If you’ve been a reader of KalynBrooke.com over the past year, you may have caught on to the fact that I really love my bullet journal. I even wrote a book about how to get started with your own bullet journal!
But I have a confession to make.
I don’t keep everything in my bullet journal.
There are many other areas of my life that I track elsewhere—whether it’s on a digital app, spreadsheet or otherwise!
It’s not that my bullet journal can’t do everything, it’s just that sometimes, there are other systems that do it better. And my goal is to find the best organizing method for everything I do. (I want my bullet journal to work for me, not the other way around!)
So while the bullet journal still carries a lot of weight planning-wise and I would be totally lost without it, these are the things I’ve chosen to take out of my bullet journal and track another way.
1. Monthly / Annual Budget
I currently do all my budget and expense tracking in the You Need A Budget app. I used to use an excel spreadsheet, but decided to give YNAB a try and never looked back! I love how simple the app is to use, and how easy it makes it for couples to share a budget.
While I certainly see the benefits of pen and paper tracking, there’s definitely more potential for hand cramps (and mistakes) which is why I prefer a digital finance system instead.
2. Weekly Grocery List
Rather than keep a running grocery list in my bullet journal, which I then have to pull out and juggle at the grocery store, I use the OurGroceries app. It’s so easy to add ingredients to the list, and the beauty is you can create multiple lists!
I have a list for the groceries that I regularly pick up at either Aldi, Publix, or Winn Dixie, as well as a list for Sam’s Club, since there are certain things I like to buy in bulk there instead.
On OurGroceries, you can also categorize your list according to ingredient type: Produce, Pantry, Frozen, Refrigerated, etc, which helps organize your trip around the store. No more running back to the produce aisle because a bag of apples was buried on your list under cereal and baking flour!
Another bonus is the ability to share accounts on your phone with another person. When I add an item, it shows up on Joseph’s OurGroceries app and vice versa.
Related: Psst…here are fabulous tips on how to streamline your grocery shopping so you don’t hate this chore!
3. To-Read List
I used to keep paper reading lists. I even maintained an Excel spreadsheet at one time! But now I prefer Goodreads to keep track of every book I’ve read and all the books I want to read.
If you’ve never used Goodreads before, you create virtual shelves for each of your book categories. You can keep it simple and go with the default Want to Read, Currently Reading, and Read. Or you can mix it up and shelve your books by genre or any category you choose.
You can also rate your books by the number of stars and write a personal review. Any time I look at a book on Goodreads, I always check to see if any of my friends have read it and what they rated the book before I add that book to my own Want to Read list!
Plus, there’s an annual reading challenge you can customize and participate in every year. Goodreads will keep track of your progress and let you know when you’re on track, ahead, or falling behind on your reading goal.
Wondering which book to pick up next? Here’s an easy way to find out!
4. Meal Planning
It’s SO easy now to just grab that binder, flip through my recipes, fill out my meal planning sheet and add the ingredients to the OurGroceries app as I go.
Occasionally, I’ll revert back to meal planning in my bullet journal—particularly if it’s a busy week and/or we are gone for most of it, but otherwise, I’ll pull out my recipe binder on Sunday night and plan a full-blown meal plan for the week.
5. Monthly Calendar
I often go back and forth between adding a monthly calendar to my bullet journal and not. Some months I do, some months I don’t. But I can say for sure that I ALWAYS use this calendar app when I’m adding appointments or events (and checking them too!).
Because this calendar syncs with Joseph’s phone and keeps us from scheduling two separate events at the same time, it makes sense to have this part of our lives be digital right now.
Plus, when events and appointments change, I can easily delete them off the app rather than use white out in my bullet journal!
6. Long-Range To-Do Lists
One of the downsides of the bullet journal is the inability to plan ahead. Because you create one month, week, and day at a time, you can’t just flip over to the next few months to add in future appointments or tasks.
So for any tasks that are more than a week in advance, I use GCal and Todoist.
Todoist is a task management app that allows you to add in a task, assign a date to it, organize it by category (business, personal, etc) and add any notes related to that task.
I just check Todoist every time I set up my current week in my bullet journal as part of my planning routine. Any task that is assigned to the current week will immediately pop up!
7. Business Projects
Projects are one of those things I used to keep in my bullet journal on a Project Page (like I talk about in this post about how to use your bullet journal for work!). And I still do this for personal projects around the home, like organizing my gift wrapping supplies.
But for business projects, I now use Trello.
Trello allows me to create:
- A “Board” for a specific project
- “Lists” (which are the columns seen above)
- and individual “Cards” with each task that relates to the bigger project.
Each of those cards can hold information and links, as well as extra checklists to break that task down even further. Plus, I can assign tasks to individuals on my team and we can communicate back and forth about each card on that card (a feature I love because it streamlines communication!).
My bullet journal can do so many things and I rely on it’s practicalness every single day, multiple times a day. But as much as I wish I could use one tool for everything, that wish is far from realistic! So I let my bullet journal be good at the things it’s really good at and use other tools here and there to fill in the gaps.
As long as a system is working for you, stick with it. But don’t be afraid to switch things up either. Sometimes multiple systems working together is better than trying to force one system to do it all!
And if you need ideas for things to track in your bullet journal, look no further than this comprehensive list of collections ideas!
What do you not track in your bullet journal?
Disclosure: Some of the links in the post above are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. Read my full disclosure policy here.