If you aren't familiar, the bullet journal is a planner that you make, all by yourself*, that enables you to have an organized running tab for your endless to do lists, random thoughts/notes, and calendar events. You can read more about the concept here to understand just how simple and adaptable it is. The bullet journal founder created a framework for keeping the planner that serves as a customizeable jumping off point. Simply use (or modify) the foundation for organizing your bullet journal, or develop your own system.
After much consideration, I decided to give it a try, thinking I would create an artistic, Instagram-worthy planner that all my art enthusiast friends would envy. That is not what happened! My thin Moleskine notebook, peeling at the edges from wear and tear, is a jumbled list of notes, cross outs, and check marks with glaringly bright post its and highlighter marks to keep track of my life. Keeping up this simple system proved to be more difficult and time consuming than I thought. I found that planning for future events was difficult since I had to manually create the monthly/weekly pages in advance, which resulted in a varied and confusing tempo of daily, monthly, and weekly pages. This made it all the more difficult to track what I had accomplished in the past. That being said, the experiment in bullet journaling has enabled me to figure out what features of a planner are necessary for me to stay organized. I like the idea of using different bullet points to signify different tasks and I appreciate the flexibility of having collections or free pages to doodle on. Now I can take that data and apply it to my search for a new pre-made planner.
*Clearly, I learned the all by yourself part the hard way.
From Claire: I, too, tried the bullet journaling idea this summer, and similarly stopped after a few months. While it was great to have to do lists, blog post ideas, and my calendar in the same place, the work required up front to plan events months down the road was challenging. What’s more, I often found myself forgetting elements of the system that was supposed to be revolutionizing my life. Was I to use a bullet for scheduling an appointment, or a dash? Did it even matter? In the end, I think bullet journaling is an invaluable tool for some (and there are nice articles evidencing how dozens of people use the system on Bullet Journal’s blog), it just isn’t right for me. On to the next thing!
Would you give bullet journaling a try or are digital apps for productivity more your thing?