That’s All He Wrote: Moving on from my Bullet Journal

The time has come to retire my bullet journal.

I moved to a paper-based task management system after getting frustrated with the fragmented, inflexible world of task management/note-taking apps. Bullet journaling offered flexibility, simplicity, and cross-pollination. That last one appealed to my creative side, especially when it comes to brainstorming and lateral thinking.

After eight months, I’ve decided to move back into the digital realm. In no particular order, here are the reasons why:

  • Bullet journaling satiated my need for tactile sensation, but I can obtain that in other ways. I’ve cut back on my screen time and taken up papercraft as a mindfulness practice, as well as keeping a private, hand-written journal for emotional processing.
  • Migration is such a chore. When you fill up one notebook and need to move to another, you have to schedule about an hour or two just copying things over. I was missing things too often, as it turned out.
  • Inter-period projects became too hard to manage. For instance, if I have a project starting at the end of the month and finishing early the next, it’s easy to miss just how close that deadline is. My projects often have external deadlines that don’t conform to calendar months or weeks, but most bullet journaling techniques lock you into week-by-week or month-by-month perspectives.
  • My handwriting still sucks. That isn’t an issue for my private journal, where I can make out most words even when my chicken scratch is at its most illegible. But when I need to notate a phone number or email address, legibility becomes paramount.
  • I still can’t move most of my tasks offline. My work communication, church business, chatter with other writers, bills, all of it has some component that must remain online. Moving from paper to digital and back has a bigger transaction cost than I anticipated, and it’s far easier keeping things digital if they were there to begin with.
  • Contacts. Yeah, just try moving all your email contacts to a rolodex. I never bothered trying to get mine offline.

I’m migrating my tasks, events, and important paraphernalia back online to various services. It was a fun, educational experience, but I need to switch now before my life really gets upended in September.

What do you think? How have your means of keeping up with your to-dos changed with your life? Let me know below.