Bullet Journal project page

I’m posting this longish review here on my Walking with God site because the spiritual life is often messy, disorganized and, yes, lazy. Or the best word might be “neglected.” The Bullet Journal can help here, too, and can help unify one’s life, work, and service to God. So give the article a good read.

There was not a single day that I did not consult and follow the notebook during the first month of using the Bullet Journal. That must be some sort of record for me. I usually tire or feel cramped by organizational systems or PIMs. I did not with this one. Maybe I’m just getting more mature, who knows, but I do chalk up the flexibility of the system to helping hold my attention.

The Habit Tracker

My stated priorities for this month and for the near future is to emphasize prayer, praise, and poetry. Thanks in large part to the Bullet system and the HabitTracker feature, I wrote a prayer every single day. 30 days.

The GiveGlory task wasn’t far behind. In the first 10 days, I wrote it four times. Thereafter, I missed one day only. So I wrote a total of 25 days.

Poetry writing was a bit behind that. In the first 10 days (seems it took me a while to get adjusted), I wrote five times. Thereafter, I missed five days. A total of 20 days.

A surprise was the GoSpeak posts for reports and Extras. It was included in my November Habit Tracker. This month I wrote 11 items. Supporters may not like hearing from me that much, however.

TheFellowshipRoom also got an uptick in my writing activity, some 17 days of posting.

The HabitTracker, one of the most useful features, showed me where I’m strong, and in what habits I’m weakest. It also let me see my sleep habits, average times for getting up and going to bed, as well as number of hours I managed to sleep.

Daily Pages

I follow the Bullet system closely on the daily pages. One thing I have done for many years is to draw two diagonal lines through the finished to-do items on the page. The carry-forward feature in Bullet makes this easier to do. The lines help my eyes to skip over these items when I’m flipping through and scanning the pages, or when I’m doing some sort of review.

Many Reviews

I don’t recall much said about reviewing the notebook in the Bullet lierature, but from GTD and other systems, that seems important. It helped me from time to time to scan through the notebook. I familiarize myself with it better, see things accomplished on a day page or project page to check off elsewhere, or catch something that might have fallen through the cracks.

The Notebook

I used — and continue to do so in December, until Daughter brings us our genu-wine [sic] Bullet notebooks — the small Moleskine notebook. It’s worked well, but for the calendar and tracker, it’s too small for comfort. I wanted to use up the pages in the Moleskine, however, so I feel good about that.

Because of the small size of the notebook and getting started with the system, I used 50 pages for a month’s journal. That doesn’t seem bad. For December I have left almost 60 pages, so that seems adequate for the need.

The Hairy-Scary Task Page

An original item with me is the project page I called the “HairyScary Things to Do.” (See a photo and description here.) I started it the last week of November, with five really big scary items after a few days. Within a week, one of them has been checked off. I had gone years needing to do this serious task — and I decline to admit how many — and now it’s done.

I even wrote a short poem with a reference to it.

Carry Forward

I used to use a weekly planner, a lot. I liked not having to rewrite tasks that I didn’t do the previous day. I tend to overload my daily to-do list. But I get the idea of carrying them forward, rewriting reinforcing the need and the very existence of the task. So I worked with that without too much problem.

In the old systems I used, I would get lost at times having a monthly calendar, a weekly planner, and sometimes a daily list. It was too much to keep referencing back and forth between them all. The Bullet system seems to have just enough separateness while allowing the daily specifics.

Index

Even though I took a loose approach with the index, I found it indispensible. In less than a month’s time, finding all the project pages can take a while without it. The index deserves probably more thought than I gave it. When I move to the new notebook, I’ll think it through some more.

Numbering the pages was a bit tedious, but necessary and helpful. In some older notebooks I had numbered pages and an index and it paid off. Not sure why I didn’t keep it up, but in the Bullet system it’s part and parcel of the experience. I’m glad to be doing it again.

Daily Comments

I’m not sure that I like using the hyphen (-) to set off comment on the daily pages, since they seem to get lost afterwards. One can always add them to the index, and I do have something for them there. But more project pages may be better to add such comments (usually, some sort of writing idea, I think).

Prayer Requests and Thanksgivings

One of the project pages that takes up the most number of pages is the Prayer Request and Thanksgivings that I hear, both at church and from individuals. I don’t begrudge the space this project requires, since it’s one of my main objectives, but I note here that it allows me to keep up with them better. At the end of each page I use an arrow and the number of the next page — besides it and all pages being listed in the index. I separate the requests and thanksgivings on the pages by date and place. (We work in both Taubaté and Urbanova congregations.)

