I love lists, in fact I’d go so far as to say I need lists, I have definite leanings towards colour coding and, as the epitome of a procrastinator, I find joy in ticking things off as fully completed chores. Apps and non-paper organisers don’t work for me. I have five concurrent notebooks/diaries, which I can appreciate may seem excessive, but have just introduced a sixth, a Bullet Journal, for which I am optimistic will transform me into a more organised, creative and proactive person. There’s a lot riding on the success of my Bullet Journal notebook.
You might think number six notebook will amalgamate one to five but, no, it is currently increasing my tree consumption and handbag weight, though that could change.
I have a journal, which I write a small amount in every evening, a small two-year planner to indicate days I’m busy or away, with little other information, a general work diary for my main work, a work notebook for other work and, most importantly, a small notebook for lists and, for want of a better word, jottings.
Through American blogger, Boho Berry, I found out about Ryder Carroll’s Bullet Journals and through their websites I lost a day to YouTube videos, blogs and Bullet Journal ideas on Pinterest, etc. I then bought a suitable notebook (Leuchtturm 1917 dot journal), raided my drawers for pens and colouring pencils, bought Tipp-Ex and fine pens and lost another day to, ahem, designing and starting my Bullet Journal. Actually, the Tipp-Ex came later and illustrates a rarely seen perfectionist side to my personality.
If you like lists, have even just a shred of creativity and want more order in your life, a Bullet Journal is a revelation. It also turns out they’re already quite a thing. While choosing which colour notebook to buy, I overheard a man talking to a staff member in London Graphic Centre (Covent Garden) about how he was looking to buy his third Bullet Journal book and how he couldn’t imagine not having one on the go. I also discovered I know two people who have been using them for years. I am only disappointed not to have heard of the concept before, particularly as I have embraced it so readily and enthusiastically within the first two weeks of starting one and have already convinced myself I couldn’t function so well without one. I know, it’s verging on the pathetic.
The best way to see what I’m going on about is to follow the links to Boho Berry and Bullet Journal. As for my Bullet Journal, I have the concept basics of a diary and have thought of lots of pages to fill with information I would like to be able to refer back to.
For me, a monthly tracker is probably the most useful idea. I now have a colour coded page (oh, the satisfaction!) identifying the regularity of the kind of jobs I do, how often I socialise (as a result of a period of seemingly not socialising at all), the days I do more than 10,000 Fitbit steps, days I’m away from home, when I remember to moisturise my cuticles (yes, really; imperative for my behaviour patterns and awareness to try to save my cuticles from being picked raw). It may sound pointless but it’s given me clarity on small things that matter, and are personal, to me and which I want to pay more attention to. For that reason, the only photo I am sharing of my Bullet Journal is of my key and a “smudged” view of a few pages.
As I don’t read books anywhere near as often as I want to, I have just started a page where I have actually listed books I have that I want to read so I can mark them off when I read them. To at least some people, this probably doesn’t sound revelatory or worthy of writing down, but I know it will get me reading more as I am motivated by an element of challenge and a long list with no ticks will annoy me enough to make me do what it takes, ie read, to get ticks on the page.
My “Daily Log”, which is a kind of To Do list and events diary, is also helping me get things done in a more ordered and timely way than my previous list formats. I am a prolific To Do List writer but all my lists are dated from when I will start them and an end date only applies if I’m going away on a specific date or there is an obvious deadline. I now spread my To Do list over the week on a daily basis. If I don’t finish something, I fill in half the box and/or put an arrow to signify it’s going to the next day or following week, “migrating” in Bullet Journal speak.
I have colour-coded dots, certain shapes for different entries, coloured pencil boxes (see, it appeals to obsessive compulsive leanings) and I have even embraced daily weather pictures.
I could write more but I already feel I’ve exposed myself as being more obsessive than I probably should share.
Oh, go on, just a few more, there’s no stopping me once I start on Bullet Journals. I have pages to write down places I want to visit that I read about (previously, I just assumed I’d remember), films I want to watch, present ideas for friends and family, a car/packing check list for a daytrip to France (that I will easily be able to refer to next time I go) … don’t mock me, it all makes so much more sense when you see a Bullet Journal and look at some of the videos people have made. You can get a bit bogged down with motivational pages and inspiring quotes, which aren’t things I am drawn to, but it’s a brilliant concept, fully adaptable to your needs and interests and works extremely well for me.
Other Bullet Journal converts use them for work, food, shopping, exercise, savings, daily drawings, mini challenges and quite a few people seem to have embraced the Level 10 Life and Goals, which I don’t think would work for me.
All this talk of Bullet Journals, I need to finish this, cross it off today’s Bullet Journal entry (!!) and learn to love, nurture and take advantage of my obsessive traits. I can see why this could seem sad but, seriously, have a look at the two links or do your own search. It’s way more fun and revelatory than you might expect. It’s also far more satisfying and tactile than an app.