Going analog: Why I started Bullet Journaling

There’s something about handwriting to-dos and my calendar that I can’t seem to replicate with digital tools. Maybe it’s the designer in me longing for something tactile – you know like in the old days when we sketched before we moved to computers.

why I started a bullet journal

I also have a hard time breaking in a notebook – like anything I put in it might not live up to the potential of the pages. Or the pages weren’t quite right (I learned to avoid lined paper in my first high school art class and that habit has followed me into adulthood).

These days I prefer grid pages or dot grid pages because my day job career requires so much linear work. Plus, it’s easier to line things up vertically and if it is dot grid paper it’s a bit more subtle. When I was packing up my desk when I parted ways with my day job two weeks ago, there were more notebooks than I remembered ever having collected in my desk. Some labeled, some not. Four years of thoughts in a variety of layouts and attempts at organization – none of which stuck.

So now that I am trying this digital nomad thing (and trying to find my next full-time adventure), I thought my notebooks could use a new system. And a fresh start, no matter how I am starting it, deserved a new notebook. And I had one at the ready. A green, hard cover Moleskine with lined pages. It had come as a Christmas set with a red partner with blank pages that had every page filled with notes to myself about client websites a couple year ago. I was waiting for inspiration to hit to fill this one.

Who knew that the inspiration was going to be that it was the only blank notebook I had at a time when I had to start budgeting like crazy.

So the bullet journal thing…I had heard of it before. I had seen the beautiful spreads that people took time to draw in their notebooks. And I was intimidated. Fancy hand lettering and complex icons to make a system that was supposed to be simple incredibly complicated. Instagram and Pinterest searches made me give up before trying.

But I really needed a way to organize my new reality. A to-do list that lived somewhere I could reference rather than a bunch of post-it notes decorating my no longer existing desk. I have clients and a job search and hopefully a blog that grows to the size of its predecessor.

bullet journal spreads

I have 2 notebooks – one traditional planner for planning out blog content and social media posts in advance and one where all the rest lives. I need a visual of a calendar to plan my posts, and far future planning are what my calendar on my phone/computer are for. Doctors appointments, notes on what is affecting my health and articles to ask my doctor about alongside notes from meetings with freelance clients. It’s a place to collect thoughts about upcoming days and to keep a log of where I started. A place away from the screen where I can plan and think.

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