Bullet Journaling using Todoist

First, let me apologize if you are here to read about hiking and climbing, and found this strange blog. Second I apologize if you are lost in the hiking / climbing trip report’s looking for some thoughts on Bullet Journaling using Todoist. This is the only access I have to the internet and I wanted to get a couple idea’s out there that have been of benefit to me regarding bullet journaling and Todoist.

I’m going to assume you already know a little about Bullet Journaling and perhaps a little or a lot about Todoist. I don’t want to take a lot of time, but let me give a brief history of how I arrived at this point in time. I am by nature a “productivity student”. Ever since I went to college in the late 70’s and needed money to live and eat. Upon writing my father and asking for some cash, he sent me a book entitled “You can, if you think you can”. I’m pretty sure I sold the first book without reading it, but soon fell in love with the “self help” concept. Granted in the 70’s and 80’s it was more vague concepts than practical. Nothing along the lines of - here’s how you do it step by step - but it was a start.

I was soon familiar with the Franklin Planner, but favored Stephen Coveys philosophy and methods. First Things First is still one of my favorite books. I soon grew tired of the weekly analysis from the top down approach of Mission to planning the week. I had trouble remembering to take out the garbage on Thursday and Mr. Covey had me planning to take over the world every week. Next came David Allen, which stood in relief to Mr. Covey’s top down approach with Mr. Allen’s bottom up approach. Clear the runway (small daily items) and give yourself the bandwidth to move up to higher altitudes. This really resonated with me and I have been relatively successful in keeping Getting Things Done as my primary methodology at work.

Work has pretty solid, defined edges and working with an astute Branch Manager, things move along very smoothly using Projects, next actions and the other important Context items of Mr. Allen’s approach. Where things always got messy for me is having the same defined edges in my personal life. Keeping a context based list of @calls, @home, @errand for personal items seems to last only a few days or weeks before the wheels would come off the wagon. I tried cards, mind mapping, copy - paste, and finally Todoist. Todoist seemed to give me the best Band-Aid of keeping track of items, with the added bonus of being accessible from work. It was still just a Band-Aid, but Todoist allowed the process to move forward with it’s sync between different devices and being able to bounce between work and home computers. The one thing that constantly plagued me about the Getting Things Done methodology was being able to capture everything and I mean everything so that it was out of my brain and into a trusted system.

A few months ago, as has been common over the past 15 year, an idea I wasn’t familiar with caught my eye. A book outlining how to start a Bullet Journal appeared in my Kindle Unlimited. I downloaded the book, scanned read it and quickly returned it after seeing all the fancy pages of paper and the artistic script and coloring for each day. But something stuck, this weird concept of logs of tasks, symbols and events, the idea of capturing notes in short phrases, almost like shorthand and using that to “track the past, organize the present, and plan for the future” - Ryder Carroll.

I downloaded and skimmed a few more books, but I couldn’t bring myself to go back to paper. Just couldn’t do it. I Googled using Todoist for bullet journaling and found some strange hybrid ideas of people using a combination of paper and Todoist (some even written by Todoist employees). But I could find nothing outlining a bullet journal on Todoist. I looked seriously at Ryder Carroll’s new book on The Bullet Journal Method: Track the Past, Order the Present, Design the Future but couldn’t bring myself to pay the price of the book especially after reading some of the reviews. I am after all a member of the cheaper Amazon Unlimited group. I finally downloaded The Minimalist Bullet Journal Method by April Wills. It’s small, easy to understand, free with my unlimited subscription, and although lacking in illustrations gave a straight forward method of how to create a bullet journal.

I was bound and determined to use an electronic platform and Todoist was still my preferred application. Somewhere during chapter 4 and “The Step-by-Step Guide to Bullet Journaling” it dawned on me that using Todoist - I didn’t need an Index. Todoist already provides an index on the left hand side of the screen. Setting up the Future Log was as easy as adding a project entitled “Future Log” and adding additional indented monthly logs underneath - April 2019, May 2019 etc. A separate daily log was created with ease, and adding tomorrows date - 2019-04-25 as a new project indented under daily log kept the index nice and clean. I played around the dots “.” and dashes “-” using Todoist until I realized that a simple flag for @Task, @notes and @events allow me to tag items much faster than trying to type in the “…” or the “—-” and actually have them large enough to make sense in the electronic format. I spent about an hour transitioning all my current meetings, to the Future Log and their respective months by utilizing the shortcut # hashtag followed by the name of the monthly log. I then simply needed to practice capturing information as it flowed into my day making the appropriate @task or @note. Schedule an appointment? No problem @event followed with the date and time. Some Bonus features? Todoist links with my Google Calendar so I don’t need to update more than one application.

I’m going to end the written blog part here for those who are familiar with both Bullet Journal and Todoist, I’m going to come back and create a part 2 with exactly how I set Todoist up and how I am currently using it to collect things in my life. The first day I captured 10 items, the second 32. The third day I managed to clean out my email, inbox, take a nap, read the Wall Street Journal and capture 65 items. And I haven’t even begun to talk about forwarding emails direct to Todoist inbox, drag and drop pdf’s, or starting a collection of inspiring memes. Good luck and we’ll break it down further with part 2 for Bullet Journaling using Todoist.