Flip-flopping yet again, I found another organization method to try out called the Bullet Journal. This one is decidedly analog, and the only major commitment is carrying around a notebook.
The idea is to record everything as a bullet point. Tasks get checkboxes, events get circles, and everything is gets a standard bullet. It seems simple enough, but there are some benefits over digital.
- The act of writing something down makes you more likely to remember it.
- It forces you to be constantly reviewing1 your notes, which keeps them fresh in your mind.
- It keeps you mindful about what you record. I still type faster than I write, so I am not going to take the time to record something in the journal that will have little value.
- You have to stick with it. With the digital services, I could jump back and forth between them while testing them out. I am in this Bullet Journal thing until I run out of pages in my notebook, which could take several months.
So far it is working well. I did need to upgrade to a larger notebook; I thought the 3.5 x 5.5 inch one would do, but it is hard to fit everything in. Evernote is already suited for this, with its own notebooks and OCR capability, so my technology geek cred is still relatively intact I think. (And I fist tried it with Workflowy, which worked briefly but became a little unwieldy). If you are a habitual note taker, I recommend giving this method a shot.
I am a flip-flopper. The newest thing is always best; the grass perpetually greener. It is why I just got a new phone, and why my employer using Windows XP (!!!) on all employee laptops until late last year drove me crazy.
In addition, my favorite form of procrastination is reading about new ways to do work. All the bases are covered – the illusion of work, thinking about work, theoretically improving future work – to feel productive without actually being productive. Lifehacker is the ESPN1 of feeling productive, my main source of finding new ways to work (especially the How I Work series).
This is most likely the reason that I cannot choose a to-do/note-taking/organizer program. There are so many, but I think I finally have it narrowed down to about 4.
My previous favorite was Workflowy, basically an infinite nested list. Todo.txt is the open-source nerd tool, which just uses a .txt file. Trello makes everything into a bulletin board with cards pinned on it, and Evernote does all the things, everywhere.
||Free for personal
||Limited to 6
||Working on it…
They all work great, but at slightly different things. Evernote would be the best option, with its ability to store photos. but most of its function comes from storage, not helping me to process that storage. I am still figuring that bit out, and will probably use one of the other tools to do it.4
My favorite right now is Trello. I tried it a year or so ago, and it seemed better suited for group projects. Now, they have a better mobile client, and the documentation is easier to find. Also, the keyboard shortcuts5 are great and make using it fun. I would highly recommend using one to sort out daily life. None of them will meet all your needs6, but you can make them work together to hit all your bases.