Flexible and Mindful Self-Tracking: Design Implications from Paper Bullet Journals

Amid Ayobi, Tobias Sonne, Paul Marshall, Anna L. Cox

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference Contribution (Conference Proceeding)

94 Citations (Scopus)
1083 Downloads (Pure)


Digital self-tracking technologies offer many potential benefits over self-tracking with paper notebooks. However, they are often too rigid to support people's practical and emotional needs in everyday settings. To inform the design of more flexible self-tracking tools, we examine bullet journaling: an analogue and customisable approach for logging and reflecting on everyday life. Analysing a corpus of paper bullet journal photos and related conversations on Instagram, we found that individuals extended and adapted bullet journaling systems to their changing practical and emotional needs through: (1) creating and combining personally meaningful visualisations of different types of trackers, such as habit, mood, and symptom trackers; (2) engaging in mindful reflective thinking through design practices and self-reflective strategies; and (3) posting photos of paper journals online to become part of a self-tracking culture of sharing and learning. We outline two interrelated design directions for flexible and mindful self-tracking: digitally extending analogue self-tracking and supporting digital self-tracking as a mindful design practice.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCHI 2018 - Proceedings of the 2018 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery (ACM)
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9781450356213
ISBN (Print)9781450356206
Publication statusPublished - 21 Apr 2018
Event2018 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI EA 2018 - Montreal, Canada
Duration: 21 Apr 201826 Apr 2018


Conference2018 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI EA 2018
Internet address


  • Bullet journaling
  • Habit tracking
  • Instagram
  • Mood tracking
  • Personal informatics
  • Self-care technologies
  • Self-tracking
  • Selfmonitoring
  • Symptom tracking


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