Mark's Travelife Turnclips

8 Uses for Mark’s Travelife Turnclips

 

Mark’s Tokyo Edge is a Japanese brand – no stranger to Bureau customers. I would even go as far as calling it a classic 🙂

Designed and made in Japan, the Mark’s stationery places an emphasis not only on contemporary clean design but also on added functionality.  Mark’s Storage.it notebooks are a hit all year around, diaries season is blooming too, but today I want to talk about something else 🙂 A very small piece of stationery which is so helpful that it deserves it’s own blog post. Mark’s Travelife Turnclips

There many uses for the clips, we found 8 creative and practical ways in which you can use Mark’s Travelife Turnclips which you may or may not know about 🙂

1. Clip is a clip

Mark’s Travelife Turn Clips come in pack of 10 with 2 sizes and each size is numbered 1 to 5. They make perfect bookmarks, dividers and memo holders. I tend to use larger size for filing and smaller size for bullet journals. Ordinary application, I know – that’s why I love using some washi tape on these clips to make them my own.

Click here to see our Washi tape collection

 

2. Use with Buckle files as clipboard

Buckle files are my go to for carrying pads, loose sheets of paper, calligraphy printouts etc. I am currently doing handwriting drills and this one clip means that I can get them done anywhere.

Click here to see our Buckle file collection

Mark's Travelife Turn Clips clipboard

 

3. Make a pencil loop

Always forgetting to take your writing tools with you? Clip to the inside cover and slide a pencil snuggly through the gap. Turn clips are probably too small for pens, but if your pen has a clip you can slot that in.

Mark's Travelife Turn Clips pencil or pen holder

 

4. Use as a mini picture holder

Smaller photos, business cards and postcards can easily sit on your desk with this minimalist holder. Perfect for reminders too.

Mark's Travelife Turn Clips card or photo holder

 

5. Cable organizer

Another category where Turn Clips and Washi tape team up. This works great, no more crawling under the desk trying to find the right cable. If the cable connection is too big to fit through the arms of the Turn clips you can just take them off, insert the cable and re-install again. After you are done, tag them with Washi tape to remind yourself what is what.

Mark's Travelife Turn Clips cable management

 

6. Headphones tidy

One of the best hacks 🙂 No more frustrating headphone tangles.

Mark's Travelife Turn Clips earphone holder

 

7. Keeping those crisps fresh

Super useful in the kitchen. Fold the packet, clip it, done. Works for multiple packets too.

Mark's Travelife Turn Clips keeping fresh

 

8. Fidget toy

There is something very satisfying about turning these clips and the sound the moving parts make…

Mark's Travelife Turn Clips fidget toyMark's Travelife Turn Clips fidget toy

 

So that’s it, eight interesting ways in which you can use Mark’s Travelife Turnclips.  Although I’m sure there are many more out there.

Let us know your own cool hacks in the comments (^_~)

use a notepad to make a list

Q&A: Can Stationery Make You More Productive?

use a notepad to make a list

How stationery can help you get stuff done

Introduction

Being effective. Getting stuff done. Doing the things that need to be done and not the tasks that don’t matter. These are possibly rated as amongst the most desired objectives for the majority of people. We are all overwhelmed with the need to get things done and technology is meant to have made our lives easier. So can stationery make you more productive?

Yes, undoubtedly technology has been a benefit to our efficiency but it has also very neatly put greater emphasis on us to manage our own lives – we now organise our own holidays online rather than get a travel agent to do the hard work for us; we have become our own financial experts with online banking but have to constantly juggle accounts and direct debits ourselves; we are tax experts as we have to submit our own tax returns. The list goes on and all technology seems to be doing is adding to the list of ‘things we have to do’.

rhodia goalbook
Rhodia Goalbook - a new way to set out your goals

Now I’m not saying that technology isn’t wonderful or that I don’t wonder how we survived when we had to use a travel agent or had no access to our bank accounts 24 hours a day. But in the midst of it all, we seem to have developed an increasing need to manage our lives. It is notable how the more technology drives our lives, the more we like to try and manage the problem with an analogue solution rather than using yet more technology.

Stationery – much maligned over recent years, scoffed at for its days being numbered, yet actually a means to sorting out the very problems that the digital age, its supposed nemesis, has created. So this post is about how stationery can be used to make our lives a little bit easier.

