Aug 4, 2016

Bullet Journals.

I have a system worked out for getting things done that's been pretty effective for me so far.  It relies heavily on:
  • sticky note reminders that can be stuck onto things or folded up and tucked into my phone case if it involves me having to call someone or look for something at a shop (eg measurements or item codes)
  • a pad of paper on the kitchen table for the weekly grocery run
  • a work diary that sits on my desk in my office and only contains work related appointments
  • a flip calendar next to the phone on my desk for super urgent things that have to be done first thing on my next working day
  • a wall calendar for charting leave and holidays
  • a daily print out of my ward list which I annotate throughout the morning which works with my yellow index cards
  • my iPhone calendar for everything else.

via Tumblr
And then I heard about Bullet Journals from a friend.  Described as 'the analog system for the digital age', it has a founder and official website as well as thousands of converts around the world.  I found this Buzz Feed article which breaks it all down for you, in true Buzz Feed form it's pithy and straight talking.  As a devotee of pen, paper, line throughs, highlighting, coloured pens and tick boxes, had the time come for me to BuJo my life?

From what I've read so far, bullet journalling is basically a way of organizing, planning and journalling your life all in the one (usually) expensive hard covered notebook.  Page numbers and an index page are key as are black pens of various thicknesses and finishes as well as a symbol system with which to differentiate the points you write in your journal.  As your journal develops, you're encouraged to review what you've completed and what you've yet to do.  You can start pages to plan months and years in advance.  You can start pages for specific topics like books you've read or one for daily gratitudes.

I've seen some inspiring examples on the internet all of which are written in perfect black script short statements that are perfectly left justified behind precisely constructed symbols.  Aside from the black script are headings beautifully lettered and embellished with tasteful splashes of colour and hand drawn artwork.  Then there are the bookmarks, colour coded bull dog clips and hand written calendar pages.

It all looks like a very calming, empowering and soothing way to engage your mind for at least several minutes of your day.

The thing is, you can't teach an old dog new tricks.  Especially if you're an old dog who happens to like her old tricks.

Attending conferences and teaching sessions are the only situations where I can sit down with an array of writing implements and a hard cover notebook for a sustained period of time.

I only carry the list specific to what I'm doing with me at that point in time.  Firstly because I have a habit of losing my lists (ironically, this could be a reason why I should bullet journal) but also, a fair proportion of what I write down is confidential and as such, I shred it on site the moment I've finished with it.

And I just love my sticky notes. Writing on them, peeling them off the top border of their neighbour and pressing them down firmly on my desk, a calendar or whatever other surface might be in need of a little square burst of colour.

The whole concept of bullet journal-ling also got me thinking about how it could be my age and stage of life that's got me feeling beige about it.  I've got most of my major life choices and decisions locked in.  The five year and beyond plans that I do have are pretty simple, loosely defined one liners that I've committed to memory and am making steady progress with.  In general, I've come to accept the ebb and flow of life and the fact that it can often take you in a direction far removed from the plans you initially had.  And your role, when you're up the creek, is to just keep on paddling to keep your head above water while counting and appreciating your blessings.

But I digress.  Other aspects of my life that could be bullet journal-ed already have their place carved into my day.  Blogging and social media already cover the journal-ing aspect of this BulJo structure.

But reading about the process has given me a few pointers with regard to how I can refine what I'm currently doing.

Do you bullet journal or have something similar in your life right now?  How about productivity apps?  How much time on average would you devote to journal-ing each day?  How has it improved your life?

If you haven't committed your life to a journal or an app, any particular reason why?


  1. Hi I haven't heard of it but it sounds like a process incorporating materials one buys to engage with the process. I imagine you are right and can use those techniques with your existing equipment. I'm going to read about it as it looks interesting. I use sticky notes and the ones that come with Microsoft. So when I turn on my pc the notes flash up on the screen. I have one paper diary for home and work combined to ensure I don't get clashes. I also use apps. This week I've bored the family with My home app.

  2. I have two paper diaries- one for day to day and one for quotes etc as well as a love of sticky notes of all shapes and colours.Have heard of bullet journaling but only have one list at a time(usually on scrap paper).

  3. I'm with you! I still use a paper diary for goodness sake because seeing it in my own handwriting embeds it in my brain better. Or something. A bullet journal sounds complicated. I've just got the good old fashioned note book which I keep for years after it's full (just in case) full of to-dos, ta-dahs, visions, thoughts, contact details. I love it! Oh, and highlighters and sticky notes are a must ...

  4. I might have to have a look at a bullet journal. I love a list. Currently using a hardcover diary for work and a wall calendar at home. I also have a gratitude journal - Clarissa

  5. Always sticky notes - and my iPhone notes and calendar. I like to keep it simple :)

  6. I tried bullet journal 3 or 4 years ago - I actually found the non-completed carry forward too depressing! I have a desk calendar for my personal stuff, a wipeable month by month kitchen one we use for whole family (kids's shifts, my away time etc), my electronic work diary for work stuff only and a A4 hard spine notebook (not moleskin as way too $$$, just something from office works) for my work notes, to do lists etc.


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