Maybe This Time

I think I may have found the answer to my day planner woes. It has been a long search throughout the years. I have invested in several paper systems. I have done trial periods on several web-based systems. Recently, I even devised a system using 3×5 cards with different colored tops. All of these have failed for a number of reasons. Too cumbersome to carry with me all the time. Bits and pieces that were easily misplaced.

And the digital systems? I love technology, and am a proud Samsung Galaxy Note 3 user. I am all in with Google. And I have discovered a number of systems that could work. But there is something about writing down tasks, highlighting an event, or taking notes during a meeting that is deeply satisfying. And also works the way my brain works, with lists, arrows, circled items, and references to other notes.

Last week a colleague told me about a system she had just discovered, the Bullet Journal. The tagline is that it is an analog system for a digital age. It uses a blank notebook with grid lines, though you could use any type of notebook. You create a index page, a monthly layout and monthly task list, and then daily journal entries with tasks, events, and notes. Every entry is a line that can be expounded upon later, but for the daily entry, is just a line. Many systems work similarly.

But here’s the difference. Within the bullet journal, you can write longer entries as needed. And keep track of them on the index for future reference. It is the perfect system for a writer. Need a list of books? Keep one. And add it to the index, so you can always find it. Working on notes for your story? Write them in the journal. Have a few minutes between meetings? Daydreaming during others? Use the same journal for it all.

I find that fall is a time for change for me. I am thrilled to discover a new system, one that works with a Moleskin, that may keep me a little more organized. Given that I am plotting book #2 in my series, working on a couple of website projects, and planning a writer’s conference this fall, and a theater conference next spring, I need all of the organizational tools I can find.

How about you, dear readers? Do you have a organizing system that works for your entire life? And, do you also feel like this time of year is actually a new year?

Here’s a video about Bullet Journal.


J.A. (Julie) Hennrikus is the Executive Director of StageSource. Her short stories have appeared in the three Level Best anthologies, Thin Ice, Dead Calm and Blood Moon. She tweets under @JulieHennrikus, and group blogs on and with the Wicked Cozy Authors ( She is the 2014 President of Sisters in Crime New England, on the national board of Sisters in Crime, and a member of Mystery Writers of America. As Julianne Holmes, the first in her Clock Shop Mystery series will be published in 2015 by Berkley Prime Crime.

18 thoughts on “Maybe This Time

  1. Great article! And helpful! Have you ever heard of Evernote? It will do what you just describe under their “notes” section. It does a host of other things. And it will record entire meetings for you. If you write, you can keep all of your notes and thoughts and research, etc. there. All of it. You can send videos and photos to it and a ton more of stuff. If you haven’t checked the app out yet, check it out. For what you are describing, it sounds like Evernote is right up your alley! Have a great weekend!

  2. I am still searching for the perfect method for me. At the moment I have Moleskine weekly organizer and I make a list almost every day with a color code system and put an X on each task when I am done.
    I will try this too. Thnx for posting and have a nice day

  3. I recently discovered the bullet system myself. I believe I read about it on a blog while reading pen reviews from various pen addicts. It seemed a little more complicated than what I was doing, which was just making lists and starting over each day until all of my lists were complete.

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