Some Thoughts After One Year of Bullet Journaling

Why are we using these tools?

Under the label of productivity, we tend to group a bunch of different tools, as if they have the same purpose. They don’t. A to-do app is fundamentally different from a note-taking app. Information retrieval is distinct from logging, which in turn is something else than planning.

Analog solutions to the rescue

Over the last few years, I had seen bloggers and other authors write about the Bullet Journal method. Rather, I had seen them post very beautiful and artistically decorated journals. While I was impressed with the designs I saw there, I did not feel this would be helpful for my productivity at all.

  • At work, I was still using Dropbox Paper to keep my notes, because I wanted the information to be easy to retrieve. The idea was to copy the most important things in my Bullet Journal in the evening, which obviously never happened.
  • Some important information I often needed was still only stored in Evernote or Dropbox. This meant I still had to look in multiple places for my information.
  • I had failed to integrated using my journal in my daily practices and routines.
  • I hadn’t fully understood the migration stuff in the book.
2020 Bullet Journal Dailies — sorry about the handwriting
2020 Bullet Journal Monthly

Does the bullet journal solve everything?

Obviously, it doesn’t. At one point, I was doing a data governance assessment with a client and I was taking notes in my journal. This led to a good quarter of my journal being filled with hardly legible interview notes after a single day of workshops. To solve this, I use a separate notebook for meeting notes and long-form writing. I do give these other notebook a name and label them, so I can refer to them from my bullet journal.

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