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a few budget notebooks and bullet journaling

Discussion in 'Pens, Pencils, Notebooks, and Notebook Covers' started by phatch, Aug 6, 2018.

  1. phatch

    phatch Loaded Pockets

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    I started a bullet journal last year. I looked at my stash of 8.5x 5.5 hardback notebooks and picked a cheap one in case I became disillusioned.

    Markings brand, from Target I think. Bonded leather cover, fake stitching, fairly yellow paper, grid not dotted.

    The spine cracked within the first 6 weeks. I used PVA glue for the repair. I wasn't surprised by this crack really. I see this in lots of heavy use books. More surprised it was the only one. Elastic closure snapped around month 6. Otherwise it held up surprisingly well and was tougher than I anticipated. I used it nine months until the start of this year. It's doesn't lay as flat as I like, I'm not fond of the paper color or quality. For as cheap as this was, I'm surprised by it's durability. Not a notebook I particularly liked using but it held up.

    Year 2, Picadilly brand, grid again. I like grid I picked up a half dozen when Borders was going out of business. I've used one or two here and there for projects and liked them. They have a squared binding and good initial finish that I thought nicer than Moleskine at a lower price. I like the paper brightness and ink resistance better too.

    Again, I had a spine crack early on. Discovered two more cracks today. The spine binding is torn out now too. I had reinforced the binding with 3" book binding tape after the first crack. The tape is my binding now. The elastic closure was floppy and stretched out in spots. I trimmed it away in month 7. The original fabric applied to the paper block is managing still, but will need a little more glue to finish the year.

    I can't say this brand is up to the hard use of bullet journal in my edc. A good desk notebook certainly.

    There are two budget notebooks I'm now leery of in my stash, AmazonBasics and Walmart Exceed. I'll give those light desk duty as the paper and covers are clearly of lesser quality. Online reviews make me think they won't endure the use in my bullet journal habits.

    I've used Moleskine before, but not for about 8 years now. I don't like the paper much and the binding didn't lay flat well. They're expensive too. I never put one to as much abuse as these so I can't speak to toughness.

    For 2019, I've got a Leuchtturm, dotted pages, waiting. I'll see if it's as good as they say. I expect a spine crack. I don't see a mass produced binding not cracking in my daily use in edc bag. Leuchtturm is just as expensive as Moleskine, but I like the paper, pre set index,numbering and lay flat behavior better. Toughness remains to be seen.

    As to Bullet Journaling the system is good for me. I'm pretty minimalist in my approach, not artsy. I use Google calendar to collect external inputs to my calendar from family and work. I also schedule in advance there for appointments and such. Then build daily schedules with carryover from the bullet journal system. As to collections in bullet journaling, if they are something I'll use again they get moved to Evernote. The journal itself I shred a month or so into the new year. I'm not interested in keeping or leaving a record. Besides, the notebooks are hammered by that point.
     
  2. Moshe ben David

    Moshe ben David Loaded Pockets

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    @phatch: +1 on Piccadilly. I've used them also and been pleased with performance/price ratio. Mine also developed a problem with binding along the spine due to daily carry and use. A bit of 'duck tape' fixed mine up nice; I had some white tape so it looks 'ok' albeit not pristine.!

    I was especially pleased with the paper suitability for fountain pen ink. I'll use this brand again for sure.

    L'chaim!

    Moshe ben David
     
  3. phatch

    phatch Loaded Pockets

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    Revisiting this.

    The Leuchturm has had no spine cracks in 5 months. The leatherette has small failings at the fold between the front cover and spine. Quite minor. Elastic closure is still tight. This is still early for comapring to the other notebooks but still in better condition by quite a bit.

    One of the two bookmarks got eaten by some hook velcro. Not the fault of the maker. I flame sealed the frays. Ugly but continues in service. The second bookmark marks the current monthly spread. I don't find it super useful nor is it a problem.

    The paper strikes me as the nicest notebook paper I've used. I do not have deep experience so that's not a strong recommendation. Ink resistance keeps the ink bold and reduces ghosting/bleeding. In the other notebooks, once i'd written on both sides of the paper it took on a sort of worn aspect in look and feel. The leuchturm paper still feels crisp after that use.

