A little bit recently – as when I wrote this, which is months ago now – there was a conversation I had with a friend about why I use a material journal and take notes there, rather than recording audio and using digital tools for transcribing those notes and highlighting what’s important.
I’ve remarked how 2020 was the year I fell out of Bullet Journalling, which, I mean, we all fell out of things, but I fell out in January, months before the lockdown and heightened precautions. Last year, I did a lot of things without my bullet journal as a personal ritual, as a thing that broke up long sessions of computer usage. I gave up on notepaper and creative tracking, which had, I think, a negative effect on me, especially a lot of long term projects. It made me appreciate things my bullet journal is good for.
Particularly, right now, my Bullet Journal is in a different room.
My journal is great for helping to order a disordered mind; I flip it open and check it out when I have free time, and look at the important things I need to do. If I’m feeling it, I can tackle one of them, or progress it, or I can stop and not. But crucially, my bullet journal being a thing I can put down and close means that there are times I can easily commit to not worrying about it.
I can say, with this phrase, that I have done enough for today, and go address that in the journal in the morning.
Now, what is fun, is that friend? They went on try out physical media, and commented how restful it was. So that’s nice to know I’m not just fooling myself. I could be fooling two people.
… Kinda haven’t done it.
Look, Bullet journals are great. I deeply love my Bullet Journal. I have a nice little paper book that I carry with me in almost all the bags I have and I use it for, well, notepaper stuff. I make a monthly planner, which means I’m noticing when the seasons turn, I’m noticing the things in my life that a lot of systems automate. I’m tracking which week of the semester it is, I’m thinking about the next month.
This year I’ve done a lot of tracking of the year on the blog using the planning chart I linked at the start of the year, which I do think I’ll keep doing because it’s good for taking an overview on how the whole year looks and can have comments and notes. That’s super useful.
It’s one of those rare things that I can treat as a sort of ‘gift well.’ If my family want to get me something nice, some stickers for putting in my bullet journal, stamps for things like weekly schedules, or just decorative pens. As someone who doesn’t tend to be ‘giftable’ in a lot of ways (I mean, I have lots of videogames, and family members aren’t necessarily going to want to be experts on board games or videogames to try and get me something I ‘want’), the bullet journal is super handy. It’s nice, too, it means I think of my family as I take notes.
My Bullet Journal is something I use when I’m not at my computer to make things.
So, this year: No development on the Bullet Journal, no new mods, no new layouts, no new habits. I did get some nice stuff, I have a lovely book, which is… hopefully going to be my 2021 book?
Of course, Bullet Journals are meant to be flexible. This is one of the things about the system that’s a point of recommendation, especially for neurodivergent folks. They don’t care if you mess up, or miss a few days, or miss a month. The system is designed to not structure your life to the book, but the book to your life. It’s okay. I’m going to be okay.
Why am I doing this here? Well, this is normally something I’d write about in my bullet journal.
Hey, do you want to write more?
I write a lot, and you may notice that if you frequent this blog and notice that for the past thousand days or more it’s pretty much always been updated with something new, that hovers around the 200-500 word mark, depending on how well I keep focused on my point aardvark. Well, part of how I keep a schedule of my blog going is having a chart for if I’ve got a post set up for the next day.
I also have ‘events’ each week; two posts that fit a schedule, Game Pile and Story Pile, and they happen on specific week days. I made something for that, which I used to do on my bullet journal, which was great, except for two things I learned the hard way:
- Tracking one full year in a paper book can get pretty tatty.
- Any time I misplace my bullet journal, I kind of get paralysed about what to work on next.
With that in mind, for my blog tracking, I decided it was time to set something up that I could access as conveniently as my blog itself, and so, I made a google sheets spreadsheet for this. And since it’s a handy tool, and you can just copy them if you use google sheets: Here!
It’s pretty simple. By giving each month a theme or notes, I can make sure that any articles that don’t necessarily fit a current month may go in a later one that fits it better. By having these trackers on hand I can make sure I don’t do four or five articles on a theme in a month and risk boring audiences that don’t like them. This lets me look at my work overall, for a whole year, and plan ahead.
Just a little tool! Hope it’s useful!
Wow, yesterday was a bit much wasn’t it? Let’s wind it down a touch. Here, let me show you my Bullet Journal.
That’s not weird!
Hey, I still use my Bullet Journal to track things. Fox got me a lovely new Bujo for Christmas last year, and I’ve been using the dot-grid system very aggressively to do things it’s harder to do on lined paper.
One module that I’ve seen and wanted to try out was a year long planner. If you had something you want to do every day or every week, or a tracker for a long-term pattern, then this is a great system for it.
The funny thing about Bullet Journal modules like this is I tend to just need to look at them and then they kind of explain what they’re for. This one’s for managing this blog, and since this picture has work done up until April, you might guess this was – well, recently. But it’s not, this was done in the first half of March.
If you want a closer look, click on it, it should open up in a new browser window for ya.
The thing I’ve come to really love about Bujo is the question ‘what is that for?’ can always be answered with ‘the things I want to use it for.’ This is a module I made for my Swindle runs; I want to try and get a run faster than my 16 day current best, I want to know how long I spend in each zone, and I want to know how much influence the ghost bonus/multiplier and number of computers influence what I’m doing.
So I made this!
The note of K vs D: K are runkiller levels, places where there’s simply too much in the way and the day has to be considered a total waste, not even able to advance multiplier. This is when you get things like computers in areas you need bombs to reach before you can possibly afford bombs, or multiple security-locked computers before you can get security hacking. D however is just when you heck up and die.
If you’re at all like me, your Bullet Journal is a tool you use to put your actions in a greater context, and perhaps to either make yourself feel good about what you’re working on, or make it possible for you to know where you should be focusing your efforts next. I’ve got plans that work literally month to month, but I wanted some sort of module I could use going forwards as I use Bullet Journals more, so I could always look back a month or two and double check if what I’m doing is part of my plan.
With that in mind I devised this module with different tracker methods in it:
This tracker is set up so I can use it to mark weekl breakups – like the Podcast; it has enough room to give a short note for them. It can also be expanded across a spread in two larger sections, twice as wide, to allow a lot more room for notes on individual entries.
This is just the design version of the module. Don’t look into it, since I made this months ago and I don’t use it yet for my Bujo. But it’ll probably go in the front of my next one.
I’m trying out a Bullet Journal, and by trying out, I’m using it pretty much constantly for two months, which is a good sign that I like it, and with Bullet Journals, one of the things you do is make tools that are useful for you.
Well, one of the tools I need is a way to track the progress of a game in development, which is a task that sometimes needs some specific notes about people to contact, problems to overcome, things to emphasise, and a way to remind myself in a basic way what a game’s about.
With that in mind, I made this module:
Super simple rundown, the top is a synopsis/summary of the game’s concept. The left hand column is a series of bulleted tasks that the game needs before it’s ready to go, and then that gives me space in the right to either point to things holding up specific events in the timeline.
If you don’t know what a Bullet Journal is, or don’t use it, and this looks like gibbering nonsense? Well, yeah don’t worry about it. Still, this is one of those tools I use.