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Why you should use a Digital Bullet Journal Free download included

I have been bullet journaling for about a year now. My first real introduction to a daily journaling practice was through...

Why I ditched Google Tasks for Wunderlist for tasks management

In April of 2018, Google announced a stand-alone app for tasks management called(yes you got it right) Google Tasks. The announcement...

63 straight days of meditation and the false expectations of the art

Andy Puddicombe speaks to me in the mornings and evenings. His voice plays in my head, even as I write this....

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March 9, 2019 in Journal, Productivity Hacks

Why you should use a Digital Bullet Journal Free download included

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October 17, 2018 in Productivity Hacks

Why I ditched Google Tasks for Wunderlist for tasks management

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May 19, 2018 in Experiments, Personal Growth

63 straight days of meditation and the false expectations of the art

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I have been bullet journaling for about a year now. My first real introduction to a daily journaling practice was through an introduction to the Micheal Hyatt’s Full Focus Planner. Using this planner for about 6 months, I could see why planners(good planners) work. Instead of buying another Full Focus Planner, I decided to use plain books to plan my daily, monthly and yearly goals and activities- having learned Michael Hyatt’s productivity system.

When I first came across the Bullet Journal idea, I was blown away by how flexible the method was. Because you’re not limited in any way to any system, you can do whatever you want with your journal- you can use any book, any sheet of paper– whatever it is, taking to mind only 4 things that are characters of this system: the Index and Keys page, Future, Monthly and Daily Log, – depending on what you want to do, a collections section.

I know this can start to sound like another cumbersome productivity system. It is in fact, the least difficult of all the productivity systems I have come across(and I have tried tens of them). And the most freeing of them all.I could go on and on about what Bullet Journaling is but
others have made that information available. You can read Ryder Carroll’s book, the Bullet Journal Method or watch YouTube videos on how to use the system. But I can assure you it’s the least difficult system to adapt and it helps you achieve a lot of productivity. On a personal level, it has helped me with:

Getting more focus daily

As soon as any to-dos, ideas, quotes, thoughts come to mind, I add them to my daily log. In so doing, I rid my mind of the stress of trying to remember something I thought about 2 hours ago. I am sure you’re familiar with the feeling of overwhelm where you have like 10 things you want to do but haven’t physically noted and then you end up remembering just 3. You should always free up the RAM in your mind and use a ROM system- whether it’s through saving your thoughts and unresolved thoughts to physical storage or more long term storage.

Having a good overview of my month

With the BuJo(as it’s popularly called) method I can constantly put my entire month in perspective through the Monthly pages and the Future log system. As one of my daily routines, I daily check my monthly log to make sure a future commitment(within the month) has not been missed.

Retrospectives

A system that allows for powerful retrospectives is one that allows you to continuously improve on a personal level. BuJo-ing is one system that works well for me. With a Bullet Journal practice, you’re encouraged to review your day, migrate uncompleted tasks from one day to the other or throw in the Future log etc.

An Unrestrictive System

The biggest plus for me is that it allows me do whatever I want to do without confining me to someone’s system of journaling. I am not confined to a page or someone’s idea on how to be productive etc.

You literally draft out whatever you want to do with the pages in your book.

Why I went Digital

and why I suggest you try it

My physical/custom bullet journal notepad and my iPad BuJo

In the BuJo community, you would ALWAYS hear enthusiasts and practitioners talk about and recommend stationery like the Leuchtturm1917, the Moleskin, Rhodia, loads of colored pens, microns, staedlter etc. You somehow end up carrying a pot load of stationery everywhere all in the name of journaling.

Also, a passive google or Youtube search for Bullet Journal would show you a whole lot of people displaying their artistic abilities — and it’s hard not getting intimidated and getting lost in the main objective of Bullet Journaling which really is a simple way to keep track of the things that really matter to you.

When I got the new iPad and an Apple pencil, I felt convinced I could spice up my journaling without the need for a carry case for pens, pencils, inks, and paper. I could finally have my journal and tools in ONE PLACE.

Noteshelf

The Noteshelf app is what I use for Bullet Journaling. Noteshelf is an app available on the iPad for taking notes, recording lectures, annotating PDFs, formatting texts, etc. I found it to be the best notetaking app for Bullet Journal. Because of its flexibility, I found it easy creating various templates for my bullet journaling needs.

I created a BulletJournal template that’s available for free and you can download nowIllustrations used in the template were from Lotta Nieminen’s Google Calendar illustration, a few also from Smashing Magazine’s monthly calendar.

I included templates for:

  • Index/Key
  • Future Log
  • The Monthly Log(January-December) with Monthly task pages
  • Daily Log
  • Habit Tracker(for hydration, journaling, meditation, gratitude, grooming, Cardio)
  • Morning Routine(Collections)
  • Evening Routine(Collections)
Habit tracker + two slots for custom habit tracking

I also created dotted pages. I found the ones that came with Noteshelf by default were too large. The dotted pages are in 4 templates: brown, blue, grunge and paper-texture.

Grunge textured dotted pages

The ultimate reason to have your BuJo digital is that you have all your journaling tools in one place. No need to carry loads of pens or notebooks. You can also easily edit your writings, drawings or whatever- a really big tip for people who want to sketch a lot but are scared to waste pages.

Also, you won’t have to stress over drawing each calendar month in the monthly and future logs. I have already done that for you- for every month.

Dated monthly page template

I hope you enjoy it. If you have any feedback, feel free to let me know.

In April of 2018, Google announced a stand-alone app for tasks management called(yes you got it right) Google Tasks. The announcement was made alongside the release of the redesign of the Gmail interface. I thought it was a very smart move. Google Tasks was going to take a right-hand seat on the interface of the Gmail inbox. This would naturally allow for you to add tasks to your to-do list while sorting your emails. The Google Tasks app interface looked clean, fast and easy to use.  Then I started to notice the flaws- inability to assign tasks, no calendar sync support, inability to assign a time to tasks, no semantic input functionality, no desktop support.

No desktop support.

I understand Google’s direction of taking apps to the browser. The problem is 1000s of apps will not make it to the browser anytime soon. I want to work on my photoshop or IDE tool and then when an idea comes to mind, I can press a shortcut that pops up on my computer, write down the idea as a to-do and then move on.  I don’t want to have to start up a browser, go to my Gmail to write down a quick task.

With Wunderlist I can add a task through an overlay while in the middle of another activity

I am mostly disappointed that Google did not even think of making a browser stand-alone for this app. Neither did they think of making this sync with the tasks on Google Calendar. I think this is poor thinking if you ask me!

 

Semantic input support

Would it not be sweet if  I could type “Buy milk at 2pm tomorrow” and then a reminder is set for 2pm tomorrow for me to buy some milk?  Well, Wunderlist does this and Google Tasks is just bland. In fact, you can’t add a time to your tasks. Just dates! At this age!

Collaborating and assigning tasks.   

I have found to-do lists to be crucial to functioning with family and friends when we plan events, small projects and groceries.

I want to be able to add ‘buy more milk’ to the house grocery list and assign it to someone. Google Tasks would have done that if it wasn’t such a meaningless tool.

Calendar sync

In my article about using to-do lists in calendars, I raised points on why it’s better to have your tasks assigned to time slots in your calendar. Google Calendar has a tasks mechanism that’s ONLY AVAILABLE if you use the Google Calendar app on mobile. With Wunderlist you can integrate your tasks into Google Calendar. Google Tasks won’t do that for you

I believe strongly that good tasks management routines could save you a lot of time, and so save you some money and so save your life.  Google Tasks is just not cut out for that job.

I will write in an upcoming post how I use Wunderlist for tasks management.

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