If you want to be productive, you need good productivity tools. Not only can the right tools save you time, they can make you smarter as well. I’ve always been interested in productivity software; I used to review software for computer magazines, back in the day.
Hands down, my favorite productivity app of all time is the dear departed Lotus Agenda. Agenda fans have been looking for a replacement for 20 years. The program had a steep learning curve. But once you’d figured it out, with the help of a couple of thick manuals, Agenda did what no other software has done as well: it made you smarter. You shoveled information in, and it showed you what you need to know when you needed to know it, as well as making connections between bits of information for you.
I think I’ve found my own replacement for Agenda, and it’s not an app. It’a a bullet journal.
I’ve written about my bullet journal here, and here. I won’t cover the same ground. Watch the brief video on the bullet journal website, and try it for yourself.
You might find as I do, that it fills a gap in your time management and productivity efforts. Or it may not be to your taste all all. However, as the days go by I’m more and more impressed by how elegantly simple a bullet journal is.
Bullet Journaling: Am I Going Totally Analogue?
A reader asked this, and my answer is: NO, of course not. I have so much material in Evernote, OmniFocus and Things that that could never happen. Evernote is my general business Inbox. I use OmniFocus for client stuff, and Things for everything related to my writing students and ebooks/ books/ programs. I need the repeating tasks in those apps, otherwise I’d never keep track.
I’ve always used paper journals; my bullet journal is an enhancement to my collection of productivity tools and time management apps.
My bullet journal helps me to see what I need to do NOW, today, and what I need to do over the next few weeks. I don’t duplicate tasks and appointments I’ve entered into apps at all, there would no point. The bullet journal emphasizes what I MUST focus on throughout the day, and collects sudden rushes of blood to the head. :-)
Here’s how this works in practice. It’s mid-morning on a Sunday. I’ve worked through everything scheduled for the day in OmniFocus; I have four tasks left in Things; and I have four tasks and several notes in my Leuchtturm bullet journal. One of the bullet journal tasks I decided against doing after I’d entered it, so that has a line drawn through it.
I’m not looking to replace my apps with the bullet journal. It’s an added safeguard so that I won’t miss anything. The Collections are brilliant. I’m a big list maker, and most of my lists are in Evernote. I tend just to scan them, then delete them. Writing a list by hand helps me to remember, so I’ll be keeping my lists in the bullet journal going forward.
The bottom line: for whatever reason, the bullet journal helps me to feel in control. It’s easy, it’s fast, and it’s fun. What’s not to like? The “fun” comes from my obsession with fancy fountain pens and inks. :-)
I get the same feeling of comfort and security from my bullet journal that I once got from Lotus Agenda, and haven’t been able to find from any app since. I feel more in control of my schedule, and I even imagine that it’s making me smarter. Who knows, maybe it will. :-)