As I Went

One of the things that impressed me about the first month’s Bullet experience was how much better it is to get as specific as possible and to detail items thoroughly. I had seen this recommendation before in writings on productivity and organization, but had discounted it, especially in the spiritual area. I am now backtracking on that. It’s time for me to get specific.

This is already having an effect even in the type of writing I do. My devotionals, for example, are acquiring divisions to them. We’ll see how well that works out over the long haul.

Which brings me to a final observation. The more we can plan, the more specific we can be, even (or especially) in spiritual matters, the better we will do. I tend to be one who likes to wing it. I’m beginning to repent of that.

Of course, with every plan, we say, “If the Lord wills” James 4.13-17. Prayer begins, saturates, and ends every plan. We deliver up our plans and ideas to God. At the same time, he works his own plan and certainly does not disapprove of our making plans in our effort to participate in his.

On my Hubzilla microblog, I made several posts over the month about the Bullet system. Check those out as further testimony to my experience.

To start your experience with Bullet Journal, go to their website.

Conclusion? Bullet Journal helps me focus, bring it all together in one place, make my priorities actionable, and end guesswork about what comes next.

8 thoughts on “After one month of Bullet Journal

  1. Some people look at the Bible and stand amazed at “the wealth of [God’s] kindness, forbearance, and patience” Rm 2.4 NET. It’s a humbling experience, one that, as Paul says, ought to lead us to the change of repentance.
    Other people look at the Bible and see a bunch of stories with no meaning. It speaks more of the poverty of their souls than about the content of Scripture.
    Some days ago I ran across a website that listed a huge, huge number of the greatest literary sentences of all time. Not a single Bible verse was included. If you can’t find at least one great literary sentence in all of the Bible, not only is your soul impoverished, but your sense of literature as well.
    Feel free to list in the comments below one or more sentences that strike you as being great literary statements. You don’t even have to quote the KJV to get one.
    They’re on nearly every page of Scripture. You can start with Gen 1.1. Hear Adam’s amazement at seeing Eve for the first time. Nearly any part of Job. Or Psalms. Lots of Proverbs. Ecclesiastes 3. Oh, and the prophets!
    Then when you get to the words of the Lord Jesus himself, you have a problem deciding among so many, even if you narrow it down to the sermon on the mount.
    The apostles Paul, Peter, and John are not sloppy writers either. Brother James is pithy and powerful as well. Those chapters on love and faith!
    Of course the best part of the Bible is not just pretty words, but life-changing truths that keep us from going to everlasting perdition in order to usher us into the glories of heaven. The Bible has more hope, faith, love, passion, imagination, strength, and joy than anyone can ever explore in a lifetime. Riches for sure!
    ¶ How many times and in how many ways can one give glory to God? Dunno, but I’m working on a few. Some men seem to lead the same prayers over and over again, repeating phrases that fire few neurons in the brain. And in public prayers they have the whole gamut of supplications, intercessions, thanksgivings, confessions, and praises to run, not just glorifying God. How unpracticed we are in this kind of speech!
    Yes, one can glorify God in other ways besides doxologies. Do we not need, however, to learn the language of praise? Shall we leave it to false religions that insert so much false teaching in it? Are not the true people of God those who ought to say it best?
    On this, we truly must swim against the tide, now more than ever, as language shrinks down to txt msgs 2 yr bf.
    ¶ If we have a God who has organized the universe down to the microscopic DNA, shouldn’t we be a people well organized? If God has created time as the stuff of life, shall we not work to take advantage of every minute? If this life is preparatory for that one to come, are we not beholden to squeeze from it every possible lesson, every opportunity for service and glorifying God, every chance to save a soul for eternity?
    I confess to not being the most organized person in the world. With confession must come change. I’m working on that change right now.
    How about you?
    ¶ When I was a child I wrote childish poetry. (The writing and poetry bugs appeared early in my story.) After I became a man, I destroyed those childish works. Little did I know that people were making millions off that kind of stuff. I still dabble now and again in the sing-song kiddie language. It pains me to think of the valuable gems I threw out.
