Bullet journal take the Wheel
“Losers have goals. Winners have systems” – Scott Adams.
We love systems as much as we love board games here at Evident. Systems like Trello, Harvest, Sprout, and other productivity tools help us manage the gazillion tasks that come with working in communications. Having these systems allows us to communicate better, to gather data that inform the work we do, and to even get work done through our mobile phones.
It’s ironic, then, that our digital agency’s CEO, COO, and art director favor a productivity system that’s about as analog as it gets: just a pen, a notebook, and a few bullet points. Yes, folks, Evident Communications is Bullet Journal territory.
Bullet Journal 101
The Bullet Journal was created by Ryder Carroll to improve his productivity despite being diagnosed with an Attention Deficit Disorder. According to Carroll, the system helps declutter the mind and maintain focus, while at the same time cultivating curiosity and creativity. Sounds like the perfect tool for the harried digital professional.
When I searched “bullet journal” on Google, however, I was greeted with a deluge of information, ranging from YouTube tutorials to printable templates. So when I heard about a workshop on minimalist bullet journaling, I immediately signed up. I was thrilled to find out that Ian, our senior associate for content, also signed up for the workshop.
Journaling and Decluttering
Belle Mapa of the Tita Bullet Journal fame hosted the Minimalist Journaling 101 workshop in Commune PH. We were eight participants and each got a starter pack—which includes a notebook, gel pen, ruler, and stickers. Belle taught us the basics of Bullet Journaling and walked us through the first few pages. At first, it was easy to create the index, number the pages, and future log. But by the time we had to decide between a monthly log and a weekly log, we lost it. It didn’t help either that one of the participants casually showed us her journal full of beautiful sketches.
Belle kept reminding us that it shouldn’t be complicated. She said that we should choose the best system that will make us commit to journaling. She also made us understand the concept of minimalism in using the system. For Belle, we should promote what we value, detach from distractions, manage our clutter, and maximize creativity.
Over the workshop’s four hours, we bombarded Belle with questions specific to our job. “Do we group our comms plans in one collection or by client” “Where can we dump our ideas for content” “How do we list the books or webinars we need to view” etc.
Ian says he learned three things from the workshop:
- Always prioritize tasks. Everybody should just bite the bullet and decide what it is you need to do. Bullet Journaling is a great system for organizing tasks, but it doesn’t teach you how to prioritize—that’s on you.
- Don’t list things down unless you know you can schedule them. The Bullet Journal is supposed to help you get things done. But if you’re just writing down tasks for the sake of writing them down, what’s the point of BuJo? If you can’t commit to a solid date on a task, put it in a separate “Future Projects” list.
- Separate life and work, because we’re all about work-life balance now, and it helps you make better life decisions.
It’s been three weeks since the workshop, and I’m proud to share that I am still committed to journaling—just writing, and no sketches peppered with stickers. I find myself rapid logging my tasks and notes about my day or about how I felt. Every Sunday, I review my journal and it helps me paint a picture of what to prioritize the coming week. It also helps that I no longer bring three notebooks.
I’m also convinced that this system of Bullet Journaling will complement the workflow of communication practitioners in today’s fast-paced digital world. The practice of “rapid logging” saves time in switching apps or notebooks to list notes, events, and tasks. Having the freedom to create a new tracker or log also helps in letting go of templates that no longer work and encourages users to be more open to new systems, just like in content strategy. Also, setting aside time to write with a pen and paper helps us reflect, focus and take a step back from the screens. Who knew a simple notebook can help us recharge this much?
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