Returning to bullet journal

A few years ago I came across Bullet Journal, a framework for organising your days using just a note book. I've used it on-and-off for years. I took a break last year trying to opt for a more collaborative approach using the systems at work but I've recently re-introduced it to my process and I thought I'd write about why.

At work, we have two distinct portions of the team. We have the development team and marketing. I sort of sit in the middle, splitting my time between longer bouts of development work and shorter, much quicker turn-around work for marketing. As such, we have different processes and methods for managing tasks.

On the dev side, we use Jira. Not my personal choice but this is what we use. It's integration with our code repositories makes it a good fit. We also run fortnightly sprints which is baked right into Jira. We decide what's going into a sprint before it kicks off, and away we go. Generally, we try to not add or remove items from a sprint once it's kicked off.

On the marketing side, we use Todist. Things move a lot faster, I often need to do things which require turn around of a day or two so a simple todo list with due dates covers this base. This quick workflow is why we don't roll marketing-related work into the Sprints. Some days, I can easily do 5 or 6 quick turn around tasks which in the context of fortnightly sprints, would render the sprint process slightly pointless.

So why introduce a third process?

For me specifically, straddling both areas. I sometimes find it hard to get a good overview of my day-to-day tasks and organise accordingly. Jira and Todist are open in pinned tabs but unless I'm actively looking at one, they're off my radar. Having to seek them out and try prioritise stuff in my head just doesn't work.

This is why I've brought the bullet journal back.

It allows me to organise what I need to do each day, taking information from both Jira and Todoist and putting it all in one place for me to reference. Each morning, I plan my day and each evening I go over the days tasks and move things into the next day if needed. It eases my cognitive load by not having to organise everything in my head and allows me to focus on the tasks at hand.

Of course, I sync everything back to the respective platforms to keep things updated. There's an element of duplication of effort but it's much quicker for me to just go in, tick off a few tasks or move a ticket, and I'm done.

This might seem mad to anyone reading this but it works for me... so there.