What preserving a bullet journal can train you about utilizing to-do listing apps

What preserving a bullet journal can train you about utilizing to-do listing apps
What preserving a bullet journal can train you about utilizing to-do listing apps

On July sixth of this yr, I formally ended my three-year-long experiment with making an attempt 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 photographs of the Corsair K70 keyboard for a then-forthcoming assessment and observe up with a quote I’d obtained to insulate my roof. I took the photographs. 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 the case of preserving observe of each day duties and chores, I’ve switched again to the identical hodgepodge of various note-taking and to-do listing 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. However though I’ve ditched the bodily pocket book for apps, I don’t suppose bullet journals are a waste of time. The truth is, I believe my experiment taught me an vital lesson about how you can keep organized digitally.

Bullet journals might be both bodily or digital (reminiscent of with this Notion template), however they’re greatest generally known as a way to organize a blank notebook into a personal planner. There are web page codecs to your yearly, month-to-month, and each day duties, a strategy for weaving your to-do listing between them, and a collection of widespread symbols and notation to make sense of all of it. Finally, it’s all in service of supplying you with a format to design your personal planner and versatile guidelines for how you can use it.

There’s a whole lot of potential complexity, and other people like to put them out in several methods, however my primary method every day was to write down out my listing of duties, manually copy over something incomplete from earlier days (aka “migrate” them), and tick every activity 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 yr. 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 truth of my actually horrible handwriting meant this by no means actually got here to move, however that didn’t cease my pocket book from turning into a half-decent planner. Essential emails acquired jotted down moderately than being marked as unread, upcoming articles acquired categorized with deadlines and precedence ranges, and I assigned house chores to myself on a daily schedule moderately than a chaotic advert hoc foundation.

However most vital was that every one of this was being achieved manually, moderately than having an app’s inside logic whisk duties back and forth. Each 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 shortly you get round to doing a nonurgent activity after forcing your self to write down it out every single day for every week. Different instances, I noticed one thing that appeared tremendous pressing once I first wrote it down wasn’t price going by with once I seemed again at it the next day. 

Having to write down every activity 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 every 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 swimsuit trousers with no formal occasions on the speedy horizon? And isn’t it time I let that horrible weblog submit concept go? In every case, forcing myself to simply take into consideration what was on my listing 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 acquired sick of getting to hold round a bodily pocket book. A good friend would remind me a few 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 residence and never have my bodily buying listing with me. Ultimately, the attract of preserving issues digital on my cellphone and with me always grew too robust. 

What I’ve since realized, nonetheless, is that it’s completely doable to maintain numerous the issues I favored about preserving a bullet journal with out sacrificing the comfort of apps. Finally, 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 occupied with and organizing my life every day. And that’s one thing that’s simply as doable to do with an app as it’s with a pocket book. You simply should keep away from pondering the know-how can manage it for you.

Sceenshots of Todoist’s desktop and mobile interfaces.

Todoist is my present app of selection.
Picture: Todoist

Now, as a substitute of spending time writing out duties every day, I as a substitute take a spin by Todoist, pruning out outdated duties, altering due dates on others, and usually making an attempt to maintain issues neat. I don’t should battle towards my horrible handwriting, and I all the time have my cellphone on me once I must jot one thing down for later. I can nonetheless profit from the streamlined interface, however moderately than submitting and forgetting a activity, I pressure myself to maintain observe of it. 

And though I don’t suppose 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 solely. I just like the choices Notion has right here, permitting you to customise pages with components like cowl photographs and emoji. It’s sufficient to encourage me to start out pondering of it as an ever-evolving scrapbook moderately than a utilitarian assortment of paperwork.

It’s simple to suppose that an app or to-do listing service will take you by the hand and manage your life for you, however if you happen to’re not cautious, it will probably simply change into an infinite digital locker with a messy assortment of notes filed beneath “forget.”

I’m nonetheless tempted to provide bodily journaling one other go sooner or later, particularly after scanning by a few lovely bullet journal illustrations within the strategy of penning this piece. However for now, I’m glad 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.