Bullet journalling... or is it??

by Amanda Fleet

'Proper' bullet journalling is something I simply cannot get on with! In the 'pure' form, you have one notebook and everything goes in it. There are index pages (which are actually tables of contents, but don't get me started on that), then forward planning pages, monthly logs, daily logs, collections... and much of me can see how keeping that all in one book might be useful, but it's just not how my brain works!

You can see more on the Bullet Journal system here. And if it does work for you, then Nero sells a whole heap of notebooks that will work for it, including Bullet Journal kits by Leuchtturm.

So why doesn't it work for me?

Well, all the transcribing things from one set of pages to another does my head in, frankly. And the fact that the pages can be a complete jumble of big tasks, small things, notes, etc.

What works for me, is a bit like bullet journalling, but split over different notebooks!

For daily/monthly planning, I use my diary, which has plenty of space for planning out big projects, monthly plans and weekly stuff. (I've talked about this diary here)

I also have two pocket notebooks that kind of do the rest of what bullet journalling does... I have what I call my 'scratchpad' notebook - usually a Clairefontaine pocket size notebook with grid pages, because they're cheap as chips, have tons of pages and the paper quality is amazing.

These are used for the kind of notes that can be thrown away - jotting down a phone number, or something I need to remember just briefly. I may also do a daily task list on them, plus a reminder of what we're having for dinner. Yesterday, I was jotting down which pages of the latest ms I needed to print off, ready for starting the line edits... All of these bits of information are ephemeral. It would annoy me to have these interspersed among bigger, more important things. They're also almost always short-term things; things that have to be done that day. But I have long-term tasks, that don't always fit into a specific month, so there's no point adding them to August's list, only to have to migrate them to September's. And then October's etc.

For long-term, date-irrelevant tasks, I have another pocket notebook, by Word and they go in there. The beauty of the Word notebooks is that they have bullet points in their design!

This is also a book where I keep the equivalent of 'Collections' - books I want to look out for, music I've heard, plants for the garden, good quotes... And in the only nod to 'prettying up' I do, the top of these collection pages have either washi tape decoration or some other kind of signifier so that I can find them quickly. The book lives on my desk, but doesn't get written in all that often, to be honest. In reality, this notebook will ultimately end up tossed, as I will have done all the tasks, decided on whether to buy the books, listened to the music and bought the plants (or not)!

Anything I want to remember long-term goes in my journal. The thought of flipping through a load of pages on what I had for dinner and that only pages 77-96 needed printing on Thursday, in order to find the note of something lovely happening doesn't fill me with joy. It obviously works for some (Stu, I'm looking at you here!), but it's really not how my mind works. I like to put these all in one place so I can read through all the nice things together, and not have to hunt them down amongst ephemera.

But what about that aspect of keeping everything in one place? Of always having the notebook on you, so that nothing gets lost? Well, you could do worse than keep the different pocket notebooks in a leather cover... like the beautiful one you can get from Nero!

Plenty of space for a pocket diary, a scratchpad notebook and one for long-term tasks and collections. Sorted!