“The wisdom of life consists in the elimination of non-essentials” – Lin Yutang

Welcome to this month’s #BulletJournalChallenge!

Lately I’ve noticed an increasing amount of Bullet Journalists embracing the simpler, more minimal approach of Bullet Journaling as Ryder presents it. The celebration of a simpler approach is fascinating and sparks questions such as, “What is minimalism and how does it relate to the Bullet Journal?”, “What is important?”, and finally, “What is essential?”

As this interest in simpler Bullet Journals grows, so do groups celebrating them such as the Minimal Bullet Journals Facebook group and its corresponding Instagram account. In discussing what minimalism means as it relates to the Bullet Journal, members of the group generally agree with this statement that Art G. offered to describe it as “the minimum amount of effort for the maximum satisfaction with your journal.” What this means exactly varies for everyone. Does this mean that you work best with a simple black pen? Great! If you add a touch of color to help motivate you, then that’s great as well! Do you need a little more structure to help you visually distinguish information? Go for it with some simple lines. It’s about doing what works best for you.

Figuring out what works best for you takes some experimenting and patience. It’s about asking yourself what’s important and then using your Bullet Journal to help you organize your thoughts. Sometimes this means making collections for all sorts of things. I’ve noticed that a lot of the time these collections are great to make just once or twice as a way to sort through your thoughts, but they’re not as essential as we may make them out to be. Sometimes these collections are meant to be short-lived, but they were great to try out because they helped you uncover what you needed to get out of them. But, are they essential to your short- and long-term goals? More often than not, I find that some of the most important collections are transient. These collections are highly useful at a very particular point in time. Discovering this is most often done with the process of migration when you’re reviewing your collections and open tasks to gauge what is still important and relevant to your immediate life and interests. Sometimes seeing an idea someone else, or many someone elses, are using makes that idea seem important, but I urge you to ask yourself, “is this essential in my life?” Maybe you need to try it out to see for yourself. Perhaps that idea isn’t right for you right now, but may prove more useful at some other point in your life.

Discovering what is essential to us with our Bullet Journals is an ongoing process. It’s one of the main things that makes the experience of the Bullet Journal so wonderful because it grows with us and adapts to every stage of our life. One of the ways to figure out what’s essential is by paring back down to basics and slowly adding ideas back in as we find them necessary. One of the ideas that struck me from reading Greg McKeown’s Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, was the concept of Weniger aber besser, which translates to Less but better. He explains that it’s not about “doing less for the sake of less” but that it’s about “making the wisest possible investment of your time and energy in order to operate at your highest point of contribution by doing only what is essential.” When you remove the inessential, you open the door to what truly deserves your attention and how you can simplify to make time for those activities.

As we tip-toe into being officially halfway through the year, it’s worth asking yourself what’s essential to you to help streamline your system.

Questions to help you think about what’s essential to you:

– What have you learned about what works for you?
– What do you enjoy doing?
– What are some ideas you’ve tried that weren’t essential to you?

Please share in the comments below and discuss with each other what you think is essential to you for a chance to win an official Bullet Journal notebook. If you share on social media, please tag with #BulletJournal #BulletJournalChallenge and #July to participate in this month’s challenge.

Congratulations to Dorothy V. for winning last month’s challenge!

About Kim Alvarez

Kim Alvarez is the creator and writer of tinyrayofsunshine.com, a blog about the Bullet Journal, productivity, planning and other creative pursuits. She lives in San Diego, CA and is currently working on opening up an Etsy shop with products that will brighten up your day! Tinyrayofsunshine.com
  • Amy Wilde Holman

    I’m just starting with the bullet journaling. I sorely need to get my thoughts and days organized. I like the solimplicity but seem to have a hard time taking the time to do it. Do others set aside time each night or each morning to set up for the next day. How long does this usually take you?

    • Currently I’m doing everything in the morning, but I can see the benefit of reviewing everything and setting things up in the evening. My challenge is that I work from home and so far don’t have a set “quitting” time so sometimes I’ll work LATE and certainly don’t have the energy or clear head to organize my following day.

      My suggestion is do whatever works best with YOUR schedule. Some say reviewing and setting things up at night helps you to sleep better as you can rest knowing your tasks for the next day are mapped out and you won’t lose sight of anything. However, if evenings don’t work, as long as you know you’re going to capture everything in the morning then you can still rest at ease at night knowing that you’ll capture everything in the morning. The key is to be consistent as @bradback:disqus stated above.

      Good luck! I’m a BuJo virgin too…in my first journal…so I’m learning right along with you!

    • Theresa Casey

      I keep mine open all day starting in the morning, and at the end of the day move tasks from one day to the next and add on any events/activity I know will happen.. it only takes about five minutes once you get into the rhythm!

      Keeping your journal close by, open and simple helps you stay consistent! I agree with @bradback:disqus on the fact that consistency is key – and it’s why I think simplicity is so important. It makes it possible to STAY consistent!

      Making sure you aren’t wasting a half hour here and there with a complicated system or decorating a new page is why I LOVE these minimal bullet journals 🙂 I keep my time invested in the journal down to no more than ten to fifteen minutes total in a day – if it takes longer than that… I probably need to cut back on my processes!

      In the words of a wise person I know, “Brevity equals MASTERY”

  • Brad Back

    Honestly, I get and love every aspect of Bulletjournal—-what I’ve learned is there are two other important aspects required for success–continuity and consistency. The program just doesn’t work and allow maximized success unless it’s used all the time, day to day, week to week, month to month! #bulletjournal #bulletjournalchallenge #July

    • Agreed! That’s the ‘habit’ I need to form as I’m BRAND new into it. Thus far though, it seems to be working for me. 🙂

    • Miró Cassetta

      yes I’ve found that updating daily, even if all i have for that day are little tasks like “do the dishes,” “put away laundry,” it keeps me more accountable and makes me feel productive. but no guilt if I don’t get something done that day and just migrate to later in the week.

  • Theresa Casey

    I’ve been Bullet Journaling for about two and a half years now, after reading an article on it that was featured on fastcocreate.com. I completely resonated with the instructional video – my life was a series of sticky notes and forgotten tasks… I like to put myself into the “Bullet Journaling changed my life!” category – as I quickly went from being scattered, to being known as one of the most “on top of it” workers in my office!

    Simplicity and minimalism has been my mantra when it comes to Bullet Journaling – in my brain, there are constantly colors, ideas, things to do, places to be and anything else you can imagine floating around… so when it comes to keeping track of tasks, I need it SIMPLE.

    I love the basics: black pen, bullets are only squares (tasks), circles (events/activity), and points (meeting notes).

    At the end of each month I go back to the calendar and highlight my meetings so I can quickly reference when they were, but other than that, my journal is sparse of color.

    I keep all of my writing in all caps – it keeps everything uniform and you don’t have letters running over each other from line to line.

    After my first year journaling, I added a simple long line under each day – which helped separate each day for me visually (whew – getting fancy! lol)

    Some may look at my journal and find it boring – but to me, it’s the one place that stays eternally organized… to the creative type, you can understand how incredibly rare that can be!

    • WOW 2.5 years! That’s awesome and the fact that you’re still at it means it really is a great system!

      • Theresa Casey

        It is a great system! I credit the simplicity to it being sustainable for this long…

        Good luck with your Bullet Journal journey! 🙂

  • disqus_c8lTdHnqi5

    I am so excited to start my bullet journal! I came across the concept on instagram just last week and have already set it up ready to go for the month of July. This seems so perfect for me as I constantly have post-it notes lying around my purse with different to-do lists and ideas jotted down. I used to love using my daily planner in school and haven’t found something to help me organize my life the way I need it to be as an adult. It seems a little overwhelming at first but I think the most important thing is to stick with it so that writing in it becomes a habit – once you get to that place, I think it will be the absolute best organizer/life habit ever!!

  • I’m brand new to BuJo and ALMOST overwhelmed myself by learning about at the very same time I was delving into Miracle Mornings, reading and acting upon Getting Things Done, and a whole bunch of other things. However I was confident if I just chipped away at it bit by bit it would all come together and it has!

    I’m still working out the “system” that will best work for me. What I’ve learned is indeed to simplify and I’m not doing all kinds of color coding etc. the plain back seems fine. I’ll add a wee bit here and there in particular when I create a projects page. And I use colorful washi tape to hold down pages/papers that I’m putting in my journal, but that’s about it.

    I’ve tried SO many systems in my life from paper planners to apps and more. I really feel this is what’s going to work. There’s a sense of peace that goes along with the GTD concept that everything is accounted for and as long as I use my journal daily I won’t lose track of it.

    There ARE so many things that have really worked for me and some unexpected benefits. As an example, I had just created a page dedicated to my son’s Type 1 Diabetes. I have all his appointments there that I then have logged in my CalendEx (I LOVE that – thanks for sharing about it). I also though have notes related to his care. I just spent seven hours with him in the Emergency Room due to diabetes complications. I had my BuJo with me and kept copious notes of the times, his blood sugars, how many units of insulin they were giving him, how many liters of fluid,etc. Early into doing this I had walked to the nurse station with my journal asking for clarification on his blood sugars and the doctor immediately stepped up and paid a lot more attention to what was going on with my son.

    My sense was not that they worried I was a lawsuit waiting to happen, that wasn’t it at all as I wasn’t questioning his care, but there just was a sense that I was on top of things…I was my son’s advocate… and they seemed to respect that. It also gave me a sense of peace and a wee bit of control. I can’t control his health and how quickly he can get his blood sugars stabilized, but there was something VERY powerful about being able to keep track of things that made me feel involved and it was all in a place I could refer back to at any time. WOW! That’s a benefit I never thought of when I started on this BuJo journey!

