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Digital Alternatives to the Bullet Journal
I love journals, planners, pens, pencils, stickers, anything office supply related. And I know I am not alone! There is a whole community out there of people who are obsessed with office supplies too! I don’t even know why I want all these things but I do! One year for Valentine’s Day my husband got me office supplies and I was so excited! That’s why I can’t wait to share with you that I found two digital alternatives to the bullet journal!
What’s a Bullet Journal?
First, just in case you don’t know, here is an example of the bullet journal. These things have taken over. Every blogger I see is talking about this bullet journal and how awesome it is. I finally decided to get one for myself after seeing all the fun everyone was having with them!
Check out these two examples I found on Pinterest. (They are linked back to the pin if you want to save them.)
My sister told me about these gel pens that erase so I got those too and they are much more my style because I like to erase (I’m a perfectionist some times).
Why do people love Bullet Journals?
The big craze with the bullet journal is that each page is customizable. Every page just has dots to use as a guide to be able to create all kinds of beautiful pages. One page could be your grocery list, another your calendar, and the next your cleaning schedule. There is no limit to what you can do with each page and I do really enjoy that flexibility.
Instead of searching through so many planners just to finally pick one and end up hating the layout, this option I could make each page my own layout that worked best for me.
There were some downsides for me though. I am not the best artist and also a bit of a perfectionist. I found myself spending a lot of time creating a layout that I still didn’t love. One little mess up ruined the whole page or I wouldn’t be happy with the boring design I came up with. Plus, I would always forget it at home.
I don’t think to always have my journal with me. So even though I like to write things out and use the fun pretty colors and all that, I would never bring it with me. It was just one more thing I had to remember to lug around.
(However, if you do love to carry that thing around and you are looking for more ideas on how to use your bullet journal, Suzi has an amazing post that you can check out!)
I have tried other digital alternatives
So I tried to use apps and a Google Calendar instead to make it more digital and less inconvenient but it didn’t work. I thought if I could master digital planning then I could keep a better schedule but it didn’t work. I like the fun bright colors and although I did find one app that worked well enough to keep me on schedule, it didn’t have the flexibility of each page being something different.
I needed something that was a digital version of the bullet journal. The only thing I could find was the Notes app on my iPhone. I use it quite often to keep all of my important information all in one spot. I started that about a year or so ago and that has been great!
There is even an option where you can write things out with my finger but then you couldn’t read any of it. So I was still missing the fun artistic appeal the bullet journal has.
The Notes App just got better
After I got my iPad I researched ways to use the pencil and I came up with some fun things. One of them was actually using the Notes app I have already been using!
What I found was that I could do more with the Notes app than just typing in my notes. I could use it more like a bullet journal!
Here is why I love the Notes App on my iPad (or iPhone) and how it can be used as a bullet journal!
Notes App Features
- It’s FREE
- You can add tabs and organize thoughts
- There are options to Bold or Underline Text
- You can have clickable links in it
- It automatically saves new changes on any device
- You can scan documents
- Take Photo or Video
- Add Sketch
- Photo Library
- Mark Checklists that actually checkmark off for you
I like the option to add documents or photos to the note. I have actually taken pictures of notes and stored it in a note in the app instead of retyping it all in there just so I could throw the paper note away!
As you can see I really do use this app a lot. All along the side are major categories in life and then there are folders under them to organize further down.
Then lastly within each of those is the second column of notes you see. This helps me break things down and everything is easy to find! Now with the new iPad Pro, I can use my Apple Pencil and write on the screen just like you see (sorry I have horrible handwriting).
I can change the color, the style of pen or pencil, and even the thickness of the stroke I am using. With a bullet journal, you can’t break down into categories and sections as easily as you can with this notes app. You would have to bookmark every new section in a bullet journal.
But wait it gets better!
You can add lines and grids to your note! Just like the bullet journal you now have guides to help you design your page. Also, you only need one pencil and you can change it to any color!
Before if I would remember my bullet journal I would want to bring all the pens so I had all the colors I wanted to use for each page! This way you only need one pencil and one device.
