“We get so caught up in the doing of things that we forget to ask why we’re doing them in the first place. Asking why is the first small but deliberate step we can take in the search for meaning.”

Ryder Carroll

Reflection, as I’ve learned, is one of the most important parts of the bullet journal system of productivity. I’ve been bullet journaling since the end of 2015, and lately I’ve been feeling like my journal doesn’t help me as much as it used to — and I realized it’s because I’ve stopped using it to reflect.

I’ve been using my bullet journal mostly as a to-do list, and of course that’s not very much fun at all. I had basically stopped writing anything down, and all that was left were lists. I have monthly to-dos, weekly to-dos, and of course daily to-do lists. Having all of these lists helped me remember the things I should be spending my time on, but I still didn’t feel motivated despite all my lists. Just because I knew where my time should have been going didn’t mean I was actually spending my time that way. Instead I just felt guilty whenever I opened my journal to see all the unfinished tasks I had left.

Reflection seems to go hand in hand with the idea of spirituality. After all, being present in the moment is basically meditation, and meditation is for monks or hippies or something. Right?

Being able to reflect on ourselves is an extremely important skill. It’s so easy to get caught up in the chaos that daily life can often become. It’s also easy for us to get caught up in behaving one way that we stop considering how our behavior affects those around us. Reflection to any degree — meditating on a distant mountaintop like in the movies, or thinking about the day you’ve had while you’re getting into your bed at night — can help us become better versions of ourselves.

So, instead of just having a sad journal full of unaccomplished tasks, I decided to start using my new journal as a place to put my thoughts, feelings, and to track how I actually spend my time each day. Having a place to put a piece of my mind helps me to see patterns in my own behavior and helps me to process each day better. It also lets me dig into the reason behind why I do the things I do, and what my true values are in life.

“When things don’t work out, I no longer approach them from a place of judgment. Rather, I try to approach my failures or crises from a place of curiosity. Why did this not work? What am I feeling? What would I do differently next time? What small step can I take right now to make things a little better? Where there is curiosity, there is hope. Where I once saw dead ends, now the possible roads through a dark forest are many.”

Ryder Carroll, Inside ADHD

Thank you for reading <3

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