Lists

Use a notepad to make a list
Use a notepad to make a list

At its most basic, stationery is simple, efficient and effective. A pen and some paper get the job done with minimal fuss, and the very act of writing in itself has been shown to aid the process of memory. And let’s not get to issues of battery life, lack of wifi, upgrades and more. A simple to-do list is easy to create, easy to amend, easy to use and easy to complete. Whether it is a shopping list when nipping to Tesco’s or a quick to-do list, having pen and paper handy at all times will make you more efficient.

Bullet Journaling

bullet journaling
Bullet Journaling - The ultimate in list making

Yes, I have mentioned the whole BuJo process. Apologies to Ryder Carroll but it is essentially an advanced form of list-making – he quite rightly argues that the act of writing out daily to-do lists and migrating tasks makes you more focused on what you are actually tasking yourself with doing, and so you also feel more readily inclined to remove tasks. Bullet Journals are far too big a topic to cover here (start reading more here and then see where it takes you) but it is one of the most obvious examples of people using stationery to complement or even replace technology.

Drawing

sketch out ideas
Visualise it - sketch out your ideas on paper

Many people find that sketching out an idea on paper is so much easier. It helps you visualise an idea or problem. It’s quick, immediate and easy to start again. Visually having something laid out over a page or even both pages as your idea grows makes it easier to understand the whole thing.

Diaries

diary planning
Use a diary to plan your time

Another topic for another day is how we keep a diary – online, on paper or not at all? Maybe it is a combination of digital and paper, but however you decide to keep track of your time a diary may well be the cornerstone of keeping yourself afloat – just the act of knowing what you have agreed to do at what time. We are seeing an increasing demand for ‘traditional’ diaries (i.e. paper based), as well as a much bigger range of diaries being made compared to say 10 years ago.

The Pleasure

writing
The mere act of writing can help as well as be enjoyable

There is also something tangible that a pen with some ink on paper can provide that can’t be provided by a computer screen. Some people will lose themselves down that rabbit hole and in doing so efficiency will be lost by becoming a hobby. That’s fine, but even if you stick to writing as a means of being more productive, there is still a pleasure to be had from using a pen you know, writing in a colour you like and writing on paper that works for you. Maybe it handles wet ink well, maybe it has micro-perforated sheets that tear out neatly leaving no trace, maybe it is punched ready to be filed. Go find your ideal pen, ink and paper and see how being efficient can also be a pleasure.

Digital vs Analogue

There is no getting away from the fact that there will be some who say that to reject or even blame technology is being a luddite or burying your head in the sand to progress. On the contrary I am someone who loves their technology as much (well, almost as much) as anyone, and I have an unfulfilled desire to find the perfect app that will deliver untold efficiency. I won’t find it and it will never exist, but I can still go looking. However I also know when to use pen and paper, when it will be more efficient and effective and making me get through everything. The secret is all in the balance between the two, and that balance will vary from person to person. Hmmm…I feel another post coming up on that very subject.

dot paper notebooks

Q&A: Why Should I Switch To Dot Paper?

Have you ever wondered what the fuss about dot paper is about? As a dot paper convert of many years I thought I would share my feelings on dot paper and give my top 3 reasons to switch to dot paper. You should at least give this new-fangled paper style a go. You never know, it may even win you over and leave you wondering how you ever coped with lined or grid paper.

What is dot paper anyway?

First up, a quick explanation for anyone wondering what dot paper even is. If you imagine a sheet of paper with horizontal and vertical lines, and at the point each line crosses another you place a fine mark, or dot. Remove all the lines once you’re done and what you’re left with is a series of regular dots. In almost all cases this will be a dot every 5mm, forming a grid.

Dot paper

Top dot reason number 1 – It’s the best of all worlds

Have you ever wanted your cake and eaten it? Faced with a choice do you ever long to take both? Or all three? Dot paper is just that – it’s three papers rolled up in one.

I’ll assume that everyone know what lined or ruled paper is, and those regular horizontal lines are. Ideal for regular and repetitive writing, but just a bit annoying when you want to draw, or make a table, or stick something in your book.

dot paper is the best all all worlds

Grid paper is a bit more unusual but involves regular horizontal and vertical lines. I like grid paper but it makes for a lot of ink on the paper before you even started writing. The final result can be quite heavy and just too busy for my liking.

Plain paper is ideal for drawing or sketching, but with handwriting like mine you don’t want to be let loose on plain paper! My writing needs some guidance to keep it neat and tidy.

