Bullet Journal.

The stationery blogosphere is spreading the word of the Bullet Journal. While I go through notebooks too quickly to organize them (and perhaps this would make me a good Bullet Journal Canditate), this system looks like it could do some folks some good.

So, in the interest of doing good, and with much respect, I feel I should correct something that, as a pencil blogger, seems absolutely vital to me:

“For the most part, I use pens because pencils fade. One of the great benefits of Bullet Journaling is that over time you create a library of them. The only time I use pencil is when I’m sketching or adding items to my Monthly Calendar’s event page, because all plans are subject to change.”

Indeed, pencil marks are graphite, which is carbon. Pencil does not fade. Ink fades (most inks). Soft pencil marks that get fondled a lot and graphite marks which fall victim to Nefarious Weilders of Plastic Erasers can lose their marks. But, generally, pencil marks last longer than marks made by some smelly ballpoint, bleedy rollerball, greasy gel pen or pricey fountain pen. Water, dirty hands, UV light and time can damage most inks.*

That is all. That said, is anyone trying this out who might like to share her/his experience?

*(Yes, I know, there are bulletproof inks like some Noodlers and Microns. But those are not most inks. If we include those, let’s include pencils which are not erasable also.)

8 Responses to “Bullet Journal.”

  1. Preach it!

    I hadn’t seen the Bullet Journaling site before and will have to peruse in more depth…but at a glance, I already do something sorta like that with work notes. Personal tasks get an asterisk, and are crossed out when complete. Team tasks (which I may want to keep in mind, but in which I don’t have a primary role) get a little triangle. Informative notes (things I want to remember or note but which have no immediate associated action) get a dash or dot. Etcetera. I’m trendy and didn’t even know it…

  2. I had not heard about this type of ‘system’ until you posted this. I’ve been using a bit of a different system but one very similar to this incorporating a Mead notebook. I like his ideas. Thanks for sharing this!

  3. Sean says:

    I’m probably being over-critical here, but “bullet journal” is an example of what I like to call “meta-listing”, or, the recursive pursuit of enumerating ways to recursively pursue enumerating ways. :) All of the effort and scaffolding of this “system” belies the simple elegance of the media upon which it’s expressed.

    And while I’m overdoing things, using the word “journal” in this instance doesn’t quite seem to fit (here it has the properties of a verb and a noun), but maybe that’s the allure. I guess I just like the old-fashioned meaning of “journal”, which comes (in part from) the word “diurnal”—something daily, or pertaining to daytime. Now, how one “journals” seems to connote nothing less than a lifestyle choice!

  4. Gary says:

    Seems like a journal only because it’s kept in a bound journal, but an interesting idea. Think this would work well as an app, but seems like a lot of writing/rewriting to keep up with. Still, interesting, organized, anal approach to list management. I have a variant idea to try using a small Moleskine (targeted use vs. everything approach in the video). Agree on the pencil vs. pen, but it’s a matter of what’s handy at the moment. I tend to use pencils only while at home, fountain pen while away, but YMMV.

  5. Sapphire says:

    Recently I was searching the archives for some research on the First World War and came across an autograph album kept by a nurse in a military hospital. Her patients had written little messages, verses and proverbs; some in ink and some in pencil. There were even some from the 1970s that were in ballpoint pen. The newer ones hadn’t faded yet but most of the ink ones from before had, some almost completely. There were some cartoons in the book and they seem to have been drawn with black Indian ink. They have not faded at all. The pencilled entries seem to have been made with a fairly hard pencil. I guess office pencils in 1914 were on the hard side. These entries are pale by today’s graphite standards but I put that down to the hard lead grades. They certainly have not faded and the hard leads have not smeared.
    It’s interesting that the inks have faded even though the writing is in book and now stored in a controlled atmosphere.
    As for these systems for journaling or whatever, I can’t even keep a simple “to do” list.
    My journal (kept in graphite) is a record of what I have done and not self nagging about what I need to do.

  6. Joy says:

    I encountered the Bullet Journal site today. It’s interesting, but has a lot of shortcomings–esp for calendering future events. I do like the right arrow for transferred action items, and plan to use that.

    • John says:

      I have to say that my favorite thing was/is the video itself, which I thought was really well-done. :)
      But, if memory serves me correctly, Moleskines don’t stand rapid gel pen use without a lot of smearing.
      PENCIL PENCIL PENCIL!
      (Or not Moleskine, which is just as good!)

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