    THANK YOU Ryder for giving me a sense of control over my life!

    • tishushu

      Wow, its so amazing that you’ve used your bullet journal for your son and that it came in handy! I’ve been using mine to track moods around my migraine patterns. The Bullet Journal really is useful in SO many ways!

      • That’s awesome. And glad to know that you are practicing the concepts in GTD and Miracle Morning. Between those and bullet journaling I feel like I have a whole new lease on life.

    • Claire Warner

      After reading your comment I’ve discovered the Calendex and Miracle Morning! Thank you for sharing. Glad you’ve found the BuJo system as helpful as I have 🙂

      • My pleasure! I’m making my husband and son listen to the Miracle Morning audio book on the long drive we’re about to take.:-)

        So a friend shared on Instagram a page and made mention of her bullet journal. I thought, ‘What the heck is that?’ so I looked it up and came upon this site. I was blown away by it so I commented on her post with a thank you for turning me on to BuJo.

        She replied that if I was going to do it I had to check out http://www.BohoBerry.com. WOW that blew my mind. I watched every single video she did and in one of them she flipped past her tracker for Miracle Morning. She didn’t say anything about what it was, but I figured if it was important enough to be tracked I should check it out. I did and thought my life was going to radically change just by doing the MM and BuJo. Ha ha!

        It was also in Kara’s vlogs that I learned about the CalendEx which she refers back to this site. So it all goes around and around with people in this community sharing about others as we can all learn from each other, right?

        The other thing Kara did was to inspire me to read Getting Things Done again (I did before, but didn’t put it into practice because I couldn’t find a “system” I resonated with) and incorporate that into my bullet journal.

        BuJo…MM…GTD…I now feel complete! 🙂

        • Cirrus Just Cirrus

          Miracle morning really is the worst self help book. It gives you bad ways to do things, like his way to wake up.

          • Hey @cirrusjustcirrus:disqus, no doubt the Miracle Morning concept or even the book is not going to be enjoyed and embraced by everyone. I just know for myself and gazillions of other people it has been a great enhancement to our lives.

    • Congratulations Anastasia! You’ve won this month’s challenge! Thank you so much for sharing, we’re delighted to hear about how the Bullet Journal has improved your life. Please get in touch at support@bulletjournal.com with your address so we can get an official Bullet Journal notebook out to you 🙂

      • OMGosh for real? That is sooooooooooooooooooooooo exciting! Thank you SO much! Will email my address as per your instructions.

        Yipppeeee!

        I’ve been telling everyone about BulletJournal.com!

  • Dixie Hamilton

    I began journaling the first of June. I love the colorful journals I see on FB and Instagram, but try to keep it basic so that it doesn’t go beyond bullet journaling and becomes a crafting activity! I use some colored pens and a little Washi tape, but otherwise keep things very basic. I do enjoy seeing the very artistic ones that others are doing!

    • I agree! It occurred to me that it’s become a crafting craze, which is great for people that are crafty, I’m not. I am however creative so this gives me a place to be organized and creative at the same time.

      It’s funny, I started scrapbooking 20 years ago as a means to protect my photos. Over time it became a craft for many. I organized scrapbooking retreats and watched some of my friends spend three hours on a page with one photograph. It was art. It was beautiful. I on the other hand just wanted to get all my photos into albums before I died – ha ha! So my pages were so basic yet I’m ok with that. There’s room for both styles! Same thing with BuJo.

    • tishushu

      Same here! Other than using different colored Sharpie Pens, my layouts are pretty simple.

  • Susan

    I’ve been bullet journaling since April and this has been one of the most organized and productive times in my life. I just moved into my second journal, a Rhodia dot grid. One thing I did differently this time is to organize the front portion of the journal with weekly layouts for three months. I used some simple graphics and color to distinguish one month from
    the other. I numbered my pages first and started my lists about halfway through rather than having them interspersed with my calendars.

    I’m very happy with this useful layout. I find new ways to use it everyday and I always have it with me. It takes me about five minutes every night to set up the next day’s lists and appointments. It did take quite awhile to move into a new journal, but it was worth it as I now have a useful and customized tool in my hands.

    • That’s a great idea and I’ll definitely keep that in mind for my next journal!

    • Jessica Mayo

      good idea, I think I will try it! Thanks

  • Grace H.

    I recently started bullet journaling after stumbling across the concept on Pinterest (I’m a huge Pinterest addict!), and it’s been game-changing! I often see journals with loads of drawings, stickers, colors, and complicated systems — if that’s what works for some people, then great! Personally, I don’t have very much time on my hands, so I like to keep things simple. I usually write everything in black pen, and use Zebra mildliners and some colored pencil to add a bit of color! I also like switching things up a bit with tiny doodles, inspiring quotes, and faux hand-lettering. I’ve discovered that simple monthly calendars, daily to-do lists, and daily habit trackers are all I really need in my BuJo — too many things simply confuse me and take up space in my journal. 🙂

  • Cindi Gay

    I discovered Bullet Journal just in the nick of time. I had sold a course that I was creating on the fly to 15 Charter Students. I had so much interest I decided to pre-sell the registration for the course release in the fall. The offer ended yesterday. It was a five-figure launch! (just barely, but still 5-figures) That is exciting and terrifying.

    Now I have to stay on track and get this course created. There are so many moving parts but I can track them easily in the journal. I’ve tried so many digital apps and have spent hundreds of dollars only to abandon them – or forget which program I was using. I spent more time getting organized than I did doing. My journal goes everywhere with me. For me, out of sight is out of mind. With my journal right there, I never forget to check.

    The Bullet Journal has helped me with a few other nagging issues that I always had trouble tracking, such as the water treatment center in our basement. When did I last add hydrogen peroxide? What is the current setting on the pump? When did I add salt to the softener and best of all – a running inventory so I know at a glance how much of these essential supplies I have on hand.

    • That’s awesome that you discovered this just in time to help you with your business product launch. That’s so exciting I wish you the best of success. Indeed just having it around to reach out to at any time helps keep us all in better control of our lives.

  • EO Photographics

    I just started bullet journaling. I found out about it before I left for my trip to Canada and Alaska. I thought I would give it a go as soon as I get back from my trip. While visiting Canada, I walked into a store that specialized in paper products that were hard to find in the U.S.. I purchased a few Rollbahn notebooks and began journaling, instead of waiting till I got home.

    It is a great way to keep memories that happen right away and also contacts of people I want to stay in touch with. I took 15 min every morning and evening during my cruise to sit down, relax and journal.

    Now I’m home putting videos together from the trip, it was so helpful to have my bullet journal there to keep notes of my trip. Where I went, how I got there and who got me there.

    Thanks for sharing this page!

  • Kinna McGuire

    I started my BuJo in March of this year. I first set it up in Ryder’s style and quickly found things that wouldn’t work for me; I just don’t think in the same pathways. Thankfully I was still using a Vera Bradley planner and took two or three months of dual usage to really get the full use of my journal (I was in the middle of a university semester and had to migrate assignments/projects/exams over anyway).

    My basics include a calendar view and a weekly view. As much as I try to keep up with a habit tracker/gratitude log, I find these to take more time than they’re worth. I do use them for reference from time to time, though. I refuse to do dailies for the same reason. I can keep running tasks, as well as time specific tasks, all in one spread. It keeps it efficient, and most importantly, effective.

    As you flip through my bullet journal, you’ll find book notes weaved in throughout. My mission this year has been personal development, so I want to make sure I have these to reference back to.

    While I’ve taken some time away from my bullet journal this summer undertaking the large task of setting up my career as a financial planner, I am so excited about the coming semester to really get back into my bullet journal full time.

  • threadbndr

    I am just starting – July is my first full month, though I did start the last week of June (could not wait LOL).

    I am more than a bit intimidated by the ‘scrapbook/artists style’ journals I see in the blogs and on pintrest. So I’m glad that minimalist, black and white journals without pretty doodles and fancy lettering are still ‘legit’.

    My biggest learning in these first few days is that you have to be honest with checking off tasks and migrating them. I am very motivated to make that “X”, but I cannot let myself ‘jump the gun’ and mark off something that isn’t DONE done (aka all the way finished and cleaned up after). I’ve started to do the “/” to indicate a started task, and that helps.

    I’m not sure how much I’ll use trackers. Right now, I’m just doing a daily tracker for my water intake as that’s something that I have been trying to watch for health reasons. I’m also starting out very much with Ryder’s basic system, just the ‘index/future dates/current month/daily log’ sections. Not a ton of collections yet.

    Looking forward to the journey.

    • Jessica Mayo

      I hear ya! it is really overwhelming to see all the cool styled pages, I have saved hundreds of bujo pins and try to do some of them but then feel I messed it up. so simple is my style. 🙂

  • thecuckoo

    This has definitely been a learning process. I do love the flexibility of it–which has helped me tremendously. I have learned that I just need to get in and do it. I thought everything had to be perfect, but it doesn’t. I’ve changed my weekly spread at least four times over the last four months. I’m finally happy with the one I have now. I also found that I don’t use dailies. I tried, but I’m better off with my weeklies–each day in a weekly is almost 1/3 of a page, so I have plenty of space to write things that I need. Also, I haven’t really been able to deal with a tracker as much as I would like. But I LOVE the index–that way it doesn’t matter where I write what, as long as I note it on the index, I know where to find it. Really loving that I found this means of organization.

