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My Biggest Challenge with Bullet Journaling

When I was in the corporate world, our overlords insisted that we all use a brand-name time management system. They wanted us all doing things the exact same way. That way they could pick up our planners, look them over, and see what we were doing. I received an evaluation once where I was graded on how well I was using the damned planner, rather than how well I was doing my actual core work. Conformity was more important than productivity. This brings us to my biggest challenge with bullet journaling.

I still behave as if my daily log is a prioritized daily task list. This means I’m not doing rapid logging correctly. The corporate world indoctrinated to believe that if it’s written on today’s page, that means it needs to be done today. Rather than taking the note and migrating it when I do an end-of-day review, everything grinds to a halt as I flip pages and try to decide where this nugget of information belongs.

This is a habit I’m working on breaking this quarter. It’s something I want to be doing properly and consistently by the time 2021 rolls around. I even think I’ve figured out the solution.

The Freedom of Unlimited Space

My psychological bottleneck stems from printed planners having finite space. It made a kind of sense to limit entries so everything would fit, and group related notes on collection-like inserts. If my corporate overlords wanted to see all of my notes on Project X, they didn’t want to have to follow threads through a month’s worth of daily logs that also had notes on Projects Y and Z. They wanted tidy pages dedicated to Project X alone.

Because my bullet journal is for my use alone, it only has to make sense to me. I get to lay things out however I want. This means that if on one day I need 3 lines for a given daily log, it’s only got 3 lines. If I need a daily log to take up 7 pages on another day, then by God it’s going to get those 7 pages. This is important for me, because there were many times when trying to abbreviate a note so it fit onto one line sacrificed clarity. I’d refer back to something later and have no idea what it meant. Better to write it out in as much detail as I feel I need.

I need to let go of the idea that an given journal will cover a neat and tidy amount of space. 2020 technically fits into one book, but I have a separate book for project spreads. In 2021 I’ll only be in one book at a time. If that means one journal covers 5 months and not 6, or 4 months rather than a neat and orderly quarter, I will do my best not to scream. It’s about utility, not satisfying divisions. Although, to be honest, I am considering doing quarterly journals. Starting a new book every 3 months gives me an excuse to buy more journals.

My Biggest Challenge with Bullet Journaling

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About Simplify – Create – Thrive

This blog is dedicated to one basic principle: if you can simplify your life and dedicate time to create things, you will be able to thrive and find the health and happiness you seek.

About Berin Kinsman

Berin Kinsman is a writer, simple living minimalist, and spoonie. By day he works as the owner/publisher at Dancing Lights Press. An American by accident of birth, he currently lives in Finland with his wife, artist Katie Kinsman.