I’ve mentioned in previous blogs that I use my phone in conjunction with my bullet journal. I could not live without the combined efforts of both of these things! I need regular reminders and prompts to make sure I work on my to-do list. When I’m at work, I keep my phone on the page which has my to-do list for that day – this means, if I ever want to look at my phone, I have to open my bullet journal first! Unbelievably simple, but it works a charm! There are times when this doesn’t work, and that’s when I just stare at my beautiful Nuuna Notebook. I seriously have a love for these notebooks and I do actually have three or four under the bed. Obviously this is just in case of emergency!
The good thing about this particular blog is that I don’t use any paid apps. This means that all of these apps, although in this instance on iPhone, will be available to everyone – I’m pretty sure Android users will have something very similar they can use! Another bonus to using the Apple standard apps is that as I use a MacBook, everything syncs automatically. The Apple fairies make sure everything is where it should be, when I need it! There is a common theme with all these apps and my process though – I write the information I need down as many times as possible to make sure I will not forget anything!
So here we go, here’s how I use my iPhone alongside my bullet journal!
Calendar (iPhone Standard)
So the first app I heavily rely on is my calendar. I just use the standard one which comes with the iPhone as I love the look and feel of it (I like the modern look) and I have the ability to add various calendar ‘types’. By this I mean, I have a colour code system in place – anything blue is money related, anything green is a birthday or anniversary, anything orange is work related and finally purple is personal tasks such as hair appointments, doctors appointments, when I’m looking after my father-in-laws dog (yep, dog sitting, that’s a real thing in my life) or when my partner has appointments!
The way I use this with my bullet journal is simple. If I’m out and I book an appointment then it’ll go straight in here. When I get home, I’ll add it to the planner in either the monthly section if the appointment is soon enough or into the future log if it’s a long way off. When I start a month, I’ll not only go through my future log, but I’ll also go through my phone calendar and check for events and birthdays that will need to be transferred. I’ll then set tasks related to birthdays (like buying gifts or sending cards) or I’ll just make sure an event is marked down too. This process might seem a bit dubious to some, but it’s the only way I know 100% what I’m doing. The more I have to repeatedly type/write the task or appointment down – the more likely I am to remember it!
Here’s a screenshot of my calendar from my MacBook – here you can see how the coloured calendars really help to separate the different events and I can clearly see what’s what and when things are. (I’ve blurred out a few things because they’re either money related or have people’s surnames in – sorry!) I’ve used September as an example month as October looks a bit plain and boring!
Reminders (iPhone Standard)
The next app I use is Reminders. This app got me through University whilst working two part-time jobs! What I did a year ago (before I knew about bullet journaling – if only I had known about it when I was at University – I’d have been amazingly organised!) was create reminder categories, and named these after each module of my course and the names of the companies I worked for. e.g. I named one Dissertation, one Marketing, one Adult Education (the company I worked for) and the last one was named after the second company I worked for.
I would then put my tasks into each of these categories and mark them with a due date and a reminder date. This was particularly helpful when I had university deadlines looming as I’d set two reminders – one a few months before the deadline of a project or essay reminding me to start it now and another to remind me 3, 2 and 1 day’s before it was due. On the reminder for starting my essay, I’d set it to alert me every week until the due date. This would make sure that I was doing some work on my essays at least once a week for a couple of months before the due date. I’d do the same for my work tasks; the only difference would be that I wouldn’t set it to remind me repeatedly. Can you see how this saved me?!
When this app reminds you to complete a task, it pings up as a notification. You can either mark it as completed, ask it to remind you again in 5 minutes, 1 hour or tomorrow or you can just leave it. On the phone and on my Mac, leaving it would leave me a red dot with a number in it. This number indicates how many tasks I had due and would ANNOY the hell out of me, thus prompting me to complete the tasks sooner!
So, this app works great in conjunction with my bullet journal because when I have time specific tasks or if I’m out and I can’t write something down before it’ll be due I can rely on this to make sure I’m on the ball. Although I don’t have quite as many categories as before, I do still split it up to standard reminders (everyday stuff) and then my blog reminders.
An example of when I’d use this is when we’re heading out to the shops – at the last minute, I’ll remember we need to stop and drop a parcel off at the post office. In this instance, I’ll pop it on my reminders, set the time to remind me for when I reckon we’ll be done with our first task and that’s it – I’ll relax knowing I’ll get a prompt to remind me to do it!
I don’t use this at much as I did before, however it is my backup just in case I need timed reminders and I have set up reminders to make sure I’m doing my Instagram challenges!
Notes (iPhone Standard)
The final app I use is the Notes app. Since the iOS9 update, you can now create checklists! I haven’t yet done this but I’m sure I will utilise this new update at some point. Another thing included in the update is the ability to create categories – more categories! So once again, I’ve split up my Notes. There are general notes, money, food, login details and present lists. Within these I have things like my wish list, the essential oils I need to restock or just some rough monthly outgoings. It’s all separated and categorised and there when I need to reference it.
This app works WONDERS with my bullet journal because although I still regularly create collections in my journal and recommend doing so, I like to have some lists on my phone and have reasons for doing so. The money list is on here for security reasons and my present lists are on here for when I’m online shopping on my phone and need to flick to what I wanted to get someone. It’s all a case of what makes my life a little bit easier!
I do have a Christmas gift list in my planner as well as on my iPhone Notes – a bit of repetition – but this is only because I plan what I’m getting in the journal and then I write exactly what’s been done on my phone. This way I can share the list with my partner (who doesn’t understand the world of stationary, planning or anything much related to it!) – and he can then get the list on his iPhone and we can both clearly see what still needs to be bought. He doesn’t need to rummage through my planner to find what he needs – it’s just simpler, and I love a simple life!
I know that others suggest using apps like Evernote and To-Do list apps but I love the free ones that come with my iPhone. I can see the purpose of Evernote as you can take pictures of your bullet journal pages and reference them into categories on that app but as I’ve not worked my way through my notebook yet – I don’t know for sure if there will be any collections/lists that I want to keep reference of, but aren’t already on my phone. Only time will tell – and when that time comes, I’ll let you know what happens. In the meantime, I hope this was helpful!
Thanks and see you soon!
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