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  • - Bullet Journals, daily planners, to-do lists.

  • If you're anything like me, you've tried

  • to solve the chaos of your life only to fail.

  • Let's fix that.

  • Thank you to Skillshare for sponsoring this video.

  • Hi there, I don't know if you know this,

  • but my life is a mess.

  • And it's not for lack of trying.

  • I've used apps, planners, sticky notes,

  • Bullet Journals, whiteboards.

  • I own four white boards.

  • Why do I own four whiteboards?

  • But it's the same story every time.

  • These organizational solutions work

  • for a little bit, but then fail.

  • It creates this cycle of planning, productivity,

  • getting overwhelmed, giving up, and the cycle restarts

  • when I see some new stationary and get inspired

  • I'm sick of it.

  • And you may be too judging by this Google trend data

  • on Bullet Journaling.

  • Every year without fail, people seek out this hobby

  • only to inevitably peter out

  • in this perpetual planning fallacy.

  • It seems like we're doing something wrong, but what?

  • And while it's important not to take graphs at face value,

  • I made a whole video about it.

  • I don't think my claim is too far off base.

  • How many organization apps have you abandoned?

  • How many planners do you own that are half empty?

  • In this video, we're gonna figure out why that is.

  • And more importantly, how to avoid it,

  • let's get started.

  • Of course, it all started with a Google search

  • that led me through a rabbit hole of articles

  • that ended at yet another 300 page book.

  • This time I read "The Accidental Diarist:

  • A history of the daily planner in America"

  • by Molly McCarthy.

  • The book strings together analyses of old diaries

  • and planners to identify the origin of the habit

  • that inspired this video.

  • You know, somebody commented on our last video

  • that my job is basically making book reports,

  • and it's not even a lie at this point.

  • If I thought that book about olive oil was dry,

  • well, this book was simply arid.

  • Not to say it wasn't good, it was neat and romantic.

  • However, I did the thing where you read the page,

  • you get to the end, and then you'd realize

  • you didn't register any information,

  • so you need to do it again, I did that several times.

  • Anyway, here is the evolution

  • of the daily planner in America.

  • It all starts with the almanac,

  • kind of like the smartphone of the 16th century.

  • It's an annual reference book with dates,

  • weather forecasts, and other local information.

  • This book was imported to colonial America,

  • alongside a habit of sewing in blank pages.

  • On those pages would go a chronological diary,

  • or as George Washington put it,

  • where and how my time is spent.

  • This practice of recording one's days on limited pages,

  • familiarized people with regular abbreviated forms

  • of writing about themselves,

  • the foundation of modern journaling.

  • As the years progressed, almanacs fell out of fashion

  • and were at a place with pocketbooks that invited users

  • to input more information than ever before.

  • Demand only grew as people saw

  • the opportunities held between the covers.

  • It was a way to track finances

  • in the rise of colonial commerce,

  • a more accurate time piece

  • when mechanical time had yet to be perfected,

  • and an account for one's time to God.

  • By the mid 19th century with printing cost

  • at an all time low, and literacy at an all-time high,

  • it's place was secured in the cultural landscape.

  • The pocket book or diary or journal

  • was marketed under many names,

  • but it was consistent in its promise.

  • It was a way to make time one's own.

  • With a journal time was more than days and hours.

  • It could be money spent and earned,

  • distances traveled and places explored.

  • It captured the rhythms of life as it was lived.

  • People saw this power and refused to let it go.

  • So nowadays while the form and technology

  • may be more diverse, that promise,

  • that reclamation of time remains.

  • Okay, so what really struck me about the evolution

  • of the daily planner is how responsive the design was.

  • Like there would be this product, this book.

  • And then people would just use it wrong on purpose.

  • They'd write in the margins, they'd sew in pages,

  • they would spread out one annual planner

  • over the course of years.

  • But then after seeing how people actually use the product,

  • publishers would update their designs,

  • only to have it revamped by people all over again.

  • It was this iterative process that was driven by the people

  • who were actually using the product.

  • They didn't just comply with the framework

  • that they were given.

  • They broke and bent it to work for them.

  • However, I don't wanna buy a $30 planner

  • only to ignore the guidelines.

  • So when I try and think of an organizational tool

  • that has it built in to allow

  • for this kind of flexibility and iteration,

  • I can only think of Bullet Journals.

  • It's a minimalist journaling system

  • designed by Ryder Carroll.

  • It uses a blank notebook

  • which makes the cost of entry relatively low.

  • Traditionally, Bullet Journals are made up of four modules,

  • a table of contents, a six-month view,

  • a monthly view and a daily view.

  • However, in a throwback to 17th century pocket diaries,

  • the Bullet Journal method embraces flexibility

  • and encourages users to define their own layouts

  • using modules they find online, or otherwise invent,

  • things like habit trackers, weather forecasts,

  • or savings goals.

  • And when it comes to Bullet Journals

  • there is only one person

  • I can think of talking to, I'm nervous.

  • Hi there, Amanda, how are you?

