On July sixth of this 12 months, I formally ended my three-year-long experiment with attempting to prepare my life utilizing a bodily bullet journal. I do know the precise date as a result of I’m my discontinued pocket book as I write this. Apparently, 5 months in the past, I wanted to take pictures of the Corsair K70 keyboard for a then-forthcoming evaluate and observe up with a quote I’d acquired to insulate my roof. I took the pictures. I didn’t find yourself insulating my roof.
Since then, I’ve used the pocket book for jotting down issues to recollect right here and there, however in relation to maintaining monitor of each day duties and chores, I’ve switched again to the identical hodgepodge of various note-taking and to-do checklist apps that I used three years in the past. These embrace Notion for longform notes and lists, Apple Notes once I want one thing immediately, and Todoist for to-do lists and reminders. But though I’ve ditched the bodily pocket book for apps, I don’t assume bullet journals are a waste of time. In reality, I believe my experiment taught me an vital lesson about learn how to keep organized digitally.
Bullet journals may be both bodily or digital (reminiscent of with this Notion template), however they’re greatest often called a way to organize a blank notebook into a personal planner. There are web page codecs on your yearly, month-to-month, and each day duties, a technique for weaving your to-do checklist between them, and a sequence of frequent symbols and notation to make sense of all of it. Ultimately, it’s all in service of supplying you with a format to design your individual planner and versatile guidelines for learn how to use it.
There’s a whole lot of potential complexity, and folks like to put them out in several methods, however my fundamental method every day was to jot down out my checklist of duties, manually copy over something incomplete from earlier days (aka “migrate” them), and tick every job off because the day progressed. Some folks like to repeat over duties on a weekly or monthly foundation, however each day was what labored for me.
The bullet journal’s core is sensible, however I used to be additionally drawn in by the aesthetics. YouTube is filled with videos of individuals painstakingly laying them out, filling them with delicate illustrations and little visible components they slowly refill over the course of the 12 months. I dreamed of getting a small pocket book stuffed with neat handwriting and perhaps a sketch or two, like those Naughty Dog has its protagonists carry in its video games. I imagined my bullet journal as being as a lot of a scrapbook of my each day life because it was an organizer.
The actuality of my actually horrible handwriting meant this by no means actually got here to cross, however that didn’t cease my pocket book from turning into a half-decent planner. Important emails bought jotted down somewhat than being marked as unread, upcoming articles bought categorized with deadlines and precedence ranges, and I assigned residence chores to myself on a daily schedule somewhat than a chaotic advert hoc foundation.
But most vital was that every one of this was being carried out manually, somewhat than having an app’s inner logic whisk duties back and forth. Every morning, I’d be compelled to spend a few minutes writing out and prioritizing the day’s duties — and reckoning with what I’d didn’t do yesterday. You’d be amazed at how rapidly you get round to doing a nonurgent job after forcing your self to jot down it out each day for every week. Other instances, I noticed one thing that appeared tremendous pressing once I first wrote it down wasn’t value going by with once I appeared again at it the next day.
Having to jot down every job out manually turned a to-do from one thing I may simply file away in an app and neglect about into one thing that I needed to handle each day. I needed to actively prune and prioritize and take into consideration these chores that previous Jon had lumbered current Jon with. Did I actually want to purchase a substitute pair of go well with trousers with no formal occasions on the instant horizon? And isn’t it time I let that horrible weblog put up thought go? In every case, forcing myself to only take into consideration what was on my checklist inevitably saved it extra manageable.
Having to hold round a bodily pocket book sucks
It wasn’t that I grew bored with the writing, however ultimately, I bought sick of getting to hold round a bodily pocket book. A pal would remind me a couple of movie I wished to observe whereas we have been within the pub, and I’d have to notice it down in a notes app earlier than transcribing it into my bodily pocket book later. Or I’d be passing a grocery retailer on the best way house and never have my bodily purchasing checklist with me. Eventually, the attract of maintaining issues digital on my telephone and with me always grew too sturdy.
What I’ve since realized, nonetheless, is that it’s completely potential to maintain a lot of the issues I favored about maintaining a bullet journal with out sacrificing the comfort of apps. Ultimately, what I favored in regards to the pocket book was much less about its physicality and extra about the truth that it compelled me to spend actual time actively serious about and organizing my life each day. And that’s one thing that’s simply as potential to do with an app as it’s with a pocket book. You simply need to keep away from considering the expertise can manage it for you.
Now, as an alternative of spending time writing out duties every day, I as an alternative take a spin by Todoist, pruning out previous duties, altering due dates on others, and customarily attempting to maintain issues neat. I don’t need to battle in opposition to my horrible handwriting, and I at all times have my telephone on me once I have to jot one thing down for later. I can nonetheless profit from the streamlined interface, however somewhat than submitting and forgetting a job, I pressure myself to maintain monitor of it.
And though I don’t assume I’ll ever discover an app as aesthetically pleasing as a YouTuber’s bullet journal, that doesn’t imply I’ve to surrender on good designs totally. I just like the choices Notion has right here, permitting you to customise pages with components like cowl pictures and emoji. It’s sufficient to encourage me to begin considering of it as an ever-evolving scrapbook somewhat than a utilitarian assortment of paperwork.
It’s simple to assume that an app or to-do checklist service will take you by the hand and manage your life for you, however should you’re not cautious, it may well simply develop into an infinite digital locker with a messy assortment of notes filed below “forget.”
I’m nonetheless tempted to provide bodily journaling one other go sooner or later, particularly after scanning by a few stunning bullet journal illustrations within the strategy of penning this piece. But for now, I’m joyful sufficient to be again on the apps. They’re removed from the right answer, however I’ve realized that you just get as a lot out of them as you’re ready to place in.
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