Bullet Fever

by Stuart Lennon

Not long ago, I wrote about giving bullet journaling another go.

I'm not an artist, and my notebook use is utilitarian rather than artistic. To that end, I am using a Mitsubishi Uni-Ball gel pen. Great value for money, reliable and robust. 

In my first try with bullet journaling, I never really understood the differing uses of collections. I blasted away every day, rapid logging, writing task lists, jotting notes and anything and everything. As such, my index was pretty much empty. (I don't index daily logs.) In effect, my bullet journal was a big version of my pocket notebook. 

This week, the penny dropped. Using collections (and topics within them) creates an indexed notebook. I can find things. 

The Bullet Journal Method and Index

Traditionally, when asked to find something, I take on the look of an archetypal British eccentric, (I even have a monocle, since you ask) run my hands repeatedly through my hair and mumble incoherently;

"Ah yes...I remember. It's here somewhere. Ummm...wait a second..."

Then I pull out several Field Notes Archive boxes, each jammed full of pocket notebooks and begin feverishly flicking through book after book.

I will eventually find the required entry, but by then Clare would have made a cup of tea, packed twelve orders, sourced the information elsewhere, gone home and come back again.

In the Bullet Journal, I go to the index, scan the entries and go straight to the right page, or at least section of pages. Key to this, is, of course, maintaining a good discipline and a good collection / topic naming convention. One week in, I can hardly claim that I have cracked it, but I have at least understood it; finally.

Like most people, my days are seldom the same. Sometimes, I get a full day at my desk, and on those days, I like to time block and prioritise tasks. On those days, I draw out a page spread for the day, with one side for tasks and another for scheduling. Other times I am out and about, either working or not, I may only be with my bullet journal for an hour or two. On those days, I may only rapid log a few things. I may log in my pocket notebook, and then transfer to the desk book. (Migration)

Starting a Day

In a perfect world, my bullet journal would always be with me. However, the world isn't perfect. I don't carry a bag ordinarily, and I live in a hot climate, so don't have a coat with cavernous pockets. I do however carry a pocket notebook everywhere. When I'm back with my journal and a couple of minutes, I look to migrate from the pocket notebook. Now, this may seem inherently inefficient, but it isn't. The trick is to use this process as a filter.

Pocket Notebook BuJo Extension

Ryder Carroll explains this better than I do - but let me tell you how it works for me;

A thought comes. I will forget it in minutes, if not seconds. I have the attention-span of a squirrel. For that reason, I note it. It's out of my head. I do not need to try to remember it, or focus on it, to the detriment of what I should be doing.

As an example. The other day, I wrote "Memento Mori". Why I wanted to remember death at that moment, I don't know. 

When I migrated - this note did not make it into my journal. It had served its purpose and was now relegated. I find this process very useful. It’s a useful practice for the monthly migration process; the first of which I am about to attempt.

Who knows - maybe I’ll update you on it. Hang on, let me write that down.