So faced with the need for a notebook that lets me write, create structures and draw I use dot paper. It really is the best of all three combined. The dots give enough of a framework to write neatly. They also allow me to make easy tables, and yet if I want to sketch something out they seem to fade into the background.

Top dot reason number 2 – It’s innovative

Maybe I shouldn’t be swayed by fanciful things like fashion and design, but there is a part of my mind that does like to seek out something new, something different. Not accepting the status-quo led us to paper and pens and notebooks in the first place, so dot paper is just one little step further in the advancement, and it’s a good one. So switch to dot because…well, just because it is there and (sort of) new and will make you feel like progress is happening. There is a reason why you will find all the top manufacturers including dot paper in their line up.

dot paper innovative stationery

Top dot reason number 3 – It’s Bullet Journal friendly

Without getting bogged down in what Bullet Journaling is (see the official website here), I am keen on adapting elements of keeping a Bullet Journal to suit your own needs and style. You can read my explanation on this here on a previous post. The point being that dot paper is ideal because it lends itself so well to keeping a Bullet Journal. From using the dots to create boxes for to-do lists, through to adding tables and charts and logs, the flexible nature of dot paper is perfect. That’s why the official Bullet Journal uses dot paper.

dot paper for bullet journaling

Conclusion

dot paper flowchart

Ultimately it comes down to finding the right paper for what you need and what you like, but I switched over some years back and have never gone back. From Rhodia to Leuchtturm I have been through many dot paper journals and look forward to many more yet. Try one if you haven’t and see for yourself.

Branded Bullet Journals

Corporate: Branded Bullet Journals

Branded Bullet Journals

It is not often we highlight the corporate work we do here at Bureau, but we recently produced our first order for branded Bullet Journals, and they looked so good we wanted to find out a bit more about the story behind them.

Founded in 2013, the Balance Network is a government-funded research project looking at how digital technologies affect our work/life balance.  The pace of digital change is rapid and individuals cope differently; some struggle to adapt, feeling overwhelmed by constant connectivity.  For others, technology offers tools and solutions to manage an increasingly demanding lifestyle.

The Balance Network project wanted to send out a ‘thankyou’ to their many collaborators who have helped run events, workshops and activities since the project started.  They selected the official Bullet Journal in classic black, and we embossed the Balance Network logo on the front in silver foil.

Receiving an ‘analogue’ product might have seemed surprising to some of the Bullet Journal recipients, but we are finding premium stationery enjoying renewed demand in this digital age, as businesses and individuals see it as complementary to technology. Added to this, the methodology involved in Bullet Journaling has many parallels to digital apps for organising and note-taking, but the act of writing notes is quicker, more efficient and proven to be a better memory aid.  Small daily pleasures like using a nice pen on quality paper should not be underestimated.

For any Balance Network collaborators who hadn’t heard of Bullet Journalling (often abbreviated to BuJo), the official Leuchtturm Bullet Journal includes an introduction to the method and a key to symbols. There is a plenty of information online, with websites, blogs and posts devoted to the subject (including the official Bullet Journal website, and our own post about getting started here).  You can in fact use any notebook to BuJo (our favourites include Rhodia, Nuuna, Moleskine and of course Leuchtturm), and you can adapt the method to suit you.

You can visit the balance Network website to find out more about their research and sign up for regular news bulletins.  Dr. Rosie Robison, senior research fellow at Anglia Ruskin University and co-leader of the Balance Network project, talks about work/life balance in the digital age on The Digital Mindfulness Podcast here.

Like what you see?  If this has given you an idea for your company (or you didn’t know we could customise products), have a look at our dedicated corporate website www.bureaubusiness.co.uk, and get in touch!

Incowrimo 2017 Letter

Incowrimo 2017 – Writing Letters – Part 2

Incowrimo 2017 Letter

International Correspondence Writing Month. One a day. Every day. February. That's the tag line that got me interested last year 🙂 Are you ready to take on the challenge and put pen to paper?

You can read the first part of our series on Incowrimo 2017 here.

What to write always seems to be the hardest thing about Incowrimo. The good news is that it’s actually easier than you think. Reconnect with people – find something you have in common. Write about something nice 🙂 Be kind, ask questions, or just one 🙂 Keep it light.

I always mention pen and ink combo and then decorate remaining space with doodles, ink splats, stamps, washi tape, stickers, etc.

Plan your incowrimo – it’s perfectly fine to start with few quick thank you notes, postcards, Valentine’s card and slowly build up to letters.

