Ha, talk about my worlds colliding. Cal Newport covers the Bullet Journal system (aka BuJo) and suggests how it could be improved to better meet the demands of the modern day knowledge worker.

I thought it interesting that all his suggestions fit my own current usage:

  • I use weekly plans for my notebook, not the monthly log that BuJo suggests
  • My days are outlined in my calendar … not every hour of the day is there, but the major items get slotted in
  • He suggests keeping a deep work tally, which is exactly what I do with my monthly habit tracker for the things I’m working on including in my daily life
  • He also suggests augmenting the BuJo with a digital calendar and task list. That is a hybrid system that so many of us use already
  • Last, he suggests adding email to the mix. Hopefully, most of us are working with email in scheduled batch sessions and moving included tasks to our inbox of choice already (the recently released email option for Things is a nice option, although I do prefer the Things helper that allows the email to be linked to in the task itself)

Overall, it was fun to see Cal commenting on this system. And he nails why it’s so good:

First, I want to emphasize what I really like about the system. Its largely unstructured use of a blank notebook is a brilliant example of low-friction freestyle productivity. In my experience, these types of systems are much more likely to persist than those that require more involved constraints.

I agree. The Bullet Journal is a good place to start, but make it your own. Not every piece is going to fit how you work.