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Beyond Bullet Journal – this time it’s personal!

As I’ve been blogging about for the past few weeks, I’ve taken up bullet journaling as a way to get myself more organised and productive. My little Midori Passport now goes everywhere with me, as both to-do list and writer’s notebook, and I love it – but I wasn’t so happy with the rest of my setup. For my to-do lists, BuJo (as it’s apparently known in the community) is perfect, but for personal journals it’s just too, well, impersonal. I wanted something that captured my creative life in more detail than a dry list of activities.

Because, let’s face it, we’ve all seen awesome-looking journals in movies and TV shows, whether it’s Indiana Jones’ archaeological secrets, or the Hunters’ notebooks that feature in the TV show Supernatural – and whilst most people’s lives may be far less exciting (and admittedly lacking the deadly traps and soul-sucking demons), they’re still full of moments worth recording.

Journal scene from “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade”
Journal scene from “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade”

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Bullet Journal, GTD and forward planning

Whilst I love the structure and simplicity of Bullet Journal, there’s no denying that the basic system is weak on planning. Unfortunately that’s something I have to do a lot of, both in my day job and at home. For example if I’m attending a convention I need to make sure to book my train or plane tickets well in advance, when they’re cheapest – but that may not be today or even next month or the month after that.

What would we do without Filofaxes?
What would we do without Filofaxes?

The other issue is that if I put absolutely everything into one journal, each notebook is going to fill up pretty quickly, which means a lot of copying of long-term items from one to the next. Whilst I understand that the purpose of copying items is to help you decide what’s important to you and what can be discarded, this doesn’t really apply to things that are on hold because they simply can’t be done right now.

One solution would be to use a binder that allows you to switch sections in and out, such as a Filofax or a refillable notebook such as an X17 or Midori. Either way, you’re looking at hauling around a substantial-sized journal – imagine pulling out that monster in the supermarket, just to tick off an item on your shopping list! And if you lost it, all your plans would be lost too… Read more