If you’re in the process of conversion or even if you’re just looking to grow and add observance and study, there can be a lot to keep track of. Classes, books to read, prayers to remember to say…it can be a lot.
Over the years, I’ve tried several different systems to keep our family on track. I’ve mastered a google calendar and I’ve worked with different planners, but the most powerful and flexible tool I’ve found for tracking all these different things has been a bullet journal. If you’re unfamiliar with bullet journaling, it’s a very simple paper system that can track tasks, habits, and dates and all you need is a pen and a small notebook. I won’t go into all the ins and outs of bullet journaling itself and I’m instead going to focus on how it is particularly useful for tracking things pertaining to Orthodox Jewish observance and conversion study, but a great place to begin if you’re completely new to it is bullet journal’s official website.
I do use my bullet journal to track important dates, but where I find it most powerful is in tracking tasks and habits. Often, I need to remember to make phone calls or send emails or bring some piece of documentation. My task tracker is very helpful for helping me keep track of those things in one place. You can google for a task key and use whatever symbols work for you, but this is an example of a simple daily task list that someone else made. Mine is a bit too personal to share!
My task list isn’t quite this pretty and is a lot more colorful, but it is filled with anything I need to remember or do on a given day. I use different symbols for appointments and tasks or things I just need to remember and then I can carry those forward or mark them off as they’re done. That is helpful, but the next section is where I really find the power in my bullet journal.
I use habit tracker pages to track those recurring things that I’m trying to do every day. It can be something as simple as remembering to wash and daven morning blessings. These are those recurring habits that begin to form an observant life and for me, tracking them, can be really helpful to keep me on track as I slowly add to my daily observance.
This is an example of someone else’s habit tracker. Mine, again, is a little too personal for comfort to share.
In my case, my habits revolve around prayers I want to say, washing netilyas yadiim, giving tzedekah, reading and study, along with a few other personal habits I want to cultivate. Since I check my bullet journal a couple of times a day, it’s a great reminder!
The final thing about bullet journaling that I wanted to share is how you can use it to track longer term goals. I’ve created a spread to track my progress on the 101 Goals in 1001 Days. As part of that challenge, I have goals that I want to do daily, weekly, monthly, annually, and even just once. That can be a lot to try to keep track of! This is part of what I’ve come up with to help myself.
This one is actually mine and that’s the first of 7 pages dedicated to those 101 Goals. Mine may not be as pretty or perfect as some of the other bullet journals out there, but I primarily keep it for myself, to help me not get lost in all the things that I should be working on, whether it’s adding Hebrew vocabulary, giving tzedakah (charity), or keeping track of appointments and making phone calls.
If you’re drowning in tasks and having trouble keeping on track, why not give it a try?
A Good Shabbos to everyone and may you have a peaceful and meaningful Shabbos!