How I Manage My Life Digital and Analog Planning Using Notion and Owl Paper
My heart is analog and always will be. You can read my full story here, but I will never go back to all digital life management—I don’t want to be managed by a robot.
However, some things should not be analog. There’s a line for everyone. Yours might be different than mine, but I reached mine when I was writing a 25 character URL into my bullet journal.
This was it.
I knew I was crossing into counter-intuitive bujo use at that moment.
Notion Is Like A Database For Mundane Details
After some adjustments, I found a system that’s worked for some time. I use my dot grid journal for mindfulness. That is, I set up my weekly schedule every Sunday night. I habit track. I meditate with it on the table next to me or in my hands and write down what comes to me from those precious morning sessions.
I write an affirmation for the day, and some tasks and priorities that will guide the day. Most importantly, I keep up my gratitude habit, and it’s one of my favorite parts of the day. Who wouldn’t want to be happy? (And studies prove that gratitude makes you happier).
My morning gratitude lists are full of everything from little things like lemongrass, tallow, and coffee mugs to more lasting things like my husband and two daughters and more existential things like hope.
My big picture goals are in my bullet journal as well. I do mind maps (aka life maps). I write big goals and dreams. I let myself imagine and envision the future.
I break down these goals into task lists. Mostly, I use weekly task lists as well as general lists of the next few steps in each area of my life. I always come up with a few daily tasks as well.
But long URLs are not in my bujo anymore. I keep them in Notion, along with other clickable, copyable, and pastable entites that make my life easier.
If we lived in a world without URLs, then I could live in a world with just paper. But learning to blend digital and analog tools together can be a mindful, peaceful, and purposeful journey.
How I Use Notion and Bullet Journal In An Integrated, Synchronized Way
For example, in my weekly task list, or my ever increasingly useful “7 areas” list, I might say something like, “finish the Show Hope grant application.”
But the grant application lives at a link and that link is part of a Notion. The Notion is titled “Adoption grants to apply for.” Inside that notion is an item called Show Hope Grant. And inside Show Hope grant is the ability to have its own mini database dedicated to it, with all the links I need to apply for it. I don’t need to magically link from to the Notion. I just see the task and go to the Notion. It’s pretty basic.
My Adoption Grant Notion
I do enjoy making a list of whatever is needed for that grant in my bullet journal, because it’s more peaceful to look at paper and check things off than it is to hop back and forth between yet another computer tab. However, I take advantage of the digital checklist where needed or wanted and I use it to double check. Everything in the adoption process needs multiple checks anyway, so it’s really helpful to use my paper as my working list, and my digital list as my final check (or vice versa).
My Owl Paper Journal is like my second brain, and my Notion databases are the place to keep the most mundane information, like long links and nested lists, that would waste precious space in my “brain.”
If you do stuff online (pay bills, apply for grants, use a project manager software at work, have a Pinterest), have you tried blending your bullet journaling with digital tools? How has it worked for you? Did you have a moment where you realized digital was not working for you, or one where you realized you might be taking paper too far? I’d love to hear from you!