A few months ago I wrote a post about (Christian) bullet journalling that still gets the most hits of anything on my blog. And I get that: BuJos are pretty darn cool! But after using the BuJo system consistently for three months, my interest in it began to wane. While the BuJo system is very nifty and pretty adaptable, it wasn’t practical enough for me and ended up working against my needs rather than for them.
As I worked with the system, I discovered three big problems. My first issue with my BuJo was that it wasn’t flexible enough for the level of planning I needed. Now granted, this “slap dash” approach to organizing is one of the main tenets of the BuJo system: you’re supposed to bullet things as they happen and use your index and task icons to sort the bits and pieces into cohesion. But that actually takes more effort than it does to have a very basic planning system in place. My brain was just never really comfortable with this disorganised approach and resented the “all overness” of the BuJo.
My second issue was that having even a mildly presentable BuJo takes a lot of (frankly unnecessary) effort. This isn’t the BuJo system’s fault – you get the idea it was meant to be bare bones practical and minimalistic in its presentation. But of course the Internet took the BuJo and ran with it and I struggled along in the wake of all those prettified BuJos I saw on Pinterest! If you’re a crafty, artistic sort of person I get why prettifying your BuJo is appealing and even satisfying. But I didn’t want my BuJo itself to be a hobby, just a way to organise things, and so this aspect frustrated me pretty quickly.
Which brings me to my third issue: while not mandatory or even necessary, I think the minimalist BuJo as it was intended only really works when you use the “official” BuJo notebook. During my three months of bullet journalling I used a notebook with dots for lines and later a quire/quad book (the one with blocks) and neither worked well. Again, it took up a lot more effort than I wanted to invest in an organising system.
It’s not all bad, though! There are some things I really appreciated about the BuJo system, and I’ve carried these over to my Filofax. They are:
- The mood log and habit tracker. I don’t think this was part of the BuJo system originally, but it’s pretty close to native now. I find it useful to keep track of my emotions, hobbies and goals in this way.
- The future log. This is the one page my brain is content with even if it’s a total mess. I use the BuJo icon system to differentiate between different types of activity.
I’ve been using the Filofax system for a few weeks and so far it’s working great. My Filofax is divided into five sections: Dailies, Faith, Contacts, Notes and Other. The “Dailies” and “Faith” sections work especially well for me. “Dailies” encompasses my calendar, monthly overview and day-to-day appointments, to-do lists and journal notes. It’s also where I’ve stashed my mood and habit tracker. The “Faith” section has been a great way for me to stay on top of prayer requests, Scripture readings and faith inspiration.
What I’m enjoying most about the Filofax system is that it’s extremely flexible: it’s easy to shuffle things around and to change, remove or add pages and sections, and it’s a very practical and easy way to organise different types of information. Plus, a little prep goes a long way. There’s no slogging over presentation; a few tabs and some free-to-download inserts and you’re good to go! (Although naturally there are some very handsome Filofaxes out there, but I shan’t be caught up in that again!)
I know not everyone will agree with my take on BuJos or even Filofaxes, but honestly that’s fine. If it works for you, it works for you. But if it doesn’t, it doesn’t, and to INTJ me organisational systems are all about functionality: is it working well? Does it help or does it hinder? After whole-heartedly giving bullet journalling my best shot, I can honestly answer “no” to both questions.
So that is why I broke up with my bullet journal! Will my Filofax and I last, or is it another whirlwind love affair? Stay tuned to find out…
Happy journalling, whatever form that takes (or doesn’t!)