    • Cassandra Duncan

      Totally relate to how your finding it

    • I’m very much with you on the doing weeklies instead of dailies. It really helps give an overall view!

  • Helen Fu

    I have been using my bullet journal for 2 months now and have learned to embrace simplicity and make the system my own. When I first started, I was tempted to try all the different colorful and creative ideas on instagram, but have just pared down to the just the future log, a monthly log, a weekly spread and the occasional list or brain dump.

    My weekly spread is my lifeline, one page is divided into 6 (weekends are one box) and the other page is a running to-do list divided up by work, home etc. My to do list has allowed me to see all the little tasks I have been procrastinating on… I started the journal with a lot of migrating tasks from week to week (guilty!). But because I have seen that habit, I now have an running list that I can that I can refer to to take care of things if I have a few minutes to spare – or plan more time for bigger tasks. The days of the week are filled with a mix of appointments and quick simple daily insights if I happen to have one that day – and are a nice to look back on as I progress in building my bullet journal habit.

    This post was helpful for me as a reminder to keep up the habit and journal in a simple way that works for me. I particularly enjoyed the quote “When you remove the inessential, you open the door to what truly deserves your attention and how you can simplify to make time for those activities.” That will be making its way into my “insight of the day” for today.

  • Katie Broich

    I discovered BuJo mid-June of this year and so far I’m really enjoying it. What I love the most is that you can use it as a daily “to do”, but also use pages to plan for future events. By using the index feature, it’s so easy to just flip to the page I need to add to an ongoing shopping list and then flip back to today’s activities. The fact that I’m using this method 4 weeks after starting proves to me that it works.

  • Debe L

    I started my BuJo in March and even though I have not consistently used it every day, I do constantly refer to my Monthly log. It saves my life & relieves my memory. I was always forgetting something. I tried doing daily logs and just found some days I had not to log which made me feel…..sad. Getting over that. I just retired and hope that I will be able to find new things to use the BuJo for. I thing the idea from another commenter about doing a week at a time might work for me. I just love the concept though and think keeping it simple is really what I need to do. I love the pretty ones but I am just not an artist. Washi tape is about it!

  • Marcia Libby

    Stumbled upon the BuJo mid January this year, tested the waters in a grid Moleskine. I did not like how the first month went so I changed it up; I LOVE that about it. It can be what you need it to be and until you use it regularly, you don’t know what you need or don’t need. I was able to confirm for my husband’s worker’s comp claim which day we’d seen the doctor for initial visit, the surgical consult and then when worker’s comp wasn’t paying the medical bill, I was able to call the provider and say, follow up with WC insurer, here are dates of injury, drs visits and surgery and oh yeah, here’s the name of the claims specialist. I NEVER would have had that before the bullet journal. It gives me a sense of accomplishment. It keeps me accountable. Because I’m now tracking my thyroid supplement, I have been sure to take the daily pill for the past 3 months EVERY day, something that for the last 31 years was an impossibility.
    Anyway … what is essential for me, a monthly calendar (grid form), the monthly calendar runner (as I call it) as is described in the introductory video to the bullet journal, a tracker for habits and chores (cat litter!!) and then basically pages a dailies. I don’t get much use from a weekly layout, though I’ve tried. I love that I can insert a list/collection anywhere in the journal, I found I did not like to have my months interrupted so I start my month entries at the beginning of the book and begin any collections going from back to front. But then guessing for the number of pages a collection may have got tricky, so I’ve adapted and have 2 journals, 1 for collections and the other for keeping me sane.

  • tishushu

    I’ve been a bujo participant for 5 months now, and looking back at my earlier layouts , I seem to have really honed in what is essential to me.

    I learned that sometimes I like to journal, actually just put pen to page, in my bujo, but more on a “summarizing the day” level. I also learned that I like to keep all things bujo in my bujo and not much else. So that means I have excluded challenges, such as RYH, from my bujo, and moved them to their own notebooks.

    I enjoy planning out my time, meals, and clothing ahead of time so I can really enjoy the day. So I include my capsule wardrobe in my bujo (right side of image) so I don’t have to think about what to wear. I also do meal planning in my week at a glance (left side of image). ~Tishana

  • Caitlyn Litzler

    I made a bullet journal for myself last month. Talk about minimalism, my bullet journal consists of dot paper that I made on an open source program and three paper clips wound into circles to hold it together. Being a new mom/full-time healthcare educator/student, I have struggled and struggled to find a simple way to keep up. Stumbling across bullet journal was an accident that is surely (little by little, as I am still experimenting with the most efficient method) making my family’s life easier everyday. I have since made two more journals for different areas of life. I am now starting to think that having multiple journals like is defeating the purpose for me. Today I am trying to figure out the best way to decompartmentalize and streamline everything into one journal. I really think that this is the solution to the chaos. It provides a creative outlet for me. I love that I can leave myself as much or as little room for notes as I need. Lately I have been using one journal as a broad “plan ahead” journal, and I also have a daily journal that I complete the night before. This journal is good for time management. I can keep track of diet and exercise, grocery inventory used, how many clients I saw, mileage, and expense tracking. At the end of the day, (before I begin to structure the next day) I draw and plot a graph on the page next to my daily activity. This allows for daily examination of priorities, etc. The best part of the graphing? I can visually see if I am in the habit of giving myself enough attention and love amidst the caring for everyone else. That visualization is hard proof that I have done my part, I am allowed to feel proud, and I am allowed give myself love. So yeah, this bullet journaling is cool. and a graph is making my life better (*pushes up nerd glasses*)

    • Graphing is a great idea, I will definitely keep that in mind for mine.

  • Laura G.

    Sometimes, looking at the bullet journals on pinterest and insta, I feel like the only person in the world who can’t draw or write calligraphy! My essentials are words and numbers. Period. I might occasionally color code events, but I don’t understand where people find the time to fully illustrate each week of their journals. But then again, mostly I’m just jealous. ;P

    • Girl I assure you that you were not alone! I feel exactly the same way ha ha. Stick figures is about the extent of my creativity. I have learned to do some very simple things to village my pages just so I feel like I’m putting a little bit something into them, but very little. But we need to remember is that the purpose of this is to help us manage our lives, not as an artform.

    • Miró Cassetta

      I don’t fully illustrate mine and don’t expect them to look like the insta journals, but I enjoy testing out different daily headers and doing the occasional doodle. And I find that playing around with fonts and colors gives my brain a nice rest from the “to-do” aspect and from any digital distractions. It’s kind of soothing, like the adult coloring book trend. Don’t be afraid to be a “bad” drawer — it lets out your inner child!

  • Hussein

    I started journaling this month and nothing has gone as planned. Things got cancelled, had a death in the family, etc… But I started out simple and minimalist and I’ve been able to keep it going by migrating a lot of things until later. I’m still working out the kinks; out of the process and the actual pocket notebook itself.

    • Life is always going to happen, but don’t let it to relieve you. Even if you’re not doing everything as you want to just keep chipping away at it. I know I myself have not done everything completely and I started my journal, but I’m keeping it going because I know it will just become a regular part of my life.

  • Jane Cassidy

    I started in March, using a small spiral pad that would fit in my pocket. It was too small, but it was always available. Trade-offs. I got a blank book that has a place for a pen in the binding, which is wonderful as I always have a pen with it but it doesn’t get in the way. My lifestyle is one of constant change, so I love that BuJo doesn’t have any single format / layout you’re stuck with for the entire year. I have a symbol key, then index, then future log – for me I drew a third of a page per month and laid out the coming year’s events. Then each month has a vertical list of dates – 1 F, 2 S, 3 S…. – where I put page numbers for daily pages as they happen instead of clogging index with that, events, things to remember by date… And the next page is that month’s task list. I give each day its own page as it happens, put in other pages as things come up – lists, whatever – and at the end of the month I have a Month in Review page, where I look at what worked, didn’t, needs improvement, highlights of that month good and otherwise. The next page is an ongoing shopping list I will use through the next month, Rinse and repeat. I have one sticky flag which I attach to whichever page is the current month page, and my journal has a bookmark ribbon which marks the index, and an elastic which keeps the not yet written pages out of the way. I like these features. I don’t use fancy colored pens or tape or anything like that; BuJo should organize my life, not take it over and become yet another craft.
    I tried trackers. I had columns down the left of the month page for things I wanted to track – but I didn’t do well at marking them off. So for July I didn’t put those columns. I did leave space in case I want to note something of that sort.

  • Jeff Austin

    I can’t bring myself to get too crafty. I love looking at all the colorful pages, but I have neither the time or ability for that. I basically stick with black pen and simple charts.

    I’m a teacher, but also serve as a coordinator at my school. My job goes in A million different directions in the course of a day so I divide my calendars into 3 sections (home, teaching, coordinating) and that’s as complex as I get. When I’m in class or out on supervision it’s too much to carry my full journal since I’m going room to room and carrying a radio so I have a small pocket moleskin to make notes to add once supervision is over.

    I was a complete disorganized mess before I started journaling.

  • Cassandra Duncan

    I started my BoJu at the beginning of the year. I have always found it hard to find the prefect planner. Now I can create each day my way. After 6 months I have simplified each week, no point spending all my time planning to do lists if I don’t have time to get them done 🙂 I have found keeping a daily tracker has improved my habits immensely and having everything in the one place is much more productive then going through piles of paper looking for that post it notes. “I know I wrote it down somewhere” now I always know where, thanks to my index I know actually where 🙂

  • Heather Lynch

    I am new to using a bujo; my first month was June. I have been experimenting with the basics and some different layouts. I’ve discovered a few things that work for me. One is I use a plain black pen when writing in my bujo. I have bad handwriting and I can’t draw so my bujo is plain and that’s fine with me. I do have these nice marker pens I use when creating some layouts. I think for now not getting too crazy with new layouts or collections is key for me until I find what works best for me. I love the way I can change up my layouts whenever I want. I’m still experimenting with using my bujo for work and personal. So far I like having them separate. I haven’t found a way I like that combines the two so I have one at work and that works best for me right now.

