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    5 Things I Learned Using The Nifty Journal

    It’s like a scrapbook, diary, and to-do list all in one.

    Psst! BuzzFeed makes money if you buy this!

    I have never been what one might call “organized.”


    I’ve missed upward of 10 flights in my life, and my unopened mail induces stress dreams. So embarking on the journey of “organizing my life,” even with the help of a journal that claims to do just that, initially seemed a futile task.

    I have, however, recently begun to remedy some of these faults. I haven’t been late for a flight in at least two years, and clutter that used to leave me unfazed (e.g., dirty dishes) has slowly begun to wear on me.

    That said, 2018 seemed like the perfect year to face organization head-on, and the BuzzFeed Nifty Journal seemed an ideal antidote to a messy life.

    Rachel Ellison / BuzzFeed

    With 144 pages of lists, doodles, and space to brainstorm, it helps you pinpoint the areas of your life that are begging for order. Each section is formatted a little differently, with various offerings in the form of tips and blank lists — there’s even a blacked-out page that lets you “vent it out” without anyone being able to see your harsh words — so you can cherry-pick which sections you deem most helpful.

    After using the journal for a while, here are five things I’ve learned:

    1. Defining your goals as high-level endpoints first (quit smoking!) helps you break the goal down into achievable steps.

    Rachel Ellison / BuzzFeed

    While I haven’t completely quit smoking cold turkey, opening up this journal to see “cigarettes” under my list of “things to get rid of" — as well as in other places throughout the journal — is a new way to think about this challenge.

    2. Looking at all your habits and goals in one place really gives you perspective.

    Rachel Ellison / BuzzFeed

    The journal features sections to help with general priorities, organizing thoughts and memories, health and fitness goals, your digital life, cleaning, organizing a space, finances, and of course, purging a home of unnecessary clutter (i.e., the Marie Kondo wave).

    Basically the journal is a host to lists that you wouldn’t keep elsewhere: things to buy, things to get rid of, meals and books to read. It provides space to organize beyond a daily planner or refrigerator Post-its. Some sections I found a bit gratuitous — such as blank lists designed to catalog people who have helped you, or things for which you’re grateful — but other parts that allowed me to keep track of the specific actions needed to meet a goal, like when I listed out chores I would perform on a weekly basis, were useful.

    3. When you put your goals into writing, you feel more accountable.


    Even if it’s just to the pen and page. The journal itself is too big to carry around easily, so I wouldn’t approach this as a journal to visit daily but rather as a barometer with which to track progress toward long-term goals.

    4. Even an unorganized person probably has at least *some* good habits.

    Rachel Ellison / BuzzFeed

    Through tracking all these things I learned that my meals were very monotonous but my sleeping habits were not! A super-nifty (pun intended) little section lets you record your sleeping hours. You may think that you generally keep a running tally of average hours slept, but writing things down can shed light on any erratic habits. Whether you record the time your alarm goes off or when you actually get up (in my case two vastly different times) is up to you. Some habits don’t need change, but looking at them over time might make you reevaluate how you spend time and your priorities. Maybe 2018 will be the year I finally take a cooking class!

    5. Identifying chores can actually decrease stress (really!).

    Emmy Favilla / BuzzFeed, Rachel Ellison / BuzzFeed

    As I mentioned before, the journal provides space to identify high-level goals, but what I found especially helpful with respect to cleaning were the pages that allowed me to write down weekly chores.

    I had never before explicitly separated cleaning tasks by grouping them into weekly chores and less regular, deep-cleaning routines. Acknowledging that my floors deserve a good sweep every weekend but that dusting can be left to every other week or even once a month (don’t judge me if you’re a dusting fiend) has made everything seem much more manageable.

    After only a few weeks it’s hard to say how my goals will pan out in the long run, of course.


    But this journal does offer a useful starting point for anyone who is really struggling to bring some order into their life or to create a routine to achieve personal goals — and who doesn't have the time or desire to commit to creating a full-on bullet journal.

    Get it from BuzzFeed's Nifty Shop (available in three stages of life — general (the one I used), Adulting 101, and Busy Parent — for $22.95.

    Looking for the perfect gift for any occasion? Check out all of BuzzFeed’s gift guides here!

    Ryan Pattie / BuzzFeed