Bullet Journalling is one of the most popular analogue approaches to task management, and I can see why. You can build it into whatever you need it to be, you have a reason to buy pens, notebooks and washi tape. The core of the method is “rapid logging”. This means that on page of your notebook you put everything down as it comes up. Tasks, events, notes… These are annotated with symbols to keep them organised by type, and then combined with future planning lists relating to the upcoming months.
Have a look on their website to get more information if it’s new to you!
When I worked a traditional 9-5 job I loved the system. It really worked for me: 1. I had everything in one place. What day was my dentist appointment? What was the title of that book I wanted to read? When did my boss need those statistics? 2. I knew what I had done and what was coming up by checking the daily logs or the future logs. 3. I got to use my fountain pen. 4. I had the time and flexibility to maintain the system.
Having said that, it did always feel a bit unwieldy to me – which is a common issue for analogue organisation systems. There was a lot of rewriting and checking back.
But once I started my own business I found it just stopped working. I was at home with a baby. A baby who liked to use me as a chair and who liked to play with paper – and as he grew older, draw on it. It just became really frustrating to use. I couldn’t get the notebook when I needed it. I didn’t have the time to keep creating the new spreads. I definitely didn’t have time to make it pretty (not a requirement of course, but if you search for Bullet Journal images most of them are incredibly beautiful!). I defaulted to making notes on my phone for work, and for things outside work, well… Things got forgotten and it just fell apart. Ultimately, it wasn’t working practically and I was struggling with combining all of my metaphorical hats. A major thing with task management systems is that it has to work for your life as it is right now. Not how it worked for you three years ago when you had a corporate job or how you think it will work in four years when your business is bigger. For my money, I think the Bullet Journal is great – but I felt it worked best when I had enough time to really maintain the system. The more “hats” you wear and the more time-poor you are, the harder it is.
If you’ve tried the system, I’d love to hear how it worked for you!