One of my favorite things about the Bullet Journal for Moms Email Challenge is the questions subscribers send me, like:
“I’m stuck on how one merges a digital and analog life—phones with planners.”
This is such an insightful question, and really gets at the heart of why some of us are reluctant to give Bullet Journaling a try.
Here’s the thing: a Bullet Journal can’t/won’t/shouldn’t take the place of your phone.
Your smart phone can do things a Bullet Journal never could, like set an alert an hour before your kid’s dentist appointment. On the other hand, the analog nature of your Bullet Journal makes it more reliable in many ways: it doesn’t have a battery that’ll die, and it doesn’t force you to organize your ideas in an illogical way. Which app is supposed to contain that random item you just remembered you need to pick up on your next Target run?
Below, I’m sharing the ways I’ve reconciled digital with analog in my own personal Bullet Journal system. I’m curious to know what works for you, too, so leave me a comment below!
When I first started Bullet Journaling, I was very devoted to the idea of having an annual calendar, monthly calendar, and daily log in my journal. But as I experimented, I realized that putting events into my phone still worked pretty darn well, especially when I set up a couple of event reminders, usually one the day before and one an hour or two before. I also discovered that I wasn’t always good about keeping the events in my phone synced up with my Bullet Journal, so I simplified.
Now, new events go in my phone with electronic reminders. At the beginning of each week, when I draw up my weekly spread in my Bullet Journal, I transfer only that week’s events into my Bujo. If things shift over the course of the week, then I update the event in both my phone and my Bujo.
This system feels so much more manageable than having a number of calendars in my Bullet Journal and my phone that need attention.
As a creative thinker, I use my Bullet Journal for a lot of brainstorming, from topics for Evie+Sarah posts and logo doodles, to writing project outlines and Venn diagrams. I just can’t replicate that experience on my phone.
However, there are definitely times when I want a digital copy of an idea or a sketch, so I photograph it with my phone and AirDrop it, send it to the Cloud, upload to Dropbox, or whatever. Easy!
One of the strongest self-care methods a Bullet Journal can offer is habit tracking. Moms in particular are so bad about making time for themselves, for things that really make a difference in our own health and happiness: taking our vitamins, exercising, meditation or prayer… But when we commit to these daily practices by listing them and then tracking them in our Bullet Journal, they become less a nicety and more an obligation to our wellness.
Despite a lot of experimentation, I’ve yet to discover an app that can take the place of a good, old-fashioned Bullet Journal habit tracker. An analog tracker gives us freedom. We all have different habits to cultivate, each on their own timetable (vitamins: daily; manicure: weekly; girls’ night: monthly). Plus, it’s so much more satisfying to check a box or color-code a square than it is to press an imaginary button on your phone.
How many times have you seen a friend post this message on Facebook?
OMG, lost my phone and all my contacts!! PM me with your phone number, pls.
Yeah, hypothetically, all our contacts are supposed to be backed up in the cloud, right? But do you really trust all that vital info in the digital ether? If that thought gives you pause, then transferring your can’t-lose contacts to your Bullet Journal is a great backup plan.
Where’s my Bujo??
Every once in a while, I leave my house in a hurry and forget my Bullet Journal on the bench in our entry. Ugh! Big mistake. Those are always the days when I have a hundred ideas floating around my head that I need to put down somewhere, and my phone just doesn’t have an app (or 10) organized enough to take the place of my Bujo in that way.
In these cases, I’ll email myself those ideas to transfer to the appropriate place in my Bullet Journal later in the day. And if another idea pops into my head before I get my hands on it, I reply to the original email, so all the ideas are stacked up together.
[Side note: I strongly prefer emailing rather than texting myself since once a text is read, its alert disappears (at least on an iPhone). With an email, I can let it sit in my inbox until I’ve had a chance to address it and transfer those ideas to paper.]
Experienced Bullet Journalists, how do you balance analog and digital?