So in January, I stated I would make the following changes to my Bullet Journal:
- Fold pages in half in order to use each side for one day each.
- Use Don’t Break the Chain calendars to replace any daily repeating tasks.
- Print a mini-calendar for the month.
- I actually forgot about folding the pages to use one side per day, but I did start using a different tactic for to-do lists, which I’ll talk about farther down this post.
- I did print out (and laminate!) Don’t Break the Chain calendars, but I couldn’t decide where to place them in my room. It had to be a convenient place where I wouldn’t be too lazy to get up and mark the days. So… I haven’t actually put them up and used them. Oops.
- I was so busy I forgot to print a mini-calendar for February! But I definitely will for March.
Despite not being able to use my own suggestions, I did discover a few new ways to use my journal. Here are some observations and suggestions for myself that I had while using it this past month:
- Instead of a Daily Tasks List, I made a Weekly Task List. I realized that having to move a task I failed to do on a given day stressed me out if I had to keep migrating it each time I failed to do it. Instead, having it stay in one place on my journal kept me from being intimidated by it. It didn’t feel like it was following me around anymore. Now it felt like it was sitting there waiting for whenever I was ready to tackle the task.
- I’ve been using my phone/tablet/computer calendar in conjunction with my Bullet Journal. I find leaving the appointments to my gadgets works better for me since I usually forget to flip through my notebook and check my appointments. It’s also much easier for me to jot down events depending on whatever device I happen to be using at the time, since they all sync up via Wi-Fi.
- The Monthly Task List has been useful, if a bit intimidating. It does help me put into perspective what tasks are actually important and do-able, and what tasks aren’t.
- This made me miss the notebooks I used in 3rd and 4th year college, where I could re-arrange the pages any time I wanted. That is, I could write on any page I wanted, as long as I reserved it for a specific topic, then at the end of a week, I re-arranged the pages so that they were all grouped together per topic.I wish I could do the same with this journal… maybe I should buy another one of those? They cost a fair bit, though, and the wire-binding gets looser each time you open it up, if I remember correctly.
- I try not to use checkboxes too much because seeing so many empty boxes next to tasks to do overwhelms me. All that empty space! Instead, I’ve been using bullet points to list things in general. Then, I put checkboxes next to what I call my Active Tasks for the week. Those would be the tasks I’m assigning myself to do for that day. Then, when I’m done with them, I check the box. The next day, I put checkboxes on the next tasks I’m going to tackle. Sometimes I put stars, too, just to signify which of all the tasks are the most important for the day.
- Originally, I’d cross out items I finished from the Weekly Task List, but crossing out too many things – that is, seeing a sea of black ink – seemed to stress me out, too.
- I’m thinking of compiling my scattered inspiration and research bullet points into a Compilation Page. Once I’m done using up the notebook, I want to try transferring them into my current text-based digital note-taking program of choice, nvALT/Simplenote. Why? It’s really easy to search through tidbits of ideas using the search function, and it syncs with all my devices, too. When I actually have my phone on hand, I list things down straight into Simplenote. But when I’m in the writing zone and want to avoid my phone because I might get distracted, jotting them down in my Bullet Journal for later transcribing should work for now.
- I tried making Income and Expense tracker pages, but it proved too difficult for me to do on a written page where everything is permanent and hard to move around. I find it easier to use PocketExpense, an app on my phone that helps me make budgets, track accounts, and record every transaction I have in a given day.
So is Bullet Journal proving to be the go-to, analog one-journal-to-fit-them-all for me? Not really. But it’s okay, because my Bullet Journal doesn’t have to do everything. It’s supposed to be a supplement to the things I already have a system for. There is danger in trying to box yourself into using just one thing for everything. Even if having a multipurpose item helps cut down on things, some needs are better met by more than one tool. While I still have trouble regularly using my Bullet Journal, I do enjoy taking it out to jot down notes and not having to worry about finding them later since I have the Index a.k.a. Table of Contents and Page Numbers to help me out. I tend to go overboard with particulars: this thing goes here, this thing goes there… That’s why I love how I’m not limiting myself to a specific category per notebook. I just wish I could re-arrange my pages since it can become a little bit of a pain that your notes are scattered everywhere. I’m also looking forward to compiling my notes in similar topics and archiving them.
I will continue to keep you all updated on how my Bullet Journal experience is going. How about you? Has it been working for you or not? Have you been making it work for you? :)
The Bullet Journal analog productivity system was made by Ryder Carroll. Click here to learn more about how it works and give it a shot.