- Writing things down gets them out of your head which can be relieving.
- You don’t have to think or decide that much; you simply follow the points.
- The monthly overview gives a clear and concrete indication of how busy you really are.
- Crossing things off can feel good.
- It’s pretty flexible.
- I like the symbols. They are very clear and simple and it’s easy to create new ones.
Finite lists. I partly work in rotation and some things just need to be done once. Having them all in the same place is a bit confusing. I am not sure when I am ‘done’. Am I done yet?
Infinite lists. The lists for tasks to be done in rotation are handy to remember what I’ve done most recently but they give me a strange and uncomfortable feeling of endlessness. Is this list what I’ll be doing for the rest of my life?! (Actually, yes. Household chores are lifelong...)
I am messy and the book gets messy. I see such pretty (wow!), neat bullet journals online! Having said that, making it prettier is not really something I want to invest more time in…
Some questions. Hmmm…?
- The rotation lists are handy but that is the technique I use at work to keep track of everything. Is it just too worky?
- I often end up doing what I feel like. If the bathroom is more dusty than the living room I’ll clean that first. Is my system too rigid?
- Sometimes writing it down takes as long as the actual task and other times I end up checking if I have written it down or not… Maybe more action and less listing is a better practise to cultivate in general?
Stuff that has happened since!
I transferred the monthly overview to a wall calendar.
I was using the bullet journal, a wall calendar (sporadically) and my phone; 3 places! Then I thought oh hey maybe I can just use the cute calendar as the overview because it is literally made of a month overview! I enjoy a wall calendar. Why not enjoy it even more? I still use my phone too as the portable version.
I stopped using it for a bit.
I closed my bullet journal and lived in chaos and freedom. I either did nothing because I was tired or I started doing random fun things like hanging stuff on the wall, reading more, going for a walk and googling to replace a long lost childhood jigsaw puzzle (which I didn’t buy yet and am still thinking about).
I started using it again.
The rotational lists work for me after all. I can’t be expected to remember every boring detail of what I have and haven’t done and the lists serve as a reminder and prevent me from duplicating work. They also allow me to pick and choose a bit. If I clean the bathroom I just add it to the bottom of the list and by doing this for a while what I see now is that the balcony is hanging alone halfway up a list and all other rooms have been done twice. So the balcony is long overdue for a tidy-up.
For the other lists, the one-offs, I tend to just read through them to remind myself what I was busy with and then pick something that I feel like or whatever is bothering me the most. When I check the lists again a few days later I mark off any tasks I have done. This feels great because I have usually done two or three things without even thinking about it. I am just going about my daily business and some of these smaller tasks get done along the way.
My larger projects and collections are pretty much on hold for the summer while I am focussing on other priorities. That’s a massive pro to bullet journaling; nothing is lost. Maybe you don’t get to it for 3 years, or 3 million years, and it doesn’t matter, it will always be there for you when you are ready.
Alternatively, if it sits there for too long it’s either not a priority and you can forget about it and remove it from your life, or it’s clear that something else is preventing you fro making a start and you need to tackle that first.
From day one the monthly overview has been the most valuable tool because it clearly reveals in black and white that I am still trying to do too much in a week. Too often I glance at the calendar and feel a slight sense of horror at how many squares are filled with one or even two appointments a day.
A particular point
I prefer a book with tear out pages. The bullet journal is designed to be a journal style book and presumably you are supposed to keep the books for later and then you can see all the amazing things you have achieved. This doesn’t quite work for me. I don’t want to store journals and they won’t be pretty or interesting enough to look at again. (I could be wrong about this, only time will tell!)
As I mentioned above, I am messy and when a page gets all smudgy and scribbly I rewrite the page fresh. Also if I have a list where most of the tasks are done I will rewrite the remaining tasks as a shorter, neater list and tear the old page out. This is very satisfying to me. Tearing out the page means it’s done, it’s gone and I never need to think about it again! Hooray!
Now I have a spiral bound journal for easy tearing.
A small detail and a big difference!
- The monthly overview made me realize I am still overly-busy and I need to invest more time in rest and solitude.
- Pushing myself to check off endless lists is not life enhancing for me.
- However, just doing stuff because I feel like it and then making a note of it later is satisfying and helps mark a sense of progress.
- Having everything is one place makes life much easier and provides a sense of control.
- I like to use pencils and a pretty notebook, even if the entries themselves are not very pretty.
That guy is a genius. The system is so simple and flexible I can see how it could work for almost any kind of project or profession and for all different characters and personalities.
How about you?
Do you have a beautifully crafted bullet journal or a lot of colour coded lists? I would love to see them!
Do you have an internal mind list that only you can see? Can you describe it to me?
Do you have one piece of paper for the day and when it’s done you throw it away?
So many methods.
What’s working for you?
Co-founder, The Clean Sheet