  • JulieRBlack

    Like a lot of fellow commenters, I just started recently. Also like a lot of fellow commenters, I find the artistic layouts intimidating. So my essentials are just that: my to do list combined with my calendar, sprinkled with some observations on the day. So far so good!

  • J W

    Found out about bullet journal two weeks ago. Started a homemade one to see if I would like it. After three days I’ve decided this will work for me. Would love to win an “official” bullet journal!

  • Suzala Suzala

    I’m a designer freelancer, have two art students and a 13 year old and 15 year old. whew. just thinking about what it takes to keep me organized is exhausting. I have client jobs to keep track of in hours. alternating weeks of 2x a week picking up 4 boys from Varsity track, getting my daughter to the tutor on a different day of the week each week, and then the usual, get the painter to fix the miss spot on the wall, pick up the dry cleaning, someone’s report is due next week and ho , don’t forget to pick up the oak tag..
    And then there’s the long term planning from what has to happen by the end of the month or the vacation days the kids will have, or the meeting in October your old client want’s you at. The bullet journal is the first time in this 58 year olds life that she has been organized and not lost a phone number, or address, or forgotten an appointment, or didn’t have to call the dr’s office to ask again, what time the appointment was… As an artist, I love looking at other’s highly decorated pages, but find them too distracting for my own. I use a lamy pen with Private Reserve DC super Violet ink. I used to circle the date on the edge of the page, but find that just wasn’t something I ever looked at. The basic system is definitely the way to go for my success. The only change I have made from the beginning is, things to do were a square and changing them to a circle made it easier to see an X or arrow thru them. Can’t thank Ryder enough for his creation, it has helped me achieve many more successes and finally gotten me on a much less stressful road.

  • Jane

    I have found that by using my bullet journal I am more likely to get things done. I have been more focussed on things and find I am less likely to procrastinate!
    I have even found myself telling myself to “just get on with it, then you can mark it done”!
    The best bit for me is that the pile of papers that need dealing with is shrinking and even though it’s still there…. It soon won’t be!

  • Sara Morgan

    It is essential for me to relax and have a balanced life. I am new to bullet journaling. I have just set up my first BuJo and hope that this format will be the key to a more peaceful and focused mind.
    As a teacher my time is better arranged in terms and weeks. I have a future log to see the rest of the year ahead, a term planner, and I will be creating and relflecting on each week as it comes. What I love about this flexible planner is its ability to be what I need it to be in any given moment. As I plan for my lessons across this school holiday break I can brainstorm my ideas and find them easily throughout the term.
    I can also reflect on me personally, ensure I have work life balance, plan for my future and ensure I am only doing what is worth my time, and doing it well.
    #BulletJournal #BulletJournalChallenge #July

  • Sean-michael

    I’m pretty new to Bullet Journaling. Been keeping a “Things I Did” journal for a few months and really like it. Been thinking of separating out medical stuff and other things I do but for now I tend to list both. Not sure if separating them into two would make my life simpler or more complex. I’m pretty confused by the whole bullet journal challenge but giving it a shot

  • Claire Warner

    A year into my Bullet Journalling and I’m still going strong. Before I found the Bullet Journal system, I had tried all sorts of manual and digital methods to keep myself organised, yet all had failed miserably. I mainly use my BuJo to keep me organised at work, so keep things super simple.

    Pen and blank journal. Monthly Calendar page and Dailies written out in caps. I sketch every day, and follow a list, so also have a monthly list of the sketching prompts. Every now and then I create a collection (books read this year), or add a page of meeting notes.

    I’ve tried weekly spreads, and future logs, but they’ve not really worked for me. In some months I’ve tracked my habits separately in a habit tracker, but find it’s easier to track on my monthly calendar. Through reading the earlier comments, I’ve discovered the Calendex method which looks like it’s something I can add in to my journal.
    For those who have just started, don’t be disheartened by all the gorgeous pictures you see of other people’s Bullet Journals – I can assure you that mine is totally functional (read this as *ugly*), and adapt the system to fit your requirements!

  • Nicole Look-Christensen

    – What have you learned about what works for you?
    I’ve learned that I need pretty colors in order to motivate me, however I also need to be a one pen a day girl or I get distracted by picking which fountain pen to use.
    – What do you enjoy doing?
    I love creative writing in my Bullet Journal! I keep finding more challenges that allow me to flex my creativity, and it makes me so happy to see them later.
    – What are some ideas you’ve tried that weren’t essential to you?
    I’ve tried about a thousand different things to try and be more efficient that actually slowed me down. The biggest one was having a predetermined theme with at most 3 Staedtler colors instead of picking my colors on a daily basis.

  • Before I started my bullet journal, I felt like I was floundering and achieving nothing. I just finished college, and finding a job I studied for is not as easy as was promised. Sitting at home all day, looking for jobs that are just not showing up is not conducive for happiness. At first I started a bullet journal because it looked kind of interesting, and I was just that bloody bored. Then I saw youtube videos about the artsy spreads, and I really got into it. I’ve actually gotten things done every day since I started, and it makes me feel more creative, happier, and I feel productive again! I wouldn’t say BuJo saved my life, because I wasn’t that far gone yet, but it certainly stopped me from needing that saving.

    Now to answer the question: what is essential to me?

    The monthly spread as mentioned by Ryder. It is just so handy to see what days are free and which aren’t.

    The dailies. I got pulled in by the artsy BuJo everyone knows. I’m not one of those. I’m a pretty artsy girl, but my art is more in descriptions and stories than visual art. I like making my headers pretty, but I don’t like colour in my journal. I need that pretty header though, because I write so much. Before I had fancy headers breaking up my dailies, I just had an unapatizing wall of text. now I have sorely needed order in my life.

    A squared notebook (or dotted, I haven’t tried either, and I can’t find dotted notebooks around here.) I am still in my first notebook, and it has lined pages. It is horrid. My writing is too tiny for the lines, so I feel obliged to write bigger, and if I write bigger my handwriting becomes that of a child.From experience I know squared notebooks have the exact spacing I need and I think it will promote my creativity. (Now I spend 20% of my brain capacity on being bothered and thinking up solutions that don’t work for long.)

    Experimentation. I love being able to try out new things. I love being able to do something and utterly fail at it, but not having to care because I can just start over on the next page. Taking that fear of failing away enables me to try more than I usually would. (I’m a bit of a perfectionist) That’s why I can try my hand at more decorated spreads, and decide to keep them or not. I’ve seen myself keep some aspects of the overly decorated ones, but also keep some of the very simplistic lists I started with. I simply love seeing myself get closer and closer to something that is exactly how I want it. And that’s what BuJo means to me, besides order and accomplishment.

    Anyway, I’m in love with the concept of BuJo, I love what it has done for me, and I look forward to 20 years from now, when I’ll go through my bookcase of journals to remember the great thing I did when I was younger.

  • Crystle Monahan

    What is essential for my bujo system and me? I guess I could live without any way to plan, so it’s not technically essential, but it is highly useful.

    I like having a lot of color options, but I’m thinking of trying a challenge this month where I actually just use a single notebook, a single pen, and a highlighter for most (if not all) of my non-digital writing.

    We’ll see how that goes, but I really like separate binders and notebooks for most collections. That way they are easier to preserve and can be neater, instead of being rushed onto paper for fear I’ll forget. And I think I function best when I do have some form of color, both to make things stand out and just look nice to me. But perhaps I’ve been going overboard with my box of colorful pens :p

    I don’t have a picture though, sorry. My phone takes poor-quality photos.

  • Jackie Wilson

    I am still to new to doing this to know what will really work for me. But I have found out from the last 2 months of struggles without any planner – just a iCal & Google Calendars (more than 1 account so more than 1 calendar!) + the one on my Android phone that do not sync together in any way shape or form — that I am so lost I do not know which way is up. So I have my spreads started for July and have stated to actually USE it! Yeah!!!! However, no planner of any description will fix me of my worst habit – planning and no follow thru. I can make lists and plan with the best of everyone. And then it just sits there. And then I wonder why I am not productive! DUH!!!

    So this is a new year for me (birthday was June 30). July 1 is New Years Day in my world. I am not going to worry about how pretty it is – it just has to function. I will use color coding for my ‘art’ especially as I am not all that great with drawing & I do not have the time to practice. Just getting lines drawn is good enough for me to start with!

    Art journaling is not important to me at this time. I will be using some stickers to make certain things stand out + my colors. Something tells me, I will spend more time cutting and pasting spreads that I find on the internet until I have more experience.

    As to the actual spreads themselves – they change daily! I do know that I have to have a 2pm spread for all appts/webinars/meetings etc. so that I can see when I will be home or not. I need a monthly tracker so I do not have to keep repeating the same things over and over and over. I need a monthly to do list + all the chunks of projects that need to be worked on that month plus due dates. On Sunday I sit down with the monthlys, the brain dump and plan the next week. The weeklies – 2 pages/week. One page is to show appts & deadlines. the second page is for the rest of the to dos as decided on during the Sunday planning session. So at day’s end, I review my day, set up the next day to a certain extent. BUT I leave the non-deadline actions to be determined when I get up the next morning. Because I have that when I tell myself what I will do the next day — I get up and whine about it and not do it at all! Therefore it is better to pick something I will know I will do – based on how I feel that AM. Then rinse and repeat. There is a week’s end, a month’s end and hopefully a quarterly review at the appropriate time.

