Despite screens, tablets, and monitors - life as we know it doesn’t revolve entirely around digital. Here at Praecipio Consulting, we found a way to effectively manage our analog and digital life - Meet The Bullet Journal.
The Bullet Journal
Invented by Ryder Carroll—author of The New York Times Bestseller, The Bullet Journal Method—the concept of bullet journaling is more than using your average, everyday scratch pad. It is a brilliantly simple idea, and yet simultaneously a robust methodology that significantly impact your day-to-day life. It helps you “track the past; organize the present; and plan for the future. The Bullet Journal® is an analog system for the digital age.”
The Bullet Journal System
To begin, it’s important to understand the basics - The journal is a blank notebook with pages that are lined, square boxes, or dotted grids. You begin understanding the four types of Collections; the index, future log, monthly log, and daily log and put into practice using three main Bullet Categories; tasks, events, and notes.
Think of a Collection as a module. The purpose of each collection is to organize related information.
The Index sits at the front of your journal, and its main purpose is to locate content in your journal. At the top of the page, label it “Index” and begin listing Topics of your Collections with their corresponding page number. It may look something like this for consecutive pages, “Reading List 7-9” or “Reading List 7, 10, 13” for Collection Topics that are scattered throughout your journal.
The Future Log Collection allows you to get a glimpse of future activities. These dated entries occur outside the current month.
This Collection involves two facing pages - one page dedicated to a Calendar page and the other, a Task page. The Calendar page is used to schedule events and tasks with the sole purpose of providing an overview of the month. The Task page captures priorities for the month as well as collects incomplete tasks from the previous month. It can be a list of items that need to transfer from your mind to paper.
The Daily Log is what you’ll use on a daily basis. Start the page using the date and rapidly log your tasks, events, and notes.
In a fast-paced world where your tasks, events, and notes (the three bullet categories) all seem to bleed together on a screen, learning how to use “rapid logging” is a fantastic exercise to keep all your to-do lists and calendar commitments grouped and coordinated.
Tasks are represented by a simple dot “•”. Tasks have five states that are also represented by symbols:
• task incomplete
x task completed
> task migrated to collection
< task scheduled in future log
Events are represented by the open circle “ο” bullet. Events are date-specific entries that can either be scheduled in the future (e.g. “Wife’s birthday”) or logged in the past tense (e.g. “promoted”).
Notes are represented with a dash “–”. Notes include: facts, ideas, thoughts, and observations.
As you write in your Bullet Journal, • tasks, ο events, and – notes will help you efficiently capture your stream of consciousness as they pop into your brain day-in and day-out. You’ll also be able to tell each category apart at a glance because of the different symbols used. Don't fret about writing them down in any particular order. The important thing is to clear your brain’s bandwidth by transcribing those thoughts onto the page, allowing you to be more focused and productive on the other tasks at hand.
As you get more comfortable with the practice, you’ll start incorporating “nesting” and “signifiers” to help you organize your thoughts. Nesting is simply using your bullets to group together everything in a simple snap shot. Using signifiers helps to see priorities and inspiration at a glance as well. The “*” ahead of a • task, for example, indicates its importance. The “!” signifier represents when a – note is inspirational to you.
While there may be a bit of a learning curve to the technique, it is addicting once you get into the habit. It is a fantastic system to help take control of your life, all while reducing screen time and stress. By keeping you mentally disciplined it allows you to be more purposeful and productive. Vogue called bullet journaling and its approach to organization the “KonMari for your racing thoughts.” If you’d like to understand how to use the Bullet Journal approach in combination with your Atlassian tools, contact us to learn how we ‘migrate’ our tasks to Jira, Confluence, and even Trello.