Incrowrimo 2017 postcard ideas

In this second part of our letter writing series, we will be looking at paper and filling those envelopes.

My recommendation for a more sophisticated writing experience are the Original Crown Mill sets. Each box comes with enough stationery to get you through a month of incowrimo, easy.  The laid paper in these sets are the reason why this feels luxurious. Ordinary copier paper is no match for the ribbed texture here which looks and feels more personal. That is the tone we want for Incowrimo 🙂

The Crown Mill comes in two different sets. The gold box comes with cream coloured materials. Silver box contains white paper and envelopes.

Incowrimo 2017 letter on a desk

When I talk about writing letters I have to mention Triomphe. It is a brand of pads and envelopes by Clairefontaine – famous for its glassy smooth 90gsm bright white paper. These pads have plain paper in them and come with a ruled cheat sheet which will magically help you write in neat, straight lines. Simply genius 🙂 Envelopes are lined with white paper and the seal is diamond shaped which makes them perfect contestants for wax seals. They certainly do look classy and are fantastic value for money.

We had these pads reviewed by the wonderful Azizah on her blog. Have a look – there are some fantastic photos which will inspire you 🙂 Perfect incowrimo cue.

http://www.gourmetpens.com/2016/02/clairefontaine-triomphe-vs-original.html

My go-to is Rhodia R pad. Some may consider it as a budget option because it is just a pad. Don’t be fooled – it is gorgeous 90gsm buttery smooth ivory paper. We sell them in plain or lined paper. I pick lined over plain because when writing, I can anchor the letters to the lines and find it makes my handwriting look neater. Certain fountain pen inks ‘shine’ on ivory paper, others look great on bright white paper. My top 3 inks for ivory paper are KWZ Honey, Diamine Syrah and J Herbin 1670 Caroube de Chypre. Pages tear out easily, one by one, and it does look rather smart 🙂

Incowrimo 2017 letters with clips and washi tape

Last year we were part of Letters Live 2016 which was a spectacular event, defo check out www.letterslive.com for a spark of inspiration and get on incowrimo.org for further information.

Next week we’ll be helping you out with some ideas and creations we’ve been prepping for our own contribution to Incowrimo 2017 🙂 See you soon!

Incowrimo 2017 letters and ink
Bullet Journal with Incowrimo calendar

Incowrimo 2017 – Writing Letters – Part 1

Bullet Journal with Incowrimo calendar

February, the shortest month of the year is almost here... For many stationery geeks this is the time when we sit down and write one letter a day to someone. INternational COrrespondence WRIting MOnth aka Incowrimo here we go...

In the beginning it was a simple idea – write more letters. Vintage social media beats email/text every time. It is without a doubt more romantic and personal.

February was picked because it is the shortest month of the year. So if you commit, you will only need to write 28 (29 during leap year) letters, cards, postcards, notes, post-its, napkins…

Who you write to is up to you, of course. This is a fantastic way to reconnect with old friends and family. Write to loved ones, write to strangers…or write to us if you like 🙂

To start off Incowrimo, I make a list of 28 souls 🙂 Next step is my favourite one – grab all the stationery which I can find around the house/office and start brainstorming 🙂 The usual ingredients are: envelopes, paper, cards, postcards and stamps. Extras like shimmering inks, washi tape, wax seals, stamps are the cherries on top.

Bullet Journal with Incowrimo calendar

In part one of this letter writing series, we will be looking at envelopes.

Envelopes are the first thing that your recipient will see, so I try to make them stand out.

Colour usually does the trick – your bank would not send you statements in pink envelopes 🙂 Silver and gold envelopes catch the eye and say “you are special.” Plain envelopes are okay – Decorate! Why not recycle any old ones too?  Incowrimo is prime time to open that stationery drawer grab the cute stuff which is too good for use in your journals.

Check carefully that you have the correct address and also write a return address – you never know, one letter can be the beginning of beautiful pen-pal friendship 🙂

Make sure you use some kind of waterproof ink – this goes especially for fountain pen users in UK where we get a lot of rain. Iron Galls should do the trick, if you don’t have such inks, hack it with clear tape over the address or use clear wax to make it waterproof 🙂

I participated in Incowrimo 2016 while I was working on improving my handwriting. Those two go hand in hand and it was really rewarding to put all those hours of practice to some good use. Commiting to do something for a month became a lot easier as soon as I put my mobile away. Go offline and take time to unwind. Sit down, surround yourself with stationery, put nice music on and focus on someone and then just write… It is a very happy place, trust me 🙂 What are the chances that you will start a new hobby after writing 28 letters?

