After discovering Notion earlier this year, I realized one thing: I would need to make a lot of changes to my bullet journal. For the past three years, I’ve been using my bullet journal to not only document my daily tasks but also keep records of things I was currently enjoying, watching, reading—you name it.
In the bullet journal community (or ‘bujo’ for short), these groups of pages are called collection pages. They appear only once, typically at the beginning of your bullet journal, and are often revisited for reference. Some of my favorite collection pages are my goals for the year, where I divide up my goals into personal, career, financial, and creative; my chores, where I list out my weekly, bi-weekly, and monthly chores; and entertainment pages, where I list out what I’m currently reading, watching, and playing.
However, after discovering Notion, I realized these pages are far better off there than in my bullet journal, for several reasons.
Notion provides unlimited space for all the records I need.
In my bullet journal, I used to dedicate one or two pages to just the books I was currently reading. But for aesthetic reasons and efficient ones, I only included the necessities on this page: the title of the book, the author, and my rating.
After realizing this was not sufficient space for what I truly wanted to use this space for, I created a separate Passion Journal, where each book got its own entire page. I dedicated this journal solely to my hobbies and passions and helps me keep track of my feelings about them in a much larger space.
Of course, the downside to this is: it’s still limited in space, and much harder to edit. If I wrote about a TV show, for example, and filled a page, and several pages after it, and then a new season came out a year later, where would I write this new information? I could simply start a new page for the new season, but then it wouldn’t all be in one neat place, and that bothered me more than it probably should.
Enter Notion. With my current setup, I have infinite columns and space for whatever information I want, including things like the cast to the show-runner and director. Not only is this information sortable in neat rows, but I can also even click on the title of the show, and it opens its own blank page where I have infinite space to write notes and thoughts. I can even revisit it later and continue where I left off when new seasons are released.
I may still keep my Passion Journal for notes while I’m reading things, but my main log will be in Notion. It has been such a game-changer for my passion and hobbies setup.
Notion makes it easier to keep track of budgets than on paper.
Another go-to collection page of mine was my shopping and packages tracker. Typically, mine has been limited to two pages, and has columns for the item purchased, the store I ordered it from, the cost, the date, when it’s expected to arrive, and a checkbox for when I finally receive it.
The objective with this collection page was to help me keep track of my purchases and see how much money I spent at any given time.
However, the obvious downside to this setup is: I have to do the math myself! Seeing a bunch of numbers in a column doesn’t mean too much until you total them up, and Notion does that automatically—no calculator required.
Another spread I frequently visited in my bullet journal was my monthly bills spread, which included the cost and the due date for my bills, and a box for me to check off when I paid them. The obvious problem with this is: my bills aren’t always the same cost. Some of them, like my electric bill, fluctuate, so the page was mostly a general tracker and not an efficient financial one. Sure, I could have created a spread that went more in-depth, but for those 6 months I use the notebook, I can’t see the total of what I actually spent.
Now, all my budgeting and spending needs have been moved over to Notion, where I can keep an unlimited record of all my spending without having to do the math myself.
What I AM using my bullet journal for now.
I don’t need to tell you that having information on hand digitally is the way to go. It’s easy, efficient, and just plain convenient. While I still carry my bullet journal around with me almost everywhere I go, I don’t need to pull it out as often because most of my records, notes, and more are in my Notion mobile app.
Although I’ve moved a lot of my life over to Notion, there is still something Notion can’t satisfy for me: the feel of a physical notebook. I’ve kept physical journals for over 17 years, and nothing is quite like it. Yes, I have digital journals, but it doesn’t do the same thing for me as writing on pen and paper does.
I tried keeping my daily task list on Notion, and it didn’t work for me. I like writing down my intentions for the week, my tasks for each day, and my personal journal entries with a pen and paper. Even when I kept a digital task list, I found myself still writing down the same information on a sticky note or in my bullet journal.
Ticking off a task digitally doesn’t have the same satisfaction as doing so on paper. I’m aware this is totally a personal preference thing, but writing things down just helps me retain it more. It’s more personal to me.
My bullet journal setup for July-December has evolved into a hybrid setup to use along with Notion. With all of my previous collection pages gone, I can now use my notebook to focus more on goals, intentions, tasks, and personal reflection. That’s it. My Notion will be for everything else.
Are you using a bullet journal, Notion, or both? How do you feel about them now? Do you still prefer paper planning or digital planning? I’d love to know!
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Megan Portorreal is a professional writer, editor, and creative in the New York City area. In her spare time, she enjoys reading books, writing about her life, and playing video games.