Recently, my dearest has been experimenting with a new organization/journaling/calendar system. Since starting a few weeks ago he’s been RAVING about it. Honestly, the whole system seems like a total game changer so I asked him to fill us in. Take it away, Chet!
I have dates in my Google calendar. I have notes from courses that I’ve taken in Evernote. I have random ideas and lists jotted down in Google Keep. I have a near endless number of notebooks, legal pads, binders, and folders filled with years of academic and recreational work. Ideas, outlines, lists of books to read, movies to watch, music to listen to….stuff.
Digital technologies have completely unleashed work and leisure. We are all familiar with the struggles of being plugged in 24/7, but I’m consistently frustrated with the solutions to these problems. There are no shortage of apps and software designed to help us organize our lives, but, somehow, the more apps I download to organize my life the more disorganized and fragmented it becomes! I log into some of these programs, weeks or months after I’ve last used them, to find piles of useful notes, things that would have helped save me time if I had remembered their existence. Months ago, I bought a Moleskine notebook in order to help solve this problem once and for all. I would hand write all of my important notes to this one notebook so that it would be impossible to lose track of information. The result? Disaster!
I ended up with this mess. All of my notes were in one place, but they were completely unreadable. The Moleskine was a great place to keep content, but not a great place to sort and easily find that content later. Enter the Bullet Journal. The Bullet Journal is a very simple analog note taking organizational scheme. In essence, it provides the system for organizing a notebook into a searchable, readable form. The most basic entries are simple task lists and reminders by day.
Much better! Tasks are now clearly organized, and can be checked off or moved around as necessary. The Bullet Journal system also uses page numbers in some really cool ways. I’ve gone through and numbered the whole book in advance, and those numbers can now be used as a table of contents.
I’ve only just started this system, so I don’t have many entries (yet), but I do have a few cool ones. You can see in the pic that there are some other categories listed like movies and pc games. These are persistent lists. You can keep adding items to them and reference when needed. I’ve already used a full page for my first movies list, so I’ve brought a few stragglers over and created a new one.
You can even begin to subdivide using other important tags like Netflix availability. This method of organizing has really helped me to be more efficient in my media consumption. Before, I would twiddle my thumbs, browsing Netflix aimlessly. Now, I can quickly scan through stuff I want to watch, and not just settle on content I’ve already seen. I also plan on including a few tags with titles that I’m unfamiliar with so that I can sort even quicker.
My favorite aspect of the Bullet Journal, by far, is the customization. Now that you have an organizational framework, you can use it to your advantage. I used a ruler to draw up a simple calendar for this month. On the opposing page, I’ve made a list of monthly notes/goals.
This gives me a macro/micro view of my ongoing projects. If I want to sketch out a given week, I’m also free to do that.
I’ve only just started using the Bullet Journal, but it’s already helping me tremendously. I’ve been able to organize and collapse some disparate lists into a compact, portable package. The daily lists sometimes aren’t needed. I’ll remember everything on my plate for a given day and finish them all. I’m still working at cracking the journal open at least twice a day. When I do, I get to see my tasks, and then see them completed or re-organized. It adds a great sense of accomplishment to a day, and also helps me prepare for the next day by clearly establishing my goals. I also think it’s a great place to unplug, to practice your handwriting, to not use a phone all the time!
If you’re feeling frazzled by apps, or just looking for a place to keep some informal lists, a Bullet Journal may be for you!
Thanks for sharing, Chet! I’ve been pretty enamored with this whole system since he began sharing it’s success with me. Luckily, I was gifted the tools to start trying it out for myself…
So far so good! ❤