    This actually works when I actually do it! I also use it for my journal. I ordered the L1917 but ordered the ‘wrong one’ I wanted the dot and got the grid. I did not find it very helpful when drawing my lines and disconcerting when trying to journal. So hopefully, I will win the dot version and can start as soon as I fill up this one. HINT HINT!

  • Jennie McGrath

    I just started my second month of Bullet Journaling! Last month, I created a bunch of Weekly Tracking Pages, to keep track of my chronic pain in a clear spot, for example, rather than buried in my daily logs. This month, I modified the idea of dividing a two-page spread into days (7 across instead of Weekday and Weekend), so that I can keep the varied tracking in a more visually appealing and accessible space. I have some days where I jot down a great deal of scattered things and other days where I’m laser-focused, so I’m hoping to minimize the clutter by only making individual day pages for those that have notes that are not cluttering up what I want to use for doctor visits or whatnot.

    I’m hoping it will work out. I love the pretty stamp designs and graphic artistry, but as a mom of two toddlers, I don’t have the time or spare cash to spend on decorations. Everything needs to be immediately functional, even if it isn’t bare bones minimal.

    My husband has commented that since I’ve started doing this project, my productivity, energy, and mood seem much better. I have depressive anxiety, so I think being able to control my mental chaos and track my goal progresses helps mitigate my symptoms impressively!

  • Darby Brooks

    I’m a working mom of a high needs toddler. My husband also works and takes care of her. But like most moms, I carry the greater load. So I needed some way to organize my thoughts. Especially since having my daughter has been terrible for my memory (18 months of interrupted sleep at best).

    So what is essential to me is a way to quickly keep track of all the things I NEED to get done, and figure out what things I can let slide. I also needed some way to start saving the many, many fleeting thoughts that run through my head.

    I’ve tried planners plenty of times in the past. I want a monthly view, and a weekly view. But note space is sometimes essential, and sometimes not. Some weeks have a ton of things to do, others not so much. So what is really essential for me is the flexibility of the bullet journal. If things get busy, boom, extra note pages are built in before the next week or month. If it’s slow, no wasted paper. The index is a life saver. And the freedom to experiment with different ways to organize the pages, different sections to include.

    I’ve only been bullet journaling for a week, and I’ve already been way more productive, and aware of things I haven’t finished that I need to take care of next week.

  • Samantha Sweetlove

    Bullet journalling is just getting going in the UK, and im brand new to it all, as in I’m literally setting up my journal now

  • Shweta

    Hi, I started Bullet journaling from the 1st of June. I was inspired to start this way of organisation by the numerous Bullet journalists out there and researched a little about how to start. I soon discovered that the usual spreads that I saw out there weren’t something that worked for me. I love keeping it simple and minimal. I liked how it looked and also found that it saved a lot of time since when I did try to make it decorative and pretty I spent hours in doing so and that beats the whole purpose of why I needed an organization system. This way by the end of the month I found out what really works for me and what doesn’t.
    I enjoy making lists and setting up my weekly plan. I like how I can make a list of things, for example, I a student and generally during exams I always say I will do certain things once exams are over and forget about it later. Now I make a list of those things which will help me really do the things I wanted to and not procrastinate them. I love breaking down tasks in my weekly spreads. Chalking out a study plan gives me more confidence in preparing for exams and with bullet journaling I can make and update study plans as and how I go.
    At the beginning I tried the Alastair method of future logging but one week later found that I didn’t use it as much. The same goes for a Habit tracker or meal plans. Because it is such a flexible system I could switch to the Hope method of future logging (Calendex) which I find works much better for me. Meal plans never worked for me. I tried making one for a week but I ended up not sticking to it and hence didn’t continue with it in the later weeks. I think I would need another tracker to fill my habit tracker so that wasn’t included in my future spreads too.
    I find it amazing that in a month I found out so many things that work and does not work for and I am glad to have started a bullet journal. Thank you everyone here who wrote so many useful articles. I love the community who continues to inspire everyone with sharing different ideas for organizing.

    -Shweta

  • Donna Fleming

    I am just starting the bullet journal strategy. I found it about a month ago, and have been obsessed every day since. I am just setting up but believe I will incorporate both the minimalistic approach with some color and design. I am prone to procrastination so the simpler, the better. Looking forward to being part of the community.

  • – What have you learned about what works for you?
    I’ve only been bullet journaling for a few days now. But I’m realizing quickly that I need my week all in one place and for categories of tasks to be separated out visually and compartmentalized. Starting to suspect I’m much more of a visual person than I’d realized.

    – What do you enjoy doing?
    nalbinding and spinning, teaching my kids new things and learning along with them, and so MANY other things! I will be keeping a “Tour De Fleece” journal page. (but have a tracker for it on my weekly too.)

    – What are some ideas you’ve tried that weren’t essential to you?
    I’m new to this. But I’ve done the Franklin Covey tracking before and I found that when I try to track too many things in too many places, I lose track of it all. MUST keep it simple! Tracking needs to be in my weekly or dropped.

  • I like to concentrate on my daily, weekly and monthly tasks instead of collections. However, I do have a couple I like to keep and I have them indexed in the front but I also use a small bit of washi tape to coordinate and make them easier to find. I like to keep my BuJo looking neat so I stick primarily with black ink.

  • PassThePopcorn

    I recently replaced my moleskin with a leuchtturm (I LOVE the pre-numbered pages and dots instead of grid). It’s the best thing I’ve done in a while, because it let me review the first few months and figure out what was working and what wasn’t. Actually that was what drew me to the bullet journal in the first place. I had gone through a stack of pre-printed planners, but none quite worked for me. Bullet journals allow me to change things as I need to in order to make things work.

    For example, most of my tasks are not day specific, but often are week specific. So I have a weekly calendar across the top of a 2 page spread with my time-specific appointments and then the remainder of the 2 pages for tasks. Most weeks I finish nearly every task, but it is easy enough to migrate the tasks at the end of the week when there are only a few. However I almost NEVER complete the tasks on the day I write them down or, for that matter, the day I planned to get them done. So for me this works best. I tried daily tracking, but my head felt like if I wrote the day down I would need to migrate the incomplete tasks from prior days to the current day, even if I knew they weren’t going to be completed that day. That was a pain. Making weekly the lowest level of detail was a hard lesson, but an important one.

  • Pavel Vokoun

    Today is my 15.000 day in my Life!
    I moved back to the essentials in terms of planning. After 12 years being completely digital in my life’s planning and tracking I have moved again back to a simplicity of Pen & Paper.
    Started my first minimalist Bullet Journal just only in less than 3 weeks ago. Great tool and awesome community! Thanks

    • Well Happy 15K day in your life @pavelvokoun:disqus! What a fun way to keep track! And I love your photo of your BuJo…it looks great!

  • Tina Ender

    My bullet journal essential is the c3po Cross pen I got as a Christmas gift. I am always amazed that my notebook and that wonderful pen are enough to to keep me organized and inspired.

  • Carolyn McNamara

    Hi everyone, I just started my bullet journal about three weeks ago. I like it ! I’ve looked at other methods Paul Allen’s Getting Things Done (GTD). Like others on here, I’ve also dabbled in the Miracle Morning and Marie Kondo’s the magic art of tidying. I’m changing my life one step at a time. I find something useful in each method. Hopefully at some point I’ll get to the perfect organised, tidy state. My Bullet Journal notebook arrived today, but I’m wedded to my old tatty book that I’ve started with, so I’m staying with that for now. I’m using the daily and monthly planner more than anything else, and not so much the weekly planner. I am creating collections and I really think it’s making me more creative. In thought, rather than practise. I am certainly not an artistic journal writer. You would all have a real chuckle at my July calendar. It is hid-e-ous. I’m getting quite overwhelmed with the amount of things on my daily planner and find myself moving them over – daily ! I know one of the aims is to make you look at whether you really need to do these things, and I know I do, so these are now on a weekly planner. I’m not sure how that will work out.. Does anyone else have a similar issue? All said, I’m so enjoying my BuJo.

    • I’m very new to this as well. I was doing dailies that ended up in a spread and when I didn’t complete a task I didn’t move it because I could easily see it still needed to be done.

      Just this week I’ve started a weekly spread with all my non-specific tasks in one column so I can chip away at them. What isn’t finished this week (hopefully won’t be a long list 🙂 can easily be moved over to my next weekly spread.

      Good luck – I think most of us are still in the discovery phases of what will and won’t work.

      • Carolyn McNamara

        Thanks Anastasia. It’s nice to know I’m not the only one… I’ve added a
        ‘check weekly log’ task to my daily log to remind me to go back and
        check it – Like other people, I’m working across a lot of projects, and
        therefore working across a lot of tasks, and just trying to keep on top
        of it all. I’m feeling more organised than ever though.

        • Yay for feeling more organized, that’s what it’s all about, right? And like Dave Allen of GTD shares, the whole idea is to get everything out of our head and into a system we trust to free us up more. I’m digging it.

          Just two days ago I discovered another way to handle a little something that I was trying to figure out. So as part of my first weekly spread I actually planned out my meals for the week and did a grocery list. This is something I’ve always struggled with.

          Anyway, I decided to try two new recipes and was debating on where to keep them and how to reference to them. I knew I’d be making the Rancho Gordo White Bean soup one night and the Kielbasa soup another…what was the logical way to handle the actual recipes?

