On November 14th, I posted an essay about analog productivity systems. That same day, I went out and purchased a brand new square ruled, pocket Moleskine notebook, with the intent of giving Bullet Journal a try. Itâ€™s been a about a week and a half, and Iâ€™m ready to report my initial findings. Itâ€™s been interesting.
Setup and First Impressions
I typically carry a pen, everywhere I go. Oddly, the day I bought my to-be Bullet Journal notebook, I left the apartment without it, thus forcing me to wait until I got home to tear into the setup process. I also made sure to listen to Ryder Carrolâ€™s interview on the GTD Virtual Study Group podcast. 
Bullet Journal is not made for pocket notebooks, though itâ€™s certainly doable. My monthly calendar for november spans across two pages, and my monthly task list takes up the bottom half of the second page. This isnâ€™t the most aesthetically pleasing option, but Iâ€™ll trade aesthetics fro portability. Besides, my atrocious handwriting is going to ruin any elegance the system has.
I also noticed that the Monthly Calendar pages do not handle multiple events well. On the 15th, I had three appointments to keep in mind, but I only had room for one on the page. As Bullet Journal encourages succinctnessâ€”a quality I lack, as youâ€™ll know from reading other things on this siteâ€”Iâ€™ll blame myself for this one.
Great. Just great. I had the opportunity on day one to really give my Bullet Journal a workout when I attended a lecture at Columbia University on news, computational linguistics, and social media.  I scribbled away a page and a half of bulleted notes that are succinct enough to recreate the interesting parts of the lecture. That the notes take up a spread in the middle of my November daily calendar pages doesnâ€™t bother me, as I have both the index and my Moleskineâ€™s built in bookmark to keep my place.
I did purchase an accessory to make sure I wasnâ€™t without a pen anywhere I carried my notebook: a double pen pocket notebook Quiver. It took its time getting to me, but I canâ€™t imagine carrying my notebook around without it. I keep a Zebra Sarassa pen in there, along side a Pentel mechanical pencil, just in case thereâ€™s something tentative to put down.
One thing I noticed is that people really like to see you write stuff down in a notebook. When I type things people tell me into my phone, thereâ€™s no excitement. On several occasions, writing stuff in my notebook caused people to react very positively. I especially noticed this effect at a technology event I attended, sponsored in part by Google. Letâ€™s see Google Glass be this efficient and reliable, huh?
Where It Fits In
What have I been writing in my Bullet Journal? Whatever seems relevant. Daily steps, notes on calls and meetings, what jobs Iâ€™ve applied for, post ideas for Sanspoint and elsewhereâ€”anything that Iâ€™ll want or need to know later. Bullet Journalâ€™s found a niche for me as a structured way to capture little bits of data I collect throughout the day, when I know Iâ€™ll need or want to refer to them again. Not every day gives me data to collect, but itâ€™s good to have a structure.
Bullet Journal is not, however, a task management system for me. If one of those pieces of data I happen to collect is a task, then I collect it and mark it as such with a square box for a bullet. However, I still keep all my to-dos in OmniFocus, where I can manipulate them, organize them, and build them out into projects or subtasks, as necessary for my poor, addled mind. I admire people who can see a task like â€œRedesign websiteâ€ and handle it from there. I need more detail, and while Bullet Journal can do that, I would prefer to keep it as a capture system.
What To Improve
My handwriting. And remembering to actually write stuff down when I think of it.
I donâ€™t know if anyone necessarily needs a full on system to use something as simple as a notebook. Itâ€™s pretty intuitive. As Merlin Mann said, â€œNothing doesnâ€™t go in here.â€  What I like about having a system is that itâ€™s a good MacGuffin for getting me to crack open the damn thing every now and then and scribble something down. More importantly, half of the value of a notebook is the ability to go back and see a snapshot of your life. Itâ€™s something Iâ€™ve missed out on. Hopefully, using Bullet Journal will give me notebooks full of good stuff to look back on in time.