Bullet Journaling has played such a massive part in both my blog and life. I’ve loved writing about how I create a minimalist, very intentional Bullet Journal, but I’ve also loved how it’s helped to keep my life clean, easy and clutter-free.
By using the Bullet Journal system that was designed by Ryder Carroll, we’re able to organise our lives how we please. We’re not slaves to the predesigned journals that you find on the shelves of Waterstones or WHSmiths’. Mine has been keeping me organised since at least 2014.
However, I’ve also been preaching about the wonders of digital technology. Just earlier this year, in fact, I swapped over to OneNote as my system of preference for when it comes to meal planning. Despite this, I largely stuck to my roots. I couldn’t quite muster the courage to swap out my hardback for a piece of tech.
Then, the school summer holidays rocked around. As a teacher, I’m lucky enough to get 6 weeks off. This is a great time to get my life in order and go travelling. It’s also a wonderful excuse for trying out new things. What better time than now to transition onto an iPad for 30 days – where I wouldn’t touch my traditional Bullet Journal even once?
Spoiler: it was tough.
After a bit of research, I found that the easiest way that I’d be able to try out a digital Bullet Journal for 30 days would be to setup a new notebook in OneNote. If you need any tips on how to do that, then click here – but it’s pretty straightforward. After creating a new notebook, I set to work.
To make the challenge completely fair, I decided to recreate every main page that I usually use every single month. For a comprehensive guide on how to set those up, and why you should use them, follow the below links to each section of my hardback Bullet Journal guide:
I’d seen a few Youtube videos that showcased really cool themes, but using them required either a desktop to get started (which I am currently without!), or the Business/Premium version of OneNote. Lots of these themes also suggested using a stylus (you can check out my favourite tablet pen here*), but I wasn’t over-the-moon about this idea. My normal BuJo is about as simple as it gets and, since typing on a keyboard is always going to be quicker than writing, I figured I’d stick to that.
You know, because, like, productivity, right?
Let’s take a sneak peak at how my Bullet Journal looked while I was using it on OneNote:
As you can see, I had a few main pages that I wanted to use while I was digitally journalling. The to-do page felt great to use, since OneNote comes built-in with checkboxes that I would leave blank if I didn’t complete a task on that day.
It was easy enough to set up a table of habits; you can see that I started writing Y and N to indicate whether I’d accomplished a habit on that day, but eventually I thought it was clearer – and easier – to just make a note of when I had done something, and to not bother to track it if I hadn’t. A downside here? Not having the days of the week next to each date (which I’d normally do) meant that filling in details in hindsight was a little trickier. Plus, if I wanted to add colour, it was a little more effort, which I couldn’t be bothered with, leaving the page looking bland.
The daily diary page was pretty simple to use too, and had the added benefit of a button that can be pressed which automatically generates the current date for you. This meant that I wouldn’t have to write out the full date each time I wanted to record what had happened. It was a little bonus, but a bonus nonetheless.
Initially, I’d thought that having a digitised Bullet Journal would be great for keeping at it on the go. I wouldn’t need to take another journal everywhere I went; I could simply whip out my phone, or iPad, or any other synced device and update my daily diary, or my habit tracker whenever I pleased.
Turns out, this wouldn’t be the case, after all. Not having a dedicated Thing for recording my habits, and everything else, actually made me less likely to do so. I guess I just couldn’t be bothered to take out my iPad every morning and load up OneNote so, sometimes, I’d be going days without jotting down a brief record of my day.
On the other hand, on the days that I did remember to record what happened on each day, I’d often be writing way more than I usually would in a normal Bullet Journal. Neither option is really ideal because they meant that I wasn’t using it in the way that I’d intended.
Above all else, really, I just don’t think it was as fun. While I did appreciate the portability and ease of access for having it stored digitally on OneNote, it just simply was not the same. And as I always say, what’s the point in being productive unless it makes your life more fun?
I should probably note, though, that I’ve been using a regular Bullet Journal for about 8 years, and the way that I set it up has seriously changed, repeatedly, in that time. Maybe if I used this system for the same amount of time, I’d feel differently, but I think I’ll stick to my regular Bullet Journal for now.
How about you? Let me know in the comments if you try out the 30 day challenge (and whether you prefer a digital BuJo!).
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