          Then a light went off as I looked over to my daily folders that’s part of the GTD system. I simply put the recipes in the corresponding folder i.e. the white bean recipe is in the July 7th file folder and the kielbasa soup recipe is in the July 9th folder – EASY PEASY.

          I like cooking from printed recipes so even if it’s a recipe I found online (one of them was) I simply print it and put it in the folder and don’t think about it again until that day when I pull out the folder to process anything I have in there. Problem solved! 🙂

  • I’m just trying out Bullet Journal on some spare graph notebook paper, and I can see how streamlined it can make the process of planning, collecting, and eliminating unnecessary clutter in my life. I’ve tried many methods of time management but have yet to settle on any one in particular, and I’m too new to Bullet Journal to decide if it’s the right method for me or not for sure, but I’m definitely giving it a trial period of at least a month to see what happens.

    In regards to what is essential to me after the year 2016 is over halfway through, I would have to say that being able to continue to create is definitely essential to me. I’m a musician and a writer as well as an avid reader, and I don’t see how I could survive (emotionally at least) without the ability to create. Also, the ability to stay organized via a planner or system like Bullet Journal is absolutely essential for me to keep my sanity!

    I’ve tried many planners on the market, but I always feel trapped inside their format of getting things done, and I’ve often wondered how to create my own system to fit my needs. I’m glad I’ve found Bullet Journal to shine a ray of hope for a better way of doing things—and staying sane along the way! I hope I win this month’s challenge so I can enjoy seeing all Bullet Journal has to offer!

  • Cirrus Just Cirrus

    I even tweaked the bullet journal system, by asking myself the same questions as above. For the weekly and monthly tasks or meetings i have a calender app, so no need to write it down twice. Everyday i make a post it with my to do list. So my notebook is only for notes.

  • I started bullet journaling about a year and a half ago, and I love it! I’m always experimenting with different things, but they’re pretty much all simple. If I make things too complex or decorated, I don’t keep up with them. I use just a few bullets – I’ve tried adding new ones, but if I have more than about half a dozen, I have trouble keeping them all straight!

    The fancy, scrapbooks bujos on Instagram sometimes make me want to do flashier stuff, but simple is what’s working for me.

  • Amelia Demulling

    What is essential for me is using it every day, and that has been a bit of a challenge. I ALSO just read Miracle Mornings (like so many on this thread!) and I love how you can use both.

    I actually used to use a different planner system, and I love how this integrates the best parts of that but allows for so much more flexibility. This is especially helpful to me with my task lists. I find that I don’t always make a new task list for every day, and I think that is ok. I just make a daily list when I need one.

  • Shaun

    So glad to find this challenge. I almost quit before I started. There are many beautiful, breathtaking, bullet journals out there. And I knew mine wouldn’t be one of them, I’m just not that artistic. It was a relief to see that a plain, useful approach has been embraced, and a journal can be simple and still be a great tool. Thanks for encouraging us who need the tool, but will never inspire others with our artwork!

  • Tania

    I’ve been using my BJ for 6 months. Each month has been different in the spreads I’ve used, and it’s actually really interesting to look back over it and see what I’ve done. I love looking at the beautifully decorated journals, but find them a bit intimidating! I went back many times to Ryder’s original video as I started, and find sticking with a more minimalist approach suits me much better. I’ve just started using some colored pens, mainly because I’ve started finishing my days with some gratitude points, and I also note my exercise in a different colored pen, or anything that I want to stand out a little more on the page.
    What works best for me: After much trial & error, I’ve learned that a monthly spread and daily lists works best for me. I use my BJ for all my work and personal details, and my work appointments and main calendar are electronic, as is my detailed client task list with reminders for client actions. But I still put the main tasks in my BJ so I can get a feel for what my month is going to be like. Then I note each day what my appointments are, what I want to get done that day. Then during the day, I’ll make notes of calls/discussions/other actions taken. At the end of each day, I’m starting to jot down some gratitude notes, and anything else of significance around my family/friends/work, or just notes of the day if I need to debrief.
    What do I enjoy? The debrief. It really clears my head, and on the days when I do it before bed and consistently, I find I sleep better and wake up feeling more in control. Completing my daily tracker (which is mainly health/lifestyle related tasks) is also great as part of this process. I find it motivates me, if I haven’t flossed, or stretched, or done whatever habit I’m trying to cultivate, if I still have time, I can fit it in before bed and feel like I’ve really achieved for that day.
    Non Essential Ideas: Multiple versions of weekly spreads and future logs! I’ve tried so many versions and still trying to find the best Future Log idea for me. Haven’t persisted with the weekly logs, just find the monthly & daily combo works for me. I also don’t do the Monthly calendar that Ryder does, as my calendar is really sorted electronically for me, and I wasn’t using this much.

  • Tricia Heacock

    I am a novice — literally this is my second month — but I love it. I am still using a dollar store composition book ~ talk about minimalist ; ) I made myself a promise that I wasn’t going to spend more money on any thing fancy (as I typically buy two or more planners a year) until I actually used it for six months. So far what I like best is that it is completely personal; it has the pages/layouts that work for me ~ because I’m making it up according to my needs. This month I didn’t reproduce the monthly calendar as I use my iPhone to keep special dates and appointments. I keep a weekly, two page spread that lets me plan and see my week at a glance, I make a daily page from the weekly on which I can track progress and make notes. I don’t yet use an Index, but I do flag, with sticky notes, pages I’ll need to refer to at a later date. I like having my lists and To Dos in one place as often they bounce off each other. So what’s essential for me is the flexibility; it let’s me – an extremely unorganized person, be, well, not completely organized, but more in charge of the details!

  • Emily Burney

    I’ve been bujo-ing since January and it has revolutionized my life! Although I still have an avid addiction to planners of all kinds, my bujo has been my consistent companion these 6 months, more than any other planner I’ve ever used. I have found that by pairing down a variety of things in my bujo has helped me stick to the essentials. My first month I started with a monthly tracker that tracked, like 30 things. Now I only track 5 things a week: my step count, exercise, devotional reading, gratitude log, and food tracking. I

    I have also found that although I may make an exhaustive list once, does not mean I’ll refer back to it very often. I have found that in just writing something down has helped me to commit it to memory for remembrance when it is relevant later.

    Another thing I’ve realized about making packing lists for trips is that I like to remake my list for each trip, not just have an exhaustive list I reuse for each get-away. I know this is not necessarily strictly
    minimalistic, but it helps me feel prepared for each trip I go on and allow for the nuanced differences that each trip location would entail.

    One collection I just started today was “Info to Tuck Away” for all those little pieces of information that I should remember for the future and don’t want to hide them in a daily log to be lost. This could be where I quickly log books a friend recommended, or subjects I’d like to know more about, or a particular paint color. Some of these items might eventually get migrated to another collection (i.e. “books to read”, but it’s nice that I have 1 place to list them all and review the information later to reorganize. I suppose this list is like a brain dump.

    Overall, the bujo is something I can preach about! It’s the easiest thing to use, even if you don’t have an organizational bone in your body- much like my mother whom I’m slowly getting on board with the idea. 🙂 The flexibility and ease of the bujo is AMAZING.

  • Gerasimos

    Hey all,
    I’ve just started using BulletJournal inside my work commonplace book. I can tell you it has helped a lot! Migrating tasks and reviewing has given an extreme push on my productivity. Because of the nature of my job, I found that a month spread is not needed so I gave up on it.
    On the other hand I would like to use BuJo to my personal planner but I am thinking twice on it. I am used to viewing my week in one spread and I can’t see how I will put it all together in my pocket sized planner. Looking for inspiration on this and any help is much appreciated.
    Either way I’m sure I will enjoy the process of finding what suits me.

  • EdRo

    Hi there,
    Watching a month all kinds of BuJo vlogs/video’s and reading all internet from north to south about what’s to find on BuJo etc etc… I jumped the pond. After years of time-management and lived by calenders, I must draw the conclusion that there still is too many that slips through. Arranging around time doesn’t justify the essence of finishing a task.
    It is the BuJo which will make me change towards event/task-management. I need to eliminate distraction, quit the inessential. The BuJo concept by Ryder will help me do that.
    From now on I’ll let my time / meetings / appointments follow and flow around my tasks/events.
    I step in careful but determined 😉
    The set-up of my BuJo will be minimalistic from design point-of-view and it will take on some of the very good ideas I seen around in the community.

  • Patty Gierloff

    I started my bujo this year & while I continue to save all the awesome colorful ideas I see on pinterest, facebook & blogs, my own has become a two color simple task list that I love!! I started with a cheap $2 grid composition book from office depot that I liked, but I longed for a dot style that looked cleaner & in trying to decide between moleskin & leuchtturm I came across the Matte Black collection by EDC Notebooks. I love it! I don’t know if I’ve become more productive, but my journal keeps me more accountable. as I migrate tasks for days (okay, sometimes weeks) they’re still on my mind & I know i’ll get them done at some point because I’m just OCD enough to not be able to live with myself if I just let it fall off the list. i’d rather re-write it 10 times than pretend it got done or just forget about it. 🙂 I do have a few pages devoted to things like books to read, things i’m saving for, etc. but I can’t quite wrap my head around the entire bullet journal process put forth here. but that’s the great thing about bujos. it’s what you make of it & it’s what works for you…& if it doesn’t work, try something else. I love the flexibility!

