I wrote about the value of lists in this blog, Lists can increase creativity. I’m surprised I haven’t written more about them. They’re part of my life and I make lists for everything. I can’t remember when I started the habit, but I suspect a very long time ago.
My father liked lists, too. He always carried a piece of cardboard with a list in his pocket. Not any scrap of paper, but precision-cut piece of white board, always the same size. He was a cardboard-box-maker, like his father before him and his son (my brother Peter Stone) after him and cardboard was part of our lives.
Peter doesn’t make many boxes these days, but he does amazing printing. Using the latest digital and wide-frame technology, he prints everything you can imagine, including books, banners, signs, wallpaper…You can check out his website for inspiration at The Big Picture Factory.
Peter keeps me well supplied with cards, just like our Dad’s. I use them for notes for essays and books, shopping lists, PhD thesis ideas, to-do reminders, notes and references. A shoe-box full of unused cards, neatly packed, sits next to my desk.
On the bookcase behind me I keep notebooks with lists of books I’ve read and movies I’ve seen.
There’s a book with goals for each year since 1999 and how well those goals were achieved; and one with birthdays, addresses etc. Every week I make a list for what I plan to do, and as well as that I keep a diary. Paper and pens satisfy some deep need for me, one that no amount of technology can.
A bullet journal provides a place to keep all one’s lists including to-do-lists together in one place. They form a super-organisational tool. Amanda Kendle, the amazing facilitator of our Mastermind Blogging Group, brought hers to one of our meetings.
It seemed simple, do-able and interesting. Amanda told us a little about the process of setting up a bujo as they are sometimes called. Once I’d decided to try it, as an experiment, I told myself, I read a bit more about the idea.
The internet is replete with articles and blogs about bullet journals, as well as advertisements for books about them and plugs for commercially developed bujos.
Those on Pinterest, and there are hundreds, range from beautiful through funky to mundane. Some of us are very late on this bandwagon!
Art and singing are not my strengths, or so the teachers at school convinced me all those years ago. I’ve never had any reason to doubt them. Other people can create art anywhere. Susan Dunn, my friend and colleague from the Almost Famous Blogging Mastermind Group, is one of those. You can read her article about her new bullet journal at 9 reasons I decided to use Bullet Journaling.
I like to learn through doing. I decided my first bullet journal would be mundane, prosaic, not at all pretty or flamboyant. That way I could work out what I want and need, which means I can always improve. Maybe one day I’ll try and make one that is artistic as well as useful.
In an ordinary exercise book, my embryonic bujo looks neat (so far) and the lists display the pretty colours of a handful of gel pens. They’re ideal because the ink doesn’t bleed through the paper, always a good thing in a notebook.
My journal doesn’t follow any rules. It grows organically as it needs to encompass different ideas that spring to mind. Already some things need to change in the next version which is how it should be with any creative endeavour. As Susan says, a bullet journal should be fun.
Whether it actually improves productivity will be seen in the future.
I’d love to read your ideas about lists and bullet journals. If you’ve tried one, please add to the conversation in the comments below.