One last piece of advice. If you think that 28 letters is a lot and you will struggle, set yourself some kind of reward – a beautiful pen or new ink works for me every time 🙂

If you would like to join and pledge to write one letter/card/note a day please head over to www.incowrimo.org

In Part 2 of Writing Letters for Incowrimo we’ll focus a bit more on what goes in the envelope… (Hint: It’s paper!)

https://www.bureaudirect.co.uk/blog/2017/01/writing-letters-incowrimo-2017-part-2/

head to head - leuchtturm vs rhodiarama

Leuchtturm1917 vs Rhodiarama

head to head review - rhodiarama vs leuchtturm

Head to Head Dot Notebook Review: Leuchtturm1917 vs Rhodiarama

Introduction

This review has an extra personal edge because I was an avid fan of my Leuchtturm dot notebook, to the point of questioning why I would want to switch to another book, but when we got the Rhodiarama books in recently I was tempted – after all, they now came with dot-grid paper (a must for me) and also in that nice extra-large size meaning it was small enough to carry round but gave more page space to work. The only way to find out would be to switch books and test the new one out. It was then helped by my wife spilling wine on my Leuchtturm book, so the appeal of a nice clean book won me over.

I have been using the Rhodiarama for about a month now, having used the Leuchtturm for about four months prior to that.

Style

Both look quite similar – they both come in a range of colours making it hard to choose which one. The Rhodiarama edges it slightly with a nicer colour choice and I like the orange strap (part of the Rhodia branding) but others may prefer the Leuchtturm colour-coordinated look. The orange theme continues with the Rhodiarama to the inside-cover pages which adds a nice touch of quality though. Really not much to put between them here though.

Scores. Leuchtturm: 8/10. Rhodia: 9/10

head to head - leuchtturm vs rhodiarama

Features

This is where in my opinion the Leuchtturm really wins out. It has those features that can really make the difference. The big features it gives you are:

  • numbered pages
  • an index at the front, which makes it so easy to note down any page you want to refer to (important notes etc)
  • sticky labels (so you can archive the book afterwards)
  • two page-marker ribbons (on most books, not guaranteed)

Of course you can make your own index and page numbers but that’s just a hassle when it could be in the book already.

What both books do offer in common is:

  • at least one page-marker ribbon
  • ivory paper
  • 5x5mm dot-grid matrix pages
  • an inside pocket at the back.

The Leuchtturm is a hardback book, the Rhodiarama a soft-cover so this really comes down to what you prefer. The Rhodiarama is also a bigger book at 19x25cm so gives you more space (nb: it also comes in the same A5-ish size but I went for the larger one to compare). Finally, both are known for having good quality paper but the Rhodia book has the paper quality almost as its USP – regularly cited as the best quality paper and a must for fountain pen users.

Scores. Leuchtturm: 9/10. Rhodia: 7/10

Usability

There is no question that the Rhodia book has the nicer paper – just run your hand over it and you can feel how much smoother it is. There is no bleed or feathering, and although the Leuchtturm is still handles ink well it doesn’t do as well as the Rhodia. That said, if you’re not using a fountain pen this really isn’t that important. The Rhodia paper is still nicer to use but matters less with a ballpoint pen say. Where the Leuchtturm wins back points is with those features which make the book so much more practical to use.

Depending on whether you intend to work on the go or not, cover choice might be important here as well. The soft cover is nice and less of a bulky object to have on you, and it means the bigger Rhodia book isn’t any more of an issue to carry around in my bag, but the lack of a hard cover is an issue when trying to write on your lap for example.

Scores. Leuchtturm: 8/10. Rhodia: 8/10

bullet journal rhodia

Value for Money

Strictly speaking this isn’t a fair test on price as the Rhodia book is bigger. At £17.50 it weighs in more expensive than the £12.95 Leuchtturm book. I would say that the Rhodia is not nearly as good value as the Leuchtturm as it has less pages and costs more. Even allowing for the size difference this is still the case (the A5 Rhodiarama is £13.75, so 80p more). That said, the Rhodia book does have 90gsm paper so if paper quality is important then this might be a factor in the value but for me, it isn’t one of my top criteria.

