I started maintaining a bullet journal today, in a bid to improve productivity and get better organized. A friend observed the diary and enquired with some curiosity when I’d started, and seemed to find it a tad funny that I was going old-school. I’ve always been minimalist, the bullet journal is a perfect example of something extremely minimalist, but still very effective. What I liked best about the idea is the ease with which it can be created and maintained, while still being in a standard template. I don’t have to try and setup my own conventions or experiment till I find something I can use, and instead dive right in.
How’s bullet journaling any different from writing a conventional diary?
Bullet journaling achieves greater brevity, without being ambiguous. For example, let’s see the following conventional long-hand diary entries, and what they convey/leave out.
|Journal Entry||Intended meaning||Remarks|
|Schedule appointment with doctor||Setup an appointment with doctor||Clear, but not very brief|
|Appt with doctor||Setup an appt with doctor||Ambiguous|
|Appt with doctor||Reschedule an appt with doctor||Ambiguous|
|Appt with doctor||Completed a scheduled appointment with doctor||Ambiguous|
Now let’s see some typical journal entries, with symbols/notations (called signifiers), and see what they mean. We’ll see how these entries remain unambiguous, despite being terse.
> Appt with doctor: Migrated/rescheduled appointment with doctor < Appt with doctor: Scheduled appointment with doctor X Appointment with doctor: Completed appointment with doctor - Doc noted no issues. Note/observation
The style of bullet journaling is closer to writing commit messages in git, than it is to blogging, and it might take a while to get used to writing terse but clear entries. For the notebook itself, I chose one that is small enough to easily carry around, without being too tiny, and it has about 150 pages. Depending on how small my writing is, how many entries I jot down, and how concise the actual contents are, it might last for upto six months. By the time my first book is filled up, I hope to have gained enough experience with the standard bullet journal conventions/signifiers to be able to come up with my own notations, which will further aid in maintaining brevity, without compromising on either quality or range of coverage.