    ¶ See the chiasmus in Romans 2.6-11? Verse 6 corresponds to verse 11, verse 7 to 10, and verse 8 to 9. The middle element (verses 8 and 9) puts the emphasis on judgment, appropriate for the demonstration that the Jewish people need salvation, too.
    Instead of Where’s Wally?, I play the where’s-the-chiasmus game. More profit in that.
    ¶ Alan Loy McGinnis wrote in his book, Bringing out the Best in People, “People do not like being lethargic and bored.” That’s a good general statement. But I know a few exceptions to his rule. My mom used to find us work to do when we complained about boredom, so I soon discovered the benefits of finding something interesting to do. I still find it today.
    How about you?
    #bible-as-literature, #chiasmus, #corollaries, #doxology, #praise, #self-organization[{“type”:”post”,”id”:29176,”postID”:29176,”cssClasses”:”post post-29176 type-post status-publish format-standard hentry category-post tag-bible-as-literature tag-chiasmus tag-corollaries tag-doxology tag-praise tag-self-organization author-gospelnews”,”parentID”:0,”titleRaw”:”Impoverished souls see nothing of value in the Bible”,”titleFiltered”:”Impoverished souls see nothing of value in the&nbsp;Bible”,”titleWasGeneratedFromContent”:false,”contentRaw”:”Some people look at the Bible and stand amazed at “the wealth of [God’s]u00a0kindness, forbearance, and patience” Rm 2.4 NET. It’s a humbling experience, one that, as Paul says, ought to lead us to the change of repentance.rnrnOther people look at the Bible and see a bunch of stories with no meaning. It speaks more of the poverty of their souls than about the content of Scripture.rnrnSome days ago I ran across a website that listed a huge, huge number of the greatest literary sentences of all time. Not a single Bible verse was included. If you can’t find at least one great literary sentence in all of the Bible, not only is your soul impoverished, but your sense of literature as well.<!–more–>rnrnFeel free to list in the comments below one or more sentences that strike you as being great literary statements. You don’t even have to quote the KJV to get one.rnrnThey’re on nearly every page of Scripture. You can start with Gen 1.1. Hear Adam’s amazement at seeing Eve for the first time. Nearly any part of Job. Or Psalms. Lots of Proverbs. Ecclesiastes 3. Oh, and the prophets!rnrnThen when you get to the words of the Lord Jesus himself, you have a problem deciding among so many, even if you narrow it down to the sermon on the mount.rnrnThe apostles Paul, Peter, and John are not sloppy writers either. Brother James is pithy and powerful as well. Those chapters on love and faith!rnrnOf course the best part of the Bible is not just pretty words, but <a href=”http://gospel.randal.fastmail.fm”>life-changing truths</a> that keep us from going to everlasting perdition in order to usher us into the glories of heaven. The Bible has more hope, faith, love, passion, imagination, strength, and joy than anyone can ever explore in a lifetime. Riches for sure!rnrnu00b6 How many times and in how many ways can one give glory to God? Dunno, but I’m <a href=”http://randalmatheny.com/tag/giveglory/” target=”_blank”>working</a> on a few. Some men seem to lead the same prayers over and over again, repeating phrases that fire few neurons in the brain. And in public prayers they have the whole gamut of supplications, intercessions, thanksgivings, confessions, and praises to run, not just glorifying God. How unpracticed we are in this kind of speech!rnrnYes, one can glorify God in other ways besides doxologies. Do we not need, however, to learn the language of praise? Shall we leave it to false religions that insert so much false teaching in it? Are not the true people of God those who ought to say it best?rnrnOn this, we truly must swim against the tide, now more than ever, as language shrinks down to txt msgs 2 yr bf.rnrnu00b6 If we have a God who has organized the universe down to the microscopic DNA, shouldn’t we be a people well organized? If God has created time as the stuff of life, shall we not work to take advantage of every minute? If this life is preparatory for that one to come, are we not beholden to squeeze from it every possible lesson, every opportunity for service and glorifying God, every chance to save a soul for eternity?rnrnI confess to not being the most organized person in the world. With confession must come change. I’m <a href=”http://randalmatheny.com/bullet-journal/” target=”_blank”>working</a> on that change right now.rnrnHow about you?rnrnu00b6 When I was a child I wrote childish poetry. (The writing and poetry bugs appeared early in my story.) After I became a man, I destroyed those childish works. Little did I know that people were making millions off that kind of stuff. I still dabble <a href=”http://randalmatheny.com/poetry-norm/” target=”_blank”>now</a> and <a href=”http://randalmatheny.com/scary-tasks/” target=”_blank”>again</a> in the sing-song kiddie language. It pains me to think of the valuable gems I threw out.rnrnu00b6 See the chiasmus in Romans 2.6-11? Verse 6 corresponds to verse 11, verse 7 to 10, and verse 8 to 9. The middle element (verses 8 and 9) putsu00a0the emphasis on judgment, appropriate for the demonstration that the Jewish people need salvation, too.rnrnInstead of <em>Where’s Wally?