  • - Hi, I'm good, how are you?

  • It's Nice to meet you, thanks for having me.

  • - This is AmandaRachLee, an artist known

  • for her Bullet Journaling videos

  • that have amassed over 150 million views.

  • Do you mind telling me why you started journaling

  • and Bullet Journaling?

  • - I felt like just writing down my tasks

  • was kind of not enough for me to like motivate me

  • and for me to feel good about getting stuff done.

  • So about four years ago,

  • I discovered Bullet Journaling on the internet

  • and it was just kind of fascinating to me

  • how customizable it was.

  • - The more we talk, the more I realize

  • that Bullet Journals had the flexibility I needed.

  • But I didn't know how to start.

  • - Somebody who's just starting out,

  • who's feeling a little bit overwhelmed,

  • maybe because the past year and a bit has been a lot.

  • What tips do you think you'd have for them?

  • - 2020 did not turn out how any of us expected.

  • And there was that whole running joke of like,

  • what was the point of buying a 2020 planner, you know?

  • I really always recommend for people to start off simple

  • and then they're able to add like any modules

  • or things to their productivity system.

  • I kind of like viewing it almost like a time capsule.

  • And when I'm writing in my Bullet Journal or journal,

  • it's very much so like me time.

  • Yeah, you can kind of use it

  • as a hybrid of like a journal planner, anything else,

  • it's kind of all up to you.

  • - I love that, sweet, thank you so much for chatting, bye.

  • Okay, so y'all know what this is being leading into.

  • I'm making a Bullet Journal,

  • but not just any Bullet Journal,

  • because I think that there are three reasons

  • why my past attempts have always failed.

  • Number one, I just copy a layout I found online

  • without thinking if it actually worked

  • with the way I live my life.

  • Sure I could try and experiment and iterate

  • based off of that layout,

  • but then there's problem number two.

  • I feel really bad about messing up cute

  • and expensive notebooks.

  • I know it's dumb, but they're leather-bound

  • and they're like $30.

  • I would rather leave it pristine

  • than waste pages with experimentation.

  • And last but not least, there's problem number three.

  • They just seem like a massive commitment.

  • Like I got to fill out this whole notebook

  • with stuff I do every day?

  • What if I don't do anything that day?

  • Is there just gonna be a weird blank spot?

  • What if I'm too busy to fill it out then?

  • Like, what's the point?

  • So here's my solution.

  • - [PA system] We appreciate your...

  • - I'm gonna be making my own notebook,

  • and it's only gonna be for one month.

  • So I'm just using stuff I own,

  • And then a couple of other things I got

  • from the Dollar Store.

  • So it comes out to like less than $10.

  • It's low commitment and it forces me

  • to reconsider the system that I'm using every single month.

  • That's long enough for me to get used to it

  • but short enough for me to power through any inefficiencies.

  • So join me in my first attempt at bookbinding.

  • I wonder how this will go, probably not well.

  • I was actually hoping to design the pages on my iPad

  • because I have the handwriting of a five-year-old,

  • but I don't have a printer because I'm not 50

  • and libraries are closed because of the panorama.

  • Aargh, okay, how many pages do I need?

  • I want 36 pages, and I'm gonna split

  • each one of these into four.

  • Shout it out with me.

  • Say Dora the Explorer, yell it out kids.

  • It's, nine?

  • It's nine, big brain.

  • (upbeat music)

  • Ah, I was just trying to get these satisfying clips

  • and it's just not happening.

  • (upbeat music)

  • Oh Christ, oh it cuts like (laughing)

  • yeah that didn't work.

  • Where's my box cutter

  • Found it.

  • Oh, damn she's whipping out the toolkit, I did it.

  • This goes here, ooh, successful.

  • (upbeat music)

  • So I folded all the pages in half

  • and now I'm gonna fold them in half again,

  • just so that they're small enough to fit

  • into my butt pocket, which is honestly the only pocket

  • in women's jeans that can hold anything.

  • So I'm just gonna (snaps fingers) cool.

  • I did it.

  • Is this butt pocketable?

  • Oh, ooh, I'm not gonna show my butt

  • 'cause you guys are weird sometimes.

  • I made the cover from some craft bags

  • because I liked the look.

  • See that's about, that's like perfect size.

  • I cut it down to size.

  • Okay, time to bind it.

  • Poked holes in the spine, (screaming)

  • and cut, and stitched it all together.

  • I'm kind of shocked at how easy that was.

  • Does it pass the pocket test?

  • It does, and I just realized

  • that my graph paper is bigger on one side than the other.

  • This is one size and there's the other size.

  • - They're the same picture.

  • - Okay I gotta clean up like all of this

  • and all of this before I get started

  • on filling out that notebook.

  • (upbeat music)

  • I just made this journal for February.

  • Cause I've already given up on January.

  • Anyway, I made the first page a side quest

  • basically it's one habit I wanted

  • to pick up next month and a reward if I do it

  • Bought an exercise bike at the start of quarantine

  • and then never used it.