“The analogue system for the digital age”
Bullet journaling has increased my productivity, improved my planning + given me a lot of satisfaction in the few months since I started. Developed by digital product designer Ryder Carroll, it’s a versatile + completely customisable way of tracking anything in your life that you need to track, from events, meetings + social dates to planning projects + managing lists. It brings you back to (analogue) basics: all you need is a pen + a notepad to take complete control of your organisational needs. I’m an expert organiser, but even so, I never really found a digital way of organising my life that provided everything I needed in one place – my personal organisation was spread across Gmail, iCal, Clear, scraps of paper. With bullet journalling, all of my organisational needs are met in one place, because I have complete control over the system (developing new “features” as I go to meet evolving needs in my planning/organisation). An additional plus for me is that the record is saved for posterity. I’m never going to be a diary writer, but preserving my dates + tasks in this way forms, for me, the closest I’m going to get to one.
For me, one of the key advantages of bullet journaling is its flexibility. You start off with an index (contents page), which you fill out as you go. It doesn’t matter if a to-do list or planner for a future project falls smack bang in the middle of your weekly planners for a particular month. You’re not beholden so much to chronology + your index means that all content is easy to find.
(Also one big advantage for me was that I realised I had become reliant on Facebook for knowing people’s birthdays. That is not ok! I had stopped writing them down and started to forget. Definitely not ok!!)
What to use?
Notebook: You can use any notebook. It all depends on your approach. The most-talked about bullet journal is the Leuchtturm1917. Patience isn’t my strong point + once I’d committed to the idea of bullet journaling I went to see what was available at my local Waterstone’s. I found a real gem in the Princeton Architectural Press’s Grids + Guides Notebook for Visual Thinkers. It contains a number of different types of grid paper, which give flexibility, spark creativity + are fun to work with.
Writing/marker materials: Some bullet journalists really go to town with different coloured pens, post it notes, washi tape, creating beautiful journals that are as much works of art as organisational tools. It wouldn’t be true to me to follow that path (my handwriting is awful; I’m not much of a doodler), so I adhere to the ‘minimalist’ school of bullet journaling. I use a Foray porous point pen (I am fussy about this, no other pen will do), occasionally a red biro, a ruler + post it markers so that I can find key pages super quickly. Easy.
I got started with a few ideas from Pinterest + now I’m in the swing of it, I feel confident mapping out my own layouts – I recently free-styled a layout to help me streamline + reorganise my wardrobe (blog post pending). I will confess to having torn out a few pages that I messed up, so now if I’m doing something new I tend to sketch it out on scrap paper first to test it before committing to it in my journal.
In future blog posts, I’ll take you through layouts, ideas that work for me. Let me know if you have any questions!