Bullet Journal - 6 weeks in.

Posted by Stuart Lennon on

Bullet Journal 6 Weeks In

Bullet Journal, 6 weeks in. Am I still doing it? Is it working for me? Read on to find out.

I rebooted my bullet journal in December of 2018, intent on establishing a regular practice for 2019. As I write this post, less than ten days remain in February, so I thought it interesting to review where I am.

Equipment

A Leuchtturm1917 Copper A5 Notebook, with plain pages. I write in it with whatever is to hand, but predominantly a Mitsubishi UB-157 ‘fine’ in black.

Setup

Index, Future Log (Apr-Sep 2019), Monthly Logs (Jan-Mar 2019) & Collections. I set the book up to serve for a quarter. I wanted a little more structure than the open-ended, canonical approach. The LT has 251 numbered pages, so I felt confident that it would hold a quarter’s worth of daily logs. I resolved to move on to a new book at the end of the quarter, regardless of whether the book was finished.

Collections

Trackers for meditation, weight, deliveries, learning, podcasts, content consumed. Lists for my Go bag, things to check out, content to check out and a key page.

Daily Log Format

I have used several, but the one that has stuck is:
1. A gratitude note, signified G-. Starting the day on a positive note doesn’t guarantee that it stays that way, but it gives it a chance.
2. Scheduled events, signified, o. Makes me focus on where my available time is.
3. Tasks. Signified with a standard bullet. I usually free-flow here. Emptying my head. I also check back the previous day for anything that needs to migrate. Not a formal migration, but a refresher.
4. Priorities. I review the list and choose a top 3 of tasks, to which I add the asterisk signifier.
5. Some days, I may draw out a timeline for the day and block parts off, for specific tasks and events.
5. As the day goes on, I add notes, and more tasks, as well as marking items complete.
6. I am trying to implement a formal close down to the day, where I review the list, but this is far from daily at the moment.

The journal is at my side all day, and so often, I cover pages thinking something through or working something out. Some days, I miss the practice entirely. Particularly if I am not desk-based. I don't let it worry me, but I do feel more in control when I have completed my morning routine. 

Collections

I am not seeing an enormous benefit from these at the moment, but then I believe their value might be more in retrospect. One or two of them might not make the migration to the next journal - they may take on a digital form. Deliveries for example, is I believe, better managed in an App.

Learning

1. My daily log is a combination of a planner and rapid logging, and that works for me. I find it helps me focus and feel in control. I am working on dedicating a little more time to it in the morning and in the evening. I believe that those rituals will yield great benefit.
2. I feel that I am not yet using collections as well as I might. Much that could be indexed in a collection is buried in my daily logs. Something to work on.
3. Tracking for the sake of tracking is a risk. My meditation app tracks itself. Writing down an entry in a collection serves no purpose. That said, adding a meditation task to my daily log, does prompt me.
4. A book per quarter probably won’t work. As of the 19th of February, my daily log has filled up to page 140 and my collections start at 220. So, at the current rate of usage 80 pages are unlikely to get me to the end of March. Fortunately - notebook supply is not an issue for me. I suspect that I will start a new book on March the 1st.
5. Plain pages. They work fine. There are no constraints. However, it does get a bit messy. I imagine that the dot format might keep things tidier.
6. Gel pen / rollerball. Not my traditional weapon of choice, but in terms of simplicity and ease of use, these really do get the job done.

Conclusion

The Bullet Journal System is helping me organise and prioritise my day. It keeps me on task and in control. I’ll be picking out a new notebook for next month.

How about you? Anybody still Bullet Journaling out there?

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2 comments

  • Lots of people love the Traveler size – I just can’t get on with the narrowness. Have fun Elaine!

    Stuart Lennon on
  • I used Bullet in magazines (of 64 pages) from October to December. I came to a 160-page notebook in January and February, but I missed the planner after 5 months without using it. In March, I’m going to use a Traveler Notebook with a weekly insert and a dotted magazine for the daily log.

    Elaine on

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