I had a problem. I found that I was having trouble tracking items. Sure, I would
get email notifications, pop-ups on the web, notifications from my email client
and on my phone. And yet I was ignoring them all. Even with excellent products
like Todoist and Google Calendar, I found that my
digital tracking system would consistently fall out of date.
At first, I thought it was a matter of discipline. But I quickly discovered that
it wasn’t a lack of willpower. Despite my commitment to check off items each
day, I would encounter higher priority items than doing the check-in. I put
living my life ahead of tracking it. And yet, I would sometimes have to scramble
to complete coursework for my MBA or I would have to apologize to my wife for
not completing a honey-do item on time. And I loathed it.
In Eureka Springs, the Internet is not a given.
I have taken a number of short trips this spring and summer, mostly for
weddings. However, it was on a trip to Eureka Springs, Arkansas that I figured
out the issue. I was there to see my son perform in Opera in the
Ozarks. Eureka Springs is an Ozark mountain town. It is
an hour-long drive on twisty, single lane roads to the nearest city, “Northwest
Arkansas”. At least that’s
what the census calls it. Locals refer to the individual towns in this
metropolitan area of 500,000 people, with the most recognized probably being
And that’s when my digital life began to fall apart. I’ve been somewhat
dissatisfied with my phone and biding my time until I can upgrade. With no
connection to the outside world, it became even more useless. Often, I left it
in the car and carried my point-and-shoot camera along instead.
As I sat and read my book, I realized that my digital life was failing me
because it wasn’t available when I wanted it. I don’t use my electronics early
in the morning or especially late at night. I thought back to when I was last
successful at keep my backlog straight and it was with a paper journal. I’d
tried using a day-timer for school when the problem first manifested, but I
quickly dropped it. It was so much effort to maintain.
Then, I found out about bullet journaling. I immediately
felt at home, because it reminded me of the customer support logs I used to keep
early in my career. The format itself is pretty flexible and customizable, which
also was appealing. Adoption was swift and it felt natural. I knew I’d found a
good solution. In a future post, I’ll talk about how I use the system. For now,
ponder whether your current system is serving you, or you are serving it.