I’ve mentioned before that I’m always looking at ways to fix my productivity workflow. I’ve used a bunch of different apps over the years for task management and calendar items. This was until about a year ago. I was challenged by someone on micro.blog to not use a task manager at all. At the times I was using Apple’s reminders for keeping up with items.
I noticed something happened, though. I using reminders but I wasn’t using reminders. What I realized was happening was this: I would put items inside reminders. I would get the notification and would ignore it. I wouldn’t do any of those items at that moment. I wound up doing it later and most of the time it wasn’t because of the reminder. It was just something I knew I needed to do.
So I took this challenge and went a month without using a task manager at all. It worked fine actually. There were a few items I wrote down at work but it was only because I knew I needed to get certain things done on a project in a certain order. I didn’t put any times or dates with them. After the month I realized I didn’t need a huge task management system.
So for the first time in years, I removed reminders (or whatever task manager it was before that) from the dock on my Home Screen. I also killed notifications for reminders. It was actually nice to not constantly see a notification from reminders on my Lock Screen and/or Notification Center.
Around this same time I was starting to get into the idea of carrying a notebook with me in my pocket. I had some Field Notes laying around the house. I put it in my pocket and carried it around. It took a while for me to remember I had it in my pocket and that I could use it to jot down notes, ideas, or anything else for that matter. I still had a tendency to use my phone.
I decided I liked the idea of not using Reminders by this time, but I also realized I needed a little something to keep up with all the hats I was wearing (Day job, radio broadcasting, ESPN+ announcer, PA Announcing, United Way board meetings, church responsibilities and so on).
I had always been a fan of the Bullet Journal. I loved the method and had tried it multiple times over the years. it never quite stuck with me though. The reason for this, I think, is that I didn’t like carrying that big notebook with me all the time. Plus the layouts could be quite overwhelming at times.
What is a Bullet Journal you ask? It’s a system that was created by Ryder Carroll, who was diagnosed with a learning disability early in life. He was forced to figure out how to be productive and focus using different methods. It took trial and error but he finally developed the Bullet Journal method. It’s become quite the phenomenon in productivity too. Do a quick Google Search for Bullet Journal and you’ll get approximately 213 million results. Click on images and you’ll get all kinds of images of journals and their designs.
This, as I said earlier, can be overwhelming and make it hard to figure out where to start. So, this was in my mind during this whole time. I had read the Bullet Journal book and knew how to set it up but it still didn’t click with me for some reason.
Fast forward to earlier this year. I saw a post on Mastadon that mentioned using Field Notes for a bullet journal. This both confused and intrigued me. First of all, how could you put everything from a Bullet Journal in a Field Notes book? They only have 48 pages. Thus the confusion. Second, How do you make this work because I’m already carrying a Field Notes book with me.
So I reached out to the person who posted this. What I found out was they were using one notebook per month as a Bullet Journal. They had all the normal aspects of the Bullet Journal but only on a monthly basis. This fascinated me. So I decided to try it.
This started in March and I’ve been doing it ever since. At the end of the month or the beginning of the next month, I get my new notebook out and start filling it out. I do the future log, month at a glance, bills due, monthly tasks, and daily log. It’s super simple and it keeps what I need. More importantly though, it gives me another reason to put the phone down.
I have recently been thinking about scanning the pages at the end of the day to save them either in iCloud Drive or in Day One. This will allow me to have access without keeping the notebooks. One per month means these notebooks can accumulate quickly.
So there it is, my Bullet Journal workflow using a Field Notes book. I’m not saying this would work for everyone but it is working for me and that’s what I need. I want something to help me be a little more intentional with my time and that also allows me to not be locked in to a computer (or phone/tablet) all the time.