    I mostly use Schmidt Easyflow ink in blue. Drying time is pretty quick but it seems slightly more prone to smears than the other books. I wouldn't call that an absolute statement, more an impression. There are enough uncontrolled variables and I haven't actually done the tests. I guess I should.

    A5 size vs the moleskine size. There are times the extra width facilitates a handy two column layout. But most of the time it is added bulk for me. The quality of the rest of the notebook and columns does outweigh the minor extra bulk.

    If you haven't, give Leuchtturm 1917 a try. It's a step up in quality and early indications are that it's much more durable.
     
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  4. tbzbbt

    tbzbbt Loaded Pockets

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    OK I'll ask :) What is a "bullet journal"? Log of range activity? Records of Japanese high speed train journeys? Summary points with limited grammar requirements? We should be told....

    tbzbbt

     
  5. YankeeHotelFoxtrot

    YankeeHotelFoxtrot Loaded Pockets

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    tbzbbt,

    https://bulletjournal.com/pages/about

    It's a journaling system that is well thought-out and provides a good deal of flexibility. I've kept one on and off for a few years. Right now I'm 'off" because I've gotten very busy at work, am too busy in the early morning getting ready for the day, and too exhausted after work to be bothered.

    Plenty of videos with male- and female-interpretations are available. For many, especially women, these journals become pseudo-works of art. Others are more bare-boned in their approach.
     
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  6. tbzbbt

    tbzbbt Loaded Pockets

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    Alles klar. It seems the use of some simple summary notation in my taking of notes can help my life become intentional, productive and meaningful.

    I’ll be mindful to stick with serendipidity driving meaningless ramblings of verbose prose in my diary.

    tbzbbt

    “It's best described as a mindfulness practice disguised as a productivity system. It's designed to help you organize your what while you remain aware of your why. The goal of the Bullet Journal is to help its practitioners live intentional lives, ones that are productive and meaningful.”

    .
     
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  7. Moshe ben David

    Moshe ben David Loaded Pockets

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    Looks like you've found some info on this already. Just to add -- think of the term 'bullet' as in 'bullet points' in a PowerPoint presentation...

    L'chaim!

    Moshe ben David
     
  8. Tesla

    Tesla Loaded Pockets

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    Right! I tried keeping .45 ACP ammo in mine, but it kept making my shorts sag.....:rofl:
     
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  9. phatch

    phatch Loaded Pockets

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    the advice above is complete. I use it in a more minimalist style than most.

    But it has improved my productivity
     
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  10. tbzbbt

    tbzbbt Loaded Pockets

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    * Ack
    * style comment
    * appreciation expressed
    * sign off
    * End
     
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  11. tbzbbt

    tbzbbt Loaded Pockets

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    I've been watching a few youtube videos to understand what this incredible bullet journalism paradigm is all about, and it seems to be a month/week/day planner approach to a notebook with a single character category annotation for each entry type. I was amazed to find the use of "an asterisk to show important points." How such insight has escaped me I shall never know. A more interesting approach was a graphic artist developing impressive colour design pages for each month...

    I am happy with my slimline soft leather filofax diary for [productivity] organisation which includes many such planner templates; a nice soft leather notebook for my home diary; and an edc A6 soft EDC notebook for aide-memoires and recording names of people to forget.

    tbzbbt
     
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  12. J_C
    • In Omnia Paratus

    J_C Loaded Pockets

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    There is quite a bit more to it than just the type of bullets that are used. But in essence it is a free-form journal method within a specific framework. Sort of a roll-your-own planner without having to conform to the layouts from pre-printed planners.

    When you do research about it on the web, all of the blogs you see do look like art-projects from people with a lot of time to spend on the presentation (or at least with making their blogs or Instagram pages look pretty). Mine looks pretty boring and minimalist, but is working well for me. It's just a structured way to keep notes for quick reference. Nothing earth-shattering about it.

    I had a Leuchtterm 1917 lined journal I was already using as just a free-form daily journal, which I didn't update that often. So I decided to give the Bullet Journal method a try starting in May with just using the different bullet types (task, event, note, idea), using the index so I can find stuff, and making sure to do it daily. I already had the notebook, after all, so it cost me nothing to try.

