If you’re familiar with traditional bullet journals, you know that they’re a popular and effective way to plan your workflow and your personal schedule. They are also flexible enough to provide a space to map out ideas and keep personal notes.
While keeping a traditional handwritten bullet journal can be effective and fun, you can translate the bullet journaling method over to a digital platform for an even more satisfying experience.
Digital bullet journaling provides you with convenient, time-saving features. And journaling on an electronic device means your journal is always at your fingertips.
There are a lot of great reasons to try digital bullet journaling. But are they any better than the paper and pen method?
I think they are. Here are some of my reasons why.
Note-taking apps, such as Noteshelf2, give you many options in notebook customization. Some of the customization features in note-taking apps include:
● Customized notebook covers with titles, colors, or designs
● The ability to insert images and clipart
● A variety of fonts and font colors
● The ability to rearrange the location of notebook pages
● A choice of different backgrounds and paper templates e.g. lined or grided
● The ability to draw inside the notebook pages with your Apple Pencil or any other stylus
Many note-taking apps offer an audio recording functionality. So does Noteshelf 2, where you can not only record directly into the pages of your notebook but also via your Apple Watch. Especially when driving a car, a way to capture ideas very quickly without being distracted is so much worth. With Noteshelf 2, you can just talk to your Apple Watch and add the recording later to your notes as everything is saved within Noteshelf 2 on the iPad.
The advantage of recording audio along with your note-taking is, that you will get context to what you have written. It will be much easier for you to remember what was actually said in the meeting or during class where you were taking notes.
Just keep in mind to ask anybody around you if it is okay for them to record their voices, as this could get you into trouble due to legal reasons if you don’t ask for permission.
Built-in Search Function
One of my favorite features of using note-taking apps to bullet journal is the search function. I can freely take notes without worrying that I won’t be able to find them quickly.
Most note-taking apps available on the iPad are now able to recognize your handwriting giving you the option to either convert it to plain text or to make it searchable.
After an entry has been created in your bullet journal notebook, you can use the search function in the note-taking app such as Noteshelf 2, to search inside the notebook.
You can search for different parameters like word, subject, or date. The search function will locate all of the documents that contain your search parameters.
A nice, descriptive index and the automatic time and date stamps help make the search even more effective.
Keyboard or Apple Pencil
With a digital bullet journal, you are not bound to one way of taking notes. You have the flexibility of moving from typing to handwriting if the note-taking app has that feature. On the iPad apps like Apple Notes, Noteshelf 2, Notability, MyScript Nebo or GoodNotes 5 offer you a very natural and fluent writing experience when using the Apple Pencil.
This means you can quickly jot down your thoughts or draw a picture using your Apple Pencil, or you can type notes in a meeting or lecture with your keyboard.
The nature of the digital format gives you a bullet journal that is beautifully organized.
There are two aspects to a well-organized journal: A clean, easy to read format, and organized easy-to-search structure.
The clean format happens on a page-by-page basis. A note-taking program will give you even line spacing, automatic spell check, formatting options like numbered and bulleted lists, the popular “undo” button to easily correct mistakes, and more. These features make creating an easy-to-read page almost effortless.
You get an organized journal structure by using clear and descriptive titles on the journal cover and using the index feature standard in the bullet journaling method. Note-taking apps have features for categorizing entries to make them easy to search. They also have an automatic time and date stamp for each entry, giving you another metric you can use to search your documents.
If you are planning to use a daily journal, with the functionality to jump to any date in the year to make notes. I recommend using a pre-designed journal. There are infinite options out there to choose from. However, most of them feel a little bit too colorful or even childish. Hence, I created a professional-looking Digital Bullet Journal that I can use in my meetings and is called “Tom Solid’s Digital Journal”
Automatic Backup and Sync
With the automatic backup and sync features, you always have access to your digital bullet journal.
You can take notes from a class or meeting using your iPhone and it will be automatically backed up and saved to the cloud.
Then you can access those notes from your home computer, or your mobile device, no matter where you may be.
This gives you the freedom to take notes from anywhere and at any time without worrying about relying on one device or one location, and protecting you if you should misplace the device you were taking notes from.
There have been so many times I have not written something down due to the fear of misplacing it and having another person find it and read my personal thoughts.
Personal thoughts, sensitive or confidential information and private schedules can be kept safe inside your mobile device through two lines of defense.
First, your mobile device requires a password for use.
And second, note-taking apps offer their own password protection so you can write without the fear of someone going through your writing in your digital journal. Noteshelf 2 and Notability are two example note-taking apps that offer password protection for every notebook you create in them.
No Need to Buy Paper
If you already have an iPad or a mobile device, which most of us do, then the ability to keep a digital bullet journal is already at your fingertips.
There is no need for you to spend extra money on pens and a notebook for a bullet journal when you can simply open a page on your device and begin journaling.
Improving the Environment
As members of the Paperless Movement community, we know that going paperless is the first step toward helping to improve our environment.
As more of us move from using paper to using electronic devices, the use of trees for paper will drop, and the demand for clean energy to fuel our devices will rise. This is part of our vision.
Using a bullet journal is a great way to get organized and improve your daily life. Having a digital bullet journal takes journaling to the next level.
You might be wondering how you can go from manually journaling to digital journaling.
Well, you’re in the right place. At the #PaperlessMovement, teaching you to hone your paperless skills is what we’re all about.
First, keep an eye on the #PaperlessMovement blog for more articles on digital journaling and note-taking apps.
Next, check out the ebook, Paperless Note-taking Like a Pro, which teaches you all about paperless note-taking apps and tools, and features an entire chapter on digital journaling.
And finally, join us in the Paperless Movement Membership to get all of your digital journaling questions answered.