Turn Plans Into Action: Bullet Journaling + TeuxDeux
In the way that keeping a diary helps you take a step back from your own life to reflect, process, and strategize narratively, a bullet journal helps you apply this same sense-making to the data of your life. Your goals, your tasks, your habits, the things you want to read, the projects you want to pursue.
If I had the choice, I would only work from my bullet journal and would never open my laptop again (gasp!). But then I would probably never get much done when it comes to real-world execution.
A bullet journal after all, is a tool. And it’s a killer tool up until the point where you need to hit the ground running with tasks and errands, and suddenly your best laid plans are moving around with shifting priorities. This is where a mindful pivot over to digital matters most (note the “mindful”).
“Be it digital or analog, what I’m looking for are the best tools for a given job.” — Bullet Journal creator, Ryder Carroll
What I don’t want out of a digital tool is more work to do. I don’t need to color code everything, or create task-upon-sub task-upon sub task. The promise of productivity tools are quickly broken when I find myself becoming distracted by all the frills. After all, as a bullet journaler, I can and will be seduced by any opportunity to customize something or make it neat and tidy. But I’ve got work to do!
A digital tool only becomes useful (vs. a waste of time) when it picks up where a bullet journal can no longer be useful.
- When you’re out and about, running errands. My bullet journal will not fit into my fanny pack but my phone with its list app does.
- When you need to link to important documents or websites. There’s no analog way around this.
- When you want to be reassured that you’ll never forget something, even in the horrific case that your bullet journal gets lost.
- When you need to jot a quick reminder to do something while you’re already in deep flow mode on your computer. I don’t want to ruin my tidy meditative bullet journal planning with chicken scratch from my busy work day state.
- When you need to get crystal clear on the tasks for today and the days beyond, which are ever changing, becoming irrelevant with new information, or being piled on top of. I don’t necessarily want to go into my pristine bullet journal and then violently write “never mind all my plans changed!” across my written daily to do list.
- When you need to just do something and can no longer afford the time it takes to be a perfectionist.
TeuxDeux is the perfect digital to do list app companion for a bullet journal.
Name literally any other productivity app and I will tell you that I simply don’t have the time or patience to maintain it.
- TeuxDeux already looks nice. There’s not much you could do to make it look cluttered. The perfectionist in me that comes alive when I bullet journal is able to take the back seat when I know I can unabashedly throw things onto my to do list and not think twice about it once I’m in the thick of things.
- You can duplicate any list-based bullet journal spread using “Someday Lists” (displayed at the bottom of the above image), so you can access these things anywhere that your bullet journal is not. I personally do not take my bullet journal with me when I am at the grocery store staring at the pasta sauces but I can pull up my quick “Groceries” list on the TeuxDeux iPhone app.
- TeuxDeux’s focus is on your daily to do list, which you can see in a neat calendar spread (remind you of anything, bullet journalers?). We love a calendar. We especially love it when it’s flexible to fit our changing life plans.
I’d like to think that Ryder Carroll himself would choose TeuxDeux over another app intended for productivity, because it’s about as mindful as you can get when it comes to a digital tool. Less time organizing your online planner, more time deep in the flow state of bullet journaling or the flow state of your actual tasks.