I’m not a very organized person. I can organize other things – syllabi, dance events, travel itineraries, etc, but when it comes to my own personal living space and daily schedule, I’m not great at keeping track of things in a neat and tidy way. I’ve long ago given up on keeping a calendar of any kind. I always just let them go to waste, missing days, weeks, and even months. I’d write things down where I could, and keep my notes in haphazard lists.
It’s not that I haven’t tried to be organized; I’ve made several efforts to keep neat and coherently devoted notebooks, I’ve tried every manner of day planner, and sketched out innumerable daily routines. The trouble is, I think, that day planners are too intimidating. I always forget to write things down, and then I feel awful looking at my empty planner with its wasted pages. I can’t use that paper for another day, because it’s dated, obviously, and then it feels weird to start in the middle of the planner (or calendar) because then the whole thing just sits there, reminding me that I’m not organized.
I’d just about given up entirely when I discovered bullet journaling. I discovered this system in an article on Lifehacker by Alan Henry, linked in a comment on David Russell Mosley’s excellent post on handwriting research notes.
It’s utterly fantastic, especially for those of us who are naturally a bit scattered. Developed by Ryder Carroll, bullet journaling is a way to make your own day planner in such a way that requires no special notebook, and if you miss a day, you don’t lose any paper. The website explains the details wonderfully, but basically it just boils down to keeping dated to-do lists and gives you a clean way to organize them without binding you to a rigid structure. There is room for interruptions, no wasted paper if you miss a day, and a plan for keeping track of unfinished tasks, future events, goals, grocery lists, ideas, and more. It’s organized and flexible, all at the same time.
I highly recommend it to anyone who finds keeping a calendar difficult, but needs something a little more structured than random scrawls.