Bullet Journals and Video Games

For the last three years I have used a bullet journal to both plan, and record each day. It has sat on the corner of my desk, and served as a duplicate of sorts to my work calendar, my home calendar, and the various productivity apps I have tinkered with along the way.

Name a well known app, and I’ve probably used it. Microsoft To Do, Google Tasks, Evernote, Notion, Todoist, Basecamp, Trello, Outlook, Keep… the list goes on.

Years ago I read a book called “Getting Things Done” that very successfully sold an enormous lie to pretty much everybody that read it. Off the back of it I became invested for a time in a website called “Remember the Milk”, and an app on my phone called “Things”.

It’s a slippery slope.

The bullet journal has served as an antidote of sorts to the chaotic, fast moving world of technology that surrounds me (I’m a software developer). It’s not perfect though – it doesn’t nag me when something hasn’t been done, and it’s not searchable either. I’ve lost count of the times I have paged back through it over several months, looking for a note. My brain works in mysterious ways – I often know I wrote something down, but don’t remember exactly what I wrote.

I’m going to try not using the bullet journal for a while. My work life lives in the Microsoft universe – Outlook, To Do, Teams and Sharepoint – and my home life in the constellation of Google services – Calendar, Keep, Tasks, and GDrive. I’m going to give their various apps and websites a shot. My life will live in my pocket – in the little black phone that I carry everywhere.

The one extra I am adding to the mix is “Notion”. If you’ve not seen it, and you have a penchant for being organised, I would stay the hell away from it. It’s a black hole of possibilities and opportunities to waste time organising, recording, and sorting anything and everything. It’s actually pretty brilliant. You have been warned.

Anyway. Enough of this idiocy.

I’m planning to visit town with two of my daughters tomorrow morning – while one of them meets up with friends to head away for the weekend, I’m going to do a raid on the second-hand video game store. It turns out if you time it right, you can bulk buy games that used to sell for £50 for £1 each. In another year those same games will begin climbing in value as they become collectors items.

Thankfully my kids aren’t huge video game players – so they don’t really mind which generation of hardware we have. For months we had a Raspberry Pi plugged into the television, allowing them to play any number of retro arcade machines. It’s always fun when grown-up friends visit, and notice a copy of Pacman, Space Invaders or Galaxians running on the TV – with sounds they have not heard since standing at the side of cabinets in amusement arcades thirty or more years before.



The staycation is coming to an end. Friday has arrived, supported by coffee, and bacon sandwiches. I woke a little after 6am, then convinced myself to sleep for another hour. I’m not sure why I’ve been waking up so early recently. At least it gives me time to do this – write a few words – before the rest of the house appears.

Spotify is quietly humming away in the background – filling the room with a supposedly relaxing playlist. It sounds more like angst and longing to me.

Earlier this week I ventured out of the house for the first time in months – escorting my youngest daughter to meet some of her friends in a nearby town. We travelled by bus, wearing masks throughout the journey. Along the way I discovered that none of her circle of friends had correct phone numbers for each other, and none of them knew where they were, other than “on the bus”. They had pre-arranged to meet at the bus station, and more by luck than judgement managed to do just that. I’ve begun to suspect that when together their common sense is far greater than the sum of their individual parts. The best part of the day? When they called each other after getting home, to make sure each other got home in one piece.

After waving goodbye to my daughter I wandered over to a used video game store, and picked up an arm-full of last generation video games. Ten old games for the price of a cinema ticket. I thought my middle daughter might have an accident when she saw the games (she has always been the gamer – her sisters not-so-much).

While on the subject of electronics, I resurrected a laptop yesterday – robbing parts from two old laptops to make one half-decent one. It’s sitting on the desk next to me, with a fresh install of Manjaro Linux installed. When I summon some enthusiasm later, I’ll finish installing it. My youngest daughter walked in while two of the laptops were in pieces across the desk – with circuit boards and screws everywhere. She recoiled in horror – “WHAT ARE YOU DOING?”

Thankfully I’m pretty good at putting things back together.

Late last night I got sucked into watching a few episodes of “Chicago Fire” with my other half. I did a double take when some cast members from “Chicago Med” showed up in an episode – apparently there are several series that cross story-lines on a regular basis – among them PD, Fire, Med, and Justice. One particular story crossed three of the shows in consecutive episodes. I love it when TV shows do things like that.


I think it’s time for another coffee.