Barely ankle-deep into a new year, I feel both relief (from having another blank slate to fill) and pressure (that I don’t mess up).
2016 and its many curveballs (some bitter, some sweet) forced me to live in the moment in order to make it to the next base.
And so, after swearing off planners for practically a decade (the brilliant marketing strategist that is the Starbucks caused me to exceed saturation point, for both their coffee and planners), I’ve resolved to go back to writing my to-do’s down this year.
While going paperless and migrating plans into my iPhone was sexy a decade ago, today, said iPhone has been replaced by an Android, and every productivity app deleted from disuse, in favor of extra memory.
And I still haven’t found what I’m looking floor, este, for
Sometime during the recent holidays, I came across a photo of an unlined notebook page, dotted and partially filled with columns of square-ish handwriting, captioned by 2 simple hashtags: #bujo, and #bulletjournal.
What do you do with a lot of spare time, a burning question, and an uninterrupted Internet connection? You open Google and look for answers.
Here’s what I found:
WTF is a Bullet Journal©?
It isn’t metal and you can’t fit it into your pocket, that’s for sure.
A BuJo is the analog solution to the shortcomings of the digital age: a journal with a flexible system that allows you to organize your life (so that you’ll still have time to be mindfully present for the important crap).
It’s your chance to play Moses and write the rules by which your year (or life, if it sticks) will go.
A Bullet Journal will keep all your past/current/future events, to-do’s, ideas, thoughts (brilliant & dumb), and other personal data (even meals, grocery lists, and workouts!) in ONE NOTEBOOK via a system called Rapid Logging.
Rapid Logging allows you to rapidly log the shit you’re most interested in tracking in a brief and organized manner.
Who started this, and who does this?
Contrary to any preconceived belief that only females have the patience for keeping a journal, the BuJo was actually the genius brain fart of a male Brooklynite named Ryder Carroll. He needed something more adaptable than any app or journal, so he went for a blank notebook, gave it a purpose, and vowed to K.I.S.S. by jotting down only the bullet points.
Googling “Bullet Journal” yielded 20M results, so it’s a pretty good indicator that there are loads of believers in the system, who may or may not have tweaked it according to their needs.
Why should or shouldn’t I do it?
Annoyed at Facebook for shoving unwanted memories (or birthdays) in your face?
Or at Instagram’s ‘Push notifications’ feature?
Or at that irrepressible urge to look whenever your phone flashes with a notification?
If you’re sick of this co-dependence (like me), then an analog system like the BuJo might help.
What goes into your journal does not get lost in a sea of nonsense (aka your News Feed).
Your Bullets, Tasks, Events, Notes, and Signifiers are all indexed neatly using Topics and Page Numbers.
Over time, you may choose to “migrate” these items across different Modules. A Future, Monthly, and Daily Log are examples of these customizable Modules.
Collections, on the other hand, can be a series of related ideas/items, whose topics are completely decided by you. Here’s a Youtube video of a guy with a “Brain Dump” and a “Gratitude Log”:
Not ready to completely disconnect? It’s okay. Some people use their favorite apps (like Evernote) with a BuJo.
If you’re a better/faster typist, or your handwriting sucks, or you already have an arsenal of productivity apps, then a BuJo might be a challenge to use.
Interested in taking up the challenge?
Where do I get a Bullet Journal©?
The official Bullet Journal (currently sold out; here) has 249 pages, a dotted grid (no lines), and measures at 145 x 210 mm.
If you’re the type to invest money as a means to ensure you’ll follow through, the online community pits a few brands against each other (the Moleskine against the LEUCHTTURM 1917). Other popular notebooks among BJ-ists (yep, laugh if you must, we’re coining it right here) are: Midori, Rhodia, and even Muji.
However, it’s understood that you can use ANY NOTEBOOK to get started.
When should I start?
A wise green Jedi said it best, “Do, or do not. There is no try.”
How do I start?
Get yourself to Bullet Journal.com. It has everything (but the self-motivation) you need.
If the ceaseless connectivity that comes with technology has become too much for you to handle (no thanks to online trolls and GGSS posts), then the BuJo might be the thing you need to keep your attention away from the distractions that come with looking aimlessly at a lit screen.
While I’m still lightyears away from KonMari-ing my closet and home, the BuJo seems worth a try, or as Yoda emphasizes, a do.