Now you don’t have to take your iPad with you everywhere you go (but let’s face it there is a better chance you bring that than your journal). Because if you need to refer to that note you created such as this one below with my to-do list…
Then you can still do that from your iPhone and no one’s going to forget their phone! You can make all these changes from your iPhone too it just isn’t as easy using your finger but you can still access the same note.
So if you are at the grocery store you can still cross off your list as you get each item.
And the Add Sketch feature is pretty cool because it gives you a ruler to use as a guide that you can move around!
All This For Free
A lot of people are Apple users so if that is you then you have all this for free! If you have been on the fence about switching to Apple then here is a little insight into some of the features! I’m sure there is something similar on the Andriod phones too though.
It is just nice to know some of the ways you can utilize what you already have access too. If you have an iPhone then odds are you have an iPad and might have been in the market to upgrade to the new iPad Pro. So far it is amazing!
Digital Bullet Journal
Alternative number two to a bullet journal is a digital bullet journal! I had no clue these were a thing and I was so excited when I came across them! A digital bullet journal can be used just like a bullet journal but on your phone or tablet! As long as you have a note-taking app that will allow you to edit a PDF. So it doesn’t have to be an Apple Product at all!
The digital bullet journal is a PDF version of a bullet journal and can be used exactly the same but conveniently located on your personal device! Test it out for yourself with this free digital bullet journal download!
If you are looking for a good note-taking app (and you are an Apple user) then I highly suggest getting the GoodNotes App. It has so many awesome features but all of the editing features are my favorite. As you can see I have horrible handwriting so I like that I can quickly make edits on my digital bullet journal or in my notes app. That is something I couldn’t do on my regular bullet journal.
Related Blog Posts:
- What is a Bullet Journal and How to Get Started
- The Perfect Bullet Journal for Bloggers
- Bye Bye Bullet Journal, I Found Something Better
- Why You Should Switch to a Digital Planner
- How to Create a Digital Planner
Here is more information on the iPad and Accessories that I bought.
This is the exact iPad that I bought. I did go with the lower storage because I need to get a hard drive anyway so this way I can just get one of those and save money on buying the extra storage.
We looked into purchasing the iPad through our phone carrier to add data to it but that costs more also. Plus we found out that our T.V. provider has hotspots I can use when I am away from home. Just some things to think about!
I wanted the bigger screen so that was my main priority. I wasn’t as worried about storage because I have a bigger iCloud storage plan and then again I plan to get an external hard drive to save all pictures and important documents on it.
Now I don’t pretend to be all tech-savvy, I know just enough to get by. I know that I am a busy mom and this all makes my life easier and more portable. I do want to say that it comes with a completely new charger.
Supposedly it is to be able to connect to your computer better or other techy stuff I don’t understand but my point is no more USB on one end and no more of the other normal end that all Apple products have.
The cord has the same end on each end. So either way, it connects to your converter to plug into the wall and then into the iPad to charge. Just a heads up.
Then since I got the bigger screen I had to get this keyboard that fits it. They are both 12.9 inches so that gives plenty of room for using your screen and typing on a good-sized keyboard, not a tiny one.
The iPad connects magnetically to the keyboard and there are three dots on the back of the iPad that connect it to the keyboard.
Then you can have it in different positions to adjust it to your liking while typing. Then when you aren’t using the keyboard you can fold it over to close and you will hear the iPad lock. Also, you can flip it around and under the iPad to quickly use the iPad only.
Then, of course, I got the Apple Pencil 2nd Generation that is compatible with the iPad Pro. It is very sleek and easy to use.
There are no buttons, it looks and feels just like a regular pencil. It doesn’t erase like one although I think it should. I keep wanting to flip it around and erase with the pencil eraser like you normally would.
But just a heads up it doesn’t work like that. Another fun feature of the Apple pencil is that it connects to the side of your iPad magnetically to charge.
This is great to keep track of the pencil and know that it is always charged up. No plugging it in or cords involved! Once you connect it to the iPad it will tell you what charge the pencil is at as well.
I don’t know if I will do that or not because with the new pencil it senses when you double-tap to erase when using the Notes App. Also, I don’t know how the gripper affects it charging magnetically or staying safely on the side of the iPad. I worry that it might come off and I would lose it.
That’s all folks!
Thanks for reading my post! Grab a Free Digital Notebook created by GoodNotes Goods Co.!