Scores. Leuchtturm: 9/10. Rhodia: 7/10

Verdict

I wanted to prefer the Rhodiarama book, I really did. I thought it work better for me, it has a nicer look and feel, it seems more suited to being a book I carry everywhere but…it just doesn’t do enough to land that killer blow on the Leuchtturm book. Hard or soft cover, you take your choice but the page numbers and index are great when you have 200+ pages of notes and want to find an important note quickly. I am not looking for anything but good quality paper so the Rhodia doesn’t win points with me there and yet the Leuchtturm has so many extra features and it costs less. That said, if you are a fountain pen user who doesn’t value those extra features then the scores might well be closer and maybe even in favour of the Rhodia.

Total scores. Leuchtturm: 34/40. Rhodia: 31/40

Click here to see more and buy the Leuchtturm Medium Dot Notebook

Click here to see more and buy the Rhodiarama Soft Cover Ex-Large Dot Notebook

NB: Prices were correct at time of publishing!

Bullet Journal Hack

Bullet Journal – My Hack

Bullet Journal Hack

Or…how I found a way to make bullet journals work for me

Introduction

I have previously introduced the subject of Bullet Journals and how I personally found the system both appealing as a solution to becoming organised, but also how I found it too much work to actually do in any practical or useful way. Having found a way that works for me, here is a summary of what I do and I present this in the hope that it might inspire people to give it a go, and fine their own solution.

 

Key Points

  • A Bullet Journal is a system for making and managing lists of what needs doing (click here to find out more);
  • I adapted it to make a more streamlined way of listing what I need to do and keeping on top of it;
  • I made it work for me because I know what I am like, and so what I am likely to actually follow and keep using.

 

Why I use a Bullet Journal system

Put simply, I found myself overwhelmed with too much to do and a list that never seemed to get any shorter. Important long-term aims would be lost in the chaos of daily tasks that built up. I wanted a way to:

  • Have an overall plan of where I wanted to be (or in my case where I wanted the business to be);
  • Keep track of what I needed to do to achieve this;
  • Be able to prioritise and ultimately get rid of unwanted tasks, or delay them until another day.

 

The Tools

A pen, a notebook, a pen loop and some highlighters. Job done. In fact what I use is:

See the notes at the end for more on these choices. You can also buy a BuJo Starter Kit here.

Bullet Journal kit
My Bullet Journal kit of choice

 

Overall structure

I set out my plans, from long-term to short-term so that I know what the overall aim is and what I need to do to achieve it. So I started with a list of what I felt we needed to achieve this year, anytime in the year. Big aims. About 20 of them currently. Things like ‘launch new website’. Which we are about to do.

Bullet Journal Year List
Bullet Journal My Year-To-Do List

I then set out a monthly to-do list – what I wanted or had to get done in that month. It can be a mix of big and small jobs, but it needs to be realistic. No point shoving everything into the list as it will crowd out what you need to get done. Some of the ‘year’ tasks were added to this list.

You might already be thinking it sounds like too much work, but it’s not hard really, and a bit of effort into the planning now pays off over the year. I am focused on what needs to be done.

After that, I start a new page each day and list what I need to get done, whilst adding new items that crop up.

Monthly Routine

Bullet Journal Monthly List
Bullet Journal – My Monthly To Do List

Each month I do the same – I set out a new to-do list by reviewing the previous month’s list and seeing what I managed to do, or didn’t. I then check the ‘year’ to-do list for any items that I need to start work on, and add them to the monthly list.

I then scan through the daily pages and pick out all incomplete tasks, and either add them to the list (because they still need doing) or tick them off as being no longer needed or important. If it still needs doing but just not for the foreseeable future, just add it to the ‘year’ list.

Daily Routine

Bullet Journal Daily To Do
Bullet Journal Daily To Do List

I start each day and take maybe 2 minutes to plan out what I will do. A quick referral back to the previous list, sort out what still needs to be done, highlight it (see below on this), and then I make a 1-2-3 list. This is something I came across on a blog somewhere and it flicked a switch in my mind. Think of it in terms of saying ‘if I get nothing else done, what are the three most important things I must get done today?’. Of course some days you struggle to get to three, some days it’s impossible to limit it to three but the basic idea works for me. So my daily routine is:

  • Check previous day and highlight any incomplete tasks
  • Start a new page, date it at the top
  • List 1-2-3 and set out the most important tasks to do today
  • Build a list of to-do items below with tick boxes
  • Add any useful information such as a great idea and mark this accordingly
  • That’s it – below I explain the process for how I mark up items to keep on top of it all
Bullet Journal Key
The key I use

 

The Process

Using the tools I set out earlier, I keep this to a minimal process. Each to-do item on any list has a simple square tick box. When the item is done, I tick it. Simple. If it’s not done, it’s not ticked.

