Bullet Journal: A paper based system for recording and managing tasks

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I was browsing the “What’s Popular” category on Youtube and saw a video about Bullet Journal, an analog journaling and note taking system. Basically, it’s a way to use pen and paper (or a Moleskine notebook) to record and manage your tasks, notes, and events.

What I like:

  • Pen and paper and Moleskine notebooks
  • The idea of having everything with me in one book
  • Writing on paper makes you think about what you’re writing
  • Low cost, always on, no batteries needed
  • The website. Great way to show you what it is and how it works
  • The title: Bullet Journal

What I don’t like:

  • Too much writing
  • Too much re-writing
  • Not good for projects (without a lot of re-writing)
  • Not good for recurring tasks (without a lot of re-writing)
  • You can’t move anything (without re-writing)
  • Writing on paper makes you think about what you’re writing (and maybe I just want to get it out of my head and not think about it)
  • I’ve already got a calendar

You probably know that I use Evernote to record my notes, tasks and projects. One place for everything and everything with me everywhere. If I wanted to go analog, however, the concepts behind Bullet Journal are appealing. But watching the video of what it takes to write and re-write tasks makes me glad I don’t use a paper-based system.

How about you? Do you use a paper based system? What do you think of Bullet Journal?

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Comments

  1. David,

    Um yeah great idea when computers were not capable of doing all the same things. I bring the android phone with the Evernote app and I’m golden. Got the book that you made and my life has become less chaotic….I wish I could say I have it all under control. As far as being part of the “Bullet Journal” revolution, I think I will pass. My head was spinning watching the pages flip and all that writing…My god my hand would hurt after the first page. I think I will appreciate Evernote even more now that I watched Ryder do all the work….over and over and over again! Thanks for making Evernote my go to for pretty much everything.. My brain on steroids!

    Mike

    • I’m on the same “page” (ahem) as you, Michael. I use paper at times, for thinking (on paper), for basic mind maps, and for doodling. Moleskine notebooks are very cool, and in Hemingway’s day, I’m sure they were considered high tech. But I couldn’t go back to a paper-based task management system. My 6000+ notes would be a bit of a challenge to carry.

      Thanks for the kind words.

  2. David – have you given any thought to structuring your use of Evernote in a different way based on what you’ve seen in the Bullet Journal approach? In my use of Evernote, I already do something like the “bullet” part of the Bullet Journal, but I didn’t have good way to distinguish between ideas and tasks, so I’ll be adding that into my approach. Also, the calendar and daily schedule ideas might be useful in Evernote and will be thinking about applying those.

    • Hi Nils,

      I use tags to identify tasks. Other notes reference tags. I don’t need to break things down further inside of a given note, if that’s what you mean about the bullet approach. I’ll just write a separate note and paste a note link to that note into the original notes. Or, just write notes to myself in the original.

      If something is time-oriented, it goes on my calendar (gcal), either as a appointment or “due”, or as a follow-up (tickler). However, once Evernote pushes out version 5 of the Windows desktop client, I will then look at using reminders to see if I can use those instead of the calendar, at least for ticklers. If so, a daily schedule will be easy to call up.

      Thanks for your ideas, Nils. Let me know more about what you’re doing.

  3. You could use the evernote moleskine. I don’t know if it does full OCR, but you could probably find a good way to integrate the two systems. You would also solve the backup issue.