I've been using Bujo as my personal productivity system since the beginning of 2023. I cannot express how impactful the journaling experience has been for me so far. Thanks to journaling, I live with more intention, authenticity and clarity. In this article, I want to share with you how I take my journal with me anywhere I go.
At least to me, it is essential for journaling to remain in written form. Writing things down helps your memory remember things more easily, adding to overall weight of the information that is being recorded. However, sometimes it is not the most convenient to take physical journal with you. That's where the smartphone comes in, but not so fast.
The Smartphone Trap
One more reason why I like writing things down on paper is that there is nothing that can disturb me. I am fully present and focused. Nowadays, it is rather an exception than a norm not to get distracted by these magical devices. Before I was able to use smartphone as an extension for journaling, I needed to eliminate unnecessary noise that was caused by constant stream of notifications and sounds.
Becoming hard to be reached
In order to remain in focus while using your smartphone, one has to get their notifications in control. For me, this meant making a distinguishment between essential and non-essential apps. For example, every app that falls into entertainment category is non-essential for me and banking apps are essential as I want to be reminded when I make any transaction. It also meant that I deleted my social media accounts.
There is more but in short, one needs to know where their attention goes. Once this is known, it is possible to evaluate whether that energy provides any value to daily functioning. I was able to reduce the amount of information that flows through my senses significantly just by thinking and making strict decisions which apps stay and ones that need to go away from my magical device.
Smartphone as an extension to journaling
I am using smartphone to temporarily store my thoughts during journaling while away from physical journal. The important part is to rewrite these thoughts once physical journal is at hand. Bujo method has the mechanism of reflection already built-in. During daily reflection process, I collect my ideas from all sources (usually during the evening if not earlier in a day). Once migrated, I am free to delete the digital footprint.
When there is time to type my thoughts, I click shortcut that takes me straight into the note that exists in my note-taking app of choice.
In a scenario when I am in a need for handsfree communication with my magical device to record my thoughts (e.g. walking or driving), I use different type of shortcut that immediately starts a voice recording.
Data collection for self-awareness
I also use apps that store data regarding my daily goals completion, emotions and expenses. The reason for me doing it is data visualization that I get for free. This is one aspect that is a bit tricky in physical journaling and can take more time than I am willing to invest into it. That's why I've decided to duplicate these types of information, keeping simple table view inside my journal but also recording digitally in privacy-focused apps to get instant visualizations regarding different aspects of self-awareness.
The point of having an extension to something is to reduce friction in doing the activity. Having a smartphone helps me keep record of ideas that would otherwise be forgotten in most cases. The surface on which I capture ideas got significantly bigger for me after introducing smartphone in my daily journaling experience.
Fundamental tools for journaling will always be pen and paper. Something that can change should always remain being an extension. For me, extensions are very unpredictable and subject to frequent change. In order to be truly free human being, I must be willing to give up on these extensions at any point in my life.