[Note: This post assumes you have a rough idea what Bullet Journalling involves. If not, just Google the term and you’ll find lots of great info to get you started… then come back here, obviously. :-)]
I’ve always been a list maker – things to do, things to read, etc… I used to make heavy use of Evernote for organising my lists, but I often found that it was a case of “out of sight, out of mind”, particularly when it came to my to-do list. About three months ago, I came across bullet journalling and thought I’d try it as an alternative, to see if having a physical journal would help keep me slightly more focused. Overall it has been a big success, but I have found two issues that don’t quite work for me.
1) Carrying the journal around is not always convenient
It’s not a massive journal (A5, 250 pages, hardback), but it’s definitely not pocket sized. Most of the time, this is not a major issue, as I have my rucksack with me, so it can live in there. However, if I’m just popping out quickly or I’m going somewhere that the rucksack is inconvenient, then I’m forced to leave my journal behind. This very much defeats the point of the journal – it’s there so that I can jot down tasks or consult my calendar in the moment and not have to remember things until I get home.
2) I capture a lot of stuff that doesn’t become obsolete at the end of a year
I have very much embraced the idea of using my journal for everything – birthday lists, ideas for roleplaying campaigns, useful UNIX commands I’ve come across, books/games that have been recommended to me, etc… Although some of these may be done with by the time my journal is full, many of them will remain relevant for a considerable length of time after that. I don’t want to start a new year/journal and still have to carry the old journal around with me; I also don’t want to have to copy over 12 months of accumulated notes into a new journal each time.
With these two points in mind, I have adapted the bullet journalling principle into a two journal variation. The first journal is a small A6 one, that will generally be able to fit in my pocket. This journal just contains my future log, monthly calendars and daily journals. The second journal is A5, like my original one, though with half the number of pages. This journal contains everything else that I need – lists, ideas, commands, birthdays, etc…
Generally, I still have both with me; the big one in my rucksack and the small one in my jacket or pocket. However, if I don’t have my rucksack, I can manage with just the small one for short periods of time. The disadvantage of the small journal is that I’ll probably only get about six months out of it, but that’s not a major issue, as the only thing that will be copied to the next one is the remaining months on the future log. The larger journal will probably take much longer than a year to fill, as it won’t have any of the daily entries; when it does finally get finished, I can keep it alongside the subsequent one, as I will still be actively referring to it.
If you’re going to use this two journal approach, you should probably either start it pretty much from the beginning or wait until your current journal finishes. I had to copy over a couple of months’ worth of lists and ideas when I made the shift and I really wouldn’t want to copy any more than that.
This solution looks like it will work out fine for me, but if anyone else has their own solutions to the issues above, I’d be interested to hear in the comments.