Bullet Journal Year To Do List
Bullet Journal Yearly To Do List

If I have a great idea (yes, it does happen) then I note it down in the list and highlight it in green. Any useful information is marked with the orange highlighter. Which leads on to…

 

Highlighting.

I use my trusty pack of Faber Castell highlighters and make good use of all four colours. This is how I can keep on top of everything very easily and I don’t know it would work for me without them.

  • Each day I look back at the previous day and highlight any incomplete item in yellow
  • Any completed item that was marked in yellow I go over in pink
  • Any idea I have (and there are a few!) gets marked in green
  • Any useful information or data I have noted down gets marked in orange

This means at a glance that I can see which items are still to do, and also scan through ideas I have had over the past few months for inspiration. I also mark off each day in pink at the top when it is fully ticked off, again so I can see what’s done.

Bullet Journal Highlighting
A happy sight – all items marked as done

 

So Why Is This Different To Bullet Journaling?

To be honest it probably isn’t that different – I use a system of lists of things that need to be done, day by day and month by month, review them, carry forward the ones I want and lose the rest. The difference as I see it is that a Bullet Journal in its truest form is quite a detailed process that involves marking out pages, using an index, carrying page numbers back and forth, using a detailed language to mark off items at different stages of progress, and more. This may work for you. It doesn’t for me. If you take out the monthly element of what I do you could create a truly streamlined to-do system although the monthly routine does help put regular checks in place. Without that I would drift from day to day and nine months would sail by.

 

Finishing comment…

If you, like me, are wishing you could find a way to stay organised and on top of everything you have to do then I would recommend giving this a go and finding a way that suits your personality – avoiding using a way of working that you know you will quit after a few weeks of well-meant endeavour! That’s why I dropped the idea of adding too much in like weather symbols and more which I know would give up on and it might have stopped the whole process.

 

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Extras

Dot Paper

For me, whatever the book it had to have dot-grid paper. It gives enough structure on the page to let you use it for lines or grids, for writing or for tables. It also allows enough ‘white paper’ to let you draw when the time comes. Most importantly it means I can keep myself to one notebook and not have several on the go for different purposes. All my important notes are in one book.

Notebook Size

I did use a Leuchtturm A4 Master Book – gorgeous and serious, but it stayed at work as it was too heavy to carry. I then had a Leuchhtturm A5 medium-size version which I loved, but the new extra-large Rhodiarama books give just that bit more space, which I missed with an A5 book. I should point out that I only recently stopped using the Leuchtturm A5 book and I am still deciding whether I like the Rhodiarama book more or less. Look out for a head-to-head review before the month is out.

Pen Loops

The pen loop means no fumbling for a pen when you need it. Sounds obvious until you need a pen. That said, you do need to put your pen back in the loop each time…

Faber Castell Highlighters

These are the glue that binds my system together. Any ones will do, but Faber Castell make really good ones (award winning!) and there is a pack of 4 meaning enough colours for my needs.

New Pages

I would highly recommend using a new page for each day as it helps stay more organised. I also mark each day as completed so it is easy to see which days are done. It may use up the book faster but I prefer it.

Projects and Other Subjects

If I am working on a specific project or theme then I use a page for that purpose as it really helps to keep all the to-do’s related to it in one place.

Page Numbers and Indexes

The one big advantage of the Leuchtturm notebooks is that they come with an index and page numbers. So if I have made notes on a project I can note the page number in the index and then one day when I am thinking ‘where were those notes on such and such?’ I can find them easily. You could make your own page numbers and index in any notebook, but this is where I get a bit bored with the time the whole process can take.

Archiving

Another reason to use Leuchtturm books is that they come with stickers for the cover and spine so that you can archive it away, marking up the dates and that way it’s easy to find again.

Washi Tape

This little marvel can be useful too. Just use it to mark page edges to act as a permanent page marker – maybe for the start of each month, or ideas or important notes. A huge range covers everything from plain to patterns to designs.