    • Miró Cassetta

      I feel exactly the same! Better accountability and I also don’t mind migrating (usually I would just forget when it was on a to-do list from weeks ago) 🙂

  • jslater316

    Keeping it simple works for me… I use the bulleting pretty close the original system for daily lists. But, I’ve found features like like the monthly calendar to not be helpful for me as that function is already well handled elsewhere in my overall system. That said, that simple daily bullet sheet has made a tremendous difference for me, as pivotal as when I first discovered GTD many years ago. At the end of every day I take a moment to give thanks and pray over each bullet as a way of practicing gratitude and of letting go of my day– that’s what brings me joy.

  • Debbie Larabee

    I’m brand new to bullet journaling and it is sites like yours that I find most essential right now. I’m using a lined notebook insert right now and enjoying the freedom of daily lists while I research and explore the various notebook and accessory options! I’ve been a planner girl on and off for most of my life and never been completely happy with a purchased planner….until now! Traveler’s Notebook and bullet journaling is exactly what I’ve been seeking! Thanks for your help and the opportunity to win a “real” bullet journal~

    • EdRo

      It´s like I read my own thoughts. Always been a planner and never really happy with what was on offer ready-made. So Ryder’s BuJo principle was an eye opener to me, but then again I missed some of the classic calender lay outs. So I jump in the BuJo adventure somewhat hybrid.. allowing room for testing, learning. So I can determine my “perfect” calender/BuJo/diary/notebook.

  • Me

    I only found out two days ago that BuJo actually is a thing and I already am more confused than ever – How to sort it so that it makes sense to me? Do I use one with everything or do I keep two for different topics? Do I stick to yearly or it is ok to just start NOW?
    I actually started a mock-up journal last night, one i can just play around with and try different things, whack it into my handbag and not worrying about it looking pretty – I didn’t even use a ruler, so everything is kinda wonky 😉 I just cut some papers down to A6, stapled them together and started to doodle, just to see which style i like.. and you know what? It’s grown on me already, and I don’t know if I want to start a “proper” one now or if I just keep with this rough one for a while. I think overthinking to get a nice start is what is my problem at the moment 😉

    • Ideally, you should give the Bullet Journal a try the way it was designed: to hold your entire life in one place. Sorting will work best by not thinking about it too much, it’s the beauty of the Index that will keep things organized all in one place. It’s best to start now. Good reflection on your part! 🙂 The thing that works is the thing that you don’t worry too much about, something you can get
      started with right away to help you get things done.

  • Saralyn S.

    I have been using the Bullet Journal method for about 4 months now, and it has been an amazing learning experience. I have learned much about myself, and what works and clearly does not work for me. I see so many fancy and beautiful bullet journals online, and it seems very far fetched to think that all these immaculate journals are the norm. They are works of art 🙂 and art takes time, time I don’t have.

    After going through 2 other journals because things were not working out how I would like; too many collections that I would never use, a habit tracker that got in my way and made me feel like a failure, and countless weekly and monthly structures I had tried out. Through all of it though it helped me understand more about who I am and what system works best for me.

    The bullet journal is great, and the simpler you keep it the easier it is to use.

    I have very few identifiers, I use an asterisk for important things, an exclamation point for urgent tasks, and a star for any item that is in the back of the notebook (moleskin). Besides that I use the dot and x symbols (standard bullet journal).

    I have a future log that goes 16 months ahead over 2 pages, since I don’t really need to keep track of birthdays because of social media, these pages are really only used for planning bigger important things that I should not forget about.

    I set up a monthly page, with a calendar layout over part of it. I use it to fill in the due dates of my bills or any events. I also use the empty space outside the calendar as a spending tracker. Instead of assigning my months with task, I do that with my weekly set up. What bills need to be paid, events, cleaning, and goals I need done that week. I find it easier with smaller lists to get things done.

    Next I have my daily entries, which are pretty standard to the bullet journal method. The only difference is I don’t migrate over some of my tasks to the next day if I don’t finish them, seeing it repeated day after day discourages me. Instead I put a bullet to finish yesterday’s items, which in my mind already means they are half done. I will only migrate them if I have to turn the page.

    Some collections I have found useful are : monthly gratitude log, a year of bills at a glance (payment/ minimum due/ due date. I keep this one near the back of my bullet journal), mind-maps mid-journal, and I sometimes use a post-it note menu planner within my journal I keep this near the back too.

    Learn to love your mistakes, it gives your journal the character that only you can give.

  • Eva

    I have been using a very minimalist approach to bullet journaling for the past couple of years and found it to be a very efficient extension of the ordinary to-do list. Four different bullets (notes, tasks, events and “find out more about…”), an index and several lists are everything I need to get my whole life organized.

    Only today I discovered those neat and well thought through journals as a way of keeping track of much more than just tasks. I imagine them to be very reassuring and super helpful in self-improvement – definitely starting my bullet journal 2.0 tomorrow 🙂

  • Miró Cassetta

    I started my BuJo almost a month ago (for my personal life, not work stuff) and have found it keeps me more accountable and makes me feel more accomplished! I’ve ALWAYS had some sort of printed calendar/to do list but I love that with BuJo if you don’t complete a task on a certain day you can just migrate it. So much less guilt and so much more true to life! I recently started doing weekly and weekend spreads in addition to monthly and daily. Again, this is part of my “you should do this at some point” motto instead of the “look at all the stuff you didn’t get done today” mentality.

    My other favorite thing has been the daily habit tracker. One of the things I’ve added is a box for “invigorating,” meaning something that’s mentally or spiritually fulfilling, whether it’s a creative pursuit or a great conversation with a friend. Not every day can be great but it will make you feel good to look back and see that you did have meaningful experiences more than you thought!

    I also find the migration process grounding. It’s a great way to recap and refresh.

    Happy journaling, everyone!

  • Claudia Chairsell

    I’m new to bullet journaling, saw it first time in June and started in July. I love the simpleness, flexibility and efficiency of this system. Then I entered the social media bujo groups and at first I was a little disapointed because it seemed that’s all about shopping again and “setting up” a planer for lots of money, filling pages with stickers, washi tape and other stuff. But, that’s ok, because everyone can do it like he/she wants, right?! So, I enjoy daily planning with appointments and tasks, trackers, monthly goals, gratitude pages, including journal pages when something important happens, making notes, adding quotes….
    Daily challenges are not working for me, including doodling. I’m a writer. In enjoy getting more things done, only after a few weeks with my bullet journal. I do my quite time every morning and I’m so happy. On the other hand I’m a bit struggling at the moment with accomplishing everything I planned and I have to reduce my daily to do’s, have the tendency to migrate too much or cancel completely. But it’s a learning process, so I will take my time. I’m very happy that I found Bullet Journaling for my life.

    • EdRo

      You’re right. No need for buying all there is out there. It is about how you want to structure your life, your days, your tasks.
      About migrating too much? Get realistic instead of over ambitious.
      Make a collection of tasks and pick some out that bucket every time you plan your next day.
      I review the bucket weekly, so enough options to prioritise.

  • Margaret Hammersla

    I was just introduced to the Bullet Journal by my daughter. I love the concept. It is a more organized version of what I have been doing off and on for many years now. I am a crazy busy faculty member and mother of 2 college age “children”. There are so many varied tasks, concepts, responsibilities, projects and ideas to manage that my “to do” books were such a jumbled mess after a couple of months that I would throw them away and start fresh. (Always with a super cute book since that would help me be better organized.)

    I am excited about trying this as my life has gotten more busy rather than less since the kids went to college. I alway do better with a “support group” and so thought I would join the conversation here. Loved reading everyone’s comments. Not sure what Miracle Morning is but I have added it to my list of things to look up when I have “free computer time” 🙂

    As for what I learned, since I am new everything is newly learned. It is the idea of an index page that was my Ahha moment. My old books were full of post it notes, torn our pages, random blank space and crunched up writing because I ran out of space. Being able to add “collections” in and just keep going and still know where to find everything is simple genius.

    I am grateful for the idea of adding personal improvement components to each day (I saw the idea on a pintrest board). I now have a box for exercise and reflection time on each day. Sounds simple but by the end of the day I have forgotten the value of those activities in the push to complete a few more tasks.

  • Ale González

    I’m also a newbie to BuJo. In fact I’ve just finished setting my Index, Future Log, Monthly Log (for the rest of July) and writing my first Daily Log. I have to admit that I’m pretty excited about this because before finding out about this method I just wrote down in every piece of paper, notebook or notes app that I had handy. The problem with that is that is not efficient and almost ALWAYS I forgot where I wrote it down or even sometimes Why did I write that down. So, a system like BuJo where you have everything from to-do’s, planning events, notes, etc. seems like the perfect choice for me.

    There’s only one thing I get a bit confused. What if I want just to write something like any thoughts or personal experience like a journal. Do I just start writing in any page with the topic and place it on the index? Even if it’s in the middle of any weekly/daily log?

    Thanks!

    • Yep, exactly! You can flip to next blank spread, title it Journal, add it to the Index, and write to your heart’s content! 🙂

  • Jennifer Fong

    I am new to BuJo. I don’t have much insight to what is working properly and what needs to be scrapped just quite yet. Im in my experimental stage right now. I do know that I am a woman of colour (and I love doodling – did the “doodle for 365 days” challenge). I absolutely need colour in not just my BuJo but my workspace for me to feel inspired. For that reason, I am incredibly happy that I am able to freely design my layouts and doodle whenever I want and it’s not a compulsory element to my journal.

    The other thing that grabbed me into the whole BuJo system is the tracking system. This has set a healthy routine for me to follow is is extremely important to me and my mental health. I am also readily able to show my support workers how my week month has been. This aids in helping me problem solve properly and aids them in understanding what is going through my head or when I’m starting to get unwell again.

