I got really into bullet journaling in 2016, along with everyone else. What got me hooked was the beautiful spreads people shared on Pinterest and Instagram. I like lettering and neat layouts, and I will take any excuse to buy new highlighters.
I bujo’d pretty consistently until 2018, when my first baby was born, and that activity died. I had a non-sleeper on my hands, who had to be held for every nap. When you have a “high needs” stage-5 clinger baby (if you know, you know), you are so time-poor that spending 20 minutes colouring in your notebook is unfathomable.
I also went through a transition with my relationship to productivity. Pre-baby, my bullet journal was a place where I could make these long to-do lists and then check them all off. Every check would tally up to a score of how happy I was with myself that day. When your self-worth is tied up in how much you get done, and you fail to get things done (due to looking after a baby), it doesn’t leave you in a good place.
I’ve come a long way since then with (mostly) untangling my worth from my productivity (thanks, matrescence!). I’d also refined my productivity system down to a collection of digital tools that could accompany me throughout my hectic days with a small child and baby:
I now have a school-age kid and a toddler on my hands. There is a little more space in my days, especially in the mornings, as both children sleep past 5 am! I’ve picked up my dot-grid notebook again.
I’m figuring out what a hybrid digital/analog system looks like for me. I’m still doing my longer-term planning and weekly reviews in Obsidian. But I’ve moved the rapid logging from my Obsidian daily notes to my bullet journal. If you’re interested, I can share it here when I’ve landed on a fit.
There is something to writing things down with pen and paper versus using an app for tasks. For some reason, I am much more likely to remember and complete a task I wrote than one I read from the “Today” view in a task manager or typed out into a text doc. I feel like I am approaching the day with more intention after setting up my bujo daily log in the morning.
Your notebook greets you each morning with the pure, blank slate of an empty page. It serves as a small reminder that the day is as yet unwritten. It will become what you make of it.