Q&A: What Is A Bullet Journal? A Beginners Guide

bullet journal example

The Theme for May: An Introduction To Bullet Journals

Introduction

So for May we have turned the spotlight on something quite close to my heart – how to stay organised. How, even in an age of apps, syncing and automation do you manage to keep on top of all the things you need to do, and say you’ll do, and think you’ll do, and want to do? How can something so old-school as stationery be of use in the 21st Century? After all, didn’t paper die out sometime around the millennium? So we will touch on a subject that is very fashionable in stationery-circles at the moment – Bullet Journals – and look at how using some or all of this system can work alongside digital solutions to make you more productive.

What Is A Bullet Journal?

To many people bullet journals are just a series of to-do lists, and essentially they are. Just that they have quite a bit of structure and organising around the lists to make it all work. Officially Bullet Journals (BuJo for short) are the creation of Ryder Carroll, a New York based designer who came up with a way to make notes for himself and then realised he had a system that others would find useful. So he created the Bullet Journal. Find out more about it over on the official website which does a far better job of explaining it than I could do here.

bullet journal example
An example of a Bullet Journal with accessories

So Are We Just Going To Explain Bullet Journals This Month?

Not exactly. There is enough out there on the system and to be fair, you would only need to look at the official website to find out all you need to know about it. Instead, the inspiration for this month was born out of my own frustration with two things:

  • my inability to stay organised;
  • my reluctance to embrace the Bullet Journal system.

My problem is that I have always struggled to keep on top of it all – as fast as one task is completed so another five appear, but worst of all is being able to sift through them all and keep a sense of priority. And then someone mentioned Bullet Journals. And I was seduced. After all, here I am with a stationery company with all that amazing stationery and here is a system to solve my problems that uses stationery. Perfect! Or so you would think…but it just didn’t work for me.

So the point of this month’s theme is less about selling the idea of Bullet Journaling per-se, and more about explaining it to anyone who hasn’t come across it, and then showing how I and (hopefully) others have found a way to take elements of it and make it work for us. And by doing so it might inspire you to try it and find your own way.

Why did I struggle?

I personally found it all to be too much of a system and I don’t think I am alone in feeling that. It looks wonderful, does amazing things but it also looks like a job in itself and is too rigid. I will come back during the month and explain how I my own system that works for me, and what would be really nice is to see how other people have adapted it to suit their needs. Bullet Journaling gets even more amazing and off-putting once you see what some people do with the system, and we will come to that later as well.

bullet journal example
An example of a Bullet Journal calendar

Analogue vs Digital

The point here is that both are equally relevant, rather than it being one vs the other. Stationery is actually essential alongside your apps, not a replacement for them. I love my technology (I have way too many apps for it to be healthy), but I also love stationery.

What we hope to show is how everyone needs a notebook and pen because it can make you more organised, more efficient, and it is better for you. Studies have shown that the act of writing makes you process and remember what you are writing about more than by simply typing it* so that’s another reason use pen and paper. And once you use pen and paper, so you need a system to organise what you write and so you come full circle and start to need a bullet journal or version of it.

What To Expect

Throughout the month we will post articles about Bullet Journals and Bullet Journaling, what it can do for you, reviews of suitable products, showcase examples of what other people have done and we hope to get someone in the office to try it out for a month to see what they make of it. Please keep an eye on our blog and our newsletter to see what is happening.

 * https://www.theguardian.com/science/2014/dec/16/cognitive-benefits-handwriting-decline-typing. Click here to read more

bullet journal

How To Be Productive

Analogue vs digital

I came across this posting about using a notebook to improve productivity. In this case it is using a Moleskine notebook, but could apply to any notebook that suits you. It is a similar idea to the bullet journal idea but what I liked about this post was the simplicity. Writing as someone who often feels like it’s hard to see the wood from the trees and prioritise the tasks that must be done from the ones that you would like to spend your time doing, it struck a chord with me.

Ideas I’ve not come across before included logging a simple time-management to show how time was spent over the week (a nice idea if you are pulled in several directions and need to keep track of time) and the little sticker idea (which surprised me – I wouldn’t normally be intrigued by anything like this but it seemed a simple way of tracking days and how good or bad they were).

Do we all suffer from thinking we are unproductive when actually we are achieving a lot, maybe despite everything? Is it always a Tuesday that is the bad day of the week despite the cliches of Mondays and Fridays? Not sure I’ll try the sticker idea though. For some time I have been considering the idea of a bullet journal but it is too demanding for me. However there is something in these ideas that have simplified it all down in my mind. Look out for a future posting on my successful/unsuccessful attempt at a version of this.