January was, as ever, a hectic month at work… with many, many, meetings, calls and other updates to keep me on my toes.  I needed to rethink my entire note-taking strategy, which led me to discover a neat method to keep everything together…

Whilst I generally jot notes for meetings and call into the one place, and scan them to Evernote*, there were a couple of times when I ended up out of the office.  My simple system quickly began to unravel.

I soon realised the need to invest in a single notebook, one which would never leave my side.  This led me to Amazon, and I was quickly weighing up the pros and cons of two different ones using the reviews… that’s when I happened on a new term I hadn’t come across before…

Enter the ‘Bullet Journal’

Bullet journal review


I happened to spot a couple of the reviewers mentioning about starting a Bullet Journal… what’s a Buller Journal?!

Soon I found, a nicely presented site by Ryder Carroll, the creator of Bullet Journalling.  As well as a  fast way to capture your thoughts (as bullet points of course),  Bullet Journals also give you a neat plan for future months and has a structure for carrying out task reviews and setting priorities.

The key components are:

  • Table of contents
  • 6 month planning spread
  • Month plan
  • Day-to-day bullet plan
  • Regular task reviews

There’s a key to denote different types of bullet, and these are used throughout –

• is a todo
– is a note
º is an event

It’s all really adaptable – for instance, I use section markers to denote the start and end of meetings and calls:

// Chessington meeting

• task one
– note
– note 2

// End meeting

Monthly review

As tasks are complete, you put an x through the • .  And at the end of each month, you review and carry forward important tasks that are still to do:

> turning the dot into this indicates you’ve moved the task on a month
< this shows it’s gone into the ‘someday’ pile

I only started at the beginning of February, so I’ll see how this goes in a few weeks!  I’ll still be scanning notes into Evernote, and adding #hashtags to help me search them later.

Next steps

Be sure to check out, as there’s a great introductory video on there.  Also, there’s a whole collection of Youtubers sharing their tips journals on video.  Whether or not I end up sticking with it remains to be seen, but I enjoyed the fact that something as routine as an Amazon review led to a total rethink on my entire process.

If you’ve got any neat note-taking hacks then please let me know, I’d be interested to hear what works for you.

* If you’ve not come across Evernote, then you should check it out.  It’s a great subscription service which enables you to easily capture all of your notes in one place.  You can tag them, and the paid-for version has the ability to search within your handwriting and scanned documents.  Highly recommended.

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