    I always have ideas on what to do next and with the bullet system, I am able to throw those thoughts that are rushing around onto paper and then reflect on whether or not that it’s actionable through the GTD system. It basically just frees my mind from clutter that activates negative emotions that I don’t want.

    And as someone has mentioned before, I also have tried many systems to organise my life but I have never been able to stay using them. It’s not that they aren’t beautiful or aesthetically pleasing (they are and expensive too) but those feel like a chore where you must write everyday. I feel the BuJo… As I am able to personalise it to my needs is 1. More motivating, 2. Able to see progress and 3. Just fun to doodle where ever you want for your own journal.

    I think the only down side that I’ve had is choosing my journal by it’s cover. I wanted something bright and beautiful to make me feel at ease whenever I used it but that meant I had to use lined paper. This made it SO tedious to draw up graphs to track my own wellbeing. I think next time, I’ll definitely get a dotted journal for easier set up.

    I actually would like to thank you and Kara for showing me how to make it my own. If I were to read about it without the creativity that you girls put into the BuJo, I would have never picked it up.

  • Aimee Stubbs

    Some things I find essential:
    1. Monthly overview pages- daily and monthly tasks / mind dump.
    2. 6 month future log
    3. Starting my collections at the back instead of the next available page.
    4. Cursive (helps with nowy people)
    5. Typing up my Books Read list to migrate it.
    6. Drawing out ideas
    7. Ongoing collections: Books Read, Books to Read, blog planning, and display ideas.

    Non-essentials
    1. Weekly overviews
    2. Fancy headers or multiple colors

  • Tracie Posehn

    I’m completely new to the Bujo craze, and have been fascinated by how popular it is. I’m working on a PhD and brought it up and my instructor popped up saying “I use the bullet journal!”, hers in a basic composition $.50 book. I have about four different “planners”, plus work calendar, plus iphone calendar, plus fridge calendar and still run around like a crazy woman. After a divorce 5 year ago, it has also been a transition in “letting go” of old ways, old habits, old “stuff”. Now in a settle point in life, with busy kids and busy private practice, I’ve also embraced “letting go” of furniture, clothes, shoes etc that “I paid a lot” for. Simplifying is making life calmer. So what does this have to do with the Bujo and this months challenge? I believe it came into my life at the PERFECT time as I’ve started re-thinking the school year start up and stress reduction. We are re-vamping to living with only the essentials.

    Day one started late at night and I actually adore the fact that I was so tired, while writing my first heading “The Beginning” I instead wrote “The Begging”, scratched it out with one simple line and corrected over the top. As Bujo is all about learning curve and personalization, I had to laugh. My brand new L1917, beautiful pens and BAM, big cross out. My adoration for Bujo was off! Also, since on vacation for 3 weeks in different time zones, I took someone else’s idea for weekly layout, fancy dailies, and then could barely keep up. I was so tired that I simple made a note of what got done, what I ate/drank (since I want to track that) and made a bundle of different spread pages to record bits from the vacay, gratitude, braindump etc. Soon I found that I grabbed my Bujo to record everything, starting from the back. For example, I am working on my webpage and couldn’t remember some of the settings between pages, so just noted it down on a back page that has random tid bits. Love it. No more scraps of papers.

    Week two layout, complete re-vamp. I think this is the most important part for me. I use it forward thinking and end of day (since my work schedule changes from morning to nights with clients booking last minute). Again, I’ve been so tired (and sick, of course while on vacay) that my dailies have been a quick record of what got done. It brings to light habits that I want to change, such as taking that 15 minutes at end of night to balance, re-group, plan. My bigger picture plan is to start my kids with Bujo so we all prep the night before and help them develop better organization. There’s something that causes you to “buy in” far more when you are creating your week from blank pages vs filling in pre-printed. My artsy child will doodle and my more structured will use rulers.

    The best part is making it your own. For me, fancy writing and banners look very cool, but at this point, I spend my “extra” time picking a colorful pen and reading all the pinterest/fb pages to one day aspire to more creativity (after I’ve simplified). So in my first three weeks, what have I found essential?
    – reflecting on what is / isn’t working . . . it transfers to other areas of my life (eg. color is important)
    – trying, changing, adapting . . . having structure without being married to it (Bujo is a metaphor for life)
    – being in the moment . . . there is no “right” or “wrong”, it just is
    – when one small part “feels right”, stick with it . . . eventually my system will be easy and simplistic, while making my soul smile, keeping me organized, keeping me mindful, keeping all my squirrel moments in one place and HOPEFULLY, becoming a new habit that allows for bonding time with my kids each night that reminds us all to slow down and appreciate how preparation and organization equals less stress and more time to enjoy the things we actually WANT to do.

    What hasn’t been essential? The things that seem to be essential to others, which from perspective, is the whole point!

    I’m very excited to see how my Bujo evolves. The learning process is calming because the only thing I’m aspiring to be and make my Bujo is a better, more peaceful and organized form of me.

  • Christina Martin

    Most essential to me is keeping track of appointments. Because I’m a housewife, I don’t have appointments every day, so it’s easy to forget to keep myself on track; yet I have a family full of medical needs, and we average 2 appointments a week. I was just using Google Calendar, but I kept forgetting to look at it. I needed something that made me feel more connected. I’m a newbie to BuJo, so I don’t yet know what all works for me, and what doesn’t. But I am discovering that neatness is very important to keep me from getting overwhelmed.

  • Luan De Souza Oliveira

    Honestly, I don’t think minimalism is the best for me right now. I’m planning a massive rennovation for my bullet journal starting next month, and it’s all about having a space for everything and systems that feed each other, so I don’t lose sight of my goals. I’ve been too relaxed, in fact: I need to otimize my time to get where I want to be. I’m at a point in my life in which I need discipline, especially to deal with some increasingly serious mental issues.

    • EdRo

      @luandesouzaoliveira:disqus
      Hi Luan, I don’t really understand in what way your needs conflict with minimalism.

      As far as I understand minimalism (in BuJo-terms), it is a way of doing what you need to do with a BuJo to suits your needs and not necessarily dive into time eating things like calligraphy or fully designed pages. I use BuJo, like you, also for mental structuring and it does help me a great deal.
      I’ve incorporated trackers for behaviour and type of reactions on situations I’ve difficulties with. I use it whenever I have my BuJo on hand/open or during my pre-bed “evaluation of the day”. And although I doubted the power of it, after 6 weeks it has given me some damn pretty insight views on how I use to tackle issues and how I can change that for the better.

  • Dorothy Vaccaro

    Thank you very much to the Bullet Journal team for my free official BuJo (look at me all nick-name-comfortable now) after winning the challenge!! Even though I received it a little while back, I admit I was a bit daunted by all of the gorgeous journals I saw around the internet and procrastinated starting mine for fear it wouldn’t measure up … I’m weird like that. I got a new set of Pigma Microns recently and sat down with the tutorials and just jumped in. I’ve already crossed out and defiled the perfect index pages, but I’ really loving this new system so far!! I’m keeping it basic for now, but looking forward to adding in my personal touch as I go along. I feel like I just was let into an awesome secret club. Thanks for inviting me to be one of the cool kids, ya’ll. 😉

  • I don’t know if this contest is still going on or not, but I find what is essential for me is to allow myself to breathe at the end of each month—sometimes the end of each week—and find out what truly makes me feel not only accomplished but happy overall. I’m a perfectionist and the goal of getting things done has been ingrained in me for many years. Sometimes, the best thing to do is just stop everything I’m doing and take a day or two to contemplate what’s most important in my life, such as recalling that my to-do list(s) can easily become an idol. How many lives would improve dramatically if we did away with our to-do lists (or at least had a hiatus from them) and started making a to-be list?

    Sometimes we all need to just be. Be happy. Be content. Be creative. Let our be-ings radiate with excitement, eagerness, and enjoyment for what truly matters, what is essential. Even now, as I type this, I realize it’s been way too long since I sat down and really asked myself, “Does it matter that I didn’t get so-and-so done this week? Will it matter a year from now? Will the world end because I didn’t get around to it?” Often the answer to all three questions is a resounding “NO!” And it’s that answer, that truth, which allows me to slowly take in another breath and regain a proper perspective on what life is all about.

  • Jenna Lin

    -“What have you learned about what works for you?” I’ve always known that I’m a very visual person, but when I first started Bullet Journaling I literally followed Ryder’so video to start with learning the concepts. Soon I figured I needed to see my monthly layouts in grid form, and that I needed a more granular approach to just future logs & monthlies something more generalized than dailies. I started weeklies instead, which worked for the job I had. Then I switched jobs, and my daily life became filled with meetings, projects, and tasks… so I switched to dailies, but not in the Ryder style. I needed a visual daily than just a list, so I adopted a time ladder which helps plan my day. All in all it’s been a journey of trial & error to find what works for me. Currently what works is an Alistair Future Log, Monthlies, Dailies. I keep my journaling & challenges in a separate notebook to focus my BuJo for planning.
    “What do you enjoy doing?” I enjoy planning my day every morning and I’m loving how the dailies fit into my life. I’m enjoying experimenting with my BuJo layouts so find what works for me.
    – “What are some ideas you’ve tried that weren’t essential to you?” I think what doesn’t work depends on the schedule you keep. Some things have worked for me before now don’t really work as well. And vice versa. What’s essential now is a place to keep track of appointments, meetings, tasks, and due dates…. being productive as well as having fun!