    I can see how the dotted version might be easier to use, but you can use any old notebook, even a $1.00 composition pad from the school supplies section of the corner store.

    The pilot run I did in May was worthwhile enough for me to continue on.

    Starting with June I'm doing the full process (future log, monthly spread, dailies), plus I like to do a weekly spread with habit tracker. I don't do all of the pretty artwork and calligraphy, just some lines with a ruler when I need to make dividers.

    If someone doesn't see the need for it or think it is worthwhile, then I recommend not trying it. No sense in wasting your time. However, it has been beneficial for me so I am going to give it a few months of following the full system.
     
    #12 J_C, Jun 2, 2019
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2019
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  13. HeadOffice

    HeadOffice Loaded Pockets

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    First time mentioning this in public...

    I have developed a journaling/task list/to do system far superior (in my humble opinion) than the current bullet system people are using. Far simpler, easier to remember, less symbols to use and easier to locate items than anything else I've seen. I've been refining/honing and using this system for the last 20 years. I might build and release a digital version as well as it translates from paper to screen just as well. As for paper based - lines, grid, dots, blank pages - it works on all of them.
     
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  14. Moshe ben David

    Moshe ben David Loaded Pockets

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    Let's call it the way it is. Most of the blogs that 'prettify' their bullet journals are put out there by the same folks with 'XX' chromosomes and who while away their time on odd and sundry 'crafty projects'... If that rocks their boat, fine. But does nothing for effective time management which is the goal of bullet and other types of time planning/management paradigms!

    I await the flame throwers! ;)

    L'chaim!

    Moshe ben David
     
  15. phatch

    phatch Loaded Pockets

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    I look forward to seeing it.
     
  16. HeadOffice

    HeadOffice Loaded Pockets

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    I agree! Judging by the examples of bullet journaling I see you need an entire rainbow or pens and stencils to do something. My way has only the following... 1. A circle representing a task, a tick in the circle to show it's complete and a cross through the circle to show it's been cancelled. You can quickly skim through pages to see what's outstanding, check if something was done and add notes and tasks super quickly. Perhaps I'll write something up to explain and demonstrate. I call it the TMC system, The Magic Circle, since everything revolves around whether there's a circle or not. Twenty years in the making and almost ready for prime time.
     
  17. Tesla

    Tesla Loaded Pockets

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    I use a more K.I.S.S. oriented method. I write down what needs done---then cross it off when done (or canceled). Since it matters not to me whether it was done or canceled, this eliminates drawing circles & gets down to the nitty-gritty. I agree using different pens & colors and all that is just a solution to a problem that doesn't exist, for me. The point of it is to save time, not increase time spent saving time....:)
     
  18. tbzbbt

    tbzbbt Loaded Pockets

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    It really depends what you are trying to achieve. A Project Manager would keep a different style of notes to a Designer. To adopt a dry,efficient approach aimed purely at productivity to keep notes for me sucks all the joy out of the practice. If this is the objective then the advantages of a computer-aided system would prevail. I read this forum because I enjoy the tools of writing. The beauty of an illuminated text or a notebook filled with sketches, ideas with arrows and annotations is a thing of wonder.* You could systemise it, but that doesn't mean you should....

    tbzbbt

    * da Vinci's notebooks refer
     
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  19. phatch

    phatch Loaded Pockets

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    4 months more abuse. No spine or binding problems. The sewn paper signatures are visible with the book closed and can be felt if you riffle the pages so the binding is wearing to some degree. I can't call that a problem really. The leatherette has some dings where the cover board shows through but that's it. Toughest notebook I've used. The elastic band has held up better than the others I've tried too.
     
  20. Scoman

    Scoman Loaded Pockets

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    I use the bullet journal system but instead of a bound notebook I use the Levenger Circa system (well staples version of it anyway). It's A5 I have it in a Tactical Notebook cover iPad organiser simply velcro'd the whole book in. I've made some 'Daily Check' sheets for wellbeing and intentions and grateful checks and monthly pages simply printed at home and punched to fit in. I print my work diary from Outlook in A4 and fold it over to fit. All in all it's a nice little system and has helped me keep on top of things this year. I'd post pics but I can't remember who used to host my pics for the site.
     
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