Artist—the personality I’d be, if clean lines and white space weren’t even more my jam. Today, let’s talk about The Tracker.
The tracker records and documents everything. There is nothing more satisfying to the Tracker than seeing a good graph—whether this is of chores, habits, weight loss, or financial savings progress.
Large spreads full of charts and graphs
Daily spreads often contain progress bars or some kind of metric for accomplishments or habits, tracking water intake or calorie count.
The Tracker will find themselves greatly aided in efforts like losing weight or improving sleep patterns. When you can see directly how that extra muffin can affect your week’s progress, the less likely you are to indulge in needless calories! And nothing quite makes progress at the gym feel better than to see it numerically and objectively!
Tracking is very helpful when taking note of symptoms for a medical condition, or for defining habits and triggers related to anxiety or depression.
Can see progress over the last several months, and be encouraged!
Understands their own habits and how they spend time—This is really helpful when deciding whether or not to take on a new project, determining what activities to commit to when a new year begins, and setting expectations for building new habits.
Able to build strong, long-term habits
Strong self-awareness—whether of one’s body, habits, tendencies, emotional health, etc.
Might be able to make connections between parts of his/her life that others can’t. E.g., eating a certain food or doing a certain activity almost always results in sleep loss; listening
Setup time can be extensive, which may prevent The Tracker from planning at all on busy weeks. It can also prevent The Tracker from tracking things month-to-month—a giant tracking spread with lots of lines and dots might be feasible one month, but will it be too much of a pain to set up for the next?
One successful tracking venture might lead The Tracker to think he/she needs to track all the things! But the reality is that tracking takes time out of every day, so several of these items might go untracked for days at a time, which may prevent you from seeing patterns in the data.
Constantly switching things up, even if they work; this may lead Artists away from bullet journal spreads that lend themselves to the most productivity
Gets distracted by art over planning and productivity
Feels pressured to make each page beautiful, so when creativity is lacking, Artists may feel too daunted to start drawing or planning. This goes hand-in-hand with “fear of the blank page,” and feeling paralyzed by the prospect of making a mistake that will ruin a spread.
Plan page setup in your monthly rhythm; set aside time to set up those tracking spreads, so that you’re not caught off guard by another month (and nowhere to track your habits!)
Think about what you really need to track. Narrow your focus. This doesn’t mean that you’re foregoing all the other things you’d like to track, but rather, just prioritizing. You might finish tracking one item, and move on to others. (You can keep a list of things to track in the future in your BJ so that you don’t forget). Ask yourself questions like: What can I benefit from most, right now? What is the most urgent habit change that I am looking to cultivate? What’s my priority?
Commit to a set duration for tracking a certain aspect of your life, to see if these efforts are truly fruitful, and set measurable goals. E.g., I am going to track my water intake for the next three months, so that I am more mindful of hydration. Hopefully by then, it will be a habit. Then, set a reminder to evaluate your progress after that time period ends! (Which you can do by marking this date on your yearly spread, by adding it into your quarterly analysis, or by setting a reminder on your phone).
Tracking one’s habits can only be successful if the tracking is itself a habit! Build this time into your daily routine.
Don’t track just for tracking‘s sake, or you’ll tire quickly! Determine which metrics are genuinely useful for you—and of the items that you track, make sure you’re actually utilizing and thinking about those results!
Don’t just create charts—I recommend creating graphs based on those charts, so that you can see trends more clearly. This also makes a really nifty spread!
Create or purchase labels/stickers for something that you track regularly. The less setup you can put between yourself and actually doing the tracking that you’d like to do, the better!
Create or purchase stamps for things you track regularly. Stamps cost more up front, but you’ll save money down the road by not having to print or purchase more stickers. And any extensive sticker user knows that your bullet journal will start to slowly expand unevenly as you add more stickers to each page—something I personally am not fond of!
Check out my Pinterest board for ideas on how to lay out your pages, and of course, to pick up more things to track! This mega board of over 1,000 pins has been sorted by Bullet Journal personality.
SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS
Are you a Tracker? Got any tips to add? Tell me below in the comments! I’d love to hear from you.