I am a huge advocate for the traditional paper and pen. I saw someone post once comparing a creative's mind to a window with thousands of tabs open at once... and I could not relate more. I'm one of those people that if I don't write absolutely everything down, it will either consume all of my thoughts, hindering my ability to concentrate, or it's gone completely. IE -- I write everything down from remembering to fold laundry to the food I plan to cook for the week.
That being said, 2018 is the first year that I fully embraced the bullet journal method in its entirety. Up until now, any planner or journal that I have used just never seemed to be absolutely perfect. I ended up incorporating bullet journal theories where I could, but new year, new me and I started day 1/365 with a brand new Shinola grid journal. A few weeks in, and here's why I am absolutely in love:
Flexibility | I don't know about you, but for me, some weeks are jam-packed, while others are very slow. In other pre-designed journals, I had too much room on some days and not enough on others. With a bullet journal being completely at my disposal, I can design each week based on what I have going on and what my needs are on any given week.
Creativity | Setting up and designing my journal is a creative outlet separate from any creative tasks that are tied to 'work' (IE: necessary). It's relaxing and freeing to be able to write, draw, collage and design whatever I feel like. And, at the end of the year, my bullet journal will become both a log and a visual representation of my year. (And for those who really want to go down a dangerous rabbit hole, look at bullet journal videos on YouTube, to see just how many possibilities are out there!)
Efficiency | The general benefit of the bullet journal is the extreme efficiency that it provides. Outside of just the format, the idea is that the user spends a few minutes at the beginning of each day reviewing what needs to get done and writing it down, migrating tasks that have yet to be accomplished from previous days. Watch this video from the bullet journal's creator to hear it explained in full.
Reflection | After the year, your bullet journal becomes just that: a journal of your highs and lows, successes and failures. What tasks kept getting pushed off? Which goals did and didn't get accomplished? This journaling method essentially creates a blueprint into your innerworkings. Pretty cool, huh?
Achievement | The bullet journal allows me to crush all of the things that I set out to accomplish by taking large, overarching goals and breaking them down to manageable steps. How? 1. At the beginning of the year, write down all of your yearly goals. 2. As each month approaches, look to your yearly list, and write down a few very specific items that can be accomplished in a month to get you closer to your yearly goal. 3. Finally, write down on your to-do list the daily action that accomplishes your monthly goals! It becomes a tiered system. The best way to exemplify this method is with my yearly goal of reading ten books in 2018. To accomplish this overarching goal, I knew that I had to finish the book that I was reading on January 1, by the 31st; it became a January goal. How did I ensure that I completed the book? Simple math and I knew that I had to read 12 pages a day to stay on track. I wrote 'read 12 pages' on my to-do list every day. It may sound slightly obsessive (or at least for my reading example it is), but it is also truly effective!
Do you bullet journal or do you want to try? What methods work for you and what do you like or dislike about it? The journaling nerd in me would love to hear about it!