Keeping My Thoughts Straight

Post-It notes. Google Calendar. Paper calendar. Phone calendar. Notes. Task notes. Papers stacked on the desk, papers stuck behind the desk, and papers lost in random pages of books.

That’s been more or less my strategy for keeping on top of things in my life. While I consider myself to be fairly organized, my methods of being so have not been quite suitable for optimal organization. Which is surprising given the fact that I did see an academic counselor during undergrad, specifically for time management and organization.

I use Google Calendar often, mostly to remind myself of all the bills I have to pay, but the digital calendar has its limitations in the overall scheme of my organizational goal. It’s just one tool. Despite its accessibility on multiple devices, it is, in many ways, still inaccessible.

my bullet journaling, with scraps of paper notes because I like scraps of paper

my bullet journaling, with scraps of paper notes because I like scraps of paper

The calendar is for marking key dates, but when I want to jot a thought down, it was on a separate application, usually a scrap of paper that was then lost to some paper scrap grave. So if I wanted to see everything I had, I needed multiple applications to be open. Or shuffle through a cluttered pile of sticky notes with incoherent scribbles on them that I’ve forgotten about.

But lo and behold- I may have found something that suits my needs, thanks to Mr. Joel.

I came across this “bullet journaling” while reading a post from Joel, who saw a Tweet about it. In my eagerness to immediately try out this new system of organization , I went out and bought a notebook during my lunch break while at work.

Yes. A notebook. That thing with multiple pages glued or bound into a hardcover with space for ink (or graphite if that be your choice of writing utensil).

In a time where everything seems to be digitized, and accessible on multiple platforms, using an “old school” application may seem, well, old school. Perhaps inefficient, even.

But it’s not.

If you don’t mind carrying around a notebook and writing tool with you everywhere you go, then this system is actually quite very efficient. Everything is in one place. No worries about a dying battery. No glitches. No need to open and toggle multiple applications.

It’s all right there, in those pages that are numbered and indexed for easy finding.

I still use Google calendar for bill reminders but the bullet journal offers a more streamlined method of keeping my thoughts straight, not cluttered or lost.

I’ve only been at it for two months, but so far it has proven to be very good. And the indexing is a great element so I can easily keep track of what pages a certain month’s dates are on, or where to jot down the books I’ve read so far this year (yes, I’m keeping tabs to see if I can reach my goal of at least 20 books this year). And other things as I’ll need them.

While I like being able to keep everything all in one place, and not worry if a Post-It note is lost behind a crevice, what I particularly enjoy about this system is that I can easily go back and look at past entries, to see what I’ve done, what I didn’t do, and if I still need to work on something. It’s a nice look at progression as the book gets filled.

Here’s a video on how to the do the bullet journal:



  1. Bullet journaling has legit been a help so far as I’ve tried it out. I’ve had some date slips where I don’t bullet anything, but in keeping all those lists in one place to track progress or remember a forgotten task, its been great.


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