If you do a Google search for bullet journals or planner ideas, you will see thousands of images and ideas for using trackers in your journal. They are an important part of many people's journals. I myself have several different trackers in my planner and I find them extremely useful.
A tracker is just what it sounds like - it's a thing that is used to keep track of something. It records data over time.
If you haven't come across them before, now might be a good time to consider using them in your own journal. The new year is the perfect time to start a tracker, as many of us are thinking about our goals for the year, what we'd like to achieve, and things we'd like to change. Using a tracker can help reach those goals.
Why use a tracker?
Trackers are extremely useful tools and there are many benefits to using them in your journal.
Trackers help you remember to do important tasks.
These may be tasks you need to do every day, or things that need to be done once a week or once a month. How often do you find yourself wondering if you paid that phone bill already, or when you last changed the water filter in your kitchen? Creating a tracker where you tick off these things each time they're done allows you to quickly see where you're up to.
Creating a job or to-do tracker can also save you lots of time, and space in your journal, if you find yourself writing the same jobs on your to-do list every day. You only need to create the tracker once, and then each day, tick off the things you have done, rather than write a new list each time.
Some examples of things you can track are:
- daily chores / housework
- morning / evening routines
- watering plants
- bills to be paid
- medication / vitamins etc you need to take
- worming your pets
Trackers can help keep you motivated to achieve your goals.
Do you have a holiday coming up or a special item that you're trying to save money for? Creating a savings tracker in your journal to record your progress with this not only lets you see how much you've saved, but also helps keep you motivated to save more and continue working towards your end goal.
When you can see what you've accomplished so far, and how each step brings you closer to the end goal, it helps keep you motivated and feeling positive that your hard work will be worth it.
Some other examples:
- progress in paying off a loan
- weight loss progress
- personal best time for sporting activity
Trackers can help you establish new habits.
Maybe you want to get fit and are trying to exercise every day. Maybe you need to get better at drinking enough water during the day. Maybe you've been a bit slack with flossing your teeth and want to get in the habit of doing this every evening before you go to bed. Whatever habit you are trying to establish, using a tracker for it can help.
It takes time to establish new habits - most people seem to say around 30 days is the time it takes. And in that time, especially when you're first starting out, it's easy to forget to do the thing, or find an excuse to not bother with it that day. Having a tracker for the thing you're trying to do is great because not only does it remind you to do it, but it can also motivate you to do it because you want to check that box or colour in that space and not leave gaps!
Trackers can help you see patterns and trends.
Trackers don't just have to be for simple tasks and to-do reminders. They can also be used to keep track of more complex things, like your mood and energy levels, or how much sleep you're getting. If you have a chronic illness, they can also be used to record the fluctuations in your symptoms. Trackers like these are useful because over time, they allow you to see patterns, and this can help you develop a greater understanding of yourself, what things may be affecting how you think and feel, and this in turn helps you see what things may be done to improve it.
If you have a business, you can also use trackers to monitor things like sales, or visits to your website or social media engagement. One of my goals for this year is to become more consistent with my social media posts and to share more interesting and engaging content with my followers. I created a tracker in my planner to track the activity on my different social media accounts - things like how many posts I published that week, how many people they reached, how many likes or comments I received etc. I've only been using this tracker for a few weeks but I can already see some patterns and correlations there and that helps me adjust what I'm doing to fit my goals.
These are just some examples of ways you can use trackers in your journal.
Make it functional
How you set up your tracker, and what things you track with it, is entirely up to you. Your tracker can be as simple or as decorative as you like, but the most important thing is that it is functional and works for you.
I find it best to start with just one or two things, rather than trying to create bunch of different trackers all at once. Especially if you are trying to establish new habits, it is easier, and you have a much greater chance of success, if you focus on one thing at a time.
And lastly, make sure you put your tracker where you can see it every day, or can easily refer to it when needed. It's no good spending time creating a beautiful tracker if you then forget about it and don't use it.
If you want some inspiration, and lots more ideas for using trackers in your journal, check out my Pinterest board: