Martin Verbic @marteensart
Medical student

Bullet Journal: An Extension of Your Thoughts

Bullet Journal is a notebook that strives to replace your phone's to-do list and notes and keep everything in one place chronologically. It's a medium for emptying my head to focus on what matters.


Bullet Journal: An Extension of Your Thoughts

This article originally appeared as one of the issues of my weekly email newsletter.

A couple of issues ago, I wrote about setting a reminder with one simple question: "Are you inventing things to do to avoid the important?". In that same issue, I also wrote about the time when you're doing the important, but your mind is all over the place. If there only were a way to capture all of it for a later time...

Yep, that's what the Bullet Journal has done for me and one of the reasons I use it. It's a medium in which I can write what I think and have to do without distracting myself in any way.

So, what's a Bullet Journal?

It's a notebook that strives to replace your phone's to-do list and notes and keep everything in one place chronologically.

Why use a Bullet Journal?

A couple of things:

  1. It serves as an inbox for my brain. There's too much going on every day to keep track of everything in our memory. So I empty it to make room for thinking about more important things.
  2. It distances me from my phone or computer. We use apps for everything these days. This journal goes a step backward but takes you a couple of steps forward.
  3. It improves focus. This is the consequence of points 1 and 2.
  4. It's the only organised way of capturing what I did, will do and think about I came across.

How does it work?

No one can say it better than the Bullet Journal's creator.

My observations

Although I've only been using the Bullet Journal for about 2 weeks, I'm starting to see some of the things it does. Firstly, using apps sometimes proved to be a bit exhausting, because I could never do exactly what I had in mind with them. And I always had to keep my phone around. There are of course apps like Notion that have little boundaries, but this is way better. And secondly, actually handwriting things down makes it much easier to express what I'm thinking and want to do. You could even draw if you're into that.

What's my stance on apps?

Lately, I've been trying to steer away from apps. Maybe I sound contradictory and strange. Of course, I can't make it without them, no one really can. I could never run this blog and newsletter without it. As I described in my last week's article I use Kindle, Pocket, Notion and Readwise for reading. And I use Outlook for email, calendar and that reminder I wrote about in one of the previous issues. Those are essential to me and what handwriting cannot replace or makes it a lot harder. But an inbox for my brain as an extension of my thinking without distraction (Bullet Journal)? You bet!


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