I’ve been in the midst of a war for a long time. There’ve been many battles between good ole’ pen and paper planners, to-do lists, notepads, and notebooks versus phone apps and right now the phone apps are winning (Thanks in part to Apps Gone Free). But just when I began to feel weighed down by technology I was sent a plain and simple, yet detailed lifehack that may be worth a try: The Bullet Journal.
The Bullet Journal is not actually a journal. It’s a method created by Art Director and Interaction Designer Ryder Carroll called “rapid logging.” The premise of this method is to capture thoughts, events, and notes, quickly and without being weighed by emotion. Watch the video to see how the method works.
I conducted a trial run in December with a 2013 planner that was almost at its end and it went well so to start the new year I treated myself to a brand spanking new violet Moleskine journal!
So far the positives outweigh the negatives but there are still a few negatives:
- I hate to see my own handwriting-but maybe this will inspire me to finally get around to writing like a 25 year-old woman and not a seven year old boy.
- I feel buyer’s remorse for all of the to-do list apps I’ve bought in the past that just didn’t get the job done and now sit tucked away in folders somewhere on my phone.
- I’m having to train myself to keep my journal close by all day, everyday.
- At first I thought I couldn’t really plan for the months ahead but I’ve created my own hack to get around that. (I’ll tell you about it in a little while.)
- I can physically see myself procrastinating: It’s very clear to see tasks that get migrated again and again because I haven’t done them yet.
- By writing things over and over from the monthly calendar to the weekly calendar to the daily calendar to the pages for specific project lists, remembering these things is easier.
- The index is awesome. I can basically make a new page or list for any random collection of thoughts e.g. blog post ideas, notes from a meeting, christmas lists, and more on a new page and add it to the index for easy reference.
- I can condense many days onto one page.
- I can skip a few days when I don’t really have anything pertinent to do but not feel like I’m wasting paper; I can pick right up where I left off.
- It’s my first Moleskine!
- It’s really customizable.
- I like looking back and seeing everything I’ve accomplished.
- It feels good to literally check things off my list.
As far as customization, these are some of the changes I’ve made:
- I added a weekly calendar in addition to the daily and monthly calendars. This helps me break down my monthly goals into weekly task lists that I can then strategically distribute throughout the week-or at least attempt to.
- I also added a few new signifiers: Things to look up, Things to download, Put in phone/calendar, Put in Pocket, and Quotes
- A page for dates beyond the current month that I can transfer in later.
So far so good. Im more than halfway through January and me and Betty are still hanging in there. Excited about finding other ways to spice things up (hello Washi Tape!) and looking forward to filling up these pages. I can’t believe I’m only up to page 12.
Any other faithful Bullet Journalers out there? Have any tips or hacks to share? I’d love to hear in the comments.