Mark Twain

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do ...
Explore. Dream. Discover." Mark Twain

Monday, December 7, 2015

Planner-Calender, Bullet Journal, Commonplace Book

I spent my whole adult working life tethered to a planner/calendar of some sort.  I always used a commercial option to keep all the balls of my life from falling to the floor.  It worked pretty good.
And as a caregiver, I kept copious written records - since I was managing two lives for 8 years.

After my mom's death I entered official retirement ... I dropped all tracking methods keeping my to-dos on short daily 3x5 cards.  Things were simpler now.  Simple life ... simple tracking.

After months of using that approach, I discovered it wasn't that simple.

When a 'vacuum' occurs - the void fills with other things.  Lots and lots of other things.  The 3x5 cards system failed for a lot of reasons.  And I began to wonder if my mind was slipping.  Stuff fell off my radar with frightening frequency.

In truth, my mind probably is slipping.  I guess it retired when the rest of my body did.  So ... with that as a concern I needed better system.

My Bullet Journal - of course, I had to purchase a nice cover.
Enter the Bullet Journal.

I mentioned Bullet Journaling in a previous post.  I purchased a simple plain bound book specifically designed for bullet journaling - but really - the method could be used in any blank book.  I launched a 'test'  journal (which is no longer 'test').  Being a bullet list kind of person, this kind of time management fit me perfectly.

It is very individualized including all those bullet lists I put on 3x5 cards, as well as future planning, wish lists, habit trackers, future shopping lists, favorite quotes, and all my brilliant ideas (smile).  Some people do traditional journaling or diary entries in this book and decorate it with art work and colored pens.  I like mine plain, neat and productive.

I am getting a whole lot more done.  Less things fall through the cracks of my life.  In fact, checking off those little boxes is sometimes the main reason I do the task!  (Ha!)  I still use a wall calendar for distance planning and to prepare my Bullet Journal each month, but my Bullet Journal holds all the details.  And, as they say, the devil is in the details!

Another kind of book has recently hit my awareness.

A Commonplace Book.

For those who are well versed in historical figures or various kinds of old style literature - you might already know about Commonplace Books.  But for me, this was a new idea.

Here is the link that describes the Commonplace Book.  This book is not a planner or a journal.  It is  a place to capture and save those bits of knowledge, quotes, art work, doodles, clips saved from magazines or newspapers and ideas from others that are meaningful to you.  It is a place to house them so that they can be found again should you want to hold that information in your life.

Laura Bethmann
Photo Credit: Link
The practice of a Commonplace Book is apparently very old ... used during times when knowledge found in books was not readily available to the general population - books were rare and very expensive.   Over time this kind of book was used less because books became more common and ownership more likely.    It appears now - in the electronic information age - a more modern version of the Commonplace Book might be returning.

We are now bombarded with information from every direction and multiple sources often passing at what seems like the speed of sound.  When nuggets of interesting information, a great quote, an impressive idea or a beautiful picture comes to our attention - it can be easily lost with the next thought, or email, or phone call or demand on our time.   The Commonplace Book might be a good place to safely store those eclectic things ... so it is not lost by our memory.

This is an idea that appeals to me.  It feels like a creative outlet, an unstructured storage chest for fun quirky things that catch my fancy.  And although my Bullet Journal is a pretty plain Jane bound book - a Commonplace Book could be a beautiful, colorful bound book - special just for itself.

Thinking, thinking ...


  1. A Commonplace book sounds like a fun thing to keep!

  2. I looked up the bullet journal and nearly passed out. It sure sounds like work to me. My life is pretty simple though...I manage with just a small calendar book.

  3. I started using a Hobnichi Techo last year with the idea of it being an "everything in one place" planner/notebook for me. I realized after a while that I really need to keep calendar stuff and notes separate, so that's what I'm going to do next year (with a Bullet Journal method). I hadn't heard the term "commonplace book" before, but it's the perfect description for my not-a-calendar book!


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