</em>, I play the where’s-the-chiasmus game. More profit in that.rnrnu00b6 Alan Loy McGinnis <a href=”https://cats.pm/display/f2870fa60a6155733121e95ff5df5c3b6d011eaeb8a903399eff8611865f8463@cats.pm?zid=loran%40cats.pm” target=”_blank”>wrote</a> in his book,u00a0<em>Bringing out the Best in People</em>, “People do not like being lethargic and bored.” That’s a good general statement. But I know a few exceptions to his rule. My mom used to find us work to do when we complained about boredom, so I soon discovered the benefits of finding something interesting to do. I still find it today.rnrnHow about you?nn#bible-as-literature, #chiasmus, #corollaries, #doxology, #praise, #self-organization”,”contentFiltered”:”<p>Some people look at the Bible and stand amazed at u201cthe wealth of [Godu2019s]u00a0kindness, forbearance, and patienceu201d Rm 2.4 NET. Itu2019s a humbling experience, one that, as Paul says, ought to lead us to the change of repentance.</p>n<p>Other people look at the Bible and see a bunch of stories with no meaning. It speaks more of the poverty of their souls than about the content of Scripture.</p>n<p>Some days ago I ran across a website that listed a huge, huge number of the greatest literary sentences of all time. Not a single Bible verse was included. If you canu2019t find at least one great literary sentence in all of the Bible, not only is your soul impoverished, but your sense of literature as well.<!–more–></p>n<p>Feel free to list in the comments below one or more sentences that strike you as being great literary statements. You donu2019t even have to quote the KJV to get one.</p>n<p>Theyu2019re on nearly every page of Scripture. You can start with Gen 1.1. Hear Adamu2019s amazement at seeing Eve for the first time. Nearly any part of Job. Or Psalms. Lots of Proverbs. Ecclesiastes 3. Oh, and the prophets!</p>n<p>Then when you get to the words of the Lord Jesus himself, you have a problem deciding among so many, even if you narrow it down to the sermon on the mount.</p>n<p>The apostles Paul, Peter, and John are not sloppy writers either. Brother James is pithy and powerful as well. Those chapters on love and faith!</p>n<p>Of course the best part of the Bible is not just pretty words, but <a href=”http://gospel.randal.fastmail.fm”>life-changing truths</a> that keep us from going to everlasting perdition in order to usher us into the glories of heaven. The Bible has more hope, faith, love, passion, imagination, strength, and joy than anyone can ever explore in a lifetime. Riches for sure!</p>n<p>u00b6 How many times and in how many ways can one give glory to God? Dunno, but Iu2019m <a href=”http://randalmatheny.com/tag/giveglory/” target=”_blank”>working</a> on a few. Some men seem to lead the same prayers over and over again, repeating phrases that fire few neurons in the brain. And in public prayers they have the whole gamut of supplications, intercessions, thanksgivings, confessions, and praises to run, not just glorifying God. How unpracticed we are in this kind of speech!</p>n<p>Yes, one can glorify God in other ways besides doxologies. Do we not need, however, to learn the language of praise? Shall we leave it to false religions that insert so much false teaching in it? Are not the true people of God those who ought to say it best?</p>n<p>On this, we truly must swim against the tide, now more than ever, as language shrinks down to txt msgs 2 yr bf.</p>n<p>u00b6 If we have a God who has organized the universe down to the microscopic DNA, shouldnu2019t we be a people well organized? If God has created time as the stuff of life, shall we not work to take advantage of every minute? If this life is preparatory for that one to come, are we not beholden to squeeze from it every possible lesson, every opportunity for service and glorifying God, every chance to save a soul for eternity?</p>n<p>I confess to not being the most organized person in the world. With confession must come change. Iu2019m <a href=”http://randalmatheny.com/bullet-journal/” target=”_blank”>working</a> on that change right now.</p>n<p>How about you?</p>n<p>u00b6 When I was a child I wrote childish poetry. (The writing and poetry bugs appeared early in my story.) After I became a man, I destroyed those childish works. Little did I know that people were making millions off that kind of stuff. I still dabble <a href=”http://randalmatheny.com/poetry-norm/” target=”_blank”>now</a> and <a href=”http://randalmatheny.com/scary-tasks/” target=”_blank”>again</a> in the sing-song kiddie language. It pains me to think of the valuable gems I threw out.</p>n<p>u00b6 See the chiasmus in Romans 2.6-11? Verse 6 corresponds to verse 11, verse 7 to 10, and verse 8 to 9. The middle element (verses 8 and 9) putsu00a0the emphasis on judgment, appropriate for the demonstration that the Jewish people need salvation, too.</p>n<p>Instead of <em>Whereu2019s Wally?</em>, I play the whereu2019s-the-chiasmus game. More profit in that.</p>n<p>u00b6 Alan Loy McGinnis <a href=”https://cats.pm/display/f2870fa60a6155733121e95ff5df5c3b6d011eaeb8a903399eff8611865f8463@cats.pm?zid=loran%40cats.pm” target=”_blank”>wrote</a> in his book,u00a0<em>Bringing out the Best in People</em>, u201cPeople do not like being lethargic and bored.u201d Thatu2019s a good general statement. But I know a few exceptions to his rule. My mom used to find us work to do when we complained about boredom, so I soon discovered the benefits of finding something interesting to do. I still find it today.</p>n<p>How about you?</p>n<p class=”o2-appended-tags”><a href=”http://fellowshiproom.org/tag/bible-as-literature/” class=”tag”><span class=”tag-prefix”>#</span>bible-as-literature</a>, <a href=”http://fellowshiproom.org/tag/chiasmus/” class=”tag”><span class=”tag-prefix”>#</span>chiasmus</a>, <a href=”http://fellowshiproom.org/tag/corollaries/” class=”tag”><span class=”tag-prefix”>#</span>corollaries</a>, <a href=”http://fellowshiproom.org/tag/doxology/” class=”tag”><span class=”tag-prefix”>#</span>doxology</a>, <a href=”http://fellowshiproom.org/tag/praise/” class=”tag”><span class=”tag-prefix”>#</span>praise</a>, <a href=”http://fellowshiproom.org/tag/self-organization/” class=”tag”><span class=”tag-prefix”>#</span>self-organization</a></p><div id=”jp-post-flair” class=”sharedaddy sd-like-enabled sd-sharing-enabled”><div class=”sharedaddy sd-sharing-enabled”><div class=”robots-nocontent sd-block sd-social sd-social-icon sd-sharing”><h3 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  2. Apart from the official Bullet Journal website, a number of resources have guided me in getting going on the “bujo” journey.
    http://zpalexander.com/blog/my-take-on-the-bullet-journal/ — a really thoughtful and worthwhile read on starting a bullet journal
    http://studdiction.tumblr.com/post/107165533673/sweetstudyblr-bullet-journal-its-a-simple  — picture-based guide to the key elements
    http://www.annesamoilov.com/bullet-journaling-for-business-productivity/ — also summarises the system, but from the perspective of a small business owner
    http://jasonmcdermott.net/2015/productivity/one-month-bullet-journal/ — overview of the system plus usage with small notebooks; handling projects as collections
    http://recycledandrecounted.blogspot.co.za/2015/11/bullet-journal-22-days.html — a simple approach using a series of notebooks; plus hints on managing a big project
    http://www.tamingdata.com/2014/02/02/33-days-later-an-update-on-my-use-of-the-bullet-journal-method-task-tracking-system/ — practical examples of how paper increases productivity
    http://barrymorris.net/get-more/ — tips to make you think about why you need or want to use a bullet journal
    http://scottnesbitt.info/2014/01/08/bullet_journal/ — an example of where the author has stripped down the bullet journal approach so much, I am not sure it qualifies any more?
    http://www.rocketcitymom.com/bullet-journaling-in-the-new-year/ — shows interesting ways that calendars can be tweaked; contains very practical tips
    http://markforster.squarespace.com/autofocus-system/ — a useful method for processing long lists of tasks…
    http://www.thehomelearner.com/day-14-how-i-set-up-my-bullet-journal-back2school-in-31days/   — useful encouragement and tips (plus a pointer to the dash/plus system)
    http://randalmatheny.com/bullet-journal/  —a personal account of a positive impact on daily life, including spiritual “tasks”
     
    Image Credit: https://upload.wikimedia.org/`wikipedia/commons/thumb/a/a8/Woodpile.JPG/1024px-Woodpile.JPG
     
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  3. I have been trying to find someone who has added spirituality into bullet journaling..its sad that hardly no one does…I finally came across yours…thank you so much for sharing..so it has helped you with your Bible study, devotions and Prayers? I’m just starting mine…God Bless!

    • Hi, Kathy, it has indeed helped me greatly. I’m putting together a project page for evangelistic studies. I put prayers and readings in the daily habit tracker. I could probably tweak it even more, and hope to do so still. I’d love to see what others do with it for spiritual benefit. (I ought to pull my wife in on this as well, since she’s even better at